*Best Albums of 2009*

It has been another great year for music and the artform of albums. Drum n’ bass artists continue to release fabulous longplayers. Industrial is back. Metal is staying very relevant. Dubstep grows stronger. And there is plenty of other genres to pick from here, so without further ado (in reverse order):

22.  The Horrors – Primary Colours

When Aphex Twin director Chris Cunningham shows up to help you channel your inner Joy Division, magic can happen. And it often does on this album. “Scarlet Fields” (below) is titanic.



“Scarlet Fields”

21.  Ed Rush & Optical – Traveling the Galaxy

Sci-fi drum n’ bass fans rejoice! Your sound has landed. The soundtrack to Hugo award winners that will send you into orbit!


20. Rufige Kru – Memoirs of an Afterlife

Rufige Kru (aka Goldie and Heist) are back to deliver a deep journey into soulful drum n’ bass. Goldie has his solo record out this year and is returning to his legendary roots. But Heist really brings the best out of both.

“Lost Rufige”

19. Architects – Hollow Crown

Sick heavy metal bashing with some radio-friendly vocals amidst alot of screaming. This kind of pain feels so good.


18. Blockhead – The Music Scene

Fans of DJ Shadow and DJ Food: your void is filled. Blockhead does production for various Def Jux artists, but here he crafts a downtempo sonic palette of mashed-up soul, funk, and hip-hop. The samples alone will crack you up. Kinda like a seance held in Motown.

“Pity Party”

17. Jon Hopkins – Insides

When he’s not contributing on a Coldplay album, Jon Hopkins makes his own intensely beautiful compositions with state-of-the-art beats and instrumentation. Ambient textures float on Ulrich Schnauss-esque uplifting melodies.


16. Animal Collective –Merriweather Post Pavilion / Fall Be Kind ep

The addition of their e.p. makes this a simple choice. As long as I spent trying to get “My Girls”, “Guys Eyes”, and “What Would I Want Sky” out of my head they deserve a spot.

“Guys Eyes”

15. Converge – Axe to Fall

Super-speed metal that is like a Beethoven migraine. These guys must be robots to play good music this fast. Really angry ones at that.

“Dark Horse”

14. Little Dragon – Machine Dreams

You’ll hear Prince, Tricky, and electro-disco influences superbly melted together with very unique vocals by the lead chanteuse who adds some strange embellishing qualities to her weird lyrics.

“A New”

13. Micachu – Jewellery

There may not be a more charming debut this year. This kitchen appliance funk is so weirdly captivating you won’t be able to get the songs or rhythms out of your head.


12. Alix Perez – 1984

Drum n’ bass doesn’t get more atmospheric than this. Slick, soulful grooves set in your future Blade Runner-esque bedroom.


11. Clark – Totems Flare

Mr. Aphex Twin Jr. keeps firing away on all cylinders. The songs on this album run the gamut from catchy electro-punk to transforming IDM.

“Suns of Temper”

10. Fever Ray – Fever Ray and Remixes

 The singer from Knife uses her special croon over some downtempo and dark 80’s jams. And it was good enough to spawn almost a hundred remixes of which ten are pretty damn good.

“I’m not Done”

9. Passion Pit – Manners

The high falsetto of the lead singer takes some getting used to, but “Moths Wings” and “Little Secrets” are essential songs of the year. Take it in chunks and you’ll be singing it for months.

“Moth’s Wings”

8. Riceboy Sleeps – Riceboy Sleeps

Simply stated, this is my favorite ambient album of the year. Gorgeousssss.

“boy 1904”

7. Falty DL – Love is a Liability / Bravery ep

Falty DL is another artist that really grew on me as the year progressed, and it certainly helps when you release an additional, blindingly good ep. This dub-step, trip-step, IDM-jungle is hypnotic. While all tracks keep his signature off-kilter beats, he can mix early Warp style trickery with the likes of Burial.

“The Shape Has Come”

6. Kylesa – Static Tensions

Two singers (male and female), two drummers, and two guitarists wield some epic art-metal.  Emotional, raw, and surgically swift.


5. Original Sin – Grow Your Wings

Get jacked-up to this jump-up and junglist barrage of of drum n’ bass stylings. Variety is important in an album, and here you have everything from deep soul to ghetto warfare drum n bass. I’m not sure there’s a boring second on this.

“Your Love”

4. Miike Snow – Miike Snow

Not only is this electro-pop done brilliantly, this is just a great vocal-pop album in a year where the King of Pop transmigrated. A greatest hits collection of life affirmation that will have you humming the songs while high-fiving people down the street.

“Black & Blue”

3. Consequence – Live for Never

The best and sexiest dub/dubstep album of the year. Minimalism that evolves in this fashion can by thrilling. Dn’B hot-producers ASC, dBridge, and Instra:mental all lend their atmospheric grace to the proceedings.


2. Laeather Strip – Aengelmaker

Goth-industrial-EBM fans your wait is finally over for a magnificent double disc of a concept album. Early industrial fans of Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 should love this. These aren’t the pretty-boy Trent Reznor vocals. You have to swallow the Marilyn Manson meets Saw grovel to enter this dark carnival. This also features some excellent covers that sound fine in EBM skin, especially Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration”. If danse macabre is your thing (Halloween is everyday) then step inside…

“I Can’t Sit Still”

1. Dan Deacon – Bromst

Great albums are often like roller-coaster rides. They will captivate you for a few listens, but then their complexity starts to turn you off. Later the songs slowly start creeping back into your consciousness and you start hearing dimensions you hadn’t picked up on. Cacophony, folk singing, Steve Reich bliss-outs, and hyper-speed player pianos triggered by midi are some of the eccentrities you’ll find. This is a wholly original and demanding work that I will often return to.

“Woof Woof”

Honorable Mentions – Au Revoir Simone, Bat For Lashes, Baroness, Sub Focus, Bear in Heaven, Beirut, Vitalic, Grizzly Bear



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