Top Rock Albums of 2009

I started reading High Fidelity by Nick Hornby a few days ago. It’s a clever British novel about a guy named Rob who owns a record shop and has an awful history with girls. One of the characters, Barry, is big on making top-five lists. In that spirit, I present my top five albums of 2009.

I make the disclaimer that I don’t like every genre and haven’t heard every album that came out this year. It’s quite possible you like five or more other albums more than my picks. These are just my fave five, and I highly recommend you give them a listen.

  1. Glasvegas – Glasvegas

    The debut LP for this great Scottish band has stayed on my iPod pretty much all year, and considering my Nano only holds 2GB, that’s saying something. This band convinced me that combining distorted guitars with a retro ’50s sound and nursery rhymes is a really good idea.
    (Video: “Geraldine”)

  2. Pete Yorn – Back & Fourth
  3. I always liked Pete’s music, but it wasn’t until Back & Fourth that he really became one of my favorite musicians. This somewhat obviously named fourth album ironically contains his strongest and most clever lyrics yet. It’s also his most focused, clocking in a tight 42 minutes. For more of my thoughts on this one, see this blog post from July.

    (Video: “Don’t Wanna Cry”)

  4. Peter Doherty – Grace/Wastelands
  5. The tabloids make him seem like a total waster, but listen to Pete Doherty’s music and you realize the guy’s got some serious talent. This excellent solo album teams the ex-Libertine with Blur’s Graham Coxon and producer Stephen Street.

    (Video: “Last of the English Roses”)

  6. Malajube – Labyrinthes
  7. Probably my most obscure pick for the top 5, this Québécois band plays apocalyptic…no, maybe post-apocalyptic…oh whatever, they’re good. They sing in French, but their music will hold you even if you don’t know what they’re saying.

    (Video: Porté Disparu)

  8. Brookville – Broken Lights
  9. Opening bands often disappoint, but when I saw Brookville open for the Trashcan Sinatras, my ears perked up like Mr. Spock (sorry, just watched Star Trek). The band’s latest is a mellow but constantly compelling album filled with equal helpings of rock and soul. Plus, how can you not like enigmatic break-up lines like “If you really love me, then you’ll let me make the great mistake of leaving you.”

    (Video: “Great Mistake”)

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