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New York bands in vogue as Merriweather Post Pavilion is music critics' album of the year

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 27 Dec 2009

The overall album of the year for 2009, as voted for by most influential music critics, is Merriweather Post Pavilion by New York-based psychedelic indie dance act Animal Collective.

HMV has announced the winner, having conducted a poll of polls, based on the positions achieved by albums in end of year Best Albums lists in magazines and newspapers.

"NewYork bands in fact dominate the poll, with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear joining Animal Collective to claim four of the top five positions," says a spokesperson. "Another telling feature of these results is that eight out of the top ten acts are signed to independent record labels – underlining the current strength of Indie music and the vitality of the music scene in general."

Each year in December retailer HMV collates the various album of the year nominations made by music critics and writers from the music and national press in the UK and Ireland, including Hot Press, as well as from online sites, in order to establish the album that has attracted the greatest acclaim from across the media spectrum, and which can reasonably be given the ultimate accolade 'album of the year'.

Now in its ninth year, the HMV Poll of Polls was topped in 2008 by Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid, and in previous years by the likes of Arcade Fire, Kanye West and Daft Punk.

Released in January, and reaching no.26 in the UK charts, Merriweather Post Pavilion is the eighth studio album from Animal Collective. The Domino-signed three-piece originally hail from Baltimore and are known for their innovative sampling of other artists' work – most famously of The Grateful Dead on their recent Fall Be Kind EP. Merriweather Post Pavilion received thirteen nominations in total and was selected as album of the year by both Mojo and Uncut magazines as well as by The Sunday Times. The album takes its name from the outdoor music venue in Columbia, Maryland designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry, where the band would often go to watch gigs when they were growing up.

Just behind Animal Collective in the Poll of Polls rankings is another New York band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose third studio album It's Blitz scored consistently among twelve publications, including Art Rocker, which put it down as its number one. The album has attracted considerable acclaim since its release in March, including a Grammy nomination for 'Best Alternative Music' earlier this month.

In third spot is the first UK act to feature in the poll – indie rockers The XX, whose self-titled debut reached no. 36 in the charts upon its release in August. The four-piece from London also received twelve nominations, including a number one from Fact, a number two from Hot Press, as well as the Sunday Times in its new artist category.

Underlining the success of New York artists, fourth spot in the poll is claimed by Brooklyn-based experimental rock outfit Dirty Projectors. The band's seventh studio album Bitte Orca received eleven nominations, whilst in the U.S. it was also voted Time Magazine's second best album of 2009.

Rounding off the top five is Grizzly Bear – another act from Brooklyn, New York, whose third studio album Veckatimest drew eleven nominations in total, including from Q, Mojo, Uncut and NME, as well as Hot Press.

The rest of the top 10 comprised Horrors Primary Colours, Fever Ray Fever Ray, Florence and the Machine Lungs, Bat For Lashes Two Suns and Wild Beasts Two Dancers – which topped the Hot Press Critics' Poll. Within the wider top 30 there were new releases from Manic Street Preachers, La Roux, Arctic Monkeys, Bob Dylan, Muse and Kasabian – whose West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was Q's album of the year.

"Animal Collective have a truly unique style all of their own and Merriweather Post Pavilion sounded like nothing else out there – for me it was one of the stand-out releases of the year," says HMV Rock & Pop Manager, John Hirst. "The album keeps selling steadily as more music fans discover it through word-of-mouth, and its strong showing in these end of year polls should give it a further timely boost.

"It's encouraging," he added, "to see Indie labels doing so well, which reflects on the vibrant state of our music right now."


1. Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs / It's Blitz
3. The XX / The XX
4. Dirty Projectors / Bitte Orca
5. Grizzly Bear / Veckatimest
6. Horrors / Primary Colours
7. Fever Ray / Fever Ray
8. Florence and the Machine / Lungs
9. Bat For Lashes / Two Suns
10. Wild Beasts / Two Dancers

11. Fuck Buttons / Tarot Sport
12. Girls / Album
13. Mastodon / Crack The Skye
14. Phoenix / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
15. Manic Street Preachers / Journal for Plague Lovers
16. La Roux / La Roux
17. Arctic Monkeys / Humbug
18. Wilco / Wilco (The Album)
19. Pains of Being Pure at Heart / Pains of Being Pure at Heart
20. Jamie T / Kings & Queens

21. Doves / Kingdom of Rust
22. Bob Dylan / Together Through Life
23. Sun O))) / Monoliths and Dimensions
24. Mos Def / The Ecstatic
25. Richard Hawley / Truelove's Gutter
26. Bruce Springsteen / Working on a Dream
27. Future of the Left / Travels With Myself and Another
28. Low Anthem / Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
29. Kasabian / West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
30. Muse / The Resistance

31. Martyn / Great Lengths
32. Bombay Bicycle Club / I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose
33. Big Pink / A Brief History of Love
34. White Denim / Fits
35. U2 / No Line on the Horizon
36. Passion Pit / Manners
37. HEALTH / Get Colour
38. Major Lazer / Guns Don't Kill People Lazers Do
39. Empire of the Sun / Walking on a Dream
40. Madness / The Liberty of Norton Folgate

41. Neko Case / Middle Cyclone
42. Lily Allen / It's Not Me, It's You
43. Noah and the Whale / The First Days of Spring
44. Telepathe / Dance Mother
45. Micachu and the Shapes / Jewellery
46. Dead Weather / Horehound
47. Sonic Youth / The Eternal
48. Japandroids / Post-Nothing
49. Franz Ferdinand / Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
50. Gallows / Grey Britain

Thirty-four publications, sites & organisations were polled:

Music/Lifestyle Press: Art Rocker, Big Issue, Clash, Classic Rock, Decibel, DJ, Fact, The Fly, GQ, Hammer, Hot Press, iDJ, Mixmag, Mojo, Music Week, NME, Q, Record Collector, Rock Sound, Time Out, Wire, Uncut & The Word.

National Press: Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Guardian, Metro, Observer Music Monthly, Sun - Something For The Weekend, Times & Sunday Times.

Online Sites & Orgs: Amazon, Rough Trade & HMV staff.

HMV Poll Of Polls 'Albums of the Year' – The Winners from 2001

2009 Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavilion
2008 Elbow / The Seldom Seen Kid
2007 LCD Soundsystem / Sound Of Silver
2006 Joanna Newsom / Ys
2005 Arcade Fire / Funeral
2004 Kanye West / College Dropout
2003 OutKast / Speakerboxxx-The Love Below
2002 Queens Of The Stone Age / Songs For The Deaf
2001 Daft Punk / Discovery

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