Sketch by Charles Elliott from Cottages and Cottage Life, 1848
"Part the third" of my Top 25 features five albums that might have made the Top 10 in a different year, but 2009 has been a year with a lot of evenly matched top-notch albums, only a few of which are likely to be lifelong favorites.
#15 I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers (American Recordings)
The major label debut from North Carolina's favored sons is a mess of red herrings, from a celebrity producer in Rick Rubin to a bloated "mission statement" concept, but the real story here is a slow-burner of an album with some awesome deep tracks.
#14 Popular Songs by Yo La Tengo (Matador Records)
These perennial pop iconoclasts have put together their most listenable sequence of eclectic mood-pop since I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One, front-loading the album with excellent songs from all three of the group's vocalists and ending with three extended epics jams.
#13 These Four Walls by We Were Promised Jetpacks (Fat Cat Records)
The newest contender for Glasgow's indie-emo crown may not have the roaring intensity of the Twilight Sad or the pocket-orchestra hooks of Frightened Rabbit, but We Were Promised Jetpacks do have the ability to deliver wiry guitar hooks and thrilling anthemic song structures.
#12 Travels with Myself and Another by Future of the Left (4AD)
I admire Future of the Left as much as any band going because are doing something that no one else is doing, matching first-class, darkly humorous storytelling with catchy post-hard-rock hooks - and you can't argue with a song called "You Need Satan More Than He Needs You".
#11 Zero to 99 by Boston Spaceships (GBV Inc.)
It kills me to leave Robert Pollard out of my Top Ten of the year, especially when the best of his six new full-length releases of 2009 is an excellent set of tweaked power-pop, combining revamped castaways from the old GBV days with some of the freshest-sounding songs that Pollard has come up with since those days.
"A Good Circuitry Soldier" by Boston Spaceships