Gold Medal: Satanic Panic in the Attic by of Montreal
Sometimes, an album comes along that pushes all the right buttons. For me, this is that album. Clever isn’t a strong enough word to describe Kevin Barnes’ magnum opus; SPA is about the most fun one can have listening to music. Each song is loaded with hooks that fit together like a gloriously quirky jigsaw puzzle. I’ve written a more extensive review here but all in all, this album is one that is cemented among my favorite pop achievements.
Silver Medal: Funeral by Arcade Fire
Funeral is probably as close to “generation defining” as any recent album has come. Arcade Fire is one of the true hipster royalties and this is the main reason why. Powerful, thrilling and epic, Arcade Fire’s first full-length album became the blueprint for the future of indie rock and roll. Centered around the band members recently departed friends and family, Funeral came out of the ashes with a vengeance and then some. The “Neighborhood” songs, “Rebellion (Lies)”, “Crown of Love” the list of unforgettable tracks goes on. If you haven’t heard this, don’t admit it to anyone and get it on your iPod as soon as possible.
Bronze Medal: LP by Ambulance LTD
If the gold went to the ideal indie pop album and silver went to the ideal indie rock album, the bronze is a mixture of the two. LP starts out with the rockin’ instrumental “Yoga Means Union” and spends the next 52 minutes spanning between Beatle-esque melodies and edgy guitar distortion a la Built to Spill. The album is consistent from start to finish and packed with memorable tracks. It’s a shame that the group’s output never really went beyond this one diamond in the rough.