Our critics' top 10 albums

Noah W. Bailey:1. Phosphorescent, Aw Come Aw Wry

2. Iron and Wine/Calexico, In the Reins

3. Andrew Bird, Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs

4. Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy

5. Bosque Brown, Plays Mara Lee Miller

6. M. Ward, Transistor Radio

7. Magnolia Electric Co., What Comes After the Blues

8. Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary

9. My Morning Jacket, Z

10. The National, Alligator: If you ever wanted to hear Leonard Cohen sing over The Edge's chiming guitar or Interpol with a sense of humor and a pulse, then this one's for you.

Mikael Wood:

1. Kanye West, Late Registration

2. System of a Down, Mezmerize/Hypnotize

3. Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor

4. Nickel Creek, Why Should the Fire Die?

5. Coheed and Cambria, Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume I: From FearThrough the Eyes of Madness

6. Amadou & Mariam, Dimanche à Bamako

7. The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan

8. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Welcome to Jamrock

9. Bow Wow, Wanted: Too old for the Disney Channel, yet too young to rub shoulders with hip-hop heavyweights a decade his senior, Bow Wow captured better than most emo bands the anxious buzz of late teenhood.

10. Hope Partlow, Who We Are

Jesse Hughey:

1. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl: A post-millennial garage-rock band reinventing itself as laid-back, blue-eyed soul sounds like a recipe for crap, but I listened to this document of spiritual longing and heartbreak more than any other album this year.

2. Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

3. The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan

4. Dangerdoom, The Mouse and the Mask

5. Lightning Bolt, Hypermagic Mountain

6. Common, Be

7. Pilotdrift, Water Sphere

8. Deerhoof, The Runners Four

9. Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene

10. Beck, Guero Merritt Martin:

1. Antony and the Johnsons, I Am a Bird Now

2. The National, Alligator

3. My Morning Jacket, Z

4. Aimee Mann, The Forgotten Arm: Thanks to Mann's languid vocals and lush instrumentation, listeners will find themselves both basking in new lust and drowning in old sobs.

5. The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema

6. Charlie Sexton, Cruel and Gentle Things

7. Bic Runga, Birds

8. Gorillaz, Demon Days

9. Sigur Rós, Takk...

10. Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better Michael Chamy:

1. Red Sparowes, At the Soundless Dawn

2. The Warlocks, Surgery

3. Windy & Carl, The Dream House/Dedications to Flea

4. Rick Reed, Dark Skies at Noon: Crackling spectres of the electromagnetic spectrum sculpted into a massage of the subconscious by Austin's master of the sine wave and shortwave.

5. The Oxford Collapse, A Good Ground

6. Eluvium, Talk Amongst the Trees

7. Thuja, Pine Cone Temples

8. Comet, Feathers From the Wing EP

9. Micah P. Hinson, Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress

10. Adam Carroll, Far Away Blues Sam Machkovech:

1. Animal Collective, Feels

2. Antony and the Johnsons, I Am a Bird Now

3. Micah P. Hinson, Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress

4. Sleater-Kinney, The Woods

5. The Heavenly States, Black Comet

6. The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan

7. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois

8. Heartless Bastards, Stairs and Elevators

9. Slug & Murs, Felt 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet

10. Spoon, Gimme Fiction: When an album as pop-perfect as Gimme Fiction barely cracks my top-ten list, then that means 2005 was a damn good year.

Darryl Smyers:

1. The Books, Lost and Safe

2. Flotation Toy Warning, Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck: A group of engineers from London twiddle knobs to make discriminating psychedelic pop.

3. Hayes Carll, Little Rock

4. Jahcoozi, Pure Breed Mongrel

5. Say Hi to Your Mom, Ferocious Mopes

6. Shout Out Louds, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff

7. Mazarin, We're Already There

8. Atmosphere, You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having

9. Alternative Champs, Welcome to Fort Awesome

10. Darryl Lee Rush, Llano Avenue

Robert Wilonsky's top downloads:

1. Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill II

2. Ryan Adams, "Hey Parker, It's Christmas"

3. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (leaked Jon Brion version): Brion's whirligig production took Apple to the amusement park and left her there to cry, cry, cry, and no amount of PR spin and label bull will ever convince me this wasn't the take they shoulda took.

4. Ted Leo, "Since U Been Gone"

5. Paul McCartney and Freelance Hellraiser, Twin Freaks

6. Gwen Stefani, "Hollaback Girl" (unreleased Diplo remix)

7. Bonnie Prince Billy and Tortoise, "Thunder Road"

8. Panzah Zandahz, Me and This Army(unauthorized Radiohead remixes)

9. CCC, Revolved

10. Aggro1, "Spending One of These Nights with Kelly" (Kelly Clarkson-The Eagles mash-up)

 
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