The 10 best modern rock albums of 2009 come in a wide variety, from hard-hitting records featuring traditional guitar, bass and drums lineups to sample-based, forward-looking masterpieces. With rock and roll more than half a century old, to make an impression, one has to respect the past while moving forward. The 10 best modern rock albums of 2009 do just that. Our list of the best modern rock albums of 2009 will have something for everyone. It was a good year for music. Modern rock is constantly changing; this list shows just how much.
- "Merriwether Post Pavilion" by Animal Collective. The top record on the list of 10 best modern rock albums of 2009 is a detailed, sculpted masterpiece of found sounds, samples, traditional instrumentation and lush vocal harmonies. Animal Collective are studio geniuses, and this is their best work yet.
- "It's Frightening" by White Rabbits. Produced by Britt Daniel of Spoon, this White Rabbits record is polished pop perfection with a heavy percussive element. The opening track alone, "Percussion Gun," would rank this on the list of 10 best modern rock albums of 2009; that the rest of the album lives up is just a bonus.
- "The Century of Self" by …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. A band with a long name that makes long songs, they risk pretension, but when they succeed, epic post-punk anthems are the result. This art rock record is definitely one of the best modern rock albums of 2009.
- "Sunshowers" by Ume. This Austin power trio makes a lot of racket for just a guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Ume are like a more pop-oriented Sonic Youth; post-rock ready for the radio.
- "Dragonslayer" by Sunset Rubdown. Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade's side project is now a full-fledged band powering through epic, multi-layered songs that cohere to form one of the best modern rock albums of 2009. They're not half-bad live, either.
- "Travels With Myself and Others" by Future of the Left. "Travels" is a snarky, angry, and funny punk album from a group of Welsh malcontents. The highlight is the epic finale, a song called "Lapsed Catholics."
- "Lungs" by Florence + The Machine. "Lungs" earns its place on the list of 10 best modern rock albums of 2009 with ethereal, percussive anthems and soaring vocals from lead vocalist Florence. Songs from this album are everywhere right now, including in HBO's promotional campaign.
- "The Blue Record" by Baroness. Georgia metal heads make a softer, more melodic album. The result? One of the best modern rock albums of 2009.
- "Communion" by Soundtrack of Our Lives. Soundtrack make retro rock full of psychedelic flourishes that has one foot solidly in the past while still sounding relevant. This double-record is one of the best modern rock albums of 2009.
- "Humbug" by Arctic Monkeys. One of the biggest bands in Britain changes its sound and becomes harder, heavier, druggier. The resulting album closes out our list of the 10 best modern rock albums of 2009.
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