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My Comprehensive Top 50 Albums of 2009 list!


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For fans of Coldplay's music. Enjoy - it took me ages!


Then, Discuss.










#50: Paul Dempsey - Everything Is True


The Something For Kate front man’s solo effort is one of many fine solo albums of 2009, with a more subdued and almost reflective batch of tracks than his regular band. The album exhibits many differing inspirations – opening track ‘Bats’ could almost be mistaken for a Silverchair number, and throughout the LP you hear an unsusually warming mix of almost American folk and subdued Irish pop-rock. For an Australian release, it sounds nothing like Australian music.


Key Tracks: Ramona Was A Waitress, Bats, Fast Friends



#49: Philadelphia Grand Jury – Hope Is For Hopers


Australia’s newest two-piece band (plus extras) are like a rocking Flight of The Conchords – evident in the hilarity ensued in the video clip of ‘The Good News’. The band’s debut album is a collection of frenetic rock songs similar to a young Stereogram, and enough cheerful swagger and colourful energy to get your day, or even a party, started.


Key Tracks: Ready To Roll, The Good News, Phillip’s Not In Love With You



#48: Yves Klein Blue – Ragged & Ecstatic


Yves Klein Blue have enough quirk about them in their debut release to almost label them as Australia’s version of Vampire Weekend. Minus the African musical influences – but the similarities are strong in opening track ‘Make Up Your Mind’. The album itself lacks creative consistency but there enough decent pop-rock songs to make this a high quality Aussie release. Maturity will help this band in future albums, as they grow more competent lyrically.


Key Tracks: Make Up Your Mind, Queeny, Getting Wise



#47: Flight Of The Conchords – I Told You I Was Freaky


After acclaimed success worldwide with their debut self-titled album, New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk duo return for an LP which essentially acts as the soundtrack to the second series of their television series. ‘I Told You I Was Freaky’ seems rushed, most of the songs are less than three minutes long but the laughs still continue. Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement sing about being dissed rappers, loving the same woman who had an epileptic dog and also Jermaine’s ex girlfriends. Sure to add some hilarity to your day.


Key Tracks: Fashion Is Danger, Hurt Feelings, Carol Brown



#46: Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti Is…. Skyscraper


Continuing the solo album trend for 2009 is Interpol’s lead singer Paul Banks, who pulls out a quality album under the new stage name ‘Julian Plenti’. Vastly different from Interpol’s main body of work, Skyscraper tends to be a selection of tame but still interesting tracks in comparison to the gloomy rock of Interpol that tend to showcase the extended range of Banks’ vocals. Skyscraper seems like an LP that would appeal to a wider listening audience, and even crosses the alternative barrier to pop music in sections. Track ‘Skyscraper’ is a haunting, mostly-instrumental track which stands out as one of his finest compositional efforts.


Key Tracks: Only If You Run, Fun That We Have, Skyscraper



#45: Lost Valentinos – Cities Of Gold


Cities of Gold, the band’s debut release, is a mix of psychedelic, disco-dance-rock themes that transmit an atmospheric sound which seems to tap into a music genre that is ever increasing in popularity. The seamless synth-pop tracks on the album have some standout radio-friendly tunes in ‘City of Gold’ and the popular ‘Thief’, and it seems like Lost Valentinos were trying to reproduce an album similar to Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours, but a bit darker and more complex.


Key Tracks: In The City Of Gold, Thief, Serio



#44: Pete Doherty – Grace/Wastelands


The male Amy Winehouse is back in 2009 with another release that showcases a collection of tracks that have been written and played in Doherty’s live shows whilst with The Libertines and Babyshambles over the last ten years. Whilst musically the album lacks the creative input of other band members, Grace/Wastelands is an amazing lyrical journey through the industrial side of England. The use of minors and sevens give the album a subtle mystique that makes it one of the UK’s finest solo albums of the year.


Key Tracks: Arcady, New Love Grows On Trees, Last Of The English Roses



#43: Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You


Myspace Music’s queen Lily Allen delivers her follow up to acclaimed debut album Alright, Still which subsequently becomes her second and final release ever. It’s Not Me, It’s You still explores the same themes as her debut, with street references to drugs and sub-standard relationships which probably does a good job of evaluating Britain’s current state through quality pop tunes – hence why the album is so successful. Hits like ‘The Fear’ and ‘Not Fair’ have made Lily one of Australia’s favourite female singers of the year, and me included.


Key Tracks: Everyone’s At It, 22, I Could Say



#42: The Enemy – Music For The People


English lads with attitude, The Enemy, produce their follow-up to the impressive debut in 2007, which lacks the same quality but still delivers songs for the working-class and battlers facing recession blues. Cheap shots are made at various institutions (Silver Spoon, Don’t Break The Red Tape, 51st State), in an effort to relay the ‘stick it to the man’ attitude so many punk bands aim for. It hasn’t completely come off, but it is a decent album of singles nonetheless.


Key Tracks: No Time For Tears, Be Somebody, 51st State



#41: Jet – Shaka Rock


Australia’s closest band to Oasis. They even attempt to steal Noel Gallagher’s songwriting prowess not through collaboration but through lead singer Nick Cester’s reproduction of Noel’s style throughout LP3. After a disappointing second album, the themes in Shaka Rock seem a lot more uplifting and positive, reflecting the band’s new attitude and an attempt at recreating the success that they experienced with debut album, Get Born.


Key Tracks: K.I.A (in action), Beat On Repeat, Seventeen



#40 - #31



#40: Girls - Album


American indie rockers Girls’ debut album, the competently-titled ‘Album’ is the most unique shoegaze indie-pop release of the year. Mostly exploring themes of love whilst clearly on drugs during production, Album is the perfect summertime romance album which includes Beach-Boys style lead guitars ‘Laura’, raw-sounding chord progressions and the breakout single and brilliant toe-tapping opener ‘Lust For Life’.


Key Tracks: Lust For Life, Morning Light, God Damned



#39: La Roux – La Roux


Britain’s latest female talent sends listeners back in a time warp with her quirky, playful debut self-titled album which, without lyrics, could be mistaken for 90’s video game background noise. Her extensive use of electronic synths and modern instrumentation make the album so unique, coupled with an impressive hairdo and unusually fresh, almost child-like vocals. Soft in sections, the album explores love, lust and desire and their transformation into life’s struggles.


Key Tracks: Colourless Colour, In For The Kill, Bulletproof



#38: Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg


The deluxe edition of Cosmic Egg clocks in at 16 songs on one album, which is somewhat overwhelming – but highlights a diversity in sound that the band has brought to the table for their second album. It lacks the consistency of their self-titled debut, with Cosmic Egg comprised of heavier and more explorative sounds compared to the familiar riffs of the popular big hits such as ‘Woman’ that their fans love. Cosmic Egg has enough standout tracks to make it a quality rock release, with Stockdale’s impressive psychedelic solos to boot.


Key Tracks: Sundial, In The Morning, New Moon Rising



#37: Powderfinger – Golden Rule


Established Australian rock group Powderfinger return with LP number seven, Golden Rule, which, without pushing any new musical barriers, is classic Powderfinger. In parts, the album sounds like glorified extensions of lead singer Bernard Fanning’s solo work which was so highly acclaimed back in 2005 – which is a good thing. Golden Rule includes tracks such as ‘Burn Your Name’ which exhibit musically uplifting qualities which ride along with Fanning’s vocal uniqueness. Rumours are, this is the Finger’s last release, let’s hope it’s not, because the band has still left many a stone unturned.


Key Tracks: A Fight About Money, All Of The Dreamers, Iberian Dream



#36: The Cribs – Ignore The Ignorant


Recruiting Johnny Marr from UK rock legends The Smiths seems to have done wonders for UK cult band and NME love-children The Cribs. The band’s fourth album comprises more hooks to poke a stick at, which has made it popular on UK radio, and has been generally well reviewed by critics. With songs about weapons of mass destruction, abortions and cheating on partners, how can one of the UK’s loved bands of the decade go wrong?


Key Tracks: We Were Aborted, We Share The Same Skies, Cheat On Me



#35: Muse – The Resistance


Muse show they are up with the times in their music whilst remaining bold and daring in the concept (and fashion) department. ‘Uprising’ is an excellent album opener that accurately describes financial greed associated with the global financial crisis, and follows up with pop tunes that include slap bass and even a touch of French. Queen comparisons aside, The Resistance is a solid album that explores new futuristic musical sounds that are generally associated with Muse. Apart from the addition of the three part exogenesis, the album provides excellent live material that is only going to further cement the band as the best live act in the world today. Their position in the top 50 is a reflection of the band’s other strong albums.


Key Tracks: Uprising, MK Ultra, Undisclosed Desires



#34: Metric - Fantasies


Canada's finest exports (after Robyn from TV show How I Met Your Mother) deliver album number four, which becomes their most internationally recognised to date. Led by one of the world's best female lead singers, Emily Haines' Fantasies was a shortlisted nominee for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize and displays the international talent that have the UK indie-rock sound down pat. The first half of the LP comprises quick tempos (Sick Muse), catchy riffs and big choruses (Help I'm Alive) that lead into an impressive album.


Key Tracks: Help I'm Alive, Sick Muse, Gimme Sympathy



#33: Animal Kingdom – Signs And Wonders


One of the year's albums that 99.95% of people haven't heard about, Animal Kingdom delivers a soft guitar-driven indie rock album with impressive lyrics. Songs referencing fables such as Alice In Wonderland (Tin Man) and Noah's Ark (Two By Two) provide melodies that soar across well crafted chord structures. A consistently upbeat, cheery debut album for fans of UK indie rock.


Key Tracks: Signs And Wonders, Tin Man, Two By Two



#32: Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More


Mumford and Sons should firstly be congratulated for making it onto Australian commercial radio *shudders* on the mainstream success of lead single ‘Little Lion Man’, which understandably seems to be popular because the word Fuck is used in the chorus for the first time by a well-recognised band. Sigh No More is a strong collection of Irish folk songs that have traces of Irish legends The Pogues, with added banjo for extra effect. Once past ‘Little Lion Man’, this album has a lot to offer with enlightening choruses and toe-tapping beats upon which the band had recent success.


Key Tracks: The Cave, Little Lion Man, Roll Away Your Stone



#31: We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls


Another year in music, another Scottish gem unearthed (with a killer band name), and this year’s is Glasvegas on acid. These Four Walls is an album filled with the fast-paced beating of guitars and even the occasional calming tracks such as ‘Conductor’ and ‘A Half Built House’. The album, a perfect mixture of alternating tempos, is almost a tribute to fellow Scottish band Frightened Rabbit but with the extra youthful vitality that comes with a debut release.


Key Tracks: It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning, Quiet Little Voices, Moving Clocks Run Slow



#30 - #21



#30: The Model School – Memory Walls


New Sydney band The Model School have dived straight into the indie-rock experimentation with their debut release, Memory Walls. The album neglects the elegance of Youth Group and replaces it with Wild West American themes (‘The Cowboy’) and the very electronic British-sounding ‘This is Not My Town’. After discovering this band my fluke, it surprised me how fresh and original they sound for an Australian indie rock act.


Key Tracks: This Is Not My Town, We’re All Gonna Die, Waiting For Nothing



#29: Manic Street Preachers – Journal For Plague Lovers


For the Manics’ 9th album, they used lyrics left behind by late band member Richey Edwards who vanished 15 years ago. Amongst the brilliance of the unusual themes for songs, the track ‘Jackie Collins Existential Question Time’ has the best lyrics of the year, and the so-familiar chorus, the repeated “Oh Mummy what’s a sex pistol?”. The band takes care of complimentary composition of musical hooks around the lyrics, which makes Journal For Plague Lovers one of the more daring and boundary-pushing releases by an established band this year. Critics have called the album their best work since 1994’s The Holy Bible, and they’re spot on.


Key Tracks: This Joke Sport Severed, She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach, Marlon J.D.



#28: Editors – In This Light And On This Evening


Unfortunately, due to a change in direction, Editors' third album received poor reviews and was generally harrowed by the not-so-loyal fans. For their latest LP, pulsating guitars and piercing guitar lead riffs are replaced with synths to a reasonably impressive effect, especially in lead single 'Papillon'. Whilst it was an interesting direction change for the band, part of me hopes it is temporary as I loved the Editors of old. Seeing them live in January will be interesting to hear how the new songs hold up live against their previous guitar-driven hits.


Key Tracks: Papillon, The Boxer, Eat Red Meat = Blood Drool



#27: U2 – No Line On The Horizon


With a reputation for writing internationally-recognised pop rock, U2 seemed to get half of the formula right for their ninth studio album. Lacking standout mainstream singles, No Line On The Horizon is probably as alternative as the band will get, post-2000. Rather than writing 4-5 minute songs, Bono and Edge created an album based on anthemic harmonies and interesting chord structures around Edge's unique lead guitar riffs, as evident in one of the year's best songs, 'Magnificent'. Another impressive, but not standout, release by the Irish superstars that may be backed up with another quick album release in 2010.


Key Tracks: No Line On The Horizon, Magnificent, Stand Up Comedy



#26: The Dead Weather - Horehound


Prior to the album’s release, this album was so hyped because people believed that anything Jack White touched turned to gold. In the case of his latest new band, Horehound is not so much gold but more a sterling silver. Jack White has the uncanny ability to produce material with a vast array of artists that defies common categorisation. Horehound is almost a eerie, grungy collection of American rock meets country and blues, with the thrashing ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ to the Arctic-Monkey-esque instrumental ‘3 Birds’. Horehound is certainly one of this year’s most surprising releases that I never thought I would actually like listening to.


Key Tracks: I Cut Like A Buffalo, 3 Birds, Treat Me Like Your Mother

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#25: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!


This album was one of this year’s biggest growers on me – with standout singles such as ‘Zero’ and ‘Heads Will Roll’, I had an obligation to buy this CD to verify the hype. It’s Blitz is an impressive release that tends to rely heavily on synthesised sounds, electronic drum loops and the incredible vocals of standout lead singer Karen O. Also a contender for album art of the year, It’s Blitz achieves an appropriate balance of fast beats and industry-expanding and exciting riffs that are almost infectious at times.


Key Tracks: Dull Life, Zero, Heads Will Roll



#24: The Big Pink – A Brief History Of Love


Another impressive debut from a fresh UK duo, their album comprises complex songs and tricky hooks that create a well-balanced album. The Big Pink is new generational London electro-rock comprised of multi-instrumentalists Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell that deservedly won the hotly-contested NME Award for best new act in 2009. Apart from the radio-friendly 'Dominos', there are a number of standout tracks that sound extremely unique.


Key Tracks: Dominos, Crystal Visions, Velvet



#23: Eskimo Joe - Inshalla


One of Australia's most hated bands by indie listeners returned with an ARIA nominated fourth LP. The band's evolution musically in Inshalla derived from changes in lead singer Kav's family life, and the band's trip to Egypt and Turkey where the sample for 'Foreign Land' was discovered that would later create a riff for a song about Heath Ledger's death. One of the more impressive pop releases of the year, with a hint of experimentation, but still the same hooks that will keep fans loyal.


Key Tracks: Losing My Mind, Inshalla, Don't Let Me Down



#22: The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning


The Joy Formidable’s debut 8-track release is bursting with fresh, creative and innovative tracks that almost define indie for 2009. The band is relatively unknown, but have been well hyped by NME and have had some impressive supporting slots for Editors, White Lies and Passion Pit to name a few. Impressive track ‘Austere’ has been widely recognised through its use for the NME awards and on TV show Skins, which is not surprising considering it has a similar to sound to something produced by Canadian band Metric. Their debut rarely has a dull moment, with well-paced tracks hinting at dual male-female vocals at times (‘9669’). Fans of British indie rock should try this album on for size, because to me it is a one size fits all.


Key Tracks: Cradle, Austere, 9669


#20 - #11



#21: Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures


I gave this album a chance even though I wasn't a fan of any of the three 'supergroup' member's bands - and it has paid dividends. A combination of incredibly catchy riffs and Grohl's superb drumming combine to make this an essential rock album of the year. Whilst this music is highly original, influences are evident – especially the Franz-Ferdinandesque track 'Gunman'. Since discovering the early instrumentals of various tracks via youtube prior to album launch, this has been an album for the guitar tragics, as it's not so much Homme's vocals that stand out, rather it is the blend of unique rock sounds.


Key Tracks: Scumbag Blues, Gunman, No One Loves Me and Neither Do I



#20: Temper Trap - Conditions


Melbourne's answer to U2 and Coldplay – yes, what a big ask – delivered their debut album riding on the momentum derived from the success of acclaimed lead single 'Sweet Disposition', in response to a lot of hype generated around the LP’s release. Although not musically consistent throughout the album, there are enough standout tracks to make this one of Australia's finest rock releases of the year. Unfortunately they lack the recognition in their home country that they deserve.


Key Tracks: Fader, Sweet Disposition, Love Lost



#19: Reverend and the Makers – A French Kiss In The Chaos


Recently discovering this relatively new UK band, I was enlightened reading a review that compared the sound to a "cross between the arch cleverness of Blur and crowd pleasing instincts of Oasis". Brilliant, so… the best of the greatest bands of the Brit-Pop era. Most tracks off the album are built around Jon McClure's lyrics that appeal to the British working-class. Their second album mostly contains catchy, up-tempo tracks with even a hint of brass.


Key Tracks: No Soap (In A Dirty War), Hidden Persuaders, Manifesto/The People Shapers



#18: Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest


One of this year's most critically acclaimed albums, Veckatimest explores unique folk experimentation. Appealing to those who appreciate the finer aspects of music, the band's third album is a patient piece of work with complete attention to detail that requires multiple listens just to truly understand the album that matures with age. Singles 'Two Weeks' and 'While You Wait For The Others' are perfect folk-pop synergies demonstrating the band's ability to write complex songs with catchy melodies.


Key Tracks: Two Weeks, All We Ask, While You Wait For The Others



#17: Julian Casablancas – Phrazes For The Young


Hardly surprising given the success of The Strokes, their lead singer delivers a high quality album. A meagre eight tracks, described by NME as "short but sweet", Phrazes For The Young seems rather different to The Strokes' albums, with layers of synths and up-tempo guitar riffs. Album closers 'Glass' and 'The Tourist' give the album the right balance against the electro-pop of '11th Dimension' and 'River Of Brakelights'.


Key Tracks: 11th Dimension, Out Of The Blue, River Of Breaklights



#16: Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion


Ah, the album that defies easy categorisation. Even earmarked odds-on for album of the year back in January, Merriweather Post Pavillion is Animal Collective’s breakout album after numerous previous releases, helped by the song of 2009 in ‘My Girls’. The album explores complex electronic layering, relatively unfamiliar song structures and musical elements that come together in a 55-minute creative explosion. The tone for the album is set with the tempo-alternating opener ‘In The Flowers’ which kicks into an upsurge of alternative disco psychadelia mid-song. The LP rewards patient, multiple listens coupled with headphones with bass boost that give the album more of a trance-rock feel.


Key Tracks: My Girls, In The Flowers, Summertime Clothes



#15: Franz Ferdinand - Tonight


Franz return from a four year hiatus with a disco-inspired third album designed for dancefloors. Having the privilege of hearing the new tracks live before they were released, it was quickly recognisable that the band had continued to use elements of music that were so successful in the first two albums. Toe-tapping beats, bass grooves and tricky lyrics that describe all things related to 'going out on the town at night', hence the album's title. A tricky third album that received mixed reviews, ‘Tonight’ is an album that will be loved by loyal fans and opens the band up to another genre of music. Tonight, whilst lacking any evident evolution on the band's behalf musically, Franz Ferdinand are still heading in the right direction.


Key Tracks: No You Girls, Twilight Omens, Bite Hard



#14: The Horrors – Primary Colours


Art-rockers The Horrors’ second LP Primary Colours is one of the finest examples of explorative alternative indie rock, which culminates in an almost “rock baroque” style album which made it NME’s number one for the year. Eerie, almost haunting electronic sounds are coupled with innovative bass in an album which maintains a creative consistency from start to finish. The brilliant seven-minute epic closer ‘Sea Within A Sea’ sums up the album perfectly – the balance of the traditional British vocals against unique indie rock and even a hint of Animal Collective in the second part of the track.


Key Tracks: Sea Within A Sea, Three Decades, Primary Colours



#13: The Rakes – Klang!


One of the UK’s premier (but not so popular) indie acts return with their third, and sadly, their last album after they recently announced they would no longer tour. Klang is a brilliant burst of bustling, frenetic-paced indie rock which is as good as their debut album and a remarkable improvement on their second LP. With the attitude and similar sound to an early Arctic Monkeys, The Rakes produced one of the hidden gems of the year that sadly a majority of people won’t get to hear.


Key Tracks: That’s The Reason, Bitchin’ In The Kitchen, 1989



#12: Telekinesis – Telekinesis!


Officially this year's ultimate summer album. Take it to the beach, or play it in a sun-drenched living room, because this is one of 2009's finest American albums. Whilst not overly complex, the album of Michael Benjamin Lerner (who performs and records under the moniker Telekinesis) is melodically addictive and will appeal to the more positive of people. Telekinesis!, the band's debut, has the right elements inspired by Death Cab For Cutie, Beach Boys to name a few. It's not about doing it bigger, it's about doing it better.


Key Tracks: Coast Of California, Tokyo, Great Lakes



#11: Dappled Cities – Zounds


Australia’s best album of 2009 is delivered by relative unknowns, Sydney band Dappled Cities. Already their third LP, the band is well known in the indie circles about Australia, and much critical acclaim has come for Zounds which was even nominated for ARIA Independent album of the year. Whilst they don’t differ so much instrumentally from other indie rock bands, Zounds is an album that consistently from start to finish explores a range of fresh melodies and chord structures that creates a strong, stadium-friendly sound.


Key Tracks: Slow For Me My Island, The Price, Kid



#10 - #01



#10: Florence and the Machine - Lungs


If Lady Gaga is the devil, Florence Welch is an angel. God's gift to indie music. A hotly tipped favourite that missed out on this year's Mercury Prize, Lungs is an impressive debut expressing her strong singing talent. She joins a new echelon of 'cool', and clearly talented, female lead-singer-led bands such as the likes of Metric and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Rather than built around guitar sound, Lungs uses the drums and harp effectively to create catchy, up-tempo and complex music. This year's leading woman, with fiery red hair that seems to describe the album perfectly!


Key Tracks: Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Dog Days Are Over, Howl



#9: Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


It took album #4 to get Australia, and in some ways myself, to fall in love with French indie lads Phoenix. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is a collection of well constructed indie rock tunes that work well on radio - such as the easy-to-dance-to singles 'Lisztomania' and '1901'. Consistent from start to finish, their fourth album contains the part-instrumental 'Love Like A Sunset' that would fit (at 3:50 in) almost un-remixed seamlessly on a ‘House/Dance Music 2009 Compilation’ and builds into a delightful crescendo with simplistic but appropriate lyrics. One of the years greatest finds, it seems that Phoenix are maturing with age.


Key Tracks: 1901, Love Like a Sunset, Lisztomania



#8: Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose


Here’s your bolter for the year. I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose is so exclusive to the emerging British UK indie scene that the album is impossible to find anywhere in Australia. The band’s debut release is an amazing collection of unique (possibly early ‘Doves’) tunes coupled with almost awkward-sounding vocals that makes every track phonetically interesting. Up-tempo tracks are crammed into this album along with work from their early EPs such as ‘Cancel On Me’ and ‘The Hill’ which are already classics to Bombay Bicycle fans who have known them since 2007.


Key Tracks: Always Like This, Magnet, Ghost



#7: Doves – Kingdom of Rust


The UK's most unrecognised and underrated band outside of their home country, Doves keep delivering high-quality, layered indie-rock albums with class. Taking an extensive three years to produce the album, Kingdom Of Rust was worth the wait, combining pulsating indie beats like the frenetic 'The Outsiders' with strong ballads that deliver a rather complex album. Rather than being top-heavy, 'Compulsion' and 'House of Mirrors' close the album with memorable mid-tempo tunes that explore new directions for the band. In fact, Compulsion could easily be played on dance floors to great effect. Easily one of the album's finest indie albums, and possibly their best yet.



Key Tracks: The Greatest Denier, Winter Hill, Compulsion



#6: The xx – XX


Another of 2009’s impressive debut albums and hailing from the UK, The XX have produced an LP that exhibits expert simplicity and ethereal vocals from two lead singers. It is hard to believe that this album was made by teenagers, which in inherently makes XX seem more brilliant. It is remarkably different to a majority of current UK Indie acts, and their use of atmospheric sounds and extensive reverb makes this one of the most original and fresh albums of the year.


Key Tracks: Crystallised, Islands, VCR



#5: Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum


Q Magazine's Album of 2009 falls ever so short of #1 in my top 50, but Kasabian's third effort still deserves the recognition, if not for the elaborate title. Whilst not officially a 'concept album', West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum seems to have the apparent 'lunacy' and psychadelia that deserves such a title. With Manchester swagger, the heir apparent to Oasis' throne have delivered with a high quality album that appeals to a more commercial market (take "Where Did All The Love Go', for example) whilst maintaining it's alternative credibility. The use of an early instrumental track (Swarfiga) about a heavy duty cleaner, coupled with movie excerpts (West Ryder Silver Bullet) contribute, along with eerie riffs (Secret Alphabets) and driving guitars (Fast Fuse), to one of the most original albums in the British rock genre for the year.


Key Tracks: Secret Alphabets, Where Did All The Love Go?, Underdog



#4: White Lies – To Lose My Life…


Having produced a #1 debut album in the UK, the White Lies have suffered endless Joy Division comparisons throughout a successful year. Yes, To Lose My Life... has a dark-brooding sound with consistent lyrical references to death, far too many to be honest, this is an album for depressed people - the first track 'Death' accurately portrays one's fear of suffering a plane crash, and 'From The Stars' describes the occurrences of a funeral. The songs are given justice live, making the album one of the year's most unique and likeable synth-guitar releases.


Key Tracks: Death, Unfinished Business, A Place To Hide



#3: Passion Pit - Manners


Falsetto is sexy. At least that is what lead singer Michael Angelakos thought when writing songs in an anniversary gift for his partner that would eventually go on to become pieces of the band's EP 'Chunk of Change' and the brilliant debut, 'Manners'. This album is incredibly unique, with uplifting dance elements (synths, cowbells to name a few) matched with catchy melodies. Similar to the debut of Vampire Weekend, Manners proves that new and exciting songs exist in the American indie-dance genre, and that the US has music worth discovering once you filter though the Radio-friendly trash (er hem, Greenday, Gaga, Jonas Brothers). Passion Pit restores faith in American music and paves the way for more inspiring albums to come.


Key Tracks: Sleepyhead, Little Secrets, The Reeling



#2: Arctic Monkeys – Humbug


For their third album, the band invited the producing assistance of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures), no doubt encouraging a 'darker' sound that is heard throughout the album. Somewhat of an 'experimental' LP for the band, Humbug is an album less radio-friendly and perhaps tends to appeal more to the upper class than the likes of their first two albums. Alex Turner cements his spot as the best songwriter in the world today, with carnival references supplementing vampiric guitar sounds in 'Crying Lightning'. 'Cornerstone', whilst quite undeservingly receiving a lacklustre attempt at a music video, tells a tale of unforbidden love whilst sounding similar to some of David Bowie's finest work. Overall, their strongest album to date is difficult to find faults in, and demonstrates the beginning of the evolution of one of the most exciting bands this decade.


Key Tracks: My Propeller, Crying Lightning, Cornerstone







#1: Maximo Park – Quicken The Heart


England's best sub 4-minute song writers are back with their third album of the year. Sure to please a growing fanbase, the band's unique up-tempo sound consistently emanates throughout their third LP. Singer Paul Smith pays particular attention to detail, with lyrics describing topics ranging from nights out on river cruises (In Another World) and nights watching the sky (Questing, Not Coasting). Quicken The Heart consistently produces exciting and impressive songs throughout the length of the album, and concretes the band as one of the UK's premier indie acts. It is difficult to not even find a song that is unlikeable, not even a beat that is boring… this is Maximo Park’s most complete work to date. No flashy instruments, no pre-programmed sounds or drum beats; Quicken The Heart tells you British indie rock how it should be.


Key Tracks: The Penultimate Clinch, The Kids Are Sick Again, A Cloud Of Mystery

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