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Lists: David Malitz's top ten albums of 2009

Animal CollectiveNo surprises at the top of this list - score another one for Animal Collective. (Takahiro Imamura)

Yep, another list. And another one with Animal Collective on top. The rest on the list might be a little more under-the-radar, which is why I tracked down some full, legal MP3s for almost every album. So take a listen. Got a favorite overlooked album of 2009? Let us know in the comments.

1. Animal Collective, “Merriweather Post Pavilion”
Like Albert Pujols, this one was unanimous. And also like the Cardinals slugger, the band somehow keeps hitting new peaks, this time by ditching the instruments and making a dance record that goes so far off the map that it wraps back around and hits the perfect pop sweet spot.

Animal Collective - "My Girls"

2. Future of the Left - "Travels With Myself and Another"
Guitars live knives, lyrics like daggers and a rhythm section that pounds with the ferocity and speed of a rapidfire machine gun. The Welsh trio is at once terrifying and hilarious; no other band is this loud, clever and catchy.

Future of the Left - "The House That Hope Built"

3. Spider Bags - "Goodbye Cruel World Hello Crueler World"
Ragged country-rock, the soundtrack to coming to terms with the fact that your best days are behind you and, man, they weren't even that great to begin with. So what can you do besides drink and smoke and smoke and drink?

Spider Bags - "Que Viva El Rocanroll"

(Sparkling mini-symphonies, the best of the lo-fi batch and Beijiing's finest, after the jump.)

4. St. Vincent - "Actor"
With her second album Annie Clark went straight to the head of the honors class with her mini-symphonies that tiptoe their way through subtle, orchestral shifts and surges, all with her angelic voice floating on top.

St. Vincent - "The Strangers"

5. Eat Skull - "Wild and Inside"
Of the approximately 3,291 scuzzy, lo-fi indie records released in 2009, this is the one where every song managed to fight through the fuzz.

Eat Skull - "Stick to the Formula"

6. YACHT - "See Mystery Lights"
Left-field electro goofiness, equal parts dance floor rave-ups and stilted house party rockers, all infused with a sweet, slacker optimism.

YACHT - "Psychic City"

7. Kurt Vile - "Childish Prodigy"
Fulfills the promise of those mini-LPs, EPs and singles with a shape-shifting, retro-futurist Americana sound that toggles between blissful, fingerpicked folk and sludgy psych romps.

Kurt Vile - "Overnite Religion"

8. Real Estate - "Real Estate"
In which the indie and jam band universes meet, pop open some cans of Budweiser, throw on some sandals, swing around in some hammocks and just generally chill out.

Real Estate - "Suburban Beverage"

9. Carsick Cars - "You Can Listen You Can Talk
Sonic Youth and the Clean both released worthy albums this year, but these three Beijing kids in their early 20s took those bands' classic guitar-drone sounds and made it pulse with the excitement of discovery.

Carsick Cars - "You Can Listen, You Can Talk"

10. Bill Callahan - "Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle"
"I used to be darker, then I got lighter, then I got dark again," he sings in perfect deadpan monotone on "Jim Cain." For two decades Callahan has been one of the most reliably meditative songwriters around and this album combines his most gently rollicking folk tunes with his most disarmingly straightforward lyrics to date.

Bill Callahan - "Eid Ma Clack Shaw"

By David Malitz  |  December 22, 2009; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  Lists  | Tags: Animal Collective, Bill Callahan, Carsick Cars, Eat Skull, Future of the Left, Kurt Vile, Real Estate, Spider Bags, St. Vincent, YACHT  
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Posted by: SC44TIME | December 22, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The description of The Animals' LP makes no sense. Ryan Howard!

Posted by: shortarm | December 23, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Not a single non-rock cd merited top 10 status for you? I thought you liked rap also.

Posted by: outsider8 | December 26, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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