Jennifer Farmer

Top 10 Albums

Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.
Bakery Outlet

I stumbled upon Holopaw, the main project of John Orth (of Ugly Casanova), in high school, but these guys quickly surpassed both Casanova and Modest Mouse in playtime (for a solid few months, at least). Though it was a large lull between that self-titled album and this year’s aptly titled Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness, the twangy folk acoustics and nasal vibrato of Orth’s voice remained constant.

Songs of Shame

With Songs of Shame, Woods created an oddly beautiful lo-fi rendition of psychedelic folk. Though not exactly stretching the limits of musical creativity, Shame does distill many palpable influences into one lovely album.


Despite their rather cliched album title, these guys hopped on the lo-fi, DIY trend, yet managed to do so without isolating any specific genre. There are tangible tinges of garage rock, hardcore, shoegaze, etc. Oh, did I mention it’s annoyingly catchy as well?

Kurt Vile
Childish Prodigy

There’s not much to write about this album that hasn’t already been mentioned elsewhere, or that could really do it much justice. It’s just one of those records that never gets old, regardless of how many cloudy days one spends holed-up in bed listening to Prodigy on repeat. It conforms to any mood and replaces emptiness with glorious sound.

The Antlers

Okay, I concede that 2009 really was the year for this lo-fi shit, or whatever one wants to call it. While I have a strange suspicion that some of these so-called outfits fall into that genre due to slight lack of originality, the Antlers, thankfully, are not one of those. They’ve been doing the basement-recording thing for years, and their sound, as evidenced on Hospice, has improved loads while still retaining the rough, charming angst that made them so captivating in the first place.

Times New Viking
Born Again Revisited

Kudos for these guys for perfecting their sound years ago. Looking at my iTunes (commence verbal abuse about my lack of a record player—I’m waiting to inherit my father’s, but I’d rather have him around for a while longer), this was, hometown pride notwithstanding, my most-played album of the year.

Grizzly Bear

Veckatimest was a big, wonderful, gold-coated surprise for me, a pessimist by nature. It was a long three years in the making (since 2006’s Yellow House), and that’s usually a bad sign. However, it turned out to be nothing short of another wonderfully rustic, painstakingly thought-out, pop record.

Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion

This is another one of those records that has been beaten over the head with critical love like a dead, er, animal. Terrible humor aside, words are futile, and there is no insight I can provide that hasn’t already been spewed forth all over the internets.

Dirty Projectors
Bitte Orca

This may be placed so highly here as a result of my slight obsession with Angel Deradoorian. Or more likely because of the beautifully crafted aural offering that is Bitte Orca. Wrought with provocatively beautiful vocal harmonies, this album is part world music, part soul, part synth-pop, and part everything under the sun. It almost transcends classification.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Initially, I was slow to warm up to this album. On one hand, it gave me a newfound appreciation of shoegaze. On the other hand, it forced me to go back through every Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine record I ever missed, which took a lot of time. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, though perhaps not the most innovative or wildly emotional release of the year, is a record that yields invariable satisfaction.