MAGNET’s Top 20 Albums Of 2009

YIM2009

20. THE CLEAN | Mister Pop [Merge]
the-clean-mr-pop-album-artA band that releases five albums in 30 years isn’t exactly what you would call prolific. Still, it’s hard to hold anything against the Clean. Between Robert Scott and brothers David and Hamish Kilgour, the three members have released more than 30 albums with other projects. Knowing this almost makes an LP from the Clean even more of an event. They could do this whenever they wanted. Mister Pop is not the easy-to-digest collection of simple pop songs the band could have made. It’s not some grand comeback record, either. Devoid of any pressure, the result is a really great, relaxed and eclectic pop album.
“In The Dreamlife You Need A Rubber Soul” (download):

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19. JAY REATARD | Watch Me Fall [Matador]
jayreatardJay Reatard has had a rough year. With his band quitting mid-tour (to later join Wavves, no less; blasphemy!) and Reatard getting attacked onstage by multiple fans at a show in Austin earlier this month, it’s almost as if he was trying to live up to this album’s title. How far would he go? Watch Me Fall found him singing “I Can’t Do It Anymore,” “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and “You Faked It All Away.” It’s a collection of songs by a man no longer able to hold it all together and unwilling to even care. And it’s his tightest, catchiest record yet.
“It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” (download):

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18. CANADIAN INVASION | Three Cheers For The Invisible Hand [Transit Of Venus/ Empyrean]
CanadianInvasionThreeCheersMidway through the year, MAGNET promised Andy Canadian that we’d stop mentioning Teenage Fanclub in reference to Three Cheers For The Invisible Hand, his band’s second album. Trouble is, there’s no better touchstone for the Philadelphia outfit’s decadent vocal arrangements and smart guitar chime. To cap off a decade in which power pop was largely reduced to cartoonish proportions (thanks to Weezer and Fountains Of Wayne), Canadian Invasion delivered a thoughtful, tuneful concept album about suburban ennui and the detonation of the nuclear family. The real soundtrack to Sam Mendes’ American Beauty.
“Standing On The Shoulders Of The Carcass Of John Mayer” (download):

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17. BILL CALLAHAN | Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle [Drag City]
bill_callahanDreaming the perfect song and barely waking to scribble it down before going back to bed, Bill Callahan arose the next morning to read what he’d written: gibberish. “Eid Ma Clack Shaw” was the nearly illegible phrase and the inspiration for a track that finds Callahan trying to forget a lost lover, pleading “show me the way to shake a memory.” It’s about holding on and being unable to hold on. If it’s not the perfect song, it makes a legitimate case for consideration. Retaining the grander production of 2007′s Woke On A Whaleheart but returning to the dark, somber themes of his earlier lo-fi work under the Smog moniker, this LP is like watching swarming birds at dusk, with Callahan’s voice a warm, wool blanket wrapped around your shoulders.
“Eid Ma Clack Shaw” (download):

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16. THE DODOS | Time To Die [Frenchkiss]
dodoscoverPeter and Gordon. Chad and Jeremy. Meric and Logan. The first two pairs were boy-next-door acoustic-guitar strummers from the British Invasion; the last is better known as the Dodos, a San Francisco duo that takes the wholesome melodies and trad harmonies of those classic folk-pop groups and speeds everything up to a shimmering, double-time blur. It’s this busker mentality—and not the surface comparisons to the Shins’ layer-cake guitar jangle—that elevates even the downer sentiment of an album titled Time To Die.
“Fables” (download):

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15. GRANT-LEE PHILLIPS | Little Moon [Yep Roc]
Grant-LeePhillips2Grant-Lee Phillips’ most adventurous solo album yet never neglects the date who brought him to the dance: the big guitar throb of Grant Lee Buffalo. But Phillips has also added textured elements to his sound that constantly surprise. “It Ain’t The Same Old Cold War Harry” could be an update of the revered Fletcher Henderson/Duke Ellington big-band sound of the late ’30s. Phillips’ confident baritone is now right up front in a superlative recording by producer/bassist Paul Bryan that gives this music a transparency seldom heard in an era of too many tracks and not enough substance.
“It Ain’t The Same Old Cold War Harry” (download):

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14. JAPANDROIDS | Post-Nothing [Polyvinyl]
japandroids-post-nothing1One of the noisiest, punchiest pop albums of the year comes from two Vancouverites, Brian King and David Prowse, who dropped Post-Nothing like a pipe bomb. The resulting critical French-kiss became a story on its own, but ignore that. The album is so tight it’s hard to catch a breath in the short spaces between the fuzzy skronk of its songs. The opening hat trick—“The Boys Are Leaving Town,” “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Wet Hair”—is reason enough to pick it up. But the whole album is a dirty joy, energetic and earnest and raw, like bliss-pop coated in metal shavings.
“Young Hearts Spark Fire” (download):

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13. AC NEWMAN | Get Guilty [Matador]
acnewman1Carl Newman’s second solo LP has the same thrill-ride melodic twists, ornate instrumentation and gang-vocal shout-alongs as acclaimed recordings by his New Pornographers. Get Guilty also points to what Newman does best: making subtly orchestral pop music that doesn’t sound overly stuffy, sad or stiffly baroque. From the clickety-clack drumstick tapping on “Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer” to tambourine-laced stomp “Collected Works,” Get Guilty is as much a mad dash through the closet of a music room as it is a studiously composed rock album.
“Submarines Of Stockholm” (download):

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12. THE XX | XX [Young Turks]
The-XXWho says that the New Yorkers should have all the post-punk fun? South London quartet the xx took the austere echo of Interpol’s guitars and made them sultry-smooth via the delicate vocal interplay of guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim. Considering the sense of atmosphere and space created in these whisper-soft songs, this self-titled debut is scarily efficient, as not a single keyboard blip, drum-machine beat or inhaled breath is wasted.
“Basic Space” (download):

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11. JASON LYTLE | Yours Truly, The Commuter [Anti-]
lytleJason Lytle’s fertile solo debut appeared on the respected Anti- label, so now he can rub elbows at the office Christmas party with labelmates Nick Cave, Neko Case and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. As expected, Lytle’s post-Grandaddy music retains a sweeping blend of lush melody (played on vintage keyboards), fragile vocals, jarring soundbites, pungent guitar and naked emotion. “Brand New Sun” picks up exactly where Grandaddy began drawing a pension, “It’s The Weekend” will soon appear in somebody’s TV commercial, and “Rollin’ Home Alone” is as close to Neil Young as Lytle has ever ventured.
“Yours Truly, The Commuter” (download):

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10. PISSED JEANS | King Of Jeans [Sub Pop]
PissedjeansWith their third album, Philadelphia’s favorite scuzz-punks create an unrestrained miasma of feedback and ferocity that provides a harsh reminder to the neutered underground that indie rock isn’t just about fashion shoots and selling your music for car commercials. King Of Jeans retains Pissed Jeans’ unabashed worship of the early catalogues of Sub Pop and Touch And Go, but it shows a band able to really tighten up its songwriting and excoriate the directionless, electrified slop that cluttered its last two albums. This is the skin-wrenching masterpiece we all knew Pissed Jeans had in ‘em.
“False Jesii Part 2” (download):

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9. SUPER FURRY ANIMALS | Dark Days/Light Years [Rough Trade]
supperfuryWhenever you’re at play in the fields of Welsh weed lords Super Furry Animals, you expect a certain loopiness to the proceedings. However, Gruff Rhys and his mates have never sketched out an uplift mofo party plan quite like Dark Days/Light Years. From the opening house-party chatter of “Crazy Naked Girls” and the sitar-laced “The Very Best Of Neil Diamond” to surrealist krautrock love song “Inaugural Trams,” Dark Days hardly sounds like a group’s ninth album. It’s an 11th-hour movable feast.
“Inaugural Trams” (download):

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8. BOSTON SPACESHIPS | Zero To 99 [GBV Inc.]
bostonspaceshipszeroBob Pollard puts out so many records (relax, it’s not an insult) that the legendary songwriter’s best efforts, like Zero To 99, don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s too bad, but just sit back and enjoy the Boston Spaceships journey anyway. This third Spaceships blast-off—created with multi-instrumentalist Chris “Slushy” Slusarenko and drummer John Moen (Decemberists)—is primo Pollard, and for all of the man’s alleged flaws, much of Zero To 99 is as quirky, melodic, catchy and life-affirmingly amazing as Guided By Voices. Come on, come on, the hatch is open …
“How Wrong You Are” (download):

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7. THE THERMALS | Now We Can See [Kill Rock Stars]
thermalsnow-we-can-seeAfter the Thermals dutifully crossed a sloppy punk opus (2004′s Fuckin A) and a tirade against politics and religion (2006′s The Body, The Blood, The Machine) off their indie-cred checklist, it was time to get down to the business of making a tight, loud-rock record for the world to enjoy. The Portland, Ore., trio came out the other side with Now We Can See, overloaded with hooks and sounding like a lost Pixies album. Teenagers of the year, indeed.
“Now We Can See” (download):

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6. DIRTY PROJECTORS | Bitte Orca [Domino]
dirtyprojectorsbitteorcaLots of things about Dirty Projectors shouldn’t work. Frontman Dave Longstreth’s voice, to take only the most notable element, is a limited instrument; both of the women in the band are, from a technical standpoint, better singers than Longstreth. The group’s musical arrangements are frequently complicated to the point of convolution. And somehow, when the parts come together, none of that matters, because Dirty Projectors are making music that no other band in their hopped-up, Brooklyn-based experimental-rock scene is interested in making, and the fragile parts cohere into something that’s by turns majestic and vulnerable. Bitte Orca earns its esoteric attitude by blending falsetto crooning, bottom-heavy samples, icy fingerpicking and soft harmonies into an album that sounds like it knows exactly what it’s about. There may have been more accomplished records in 2009, but few sounded this confident.
“Stillness Is The Move” (download):

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5. THE FLAMING LIPS | Embryonic [Warner Bros.]
Flaming-LipsThe Flaming Lips’ penchant for expansive experiments and lush arrangements came to some sort of zenith in 2009 with this release. Somehow Embryonic maintains a perfect balance between aggressive noise and heartbreaking melody over two full discs. What’s sounded indulgent in the Lips’ catalog up to this point here sounds careful and considered, and what’s sounded too regulated sounds free. As a result, Embryonic is like nothing the Lips have done before, but it also is like everything they’ve done well, aged and tended. Zaireeka is still the band’s avant-garde watermark, but Embryonic is a genuine achievement of experimental pop—and one of the most convincing arguments for the Lips’ continued importance.
“Silver Trembling Hands”:

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4. BUILT TO SPILL | There Is No Enemy [Warner Bros.]
bts-there-is-no-enemy-aaYear-end lists are for chasing zeitgeists and next big things; what’s an old warhorse like Built To Spill doing here? Simply put, Enemy is a comeback album for Doug Martsch, the kind of effort that should squash fanboy demand for performances of 1997′s Perfect From Now On like roadkill in the rearview mirror. Enemy isn’t a new direction but rather a finer balance of the introspective pop vocals and Crazy Horse guitar triumphs that make Built To Spill subtly excellent and obviously influential to Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse. If you’re not excited about Built To Spill in 2009, you’re living in the past.
“Hindsight”:

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3. THE ALIENS | Luna [Birdman]
ALIENS_LUNAThank God for mental illness. When the short, fitful life of the Beta Band came to an end in 2004, few would have predicted the Scottish group’s own version of Syd Barrett would be left carrying the torch for modern psychedelia. After enduring institutionalization and electro-shock therapy while on sabbatical from the Beta Band, Gordon Anderson co-founded the Aliens to deliver stoner-friendly rock that’s way stronger than the stuff you were listening to in the ’60s or ’90s. Painting with the retro, muted-watercolor sounds of Caribou and sculpting Dungen-style tangles of guitar, Luna will try anything to mess with your mind. It’s not so much the dark side of the moon as it is staring directly into the sun.
“Sunlamp Show” (download):

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2. THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART | The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart [Slumberland]
the-pains-of-being-pure-at-heartTo call the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart amateurs doesn’t seem like an insult. The considerable charm of the New York outfit hinges on our collective ability to imagine it is a friend’s band, one you saw at basement parties, stood elbow-to-elbow with at shows, browsed the cut-out bin together. This seeming familiarity comes from the Pains’ rare ability to reach into the more precious regions of your Anglophilic record collection—Ride, Pastels, Comet Gain—and extract new combinations of shoegaze, twee and C-86. Cobbling together these influences is a feat that any professional band might accomplish. But nobody else could.
“Young Adult Friction” (download):

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1. THE LOW ANTHEM | Oh My God, Charlie Darwin [Nonesuch]
lowanthemThe Low Anthem made Oh My God, Charlie Darwin in January 2008 while the Providence, R.I., trio and friends were staying in a summer cabin and keeping warm by a wood stove. If you’re thinking that this sounds like the makings of the soundtrack to a Kerouac adventure, well, you’d be right. (Fittingly, OMGCD includes a Tom Waits cover, “Home I’ll Never Be,” which happens to feature lyrics by the Beat author.) Indeed, the Low Anthem’s dynamic second effort traverses both land and emotion with the same poetry and fervor of On The Road. Treading comfortable folk territory from gentle acoustic strumming to foot-stomping hoedowns, OMGCD is a thrilling, romantic journey through Americana at its absolute finest.
“Charlie Darwin” (download):

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Written by Jud Cost, Emily Costantino, Edward Fairchild, Matthew Fritch, Matt Hickey, Dustin Khebzou and Eric Waggoner

 

This entry was posted in BEST OF 2009, FREE MP3s. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

45 Comments

  1. Brian
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    What an AWESOME list! And to include Pollard and Jay R. and The Clean…all in one?! Yeah.. !

  2. Jason
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks for giving the new Built to Spill record the props it deserves!

  3. Justin Timberwolf
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, Magnet, for being the only list in the universe to put a Guided by Voices spinoff album in the top ten in the year 2009 (or at any point this century). That two local bands with virtually no following are on this list finally cements the fact that Magnet has gone from a real music magazine to a blog-style in-joke among the writers and publishers. It’s about as much fun as reading strangers’ Facebook conversations. Except with this magazine it’s a bunch of clueless dads yapping to one another about power pop and chiding the youthful avant-garde. I’m officially done with Magnet. For God’s sakes, even Spin’s list was better than this; at least they had Animal Collective at number one.

  4. Jay B.
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I guess you won’t be around to read this, JT, but have you even heard the Boston Spaceships record?

  5. megosh
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    strong list, thanks guys.

  6. Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you guys really haven’t left 1995, have you?

  7. whocares
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    ^^^That’s a pretty bold statement from someone referring a TV show from 1982.

  8. Jeff
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for publishing these quickie reviews. I wish you’d done it throughout the year. I used to love Magnet just because of the reviews, and was happy to pay for it.

    But I agree with Justin above. I don’t understand what happened to this magazine. Now I get an email every month with a worthless blog entry from some idiot like Moby.

  9. Geno Tortellino
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I guess nobody over there heard that Telekenesis! record, huh? Because if you had, you’d be screaming its virtues to every swingin’ dick on the block. Even the guys listening to Bevis Frond on repeat might stop to pay attention. I went back and double-checked your Hidden Treasures list to see if it was there, but nope. (By the way, don’t be so presumptuous and condescending next time with the way you present THAT list, and keep in mind that your audience is not the typical Rolling Stone subscriber. Some of us actually HAVE heard and already own many of these albums.)

  10. themalty
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Timberwolf — Since when does the size of a band’s following mean that it can’t make a good album? That’s just an asinine statement.

  11. Posted December 31, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    As a reader thanks for this list and closing out the year!
    We heart you all in Durham.

  12. Posted December 31, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Japandroids? Really? Seriously? C’mon, they just some kind of hipster-du jour, Some of the lamest ass music I’ve ever heard and they’re appearing on every best of list I’ve seen! Even eMusic, and I hold them to a higher standard than most!
    Maybe it’s just that most garage rock sux balzac, or maybe it’s that I saw them play AFTER the Mt St Helen’s Vietnam Band and they got totally destroyed by they’re opening act’s virtuosity on all fronts!
    Anyway, not a ‘hater’ just don’t get the attraction…

  13. Joe G
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Timberwolf –
    Good riddance, have fun being so boring with the annoying folks over at Stereogum and Spin and whoever else is trying to keep up with Pitchfork. Magnet should be fucking applauded for doing the right thing in not putting the year’s most uselessly fawned over album at number one. Ugh. Lists like Magnet’s are what keeps music journalism exciting and fresh… did you really want to read about Animal Collective’s “love of the everyday awash in a sea of electronics and primal yelping” for the nth time?! I know I didn’t.

  14. Joe G
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    And why is “being stuck in 1995″ considered a bad thing?

  15. Posted December 31, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I totally get that not including MPP is your taking a stand against the critical consensus but…really? That’s on the cutting room floor but the new AC Newman record gets a pass?

  16. Posted December 31, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    You are an idiot. stfu.

  17. Posted December 31, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Boy, this sure is a wierd list. It almost seems that you’re trying to be different from everyone else, just for the sake of being different. I’m all for differentiated lists, everyone likes different things, but when you have a whole staff putting votes in, it seems to me that a number of more popular Top 20 releases would make the list. To each his/her own, I guess…

    I did enjoy your #1, 6, and 16. I didn’t enjoy your #5. And I didn’t get a chance to listen to any of the others. But thanks for the mp3s, I will check them out and venture forth accordingly.

  18. thomas
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    i miss the polvo record.

  19. Pat
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I love the new Built To Spill, but don’t understand why so many seem to think their recent past efforts weren’t brilliant as well. My favorite record this year was Dawes “North Hills” – amazing.

  20. Matt B
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m not here to piss all over Magnet’s writers and their opinions. They know who their audience is, and they write to it (the long ago played-out joke of Wrens Watch and inclusion of another Bob Pollard sponsored wank-fest on the year’s best list prove that). But in many ways I am a part of that audience, so I like Magnet. However, I do have to agree that including Japandroids in the 2009 top 20 is ridiculous. Japandroids made some of the least catchy, most uninteresting garbage to come out in the past 12 months. Calling what they do “pop” is an insult to really amazing pop records that were released in 09, for example, Roman Candle’s “Oh Tall Tree In The Ear” (which I learned about from Magnet’s web site by the way…), Superdrag’s “Industry Giants,” and “When The Devil’s Loose” by A.A. Bondy. Anyone interested in a really good garage rock album from last year should check out The Cubical’s “Come Sing These Crippled Tunes.” But that’s just my opinion. I’m still on your side Magnet.

  21. Joe G
    Posted January 2, 2010 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    The consensus is in: if you’re not under 25, you probably hate the Japandroids album. Some of us are under 25 so just DEAL. It’s a record made for those of us raised on Vagrant Records, crappy mid-90s Metallica and other staples of “Modern Rock” radio in the 90s and early double-zeroes. Deal with it.

  22. The Dude
    Posted January 2, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Joe G is right on the money. Most musical awakenings don’t occur until you’re out of your teenage years. I shudder when I recall the music I liked before I started listening to college radio in my early 20s. However, if being weaned on “Modern Rock” radio in the ’90s and “crappy mid-’90s Metallica” are the keys to “getting” a band like Japandroids, that’s not exactly a great defense for an album that’s supposed to be among the best of the year. But it’s okay. Every generation needs their own brand of suck. Getting back to my earlier point: It’s probably safe to assume that the kid walking around with the sideways baseball cap doesn’t have Coltrane coming through his headphones.

  23. Matt B
    Posted January 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    “Every generation needs their own brand of suck.” That’s brilliant. Thanks for that Dude.

  24. Joanne
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    “Thank God for mental illness”

    Are you fucking serious? Or were these reviews written by a 12 year old who possesses no understanding of mental illness whatsoever?

    I think you should do the decent thing and edit your review of Luna, out of respect for the band, your readers and those who suffer from mental illness.

  25. Eric T. Miller
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Guess you aren’t a Brian Jonestown Massacre fan, Joanne. It’s a reference to one of their albums. You should check it out. It’s good.

  26. Jay B.
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I’d like Matt B. to explain why the Boston Spaceships record is a wank-fest. Or if he’s even heard it.

  27. Sickfrank
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Finally a list that includes at least a few of the records on mine. I’d second Polvo, and I also miss Sharon Van Etten, David Bazan, the Beatings, Wussy, Tom Thumb, Lymbyc Systym, Clem Snide, Lightning Dust, Burma’s new one, Matt & Kim, and Sea Wolf, John Vanderslice, and a couple others. But at least you included AC Newman and Built to Spill and the Thermals who were all snubbed in so many other lists. There seems to be a disturbing orthodoxy among the hipoisie that if the tunes don’t include beatz and/or shambolic noodling they aren’t cool enough. What ever happened to, you know, songs?

  28. Bill H
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    “To cap off a decade in which power pop was largely reduced to cartoonish proportions (thanks to Weezer and Fountains Of Wayne)…”

    Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with how much you missed in ten years, even a cursory “google powerpop myspace” would yield dozens of excellent efforts. This year alone you had Tinted Windows, Bobby Emmett, Josh Fix, Chris Richards, Michael Carpenter, The Tripwires, Cheap Trick…hell, even Mandy Moore among a dozen other solid PP efforts.

    And no Reigning Sound? But kudos for AC Newman and for NOT listing Animal Collective (which was my bet for your chart topper before peeking).

  29. mike s
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a great list. I’m so glad The Clean made it. It would probably be at the top of my own list for the year. Also it’s interesting to hear someone other than myself enthused about Embryonic.

    I was shocked- pleasantly- that Jason Lytle made it. He’s one of my favorite songwriters, and his debut solo album is a great one, every bit as good as any Grandaddy album.

    Magnet is not wantonly disparaging the “youthful avant garde.” Neither is it french kissing it, which is the treatment I’m used to it getting in the indie press. Thanks for being you, Magnet.

  30. Posted January 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Of your advertising sponsorship!

  31. evanisovich
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Justin Timberwolf…”at least they had Animal Collective at number one.”

    That’s a joke, right? You officially deserve Comedian of the Year award for 2009.

    Sayonara, sheep.

  32. Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I hope I can clean my dirty projectors before the Canadian invasion of the
    Japandroids and have time to gather up my super furry animals onto my Boston spaceship. Damn. Those aliens left me with no AC, flaming lips and pissed jeans. What a bunch of XX dodos. Oh well. I guess it’s just the pains of
    being pure at heart. And worse yet, my non-alcoholic beer was built to
    spill! I wonder what Jay, Bill, Jason and Grant-Lee are gonna do about it.
    Knowing them they’ll probably just compose a low anthem that no one will
    ever listen to. Now where is my winter underwear, you know, the thermals.

    ps. The Handsome Family Honey Moon album was the best of 2009 BY FAR!

  33. Melissa
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Now, Magnet, I’mma let you finish, but Animal Collective made one of the best albums of all time. OF ALL TIME.

    Sorry, haters.

  34. Jim Canadian
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Japandroids rockit!

    Thanks for including Canadian Invasion!

    Happy New Year!!

  35. Mike
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Some great choices, but no Grizzly Bear = No Respect.

  36. Posted January 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    interesting list, a bit different from most… I like that you included the Super Furry Animals album as I think that’s their best album since Rings…

    I’m also curious to hear the Aliens album as I dig Beta Band something fierce (not so much their last album though… was never able to get into that one.)

    I also like The Lone Pigeon.

  37. Casey Jacks
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Marvin beat me to it!

    The only list I’ve seen that included Super Furry Animals, and thankfully, NOT Animal Collective!

    Thanks Magnet! I may consider re-newing my very lapsed subscription

  38. Posted January 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Okay to be different. Okay to be the ‘one’ magazine that dared to be different. But, Jason Lytle’s ’09 contribution simply falls way short of what he is capable of… I mean, a reahsing of the same old, same old is meant with Top 20 placement for 2009?!!?

  39. Andrew the Noisy
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The hate in these comments are strong and encouraging. It’s so very important to mock each other for not liking the same bands that we like. It’s also important to drink Mojito’s from the bottle and then fap off to UFC fights.

    Nerds.

  40. buck sturkie
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    i’m torn. i loved magnet magazine in a serious way back when it was tangible, the reviews and the best of lists kept me sending you guys money, but now i can’t hang anymore. as good as they were, i’m happy merriweather and vecatimest were off the list, but you still plugged bitte orca and post-nothing which is every bit as hyped and not as good as the aforementioned. would have loved to see the WOODS record somewhere, or maybe ATLAS SOUND. I loved grandaddy as much as the next beergut hipster but jason lytle? really? ac newman? ouch. whatever, thanks for throwing out some names i wouldn’t have checked out otherwise.

  41. buck sturkie
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    is there anybody out there that likes the new dodos as much as their first one?

  42. Katie in PA
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Where is this magazine from? Philadelphia? That might explain why 10% of the bands on this list are from there, but it doesn’t explain why you chose 2 of the least-listenable albums to come from that otherwise music-rich town. As if the “15 In Philly” wasn’t bad enough, now you want us to believe that the best your hometown had to offer in 2009 came from a noisy/boring novelty punk band at #10 and a slow/boring novelty pop band at #18? If you had to stock this list with your neighbors in a dry year, why not at least go with a Kurt Vile or even an East Hundred? Magnet: stop rewarding hacks that you just happen to drink with.

  43. tommy kehoe
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Canadian Invasion??? One of the new hip bands I haven’t heard of this year. I’m pleased you included Bill Callahan’s album. Although I love the Avett Brothers I’m glad you didn’t include their new record which recieved way too much credit. Also Califone’s new record is one of my favorites along with Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s, Beware. It seems whenever the Flaming Lips make a new album good or bad its on a best of list. I was less than impressed with Embryonic. Also Boston Spaceships or anything Robert Pollard does anymore should be disqualified from the list. Does he really make anything that sounds new or original anymore. Doesn’t he come out with two to three new records a year. Sonic Youth’s new record The Eternal is better than most on the list and certainly The Flaming Lips new album. Even though Sonic Youth is usually an automatic on most best of list, I believe this one deserved it. Their best record of the decade. I’m curious to listen to the Low Anthem’s new record because of this list and see them live opening for the Avett Brothers in March. Peace.

  44. Stuart
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I used to love Magnet in the early part of the decade, but you’ve become way too old school. Grandaddy had a couple of great records back in the day, but Jason Lytle’s solo stuff is pretty weak. I adore Super Furry Animals, but their last two records have been below par. I’m not sure why anyone pays attention to anything Robert Pollard does any more. Pissed Jeans – give me a break. Bill Callahan = yawn. The new Dodos record was a major disappointment. You ignore some of the hyped bands who are actually good, but then include overrated artists like Japandroids, The xx, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I do like The Aliens’ record, but it’s not Top 20. The Flaming Lips is the only record on here that would have made my Top 40 of the year. What about Bat For Lashes, Camera Obscura, Mew, St. Vincent, Telekinesis, Apse, The Phantom Band, The Hidden Cameras, The Invisible, Mew, Jack Penate, Loney Dear, The Antlers, Monsters of Folk, Grizzly Bear, Jarvis Cocker, Fever Ray, etc.? So many great records you’ve ignored. Magnet gave up on new music years ago, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

  45. Chris R.
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Recently discovered this website and want to say thanks for providing a little more variety, and more respect for music history, than I’ve seen elsewhere. (I wish the Lost Classics feature was longer). It doesn’t really matter *when* an album came out, or how old an artist is. And the early to mid-90s was one of the best times for music. Those of you with contempt for the past, are missing out. Why limit yourself to only the latest releases/new bands/trendy genres, when there’s so much great music to discover? And yeah, some of these older artists are still making worthwhile music today, even if the press has moved on to someone new to hype.

    I don’t understand anyone who gets outraged and hostile over Best of lists omitting their favs (and I say this as someone whose favorites NEVER make music critics’ year-end lists.) Music is all subjective, remember? It’s supposed to be a personal thing that moves you, or not, and if it doesn’t, you don’t deserve to be browbeaten into following the crowd. “How DARE you exclude Animal Collective?!” What, seeing them on every other bloody list wasn’t enough for you? God forbid people share their actual honest reactions to music instead of caring about what’s “cool”. Personally I find it boring and annoying to see the same bands mentioned over and over, on every music site I visit. How are you supposed to discover something you’ve never heard of? Or do you just want your ego stroked and taste in music validated by others?

    I found out about a few interesting songs/bands on Magnet’s list above, and others didn’t grab me. But whether I agree with their choices or not, I’m glad to see a Best of list that’s a bit different, instead of jumping on bandwagons – although there are still some overrated bands on here, like Dirty Projectors and Pains of Being Pure At Heart. The Best of 2008 list was even more individualistic and less trendy than 2009′s, so I hope the Magnet editors aren’t starting to crack under the pressure to conform. It’ll be interesting to read their Best of 2010.

    Love the polls about Most Overrated Albums, What Didn’t Deserve To Make Our Top 20, etc. Thanks for encouraging dissenting voices here.

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