1) "Heaven's Pregnant Teens" by Some Girls
Some Girls is the underground punk equivilant of a super group. Bassist Justin Pearson is from San Fransisco anarchist/psychotic punk band The Locust, and also is the owner of Three one G records (Camera Obscura and The Blood Brothers were once on it), and a founding member of the now-defunct revolutionary nineties hardcore band Swing Kids (If you like Refused, you'll like Swing Kids). Wes Eisold, the singer, is also a member of Boston punk band Give Up The Ghost. SG is rounded out by members of punk stalwarts Secret Fun Club, and Dead and Gone. I had the opportunity to see these guys when they opened for Converge, and they were nothing less than explosive. Definately one of the better shows that I have seen.
HPT is a brutal 13 song, 27-minute long hardcore masterpiece, reaching it's climax during the apocalypic 9 minute final track, "Death Face". Another track worth noting is their intense cover of PiL's ReligionII.
2) "The Eraser" by Thom Yorke
The year passed without the promised Radiohead album, but thankfully "The Eraser" was relieved to aleviate the anxiety among Radiohead's rabid fan base. I managed to purchase this album on vinyl the day after it came out. At first listen, it resembles a much more stripped down and aerodynamic Radiohead, and this is to be expected, Thom Yorke being one of the principal songwriters and all.
After a few subsequent listens, I found this album to be much more unique than I originally thought. The scope of the album is much more narrow than on anything Radiohead has produced. It lacks the complex instrumentation found on Radiohead albums in favor of much more stripped down loops and beats taken from Mr. Yorke's archives. This album is almost danceable.
3) "Return To Cookie Mountain" by TV on the Radio
I am a recent convert to TV on the Radio, and I just recently obtained a copy of their latest release, Return To Cookie Mountain. I can't really say anything bad about this album, it is Indie Art-Pop at it's best.
4) "Saviors & Suckers" by The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower
This is the first of two posthumous albums on my list, unfortunately. The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower is another California hardcore band. Their sound is an amalgm of Jazz and Post-Hardcore punk rock. This album, however, leans more towards the chaotic aspects of punk rock. The Plot were a great band, and it is disheartening to see such a promising band throw in the towel.
5) "Mr. Beast" by Mogwai
This is a genuinely great album from the most prominant of the post-rock genre's torch bearers. The first track, "Auto Rock" is a space-y piano song, and is a perfect lead-in for the epic "Glasgow Mega Snake". This is a great gateway band into the post-rock genre.
6) "Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Sun" by Red Sparowes
I found out about Red Sparowes through Pandora when I typed in Explosions In The Sky. Red Sparowes is a post-rock side project of a few of the members of Isis. They resemble the more dense aspects of Explosions in the Sky.
7) "Thunder Down Under" Hot Snakes
This is the second posthumous album on the countdown, released just after the breakup of Hot Snakes, the band formed by Ex Drive Like Jehu members John Reis (also from Rocket From The Crypt) and Rick Froberg. "Thunder Down Under was recorded live at a radio station down in Australia, and attempts to capture HS's incindiary live show.
8) "The Information" by Beck
Beck generally doesn't make a bad album, and this one is produced by Nigel Godrich. It resembles Guero though.
9) "Rather Ripped" by Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth dropped Jim O'Rourke, and created one of their strongest albums to date. When i saw them at Bonnaroo, they played almost every song off of Rather Ripped, and I almost wished they didn't play any old songs. This album is that good.
10 "St. Elsewhere" by Gnarls Barkley
I think we can all agree that Danger Mouse is a genius, and coupled with Ceelo's amazing voice, he's unstoppable. Songs like "Smiley Faces" and "Crazy" are so damn catchy.
11) "Young Machetes" by Blood Brothers
This is not their strongest work to date, but nonetheless, it is a great album. Songs like "Laserlife" show that the Blood Brothers are still striving to expand what we define as Punk.
12) "No Heroes" by Converge
Where to start... Convere has never made a bad album, and this could be their best. After listening to "No Heroes", I felt as if I had been beaten with a lead pipe. Songs like "Heartache" and "Versus" are standouts. If you have the chance to see these guys live, go, you won't be dissapointed, but avoid the mosh pit, it get's a little hairy in there.
13) "Okonokos" by My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket played for 3 hours at Bonnaroo. I had the pleasure of seeing the first hour of this marathon, and amid the clouds of glow sticks, I witnessed one of the greatest live bands around. "Okonokos", along with the DVD of the same name gallantly portray this great band where they belong, on stage.
14) "The Obliterati" by Mission of Burma
The world lost one of the greatest underground bands when Mission of Burma broke up in the mid eighties, and to mine, and thousands elsewhere, they returned in the early part of this century to create auditory art. When "On/Off/On" came out in 2004, we found they still had what it takes to make a great album. When "Obliterati" came out, we found that they still had the ability to push the envelope of punk and art rock.
15) "The Destroyed Room" by Sonic Youth
Yes this is a B-side album, but nonetheless, it gives us insight into the abstract and often hazy processes that take place within the confines of the ultimate Alt-Rock band, Sonic Youth. If you like Sonic Youth, you'll love this album.
16) "Ringleader of the Tormented" by Morrissey
Though he's nowhere as good as his long lost band The Smiths, Morrissey has the capability to make a great album. Not quite as good as "You Are The Quarry", "Ringleader" is still worth a listen.
17) "Drums not Dead" by Liars
This is one of the weirder albums to come out this year. It's very abstract (everything revolves around the primal drums).
18) "Blood Mountain" by Mastodon
Mastodon is great. That is all I can say. I'm not completely familiar with this album, but from what I have heard, it blew me away.
19) "Happy New Year" by Oneida
Ever since I got "Enemy Hogs" for Christmas, I have been enthralled by Oneida. This is a great art-rock experimental album from our favorite unknown New York band.
20) "Be Your Own Pet" by Be Your Own Pet
These guys are two years older than me, but this album makes them seem like seasoned punk road dogs. It is worth noting that they are amazing live.
The Blood Brothers "Laser Life"
Mogwai "Auto Rock"