Dan Deacon

As explained yesterday, I'm celebrating the first 25 percent of 2009 by rattling off my picks for the top albums and songs of January through March. Before I jump into the albums list, I thought I'd take a moment to mention how disappointed I am with the new Peter Bjorn and John album, Living Thing. In my quest to squeeze in some of the post-SXSW albums I hadn't yet surveyed, I was disgusted to discover that the Swedish trio followed up one of this decade's great pop-rock records, Writer's Block, with a scattershot set of half-baked, hamfisted monstrosities. Thankfully, we have these albums to listen to instead:

(1) Dan Deacon, Bromst Late-breaking addition: Baltimore's DIY electro-pop guru has shot to the top of my 2009 list. I always kind of avoided Dan Deacon due to the ridiculous amounts of hype, but I can't deny the immense enjoyment I'm gleaning from Bromst's overblown synth party. It's enough to make me go back and spend some serious time with Deacon's 2007 breakout hit, The Spiderman of the Rings. And while it's only tangentially related to Baltimore club music, I kind of like to picture the cast of The Wire getting down to this stuff. Red F - Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon

As explained yesterday, I'm celebrating the first 25 percent of 2009 by rattling off my picks for the top albums and songs of January through March. Before I jump into the albums list, I thought I'd take a moment to mention how disappointed I am with the new Peter Bjorn and John album, Living Thing. In my quest to squeeze in some of the post-SXSW albums I hadn't yet surveyed, I was disgusted to discover that the Swedish trio followed up one of this decade's great pop-rock records, Writer's Block, with a scattershot set of half-baked, hamfisted monstrosities. Thankfully, we have these albums to listen to instead:

(1) Dan Deacon, Bromst Late-breaking addition: Baltimore's DIY electro-pop guru has shot to the top of my 2009 list. I always kind of avoided Dan Deacon due to the ridiculous amounts of hype, but I can't deny the immense enjoyment I'm gleaning from Bromst's overblown synth party. It's enough to make me go back and spend some serious time with Deacon's 2007 breakout hit, The Spiderman of the Rings. And while it's only tangentially related to Baltimore club music, I kind of like to picture the cast of The Wire getting down to this stuff. Red F - Dan Deacon

(2) Russenorsk, Comforts If the amount of time spent enjoying an album were the only measuring stick and some say it should be then Comforts would be the easy choice as No. 1. The universe this Athens trio has created here is relentlessly dreary, but never so much that I feel like I have to escape. Give Me the Devil - Russenorsk

(3) Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion I listen to "My Girls" a lot more than the rest of this LP. No matter how many reviews try to spin each successive Animal Collective release as the group's "pop album," MPP requires as much patience and attention as their previous outings. But when I sit down and revel in it, I never regret the investment. Also: "My Girls." Duh. Summertime Clothes - Animal Co...

(4) The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz! It seems my top few picks are pretty heavily dominated by electronic tuneage. (Even Russenorsk relies heavily on looped samples.) Even if I could have predicted such a development, I never would have guessed the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album would fall into that category. Dance-pop diva is a good look for Karen O, though. Vulnerable and emotionally charged but still slightly sassy, It's Blitz! is a more rewarding listen than anything from the band's guitar rock past. Soft Shock - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

(5) The Lonely Island, Incredibad "Who said we're wack?" Not me. Incredibad makes a mockery of that Adam Sandler album I used to love in 7th grade. When was the last time a comedy record was this universally beloved? I never expected these goofy SNL shorts to hold up without the video element, but most of the tracks are just as funny sans imagery. Like A Boss - The Lonely Islan...

(6) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Come Saturday - The Pains of B...

(7) Wild Light, Adult Nights New Hampshire - Wild Light

(8) Various Artists, Dark Was the Night Knotty Pine - Dirty Projectors...

(9) Black Lips, 200 Million Thousand Take My Heart - Black Lips

(10) The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love The Hazards of Love 1 (The Pre...