Note: Artists represented on the top 40 of the year list are not also represented here, to give someone else a chance.

10. Vampire Weekend-The Blue CDR (Review).

Vampire Weekend, as a band, can’t rate higher (yet) because they’ve only officially released a single, and this a “best debut albums” list. But their “Blue CDR,” a full-length demo, shows undeniable promise, and has created a huge amount of buzz.

The official album is rumored to be dropping in January. Until then, I’m content with this unofficial release.


Oxford Comma

9. Eastern Conference Champions-Ameritown (Review). The songs aren’t amazing or innovative, but they’re played very well, they’re tons of fun, and the vocals make little spiders dig holes in my spine.


8. George Byrne-Foreign Water (Review). Quiet folk/rock from down under. A very, very nice album that I’ll bet none of you have heard of.

Paint it Grey

7. Bat for Lashes-Fur and Gold.

Also known as Natasha Khan, this year’s Bjork/Joanna Newsome combines catchy pop with crawling folk that is sometimes fun, sometimes odd, and often provocative.

What’s a Girl To Do?




6. White Rabbits-Fort Nightly (review). My eight year old heard this and said, “Daddy! What’s that?” “Why, do you like it?” “No! It’s awful!” Sometimes the White Rabbits can be cacophonous, and they definitely don’t make the kind of simple pop that appeals to the very young, but if you’re capable of hearing a song at more than one level, this is the album for you. Every time I hear it it grows on me more.

White Rabbits: Kid on My Shoulders

White Rabbits: The Plot

5. The Blakes-Self Titled (review). Frat rock. Plain and simple. And sizzling.

Don’t Bother Me

4. Y Society-Travel At Your Own Pace. Backpacker rap in the tradition of Tribe Called Quest, by Insight (MC, producer) and Damu the Fudgemunk (DJ/Producer), who have long been recognized for their skills independently, but before now never thought to make an album together.

Good Communication

3. Thailand-Motorcade (review). I’ve listened to this indie-rock album at least six times since I got—which is a lot, by my standards—and I still find it surprising. I can’t understand why this band hasn’t gotten more attention.

Strong Like Lightning-Thailand

2. Scissors for Lefty-Underhanded Romance (review). Simply the catchiest album I heard all year.

Ghetto Ways-Scissors for Lefty

Lay Down Your Weapons-Scissors for Lefty


Marnie Stern-In Advance of the Broken Arm (review). She started off the year as an instant sensation, but these days, with so much to choose from day to day, the excitement soon faded. Too bad she didn’t get drunk on stage or drive with her kid on her lap, because it seems like to keep the public’s listening ear you have to entertain their filthy minds. It’s a damn shame, because Ms. Stern’s album is the best punk rock album of the year, and maybe the best of the Century.

Precious Metal

Put All Your Eggs In One Basket…

Marnie Stern and Lil’ Mama!

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