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December 7, 2009 We could tell early on that 2009 was going to be an outstanding year for music. Bands such as Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, Bon Iver and Antony and the Johnsons all released new albums, and that was just in January. By the time we posted our online ballot to vote for the year's best music, we had a dizzying array of albums and artists from which to choose. Here are the top 25, as selected by All Songs Considered listeners.
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Robbert Bobbert is the alter ego of Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider.
December 2, 2009 This year has seen a lot of "quirky" kids' music, wherein the sweet-voiced folkies of the past were replaced by growling rocker moms and clear, intimate harmonies. The quality was high this year, with albums rooted in reggae, electronica, folk and rock aimed at young ears.
December 15, 2009 We all have our own system for making a list of favorite albums. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen gives songs star ratings in iTunes, then looks to see which ones he rated highest during the course of a year. NPR Music producer Lars Gotrich reorders slips of paper with album titles on them, searching for the right mix. All Songs Considered producer Robin Hilton goes entirely by memory. When December rolls around, which albums stand out? Which are strong enough to be remembered by the end of the year?
December 21, 2009 As 2009 winds down and the year-end best-of lists come flooding in, a lot of the same bands pop up again and again. In the spirit of looking out for the underdogs (small-town bands, basement-based indie labels, self-released self-starters), here are 12 albums worth checking out from artists you might not have heard.
December 24, 2009 Though critical consensus formed around some sonically beautiful records, Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson is far more likely to dwell on albums and songs that exude a fair bit earned insight, even ache. Thompson's Top 10 may be the equivalent of a single teardrop in a vast sea of year-end reflection, but the music is pretty glorious.
December 4, 2009 With these 2009 releases, you'll find a few fresh faces: musicians hovering around age 30, including the young Jonathan Biss and the sublime Dutch fiddler Janine Jansen. Plus, this year proved exceptionally strong for music by and from Russians. Enjoy a sampling of both classic and less-familiar fare.
December 17, 2009 No, no — the headline's not referring to you. Heaven forbid. But people like you listen to a lot of cool and/or unusual music, and refuse to sample the good stuff right under their noses because it's "mainstream." It's best not to think these hipsters omniscient — after all, there's lots of great music they're too cool to notice. Here are 10 examples from 2009.
December 8, 2009 While American hitmakers like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift climbed the British charts in 2009, here in the U.S., we saw a serious influx of great music from the U.K. You wouldn't necessarily call these bands chart-toppers, either here or there, but they do add up to something resembling a British Invasion.
December 10, 2009 Compiling a Top 10 list for Folk Alley is difficult because it wears so many different musical hats. Each hour, the music stream from WKSU presents more than just the typical folksinger, so care was taken to create an all-encompassing list of great songs. The songwriter still prevailed, though — probably because there are so many of them.
December 6, 2009 Looking back on the year in jazz, much of the focus naturally falls on young talents such as Vijay Iyer. Still, some of 2009's key records also evoked bygone jazz eras with such creativity that they might signal a new wave of New Orleans and Brazilian jazz.
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