Page from the passport of Otto Oppenheimer from the Baer-Oppenheimer Family Collection, 1938
I'm hesitant to "unveil" my modest Top 25 of 2009 for a few reasons. First, there are so many well-regarded and highly-recommended releases of 2009 that I have neither heard nor have any desire to hear. Second, my list is shaping up to be a little too similar to the parody "Best of..." list at Hipster Runoff - so what if I was tempted to give Bat for Lashes a higher place in my Top 25 to compensate for not having enough female artists on the list? Third, unlike last year, I've already written something about most of my favorite releases of the year. But I have nothing else to post about this week, so here we go.
A few excellent releases didn't fit in the Top 25 anywhere, but I'd like to say that I quite enjoyed Bonfires on the Heath by the Clientele, The Eternal by Sonic Youth, The Law of the Playground by the Boy Least Likely To, I'm Going Away by the Fiery Furnaces, Born Again Revisited by Times New Viking, Eating Us by Black Moth Super Rainbow, God Help the Girl, and the four Robert Pollard LPs that came out this year that didn't make the list. Now, here's the Top 25.
#25 Grrr... by Bishop Allen (Dead Oceans Records)
The Ivy League indie-poppers continue to not quite live up to the promise of their EP-a-month project of 2006, but their return to the more lighthearted approach of their debut album has some excellent moments.
#24 Wild and Inside by Eat Skull (Siltbreeze Records)
Of the 2009 full-lengths grouped under the "sh*tgaze" genre, this one was by far the most appealing, bumping my beloved Times New Viking out of the Top 25 by the sheer force of its appropriated-from-kiwi-pop hooks and sense of fun.
#23 Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear (Warp Records)
The album at the center of the backlash against limp, stilted NY art-indie, I find Veckatimest to be easier to admire than to love, but there is some charm in its immaculate austerity, and it works well on the catchier numbers like "While You Wait for the Others", one of my favorite songs of 2009.
#22 Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective (Domino Recording Company)
The Album of the Year according to Uncut, Pitchfork, Mojo, and sundry other publications, MPP was a favorite of mine for a while this year, but I ultimately decided that, of the two songwriters, Panda Bear delivered quality while Avey Tare just delivered quantity, leaving the album an uneven near-miss.
#21 Origin: Orphan by the Hidden Cameras (Arts & Crafts Records)
I think this album was not given a fair shake by a lot of people because subtlety isn't probably what you're looking for in a Hidden Cameras album, but Joel Gibb and co. deliver some heavy-hitting stuff once you get past the songs' slow buildups and Germanic coldness.
"Underage" by the Hidden Cameras