Below are albums #1-5 (in opposite order) for the year thus far. For the albums that have been reviewed here already, we've also included a link to the original review. Some things have changed. Others have not. Either way, all original reviews were left as they were.
The highest ranking debut on this list, Passion Pit's Manners burst onto the scene this year with a brand of electronic pop not seen since the 80s. The band's boyish enthusiasm, almost-corny disposition and overall disregard for what's "in" is probably what appeals to me the most. Make sure to listen for the ever-present kid vocals.
Noble is probably the best way to describe Andrew Bird's latest. Taking his classical training to a new level, the crooner makes less of a rock album and more of a scenic instrumental composition that just happens to have words. Plus, he's a world-class whistler, so that's another reason to like it.
J Mascis, you're just too good. Who would've thought that this many years into their career, Dinosaur Jr. would put in one of their most powerful efforts to-date? Up-beat, energetic and jovial, Farm seems to exude a positive attitude that one wouldn't expect at this point in their lengthy catalogue. Quite an achievement, and quite a record.
I held out for as long as I could with this as the number one album, I really did. Sadly, it just wasn't meant to be. Still, Animal Collective comes in with one of their best releases, and easily the most pop-influenced. It's an infectious wall of sound that has been stuck in peoples' heads since the Christmas leak, and probably won't be leaving anytime soon. A true watershed moment for the band.
I was all set to go with MPP in this slot, and then I looked at the play counts I had racked up for each of these two albums. Veckatimest won in a landslide (I think I've listened to the album no less than 45 times all the way through). With its shear pop attributes, as well as its beautiful, albeit haunting, melodies, it's very hard to shake the fact that this is a chamber-pop masterpiece. It's going to be very hard to shake this one in the second half.
Well, there it is. Your (our) top albums of 2009 thus far. As I said, it's been quite a year already, with much more to come. Thanks for following along these past few days, and joining in our modest blog birthday celebration. Hope everyone in the U.S. has a great Fourth of July weekend!