SOG’s Best of 2009: Music

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(link to the above spreadsheet)

In a year in which some of my favorite acts cranked out records that didn’t do a lot for me, you’d think I’d have a relatively easy time putting this list together. Not so much. It was, in spite of a few records not up to expectations, a bang up year for music. This year’s list has thirty-plus entries, and I’m quite sure there’s another ten or twenty that deserve to be on here but I’ve simply forgotten about.

Most of this list is courtesy of WOXY, the only radio station I’ve ever liked, which recently moved down to the music capital of the US, Austin. The few things that I didn’t hear there first, I was going to find anyway – e.g. Backspacer. Thanks also to Anthony’s Hype Machine, which makes following the bands so much easier. Which reminds me: their Best of 2009 is likely to be a lot better than this one.

Last year‘s caveats still apply, incidentally:

  • This is not a list of the best tracks from 2008, but rather the best albums. Big difference. If you’re looking for a best singles kind of thing, I suggest listening along to my mixtapes.
  • Most of these are indie rock acts. If you don’t like indie rock – if you are, say, a country music or a Top 40 person – please move along, there’s nothing to see here.
  • Don’t get hung up on the sequence, particularly outside the top five, because frankly I didn’t really agonize over it myself.
  • This is only music released this year: this is not, please note, music I started listening to this year. That list would look very different.
  • I’m sure there are acts I’ve forgotten. I’m even more sure there are acts that I’ve missed. Sue me.

As always, I’ve tried to keep my reviews the opposite of what you find at legitimate music review sites: simple and to the point. Most of the reviewers I read care a hell of lot more about showing you just how much they know about music than telling you something useful like which tracks you might like to start with. Hence my approach, which may or may not work but at worst won’t take long.

Anyway, hope you enjoy. One last thanks to Jeff Cunningham, because without his email reminder, I probably would have forgotten to do this. Put differently, this is all his fault.


  1. “OMG Charlie Darwin” is a fantastic call. Also, while perhaps not an ’09 album, the best live show I saw last year was TV on the Radio at the Fox Theatre Oakland… stunning (Bon Iver was a close second).

    Looking forward to a turn of the crank in ’10… eg, not to discount the first album but the new Vampire Weekend is exactly that, a weak end to the aughts. And the entire genre is in serious need of a refresh. Previously unreleased Jimi, a resurgence of LatAm rock, and “whatever else the hell the kids will come up with next” gets the blood pumping.

  2. Nice list. I think that whole Harlem Shakes album was really fantastic. Also, I used to think Annan Water was the bomb until I saw the Hazards tour. The Queen’s Rebuke still gives me shivers. Seriously.

  3. Thanks for doing this — can’t wait to check these out

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