Another year, another staggering amount of music.

As we neatly wrap up the year in sounds that was 2009, our annual poll of local music scene dwellers—bands, labels, bookers, movers, shakers—reveals some odd surprises. In a year that witnessed marquee local releases from such heavy hitters as M. Ward, the Decemberists, and Modest Mouse, the colorful pop music of Nurses was a surprising upset, their Apple's Acre recording appearing on more lists than any other 2009 release.

In fact, the top three recordings of the year all had Portland connections, even if the bands themselves reside outside the city limits. While the locally recorded Bitte Orca, from Brooklyn's Dirty Projectors, was nestled atop countless year-end lists—ours being just one of many—an appearance from the nomadic Merrill Garbus (under the frustratingly capitalized tUnE-YaRdS moniker) was a welcome change of pace. If BiRd-BrAiNs, tUnE-YaRdS' locally released album (Marriage Records originally introduced the record this spring before 4AD re-released it later in the year) of off-kilter ukulele folk can be this well received, there is hope for all musicians.

As always, we don't have enough space to publish all the top fives here, so visit for a complete list. And, most importantly, we want to read your top picks of 2009. Post them on our music blog, End Hits (

Kathy Foster (The Thermals)
1. Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest
2. Mika Miko—We Be Xuxa
3. (tie) Atlas Sound—Logos; Deerhunter—Rainwater Cassette Exchange
4. Tinariwen—Imidwan
5. Nurses—Apple's Acre
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Grizzly Bear—"Two Weeks" 

Rachel Demy (Neko Case's tour manager)
1. Tegan & Sara—Sainthood
2. Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse—Dark Night of the Soul
3. Bat for Lashes—Two Suns
4. Depeche Mode—Sounds of the Universe
5. Benoît Pioulard—"Flocks" 7-inch
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks"
It is incredibly tough to pick one song from this year, let alone one song from Grizzly Bear's new record, Veckatimest. My gut always goes with pop and "Two Weeks" definitely has it.

Trevor Solomon (MusicFestNW)
1. David Bazan—Curse Your Branches
2. Phoenix—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Avett Brothers—I and Love and You
4. Manchester Orchestra—Mean Everything to Nothing
5. Baroness—Blue Record
 My Favorite Song of 2009:
Grizzly Bear (feat. Michael McDonald)—"While You Wait for the Others"

Auggie Rebelo (Everyday Music)
1. Nurses—Apple's Acre
2. Alvin Band—Mantis Preying
3. Girls—Album
4. Dead Mans Bones—self-titled
5. Sin Fang Bous—Clangour
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Atlas Sound—"Walkabout"

Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie)
1. The Wooden Birds—Magnolia
2. Wilco—self-titled
3. The Lonely Forest—We Sing the Body Electric!
4. Depeche Mode—Sounds of the Universe
5. Paramore—Brand New Eyes
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Electro Movimiento—"Calle 13"
It's bilingual and I don't understand the Spanish parts, but it's tough as nails and the English chorus is the best electro throwback anyone has done. I listened to it on repeat for weeks this summer. The video is hilarious and weird and worthwhile, kind of like a box of exploding Latina Jujyfruits.

Terry Currier (Music Millennium)
1. Ciao—My Shining Star: Songs of Mark Mulcahy
2. The Decemberists—The Hazards of Love
3. Weinland—Breaks in the Sun
4. Booker T.—Potato Radio
5. Leela James—Let's Do it Again
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Care Bears on Fire—"Barbie Eat a Sandwich"

Devin Gallagher (High Scores and Records)
1. Nurses—Apple's Acre
2. May Ling—Threats
3. Wampire—self-titled
4. Explode into Colors—Coffins 7-inch
5. Church—Song Force Crystal
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
I have a lot of songs I want to call out this year. I came really close to gushing about Guidance Counselor's "Life Is Tyte" single, but I think my favorite, the one that really got me, is Jared Mees and the Grown Children's "The Tallest Building in Hell." If I were the karaoke type, this is what I'd want to sing, but screaming along at a basement show is so much better. You can see the tears in the eyes of the young, struggling creative types in the crowd belting out, "I hate to say it but the last few years have been hell/But patience pays off, finally!" I got goose bumps just typing that line. Sometimes a song taps right into what we're all feeling, and Jared Mees struck that chord with Portland—a city and scene that feels just on the verge of "making it." 

Tom Filepp (Cars and Trains)
1. Astronautalis—Pomegranate
2. Sin Fang Bous—Clangour
3. Myka 9—1969
4. Mos Def—The Ecstatic
5. Bibio—Vignetting the Compost
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Broadcast and the Focus Group—"The Be Colony" 

Whitey McConnaughy (music video director)
1. Dinosaur Jr.—Farm
2. Baroness—Blue Record
3. Dananananaykroyd—Hey Everyone
4. HTRK—Marry Me Tonight
5. Imaad Wasif—The Voidist
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Dinosaur Jr.—"Friends"

Jared Mees
1. The Love Language—self-titled
2. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
3. World's Greatest Ghosts—No Magic
4. Inside Voices—The Fortunes
5. Built to Spill—There Is No Enemy
My Favorite Song of 2009:

Scott Magee (Portland Ukelele Project, Loch Lomond, etc.)
1. Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest
2. Ramona Falls—Intuit
3. Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band—Between My Head and the Sky
4. Alan Singley—Feelin' Citrus
5. Brothers Young—The Sun Says He's God
My Favorite Song of 2009:
The Generationals—"When They Fight, They Fight" 

Cool Nutz
1. Jay Z—The Blueprint III
2. Brother Ali—Us
3. The Dream—Love vs. Money
4. Maxwell—Black Summer's Night
5. Pink Martini—Splendor in the Grass
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Lil Wayne (feat. Robin Thicke)—"Tie My Hands"

Slim Moon (Shotclock Management)
1. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
2. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
3. Charles Spearin—The Happiness Project
4. Islands—Vapours
5. Eminem—Relapse
My Favorite Song of 2009:
YACHT—"Psychic City (Voodoo City)" 

Gabe Lageson (East End)
1. King Khan and BBQ—Invisible Girl
2. Merrell Fankhauser & H.M.S Bounty—Things (reissue)
3. Digital Leather—Warm Bother
4. Cheap Time—self-titled
5. Bob Desper—New Sounds
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Scorn Biscuit—"Dick in the Garden Blues"

Tucker Martine (Mount Analog)
1. Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
2. Cass McCombs—Catacombs
3. Bahamas—Pink Strat
4. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
5. Bob Dylan—Christmas in the Heart

Portia Sabin (Kill Rock Stars)
1. Robyn Hitchcock—I Often Dream of Trains in New York
2. Lou Barlow—Goodnight Unknown
3. Eminem—Relapse
4. Morrissey—Years of Refusal
5. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Unbelievable voice, tenor ukulele, homemade loops. The most exciting sound I've heard in years, and she rocks it live as well—band of the year for me.

Ian Anderson (Guidance Counselor)
1. Micachu—Jewellery
2. Tunnels—The Blackout
3. ASSS—Tea Drinker
4. HEALTH—Get Color
5. Wampire—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Micachu—"Just in Case"

Mattey Hunter (Meth Teeth)
1. The Hunches—Exit Dreams
2. Woods—Songs of Shame
3. Ganglians—Monster Head Room
4. The Dutchess and the Duke—Sunrise/Sunset
5. Girls—Album
My Favorite Song of 2009:
The Hunches—"Actors"
Chris Gunnare's (AKA Chris Gunn) guitar-neck warping main riff stumbles with an angry, drunken swagger as singer Hart Gledhill belts out what may be the most simple and effective Hunches lyric of their three-album career "How long have you been an actor, sir?/I have been one now for 26 years/But I quit today." "Actors" kicks off the Hunches 2009 LP "Exit Dreams," their final proper release. The opening track of the LP pounds through verse/chorus after verse/chorus of inarticulate, frustrated intensity until it finally falls off and ends in a psychedelic soundscape that is both disorienting as well as defiantly epic. After five painstaking years in the making and a decision by the band members to called it quits upon its completion "Exit Dreams" is Gunn's masterpiece. It is a record filled with heart-breaking and timeless pop melodies that effortlessly inspire you to sing along with them and then in an instant seamlessly turn around and smash themselves into walls of brutal, unrelenting noise. These bursts of well-placed static and feedback present in the songs of the Hunches have been described as sounding like "Gunn's one-man war against his amplifier." And if you were lucky enough to catch their hypnotizing live show you know this is not an inaccurate description by any measure. The Hunches have been stunning audiences and ruining shows for headlining acts for years now but their farewell effort solidifies their place once and for all as one of the most important Portland bands of all time. 

Aaron Gerber and Lou Thomas (A Weather)
1. Ah Holly Fam'ly—Reservoir
2. Norfolk & Western—Dinero Severo
3. Les Flaneurs—Villain
4. Tigercity—Ancient Lover
5. Bon Iver—Blood Bank EP
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Ah Holly Fam'ly—"Loneliest City"

Dhani Rosa (Doubledutch)
1. The-Dream—Love vs. Money
2. Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
3. Breakfast Mountain—Hooooded
4. Jadakiss—The Last Kiss
5. Mount Eerie—Wind's Poem
My Favorite Song of 2009:
The-Dream—"Right Side of My Brain"
This boss is the only artist in the big-boy, hiphop music world making records so overwhelmingly creative and heartfelt that it's almost uncomfortable. I never thought my mood could so effortlessly be controlled by a record featuring artists like Fabolous and Lil Jon. "Right Side of My Brain" is the big triumphant climax of one of the best R&B albums ever made. 

Sam Coomes (Quasi)
1. Iggy & The Stooges—More Power
2. Polvo—In Prism
3. Eat Skull—Wild & Inside
4. Built to Spill—There Is No Enemy
5. Mission of Burma—The Sound the Speed the Light
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Group Doueh—Ragsa Jaguar
This is my other favorite album of '09 so this is a good way to sneak it on the list.

Shawn Glassford (Starfucker/Pyramiddd)
1. Micachu—Jewellery
2. Atlas Sound—Logos
3. Neon Indian—Psychic Chasms
4. The Beatles—self-titled (remaster)
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Kid Cudi—"Day 'n' Nite"

Alicia J. Rose (Mississippi Studios)
1. Loch Lomond—Little Me Will Start a Storm
2. The Thermals—Now We Can See
3. The Builders and the Butchers—Salvation Is a Deep Dark Well
4. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson—Summer of Fear
5. Viva Voce—Rose City
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Blind Pilot—"Go on, Say It" 

Dave Depper (Loch Lomond, Norfolk & Western, etc.)
1. Cass McCombs—Catacombs
2. Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest
3. Bat for Lashes—Two Suns
4. The Clientele—Bonfires on the Heath
5. Mirah—(a)spera
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Grizzly Bear—"Two Weeks"
It's one of those perfect pop songs that make you feel simultaneously euphoric and melancholy. Deceptively simple on the surface, there's actually enough highfalutin trickery going on (that syncopated ride at the end! That whirring keyboard thing during the chorus! That monster bassline!) that one can listen to it dozens of times and still hear new things. There was a month or two where I was probably listening to this song 12 times a day.

1. Caspa—Everybody's Talking, Nobody's Listening
2. Little Dragon—Machine Dreams
3. High Contrast—Confidential
4. Blockhead—The Music Scene
5. Nirmal Sidhu—Nai Jeena
My Favorite Song of 2009:
2000F and J Kamata—"You Don't Know What Love Is"
This song is a perfect mixture of dubstep and modern soul. It has a smooth sexy feel with a gangster beat and funky vocoder.

Gina Altamura (Holocene)
1. Nurses—Apple's Acre
2. Micachu—Jewellery
3. Cass McCombs—Catacombs
4. Broadcast and the Focus Group—Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age
5. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Michael Hurley—"Hog of the Forsaken"
This song has been kicking around for a while now, a live staple of his and recorded previously on two of Hurley's earlier albums. But now, in its latest version on his stellar '09 release Ida Con Snock, it has achieved perfection. Every time I hear this one my eyes start to well up. It's an extraordinary song, which lends dignity and grace to human frailty but does so with a reassuring smile and lackadaisical wit. I'm beginning to strongly suspect that Michael Hurley is magical.

Isaac Slusarenko (Jackpot Records)
1. Pelican—What We All Come to Need
2. The Flaming lips—Embryonic
3. Dave Cloud and the Gospel of Power—Fever
4. Human Skab—Stay Thirsty
5. Lightning Dust—Infinite Light
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Miley Cyrus—"Party in the USA"

Paul Montone (Discourage Records)
1. John Frusciante—The Empyrean 
2. Cave—Psychic Psummer
3. Dead Weather—Horehound
4. Alan Lomax—In Haiti box set
5. Betty Davis—Is it Love or Desire 
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Meth Teeth—"Unemployment Forever"

Jeremiah Hayden (Amigo/Amiga Records)
1. David Bazan—Curse Your Branches
2. Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest
3. Tom Waits—Glitter and Doom
4. Telegraph Canyon—The Tide and the Current
5. PJ Harvey & John Parish—A Woman a Man Walked By
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Bruce Springsteen—"Outlaw Pete"
Because he set out to do it. He set out to write the song of the year and I'm willing to give it to him. This. Song. Is. Horrible. But I respect the guy for having gigantic balls and in a castrated music world, I will give The Boss his due for at least making a statement. What's the statement? That's beside the point. It's a full eight minutes of what he hoped would be a huge three-part song à la "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Paranoid Android" but it's just a song about close to nothing, or rather, nothing. Just a guy named Outlaw Pete who checks the Verizon Wireless service around the world. "Can you hear me?" No Bruce, I can't anymore. Give me "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Nebraska," or even "The Rising" and I promise I will hear you. But "Outlaw Pete"? "Just because (you) can" isn't good enough. Break out the thesaurus for your next title please. Thanks. (Oh, I'm sorry was this supposed to be "favorite" song of the year? Okay—then Animal Collective's "In the Flowers.")

Lisa Schonberg (Explode into Colors)
1. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
2. Tara Jane O'Neil—A Ways Away
3. Nurses—Apple's Acre
3. Jenny Jenkins—Oventoucher
4. ASSS—Tea Drinker
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Tara Jane O'Neil—"Dig In"

Ned Lannamann (Mercury writer)
1. Bon Iver—Blood Bank EP
2. A.C. Newman—Get Guilty
3. The Raveonettes—In and Out of Control
4. Langhorne Slim—Be Set Free
5. Phosphorescent—To Willie
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives—"Friendly Fire"
This was my most frequently replayed song of the year—a country gospel love song whose hook line is "cope, or break."

Shawn Creeden & Casey Dienel (White Hinterland)
1. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
2. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
3. Raekwon—Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
4. Deradoorian—Mind Raft
5. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Animal Collective—"Daily Routine" (Phaseone Remix)
This is a song we're always in the mood to hear. So effortless. This remix highlights its best features: the shimmering organ arpeggios, the silvery braided vocals, and that unflappable pulsating beat. It sounds like a cool swim at night, like a moment that will never end. Just. Awesome. 

Stephanie Ryan (Portland Round curator)
1. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. The Shivers—In the Morning
3. White Rabbits—It's Frightening
4. Ah Holly Fam'ly—Reservoir
5. Nurses—Apple's Acre
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Seriously, a tie between the three. Like a mother loves her three children the same but for different reasons.
Here We Got Magic—"Fangela"
Grizzly Bear—"Two Weeks"
Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside—"Vocal Chords"

Mike Meyer (Mercury freelancer)
1. Wolves in the Throne Room—Black Cascade
2. Weapon—Drakonian Paradigm
3. Týr—By the Light of the Northern Star
4. Funeral Mist—Maranatha
5. W.A.S.P.—Babylon
My Favorite Song of 2009:
High Spirits—"Torture"
She asks, "Isn't he singing a little out of range?" I don't have to explain. "I'm living right!" counters the mystery vocalist's melodic-rock-longing thick skull. "And I'm loving every night!" We smile. "Torture" is so catchy I watched another friend sing it who had never even heard it. On demo LP, it's the uplifting metal of 1984—Maidenesque twin guitar, Twisted Sister fist-in-your-heart—or a preview of 2010 "ironglam." For fans of Sweden's Enforcer and Cleveland's Midnight, I don't have to explain.

Mistina Keith (The Prids)
1. The Raveonettes—In and Out of Control
2. Built to Spill—There Is No Enemy
3. A Place to Bury Strangers—Exploding Head
4. Soft Tags—Mathematical Monsters
5. LookBook—The Look and Feel
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Built to Spill—"Tomorrow"
This song holds some intense memories. I remember hearing early versions of it at their concerts in 2006, around the time a very close friend was diagnosed with a terminal illness. When I hear it, I think of him. 

Andrew Stout (Mercury freelancer)
1. Memory Tapes—Treeship
2. Kaija Saariaho—L'Amour de Loin
3. Dolphins into the Future—On Sea-Faring Isolation
4. Antony and the Johnsons—The Crying Light
5. Black Moth Super Rainbow—Eating Us
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Toro Y Moi—"Blessa" 
In 2009, there were a lot of artists who incorporated lo-fi tape aesthetics into their electronic pop. Memory Tapes, Washed Out, and Neon Indian all made great records doing this. But only South Carolina's Toro Y Moi (AKA Chaz Bundick) found the rabbit hole at the end of this nostalgia trip with his tantalizingly short single "Blessa." Looking to break the '80s-induced hallucination that was the Noughties? Begin here.

Rob Simonsen (CDForge/Cravedog)
1. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart—self-titled
2. A Sunny Day in Glasgow—Ashes Grammar
3. jj—n° 2
4. Camera Obscura—My Maudlin Career
5. P.S. Eliot—Introverted Romance in Our Troubled Minds
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Saint Etienne—"Spring (Air France Remix)"

Joseph Kelly (Panther)
1. Bear in Heaven—Beast Rest Forth Mouth
2. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
3. Explode into Colors—Eyes Hands Mouth 7-inch
4. The XX—XX
5. Cass McCombs—Catacombs
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Bear in Heaven—"Lovesick Teenagers"

Scott McLean (Holocene)
1. Alela Diane—To Be Still
2. White Denim—Fits
3. Camera Obscura—My Maudlin Career
4. Micachu—Jewellery
5. Ethan Rose—Oaks
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Jamie Foxx (feat T-Pain)—"Blame It"
Heard this song every time I'd get in the car in Austin last year. When I learned it was Jamie Foxx, I thought WTF? The hooks in this song are magical. It's a perfect song.

Jon Ragel (Boy Eats Drum Machine)
1. Finn Riggins—Vs. Wilderness
2. Chicharones—Swine Country
3. YACHT—See Mystery Lights
4. Laura Gibson—Beasts of Seasons
5. Ramona Falls—Intuit
My Favorite Song of 2009:
(tie) Chicharones—"Put Out" or Finn Riggins—"Wake" 

Nelson Kempf (The Old Believers)
1. Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
2. The-Dream—Love vs. Money
3. Ghostface Killah—Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City
4. Jadakiss—The Last Kiss
5. Mount Eerie—Wind's Poem
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys—"Empire State of Mind"

Jake Morris (The Shaky Hands)
1. Daryl Hall and John Oates—Do What You Want, Be What You Are
2. Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
3. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca 
4. Holy Sons—Drifter's Sympathy
5. Yo La Tengo—Popular Songs
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Deer Tick—"Cake & Eggs"
Best song about oral sex not written by Prince.

Mae Starr (Rollerball)
1. Rosalina Mar and Larkin Grimm—self-titled
2. Squarcicatrici—self-titled
3. Scott Pinkmountain and the Golden Bolts of Tone—The Full Sun
4. Rainstick Cowbell—Fireants
5. Koonda Holaa and the Beetchees—10 Acres of the Finest Sand
My Favorite Song of 2009:

Kevin O'Connor (Talkdemonic)
1. Atlas Sound—Logos
2. Nurses—Apple's Acre
3. Ah Holly Fam'ly—Reservoir
4. Jeremy Jay—Slow Dance
5. Deerhunter—Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Animal Collective—"My Girls"
Brian Wilson is kidnapped during a "Good Vibrations" session and placed inside a cloud studio floating above a paradise island off the coast of Africa. His survival kit includes synthesizers and sequencers and he is told to write the perfect song of the future. He succeeds and is returned to 1966, unable to finish Smile having left his sanity behind in that cloud studio. As he records a young chap named Manson in his home studio, he regrets having returned home. But someday his redemption will come; somehow outliving his brothers, finishing his masterpiece 40 years later, and once again heavily influencing pop music.

Alan Singley (Alan Singley and Pants Machine)
1. Stuart Murdoch—God Help the Girl
2. Terence Blanchard—A Tale of God's Will
3. Camera Obscura—My Maudlin Career 
4. Jeremy Jay—Slow Dance 
5. Gregory Miles Harris—Ghosts
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Stuart Murdoch—"Hiding 'Neath My Umbrella"
It's got a massive orchestra and unpredictable chord changes—yes!

Kaci D. Garcia (Dirtnap Records)
1. The Goodnight Loving—Outside Inside Sessions
2. White Wires—self-titled
3. Thomas Function—In the Valley of Sickness
4. King Khan and BBQ Show—Invisible Girl
5. Ace Frehley—Anomaly

DJ Gregarious
1. Jarvis Cocker—Further Complications
2. Ray Davies—Kinks Choral Collection­­
3. Phoenix­—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
4. Peter Doherty—Grace Wastelands
5. Bat for Lashes—Two Suns
My Favorite Song of 2009:
The Beatles—"Revolution" (remastered)
I can't believe how vigorous, urgent, and contemporary this song sounds. The lyrics so vital that I "...carry a picture of Chairman Mao" (in my iPod Touch, that is). If remastered songs don't count, then put me down for Phoenix's epic "1901" off Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. These guys are soooo distinctive!

Matthew McLean (Doug Fir)
1. Discovery—LP
2. Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
3. Fanfarlo—Reservoir
4. Real Estate—self-titled
5. Pains of Being Pure at Heart—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Discovery—"Osaka Loop Line" 

Chris Robley (Chris Robley & the Fear of Heights)
1. Andrew Bird—Noble Beast
2. Gregory Alan Isakov—This Empty Northern Hemisphere
3. Rachel Taylor Brown—Susan Storm's Ugly Sister & Other Saints and Superheroes
4. Vicki Brown—Seas & Trees
5. Ben Darwish Trio—Ode to Consumerism
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Animal Collective—"Summertime Clothes"
Ahhh. It pains me to put anything with an animal name on this list (Andrew Bird doesn't count), especially since I think that Merriweather Post Pavilion only has two good tracks on it. That being said, though, when these guys actually get down to the business of writing real songs, they're pretty undeniable. I've probably listened to this tune 100 times now and it still hasn't gotten stale.  

Connie Wohn (Stylus 503)
1. Jay-Z—The Blueprint 3
2. Bibio—Ambivalence Avenue
3. The Black Keys—Blakroc
4. BLK JKS—After Robots
5. (tie) Bat for Lashes—Two Suns; Raekwon—Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Dirty Projectors—"Stillness Is the Move"
Undeniably the best song to sing along to in the car, plus it always makes me smile regardless of my mood. 

Andrew R Tonry (Mercury freelancer)
1. The Hunches—Exit Dreams
2. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
3. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. Nurses—Apple's Acre
5. Mean Jeans—Are You Serious?
My Favorite Song of 2009:
"Exit Dreams" is the most criminally under-rated album of the year. How it was not mentioned in Pitchfork, who review all In the Red's lesser records, is an utter travesty. The most memorable track is "Not Invited," which has garnered a number of apt Pixies comparisons. "Not Invited," a song about finding solace in song, would be self-referentially meta if songwriter Chris Gunn weren't so humble. Vocalist Hart Gledhill wryly addresses birth, death, and spiraling into a desperate haze, then sings "but the chorus/will catch me/hold me/safely" and it does literally that. This track showcases all aspects of the Hunches—the lava-flow guitar buzz; the loud-quiet-loud; the expert, classic pop songwriting chops; and all the tragic emotion. Best of all they finally go pretty. And the production is phenomenal. There are layers upon layers whereas each movement of the song has an almost unique production arrangement. The fadeout features boiling teakettles, popping balloons, and guitar feedback that sounds more like chirping birds. Still, take all these elements away and you've got a terrific song with a phenomenal—yet dead simple—lead riff. Hunches, you are missed. 

Dylan Magierek (Badman Recording Co.)
1. Lovers—I Am the West
2. Norfolk & Western—Dinero Severo
3. Weinland—Breaks in the Sun
4. Deelay Ceelay—Thank You EP
5. Califone—All of My Friends Are Funeral Singers
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Laura Veirs—"July Flame" 

Dave Bow (Mercury freelancer)
1. Neko Case—Middle Cyclone
2. Fever Ray—self-titled
3. Sonic Youth—The Eternal
4. Bat for Lashes—Two Suns
5. Jarvis Cocker—Further Complications 
My Favorite Song of 2009:
The Generationals—"When They Fight, They Fight"
I don't know if it's the BEST SONG OF THE YEAR, but I think this Louisiana band came up with a pretty timeless piece of pop heaven that's going on a shitload of mixtapes I make.

Luke Wyland (Au)
1. Wildbirds & Peacedrums—The Snake
2. Ah Holly Fam'ly—Reservoir
3. Mount Eerie—Wind's Poem
4. Anti-Pop Consortium—Florescent Black
5. OOIOO—Armonico Hewa 
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Dragging an Ox Through Water—"Snowbank Treatment"

Sean Whiteman (The Penny Jam)
1. Nurses—Apple's Acre
2. The Almighty Defenders—self-titled
3. Mattress—Low Blows
4. Black Lips—200 Million Thousand
5. Sunset Rubdown—Dragonslayer
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Nurses—"Mile after Mile" 

Marius Libman (Copy)
1. Black Moth Super Rainbow—Eating Us
2. Fuck Buttons—Tarot Sport
3. Gianni Rossi—Gutterballs
4. Panther—Entropy
5. Clipse—Til the Casket Drops
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Fuck Buttons—"The Libson Maru" 

Bret Vogel (Crosstide)
1. Boston Spaceships—Brown Submarine
2. Wavves—self-titled
3. Pains of Being Pure at Heart—self-titled
4. Neko Case—Middle Cyclone
5. Phoenix—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Boston Spaceships—"You Satisfy Me"
This is just a really well-written song that I wound up listening to a lot of times over the year. Nothing revolutionary about it, just a great song. 

World's Greatest Ghosts
1. LAKE—Let's Build a Roof
2. Finn Riggins—Vs. Wilderness
3. Built to Spill—There Is No Enemy
4. Portugal. The Man—The Satanic Satanist
5. St. Vincent—Actor
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Finn Riggins—"Wake (Keep this Town Alive)"
This is a really hard question to answer, but "Wake" is a great song with tons of energy by one of the hardest working bands we know! It was stuck in my head for weeks. 

Bryan Free
1. Mos Def—Ecstatic
2. Paolo Nutini—Sunny Side Up
3. The Very Best—Warm Heart of Africa
4. Mastodon—Crack the Skye
5. Heatwarmer—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
I played U.S.E. to a friend last year and she said they sounded like T-Pain. WTF? Bad hiphop and ill-used Auto-Tune have almost ruined the vocoder; people need reminding that an actual band can perform great dance music. I don't think anyone does this better than U.S.E. Their jams are righteous, sexy, and peace-y. If they had a full-length album in 2009, they'd be on my top five; they do have three EPs that came out this year, however. 

Scott Carver (The Penny Jam)
1. Nurses—Apple's Acre
2. The Decemberists—The Hazards of Love
3. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. The Builders and the Butchers—Salvation Is a Deep Dark Well
5. St. Vincent—Actor
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
I've probably listened to this beautifully engineered track more than any other this year and it still gives me chills. 

Drew Laughery (Blitzen Trapper)
(In no particular order)
Alela Diane—To Be Still
Wye Oak—The Knot
Tiny Vipers—Life on Earth
Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
(tie) Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle; The Flaming Lips—Embryonic
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Wavves—"So Bored"
I put this one in a mix once, and it is always louder than anything before it and after it. I like it like that. It isn't the cleverest song ever, but it's fun.

Conrad Loebl (Rotture)
1. Cold Cave—Love Comes Close
2. Morrissey—Swords
3. Major Lazer—Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do
4. Kid Sister—Ultraviolet
5. Buraka Som Sistema—Black Diamond
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Cold Cave—"Love Comes Close"
Invoking the spirit of Ian Curtis remixed by Q Lazarus (I see the similarities but more a nod than a straight jacking), Wes Eisold & Co. have outdone themselves on this song. Danceable but with some seriously deep lyrics, I think this is kind of what Morrissey would sound like if he did a straight-up electronic record. This band has been an obsession of mine, first with copping their first 12-inch, but as soon as I got a hold of the full-length, game over. This song makes me want to run through sun-soaked fields of tall grass, chasing butterflies and falling in love. "Love comes close/but chooses to spare me/Death comes close/but ceases to take me I want to twist, the knife a bit deeper /to siphon the love from the hearts I believed in/Look outside, world is exploding/Stay inside, still never knowing/Taking cover, with each other/Sleeping off the century of hope." Ummmm, wow.

Chris Lael Larson (Deelay Ceelay)
1. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest
3. Pink Mountaintops—Outside Love
4. Sharon Van Etten—Because I Was in Love
5. Laura Gibson—Beasts of Seasons
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Animal Collective—"Brother Sport"

Maranda Bish (Mercury freelancer)
1. Eat Skull—Wild and Inside
2. Brimstone Howl—Big Deal, What's He Done Lately?
3. Laura Gibson—Beasts of Seasons
4. Raekwon—Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
5. Pure Country Gold—Positive Vibrations
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Eat Skull—"Oregon Dreaming"
Eat Skull writes these crazy, atmospheric songs and this one feels exactly like its title.

Jeffrey "Chairman" Couch (DRATS!!!)
1. Vic Chesnutt—At the Cut
2. Transient/This Runs on Blood—split 7-inch
3. Living Colour—The Chair in the Doorway
4. Honduran—Language & Violence
5. Danny Elfman—Milk soundtrack
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Vic Chesnutt—"Coward"
Saw Vic and his band play this recently at Mississippi Studios. I (along with the entire crowd) was totally stunned by the raw emotion in this one.

DJ Anjali
1. Miss Pooja—Romantic Jatt
2. Sean Paul—Imperial Blaze
3. Northern Lights—Relit
4. Swami—53431
5. (tie) Soulico—Exotic on the Speaker; Major Lazer—Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Diljit Dosanjh—"Panga"

Manny Reyes (Atole)
1. The Units—History of the Units
2. Air—Love 2
3. Black Moth Super Rainbow—Eating Us
4. Neon Indian—Psychic Chasms
5. Fever Ray—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Air—"Be a Bee"
Super-fast, fun, dark, melodic, throbbing track. Nobody would guess it is Air on first listen. So much life and hope in a three-minute jam that combines computer, vocoder, and real voices mixed with fast live drums and some analog synth. I hope they make this a single, perfect for remixing too!!

Nathan Carson (Nanotear Booking)
1. YOB—The Great Cessation 
2. SubArachnoid Space—Eight Bells
3. Heaven & Hell—The Devil You Know
4. Rollerball—Two Feathers
5. Dethklok—Dethalbum II
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Heaven & Hell—"Follow the Tears"
Though the tyrannical Sharon Osbourne won't allow the group to call itself Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell is in fact the same touring lineup from the early '80s that Sabbath boasted when they reentered the mainstream charts after booting a despondent, alcoholic Ozzy from their ranks. As Heaven & Hell, Ronnie James Dio fronts the band at the age of 67, and still sounds fantastic. So it's bittersweet to welcome the Dio lineup of Sabbath back just as it's been announced that Dio is suffering from stomach cancer. Regardless, the magic and the legacy is indisputable, and "Follow the Tears" marries modern production, classic riffs, and lyrics that resonate with age and experience. Fuck Sharon Osbourne. Long live Black Sabbath. 

Matt King (Berbati's Pan)
1. Real Estate—self-titled
2. Phoenix—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Suckers—self-titled
4. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba—I Speak Fula
5. Woods—Songs of Shame
My Favorite Song of 2009:
YACHT—"Psychic City (Voodoo City)"

Kurt Prutsman (Mercury freelancer)
1. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Thee Oh Sees—Help
3. Christmas Island—Blackout Summer
4. Black Lips—200 Million Thousand
5. Orca Team—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009:
(tie) Beyoncé—"Halo"/Mims—"Move (If You Wanna)"

Hot Victory
(In no particular order)
Them Crooked Vultures—self-titled
The Ax—Our Queen of Dirt
Fuck Buttons—Tarot Sport
Big Business—Mind the Drift
Judas Priest—Painkiller (Fuck yeah, so good it's released every year, bitches!)
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
We couldn't agree on a top song because every time we tried to decide we would get in fistfights and wrestling matches with each other, and we all lost.

Mark Lore (Mercury freelancer)
1. The Strange Boys—And Girls Club
2. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart—self-titled
3. Harper Simon—self-titled
4. Bodhi—SecondHand runner
5. Reigning Sound—Love and Curses 
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
BOAT—"God Save the Man Who Isn't All That Super"
A three-minute pop song chockfull of so many great dynamics—like the break with D. Crane's vocals and an egg shaker, and that final sort of oddly joyous chorus... gets me every time.

Sara Padgett Heathcott (Hometapes)
1. Fever Ray—self-titled
2. Winfred E. Eye—Til I Prune
3. Floating Action—self-titled
4. Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas—II
5. Sharon Van Etten—Because I Was in Love
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Megafaun—"The Longest Day"
My top song is my one irresistible reference to Hometapes in this year-end list, a tiny doorway into a world of music and art that fills up my heart, soundtracks my days, and drives me to new creative distances. It's been a remarkable year, between the monumental albums of Bear in Heaven, Slaraffenland, and Megafaun, and the feeling that Hometapes has really made a home in Portland. This track, off Megafaun's Gather, Form & Fly, is about as timeless as it gets. I put it on this morning to "test" my devotion, to cold call my soul and see if it still mattered. I got covered in goose bumps and my mind instantly drifted into the simple-yet-spiritually-heavy world this 3:51 track conjures. Not every song can do this. And not every favorite song can be attributed to your best friends. This year, I got lucky.

Matthew & Genevieve (Linger & Quiet)
1. Runaway—Use Me
2. Nils Nurnberg—Caught in a Glimpse
3. Motor City Drum Ensemble—Raw Cuts #5
4. Soul Clap—Conscious Edit
5. Omar S.—In Side My Head
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Here We Go Magic—"Tunnelvision"

Jeff Urquhart (Satyricon)
1. Coalesce—OX
2. Polar Bear Club—Chasing Hamburg
3. Rum Rebellion/Hammered Grunts—Pick Yer Poison
4. Broadway Calls—Good Views, Bad News
5. Prize Country—With Love
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Miley Cyrus—"The Climb"

Jeremy Petersen (OPB Music)
1. The Decemberists—The Hazards of Love
2. Taken by Trees—East of Eden
3. Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
4. Great Lake Swimmers—Lost Channels
5. Richard Swift—The Atlantic Ocean
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
El Perro del Mar—"Change of Heart"

Matt Brown (Bladen County Records)
1. Phoenix—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
2. Nurses—Apple's Acre
3. Love Language—self-titled
4. Pelican—What We All Come to Need
5. Califone—All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Curtis Knapp (Marriage Records)
1. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
2. White Rainbow—New Clouds
3. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
4. White Fang—Whatever
5. YACHT—See Mystery Lights
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
White Fang—"Duh"

Hannah Carlen (SPECTRE Entertainment Group)
1. The Reigning Sound—Love and Curses
2. Wye Oak—The Knot
3. Magnolia Electric Co.—Josephine
4. Ramona Falls—Intuit
5. The Love Language—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
The Love Language—"Manteo"
This song isn't a standout on the Love Language's record, but it completely lights up when they play it live. The piano line on "Manteo" slinks along all woozy and drunk, while the vocals wail and sail above the whole thing with this slightly wistful, but mostly triumphant attitude about them. I can't count how many times I've seen the Love Language live this year, but this song has always been a highlight, and somehow it gets better every time—just a little bit bigger, a little bit drunker, a little bit sweeter. It's almost as though the band enjoys playing it more every time, but it's probably just that I like it that much.

Nilina Mason-Campbell (
1. Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Bobby Birdman—New Moods
3. tUnE-YaRdS—BiRd-BrAiNs
4. Telepathe—Dance Mother
5. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Animal Collective—"In the Flowers"
Not only does "In the Flowers" expertly capture the ache that often haunts touring bands, but it also captures the beauty and essence of a natural high—the kind that can so easily be forgotten with growing older, after inhibition sets in. But it can be recaptured! And is—in this song! So poetically.... The lyrical story arch is truly an achievement.

Joan Hiller Depper (Riot Act)
1. Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest
2. Bat for Lashes—Two Suns
3. Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band­—Between My Head and the Sky
4. The Decemberists—The Hazards of Love
5. Richard Swift—The Atlantic Ocean

Victor Nash (Point Juncture, WA)
1.  Tortoise—Beacons of Ancestorship
2.  Bill Callahan—Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
3.  The Thermals—Now We Can See
4.  Joan of Arc—Flowers
5.  Wilco—self-titled
My Favorite Song of 2009: 
Tortoise—"Prepare Your Coffin"
We pretty much slept through the last couple Tortoise releases. Sure, there were some gems in there like "Salt the Skies" off of It's All Around You, and the DVD bonus disc from the A Lazarus Taxon box set is incredible, but all the little things pointed to a band too involved with other projects or too busy re-treading old ground to really come up with anything fresh. But this record is everything a crew made of stone-cold professionals steeped in every possible cool shade of music should be able to come up with. In particular, "Prepare Your Coffin" feels like what only this group could bring to term: a casually tossed off, beer-guzzling, rock 'n' roll anthem by some guys who play free jazz and make painterly synth soundtracks for French cinema for their day jobs. It rules.

Alberta Poon (Reporter, May Ling)
1. Glass Candy—Deep Gems
2. Wampire—self-titled
3. Pictureplane—Dark Rift
4. Phoenix—Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
5. Sally Shapiro—My Guilty Pleasure
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Phoenix—"Lisztomania" (Holy Ghost! Remix)

Ben Parrish (Kill Rock Stars)
(I could only really think of four because I mostly bought VHS tapes and used old records and 7-inches this year... I know, I know... but if you had the choice between Total Recall on VHS for $1.99 and the new Sonic Youth on vinyl for $30, wouldn't you buy Total Recall?)
1. Woods—Songs of Shame
2. Grass Widow—self-titled
3. Blues Control—Local Flavor
4. Group Doueh—Treeg Salaam
My Favorite Song of 2009:
Tyvek—"Summer Things"
There were a lot of songs from bloggers in their bedroom in New Jersey pretending to be from California, but this is a pretty good song about summer that I think takes place in Detroit. I don't know. It's pretty good. I like the one on the 7-inch a little more than the version on the album but they're both very nice.

Dave Allen (
1. Fever Ray—self-titled
2. Dirty Projectors—Bitte Orca
3. Now Now, Every Children—Cars
4. Via Tania—Moon Sweet Moon
5. O+S—self-titled

Patrick Foss (Pure Country Gold)
(In no particular order)
Jack Oblivian & The Tennessee Tearjerkers—Disco Outlaw
Mean Jeans—Are You Serious?
The Hunches—Exit Dreams
The Bugs—Barbaric! Mystical! Bored!
The Dutchess and the Duke—Sunset/Sunrise
My Favorite Song of 2009:
The White Wires—"Stayed up Late"
Anyone not moved to dance and "ooh ooh" along to this one is not someone I want to party with.

Richard Laws: Chris Weisman and Greg Davis—Northern Songs
Cristof Hendrickson: Polka Dot Dot Dot—Syzygy
Lane Barrington: Ah Holly Fam'ly—Reservoir
Brandon Laws: Fuck Buttons—Tarot Sport
Everybody in Church: Major Lazer—Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do

Aris Wales (Mercury freelancer)
1. Heaven & Hell—The Devil You Know
2. Slayer—World Painted Blood
3. DarkBlack—Sellsword
4. Cauldron—Chained to the Nite
5. 3 Inches of Blood—Here Waits Thy Doom