Toad Top Twenty 2009 – 6-10

6.Elvis Perkins in Dearland
This album is greatly helped by kicking off with the best song I’ve heard for bloody ages, and actually that threw me off for a little, as did the subtle shift in emphasis since his brilliant debut Ash Wednesday.  Once songs like Hours Last Stand and Dresden settle into your head though you won’t hear an album with more intricately interwoven senses of both sadness and optimism for quite some time.

Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Hours Last Stand

7.Wild BeastsTwo Dancers
I am perpetually surprised by just how much I like so many songs on this record.  I keep thinking of Wild Beasts as a band I alternately love and then really don’t like at all, but you’ll wait to the last couple of songs of this to find a track I’m even lukewarm on.  It’s all chiming guitars and yearning vocals and there’s just enough purpose to the rhythm to suggest that you could be dancing to it, and just enough woe to make you think, well, maybe not.

Wild Beasts – We Still Got the Taste Dancing on Our Tongues

8.King CreosoteFlick the Vs
There is a sense in which Kenny Anderson can pretty  much write what he likes, because he wields one of my favourite singing voices of all time.  After the bombast of Bombshell and the sidestep of They Flock Like Vulcans, he seems to have combined a little pop from the former and a fair bit of bleeping from the latter and mixed them together to deliver another classic King Creosote record.  It has a really distinctive character, coupling his touching songwriting with just the right amount of weirdness.

King Creosote – No-one Had it Better

9.Dame SatanBeaches & Bridges
This is a bit of an out of the blue sort of placing really, given how little I know about the band and given that they are hardly well-known in general, but as I tired of other records or failed to find the excitement in them that some of my peers managed, this one simply sat there pretty much near the top of the pile and remained confidently there for the duration of the year.  It doesn’t slap you across the face with brilliance in the way that some do, just builds a steady, consistent relationship with your need for succour as the day ends.

Dame Satan – Ghost Dance

10.Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post Pavillion
I still find this an infuriatingly inconsistent album.  There are at least three songs in the second half I really find completely needless, but a combination of how much I love the rest of them and the sheer ubiquity of this album still make this one of my favourite this year.  For a change, people playing it all over the place hasn’t put me off, because those places were places like The Bowery and friends’ houses and stuff like that, so somehow it’s ended up being a good thing for a change.

Animal Collective – Also Frightened
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