Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 50 Albums of 2009

December 18, 2009

46. Dan Deacon

From the Magnetic Fields on i to Elliott Smith on Figure 8, plenty of beloved artists have upgraded their equipment at the expense of some of their most appealing qualities. Dan Deacon's schmancy new toy is a computer-operated player piano that can generate notes faster than any pair of human hands; thankfully, his most appealing quality remains manic glee. So when Baltimore's most notorious electro-spazz made the leap from the basements of 2007's comparably lo-fi Spiderman of the Rings to, well, wherever the hell you'd expect to hear something like Bromst, he sticks the landing. Highlights "Snookered" and "Surprise Stefani" expand the sonic and emotional palette of Deacon's densely layered drifts, staying between Philip Glass and Chicago house, while unexpected touches like the female vocals on "Wet Wings" show new sides of the old goofball. Don't worry, he still sings like Woody Woodpecker. --Marc Hogan

15. Japandroids

Japandroids have a freaking wind machine, which they use to great effect on stage. It's a perfect nod to what this Vancouver band delivered on its debut album: eight deliriously enthusiastic garage-rock songs about girls, growing up, and going away from home. Rather than mask their emotions in reverb or tape hiss, Japandroids shout slogans, often in unison, over thrumming guitar chords and chaotic drumming. From the rambunctious ambivalence of "The Boys Are Leaving Town" to the slo-mo emo of "I Quit Girls", the energy level rarely wavers. Raging against the certain knowledge that we won't know what we've got 'til it's gone, "Young Hearts Spark Fire" sums up Post-Nothing's sound in four words. While Neon Indian, Washed Out, and their homemade psychedelic electro-pop peers were getting accused of wallowing in childhood, Japandroids captured the recklessness of youth-- and the abject terror of not knowing what comes after it. --Marc Hogan

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Press Mentions

"Goes over the top and stays there to very nice effect."
-- David Carr, The New York Times

"I wasn't fully convinced. But I was interested."
-- Rob Walker, The New York Times

" Marc Hogan wrote in Spin..."
-- Maureen Dowd, The New York Times

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