Top Singles of 2009

1. FNU Ronnies Golem 12″
2. Tin Man Cool Wave 12″
3. Andre Ethier The Running of the Bulls 7″
4. Pearson Sound Plsn / Wad 12″
5. Mayyors Deads EP 12″
6. Kurt Vile and the Violators The Hunchback EP 12″
7. Twin Stumps s/t 12″
8. Aardvarck Bloom 3 12″
9. Joe Grimelight 12″
10. Ricardo Villalobos feat. Los Updates / Reboot split 12″
11. Ra.H Time 12″
12. Low Threat Profile s/t 7″
13. Joy Orbison J. Doe / BRKLN CLLN 12″
14. Kutz Drumz of No Return 12″
15. The Feeling of Love Waiting For the Cheerleaders To Get Drunk 7″
16. Cold Cave Death Comes Close 12″
17. Ramadanman Revenue 12″
18. Total Control Retiree / Meds II 7″
19. Mr. Raoul K Le Karantkatrieme Peul 12″
20. Dorian Concept Trilingual Dance Sexperience 12″

Honorable Mention:
Pop. 1280 Bedbugs / Times Square 7″
Cro Magnon s/t 7″
Wartech The Rattle Snake 12″
Bruno Pronsato The Make Up The Break Up 12″
Radikal Guru Rudeboy Skank 12″

Top Albums of 2009

1. Cold Cave Love Comes Close
2. The Native Cats Always On
3. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
4. Demdike Stare Symbiosis
5. Julian Casablancas Phrazes For The Young
6. Luciano Tribute to the Sun
7. Zola Jesus The Spoils
8. Destino Final Atrapados
9. Iron Age The Sleeping Eye
10. Cult Ritual LP1
11. Planetary Assault Systems Temporary Suspension
12. Jay Reatard Watch Me Fall
13. Iron Lung / Walls / Pig Heart Transplant Public Humiliation
14. Tamaryn Led Astray, Washed Ashore
15. Home Blitz Out Of Phase
16. Shackleton Three EPs
17. Kurt Vile Childish Prodigy
18. Moritz Von Oswald Trio Vertical Ascent
19. Endless Humiliation My Wife Is Willing
20. DJ Quik & Kurupt Blaqkout

Honorable Mention:
Blues Control Local Flavor
Purling Hiss s/t
Pig Heart Transplant Hope You Enjoy Heaven
Mi Ami Watersports
Ben Frost By The Throat

2009 overflowed with great new music, anyone telling you otherwise clearly wasn’t paying proper attention. Therefore, it was with great care and consideration that I picked my twenty favorite EPs and albums of the year, ranked in descending order and supplemented with honorable mentions. I’ve written about mostly all of these records throughout this year’s reviews, and rather than share the complex algorithm I use to numerically rank works of art, I’ll briefly elaborate on my two number-one choices.

FNU Ronnies Golem 12″ (Night People)
I first heard the Golem recordings on a rough CD-r in late 2008, but seeing as it only made it to a proper vinyl release this year (alongside multiple official cassette and CD-r versions, no less), it’s fair game. Normally a recording I’ve been enjoying for over a year won’t carry with it the freshness needed to grab my top spot, but these songs have grown like a fungus, somehow blooming larger and more intense with every listen. It’s the ugliest music I’ve heard this year, which is compounded by the fact that I believe the Ronnies’ intent was really nothing more than to make a decent punk record that the guys in Clockcleaner wouldn’t make fun of too harshly. Throw in that menacing, SPK-induced intro to “Watchful Eye” and I’m chomping at the bit for even a sneak preview of their recently-recorded full-length. The label that snags it for release is a lucky one indeed.

Cold Cave Love Comes Close (Matador / Heartworm)
Competition ran thicker for EPs than albums this year, which I suppose makes sense. Even so, I didn’t expect Cold Cave to grab the top spot – I loved Love Comes Close from the first listen, but surely this was too fun to be the defining album of 2009, right? Cold Cave have an image to match the name, but in this concise batch of pop songs, they display a devotion to incessant hooks, beautiful chords and succulent patterns, casting away that distance that synth-pop often hides behind. By peeling away the layers of noise found on earlier material, Cold Cave let the songs stand on their naked own, which helped me to unconsciously memorize the lyrics and practice my steadily-improving Wes Eisold impersonation. They collected their best songs from previous 12″s and put together a record I am ready to hear at any moment. These tracks strongly appeal to me physically (dancing, laughing) and mentally (contemplating the synths, dissecting lyrics); in the end, my choice for “best album” was painfully clear.