Because you demanded it:
Mastadon: Blood Mountain – epic and pulverizing; mixes the heaviness of Leviathan with a proggy intricacy that, arguably, went too far with Crack the Skye. This will make your ears bleed and have you begging for more.
Boris: Pink – epic riffs, and the best balls-to-the-wall guitar rock in ages. Loud and proud.
Wolf Parade: Apologies to the Queen Mary – beautiful pop melodies.
Arcade Fire: Funeral – delicate, wistful arrangements that belie a certain kind of youthful longing. Dances on the edge of twee and heart breaking.
Explosions in the Sky: All of a Sudden I Miss Everybody – each song builds to a glorious, epically crashing crescendo before fading into a mournful silence.
TV on the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain – art nerds decide to mix dance rock with elctro clash, adding just a hint of punk and some whispers of groovy Motown – aka, a fucking blast.
Shellac: 1000 Hurts – jittery, angular math rock; these guys have a precision that’s not unlike being inside the head of a schizophrenic.
Mono: You Are Here – a spacey, ethereal opera.
The Walkmen: You and Me – has a barroom jam session kind of vibe, until they build to a crashing chorus, mixing propulsive drums and brusque howling, all whiskey sours and cigarettes.
Animal Collective: Feels – are they freak folk? Noise rock? Crafty pop song writers hiding their riffs behind layers of sonic debris? Yes, yes and yes.
New Pornographers: Mass Romantic – the decade’s finest power pop, heir to the throne of Big Star.
Deerhunter: Microcastle – My Bloody Valentine lives on – moody trances segue into tentative rock, bordering on the creepy.
Broken Social Scene: S/T – insane Canadian super-group creates the most whimsical pop of the decade. Not surprisingly, the album switches gears about a dozen times, but every moment is spot on.
Liars: Drums Not Dead – dark crooning gradually gives way to explosions of noise and fury, before retreating into moody, opaque soundscapes.
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! – It’s not unlike listening to a gathering storm – there’s a slow, low rumbling as the sky darkens, clouds splintering, eventually releasing a violent downpour. Bleak and epic.
Sunn O}}} & Boris: Altar – music for the apocalypse.
Mission of Burma: the Obliterati – indie rock legends take a hiatus for a decade or two, and return with three strong efforts in as many years. This is the best of the three, old school, straight ahead rocking out.
Deerhoof: Runners Four – like Liars, but cuter and bouncier.
Battles: Mirrored – math-y post rock with a psychedelic edge; jam session improvisations grounded by a tight-as-nails rhythm section. These fuckers are having fun.
Pelican: City of Echoes: expertly mixes stoner sludge with prodigious riffs into a doom laden concoction that makes the soul hurt. Their songs build and build and build until you’re standing on the edge of a precipice, tempted to plunge ahead.
Wilderness: S/T – with all due respect to Interpol (who I also like), these guys are the true successors to Joy Division.
Pelican: The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw
Pig Destroyer: Prowler in the Yard
The Sword: Age of Winter
Angels of Light: You Are Him
Sunset Rubdown: Shut up I am Dreaming
Bloc Party: Silent Alarm
Parts + Labor: Mapmaker
Sigur Ros: Tak
31 Knots: It Was High Time to Escape
Shellac: Excellent Italian Greyhound
Mogwai: Mr. Beast
Low: Drums and Guns