Numbers 30 to 40

The votes have been counted and verified. For the last month or so, the whole Clash team have been arguing over the list you're about to read.

Now that the blood has been wiped away and the scars have healed, we present to you what we think has made this year so great. It's all been about the outsiders - new and exciting artists who've stolen our hearts, making the most of the big boys' down time.

Read the Top 40 Albums countdown from 30 to 40 below.

Read about our Album of the Year, Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavilion', HERE, the albums in our top ten HERE, those just outside the top ten HERE and into the twenties HERE.

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2562 ‘Unbalance’

Dave Huismans has achieved something most house or techno artists never did. Record a coherent album. Club music doesn’t function well over the length of a long player as the linear use of tempos often jars. Thanks to dubstep’s depth in the dub and the half-step variance that allows huge sonic meanderings, it’s ripe for more reflective moments found on the best albums.

Instead of becoming lost in the esoteric musings of a new scene, ‘Unbalance’ references a lot more and injects the body of work with more colour, a fact not lost on the young Dutch producer: “I started working on what would become album material even before (debut) ‘Aerial’ was released, but it really started coming together this spring when I took a couple of months off to fully dedicate myself to it. I went back to my production roots of sampling old records and making new sounds out of them as the main building blocks for composing.”

‘Unbalance’ as an LP is ironically quite the opposite. Tracks like ‘Dinosaur’ oscillate addictively, possessed by Friday night rave thirst before the lush, seductive washes of ‘Who Are You Fooling?’ ground 2562’s creations in subtlety and lush mists of intrigue. It’s an artefact of bass and rhythms detailing what exactly worked in 2009 in an emergent genre.

Words by Matt Bennett

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The Gossip ‘Music For Men’

Drafting in uber producer Rick Rubin may have proven the masterstroke in ensuring ‘Music For Men’’s impact in 2009. Stripped back to Gossip’s bare punk foundations, it propelled Beth Ditto’s vocals centre stage, where they belonged. ‘Heavy Cross’ suffered a cruel fate in the singles chart, even though it’s clearly a TUNE. It’s joined here by co-highlights ‘Love Long Distance’ and ‘Four Letter Word’ on one of the party albums of 2009.

Words by Simon Harper

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Bill Callahan 'Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle'
(Drag City)

Callahan’s lo-fi approach just means he’s getting better and better at writing and recording pure magic. ‘Sometimes...’ pieces together simplistic percussion, a round and rich guitar foundation, blobs of bass and a homely, woody piano. It leaves space for his deep and sexy intimate vocals, singing heart-wrenching and though-provoking lyrics. And the strings, cello especially, set the mood, tell the story and hit your emotions hard. Every minute of this album is a delight.


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The Dead Weather ‘Horehound’
(Third Man)

Prolificness often runs the risk of diluting the quality of each subsequent release. Fortunately, diminishing returns are not a problem for Jack White. His other other White Stripes side-project, The Dead Weather, brought together his Raconteurs band mate Jack Lawrence, QOTSA man Dead Fertita, and The Kills’ sultry icon Alison Mosshart, who combined to make a sound as ferocious and foreboding as their name suggests.

‘Horehound’ was the product of this unholy union; eleven tracks of unruly and savage beauty, dark and brooding rock music made by people who know exactly how to make dark and brooding rock music. With White on drums, focus fell mainly on Mosshart’s vocals, all snarling and seductive - fantastically dangerous, for example, on ‘Hang You From The Heavens’.

We’re scared what might happen to us if we didn’t include this album!

Words by Simon Harper

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Dananananaykroyd ‘Hey Everyone!’
(Best Before)

Glasgow’s best kept secret for years now, line-up changes and bad luck kept the curiously named Dananananaykroyd from causing mayhem in other parts of this Sceptred Isle. Sure, they may be justifiably lauded for their stage show - Wall of Hugs! Dual frontmen! - but with ‘Hey Everyone!’ the six-piece were able to demonstrate their songwriting prowess. Loud and proud, beneath the volume lies a beating pop heart turning Dananananaykroyd into an unlikely success story.

Words by Robin Murray

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Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions ‘Through The Devil Softly’

Making the grade is ‘Through The Devil Softly’, Hope Sandoval’s mesmeric second album with Warm Inventions partner Colm Ó Cíosóig (of My Bloody Valentine fame). Sandoval’s delicately tuned voice flickers like candlelight across dimmed-down slide guitars, a fading harmonica, and the cresting waves of a solo cymbal. The long-player thrives on themes of such contrast and tension; light against darkness, release and restraint. It captivates, and - as you’d expect from the follow-up that you’ve waited eight years for - does not want to rush you one little bit.

Words by Ian Richardson

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The Maccabees ‘Wall Of Arms’

With the release of their second album ‘Wall Of Arms’, it seemed The Maccabees had evolved. They were no longer nostalgic of their humble beginnings, no longer pining over first loves but instead engulfed by an addictive darkness and a realism that wrapped itself around their vocals and entwined within the lyrics.

This new depth and maturity, combined with charming lead singer Orlando Weeks’ trademark goose-bump inducing vocals is the enthralling combination that has elevated The Maccabees to such deserving heights this year.

Despite having spent their summer playing to packed out crowds at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds before hitting the music- bound highway for an end of year European tour, luckily The Maccabees aren’t showing any signs of slowing down for the 2010.

Words by Laura Routledge

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Jamie T ‘Kings And Queens’

Suffice to say Jamie T wasn't the best behaved child at school. When art class rolled round we imagine he would be the last kid allowed to hand out the scissors, while the less said about glue the better. But what Jamie T does excel in in songcraft. The Wimbledon boy dug deep on his second album and opened his heart on a record that is by turns anthemic, romantic, touching and deeply unsettling.
On 'Kings And Queens', Mr Treays consolidated his reputation as a modern cultural observer. 'Hocus Pocus' warned us about hanging about with a bad crowd, while 'British Intelligence' warned of teh increasing worry of Big Brother. 'Chaka Demus' still the album highlight - coming on like like The Banana Splits and just as mindbending.

Words by Robin Murray

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Bibio ‘Ambivalence Avenue’

Leftfield electronica doesn’t appear on a lot of karaoke lists. Real name Stephen Wilkinson, Bibio is from a new breed of producers who seem to use electronica to tackle the pop song. New album ‘Ambivalence Avenue’ is perhaps his finest to date, a collection of fuzzy pop songs that push boundaries without losing sight of the melody. Defying trends, Bibio has outlined why he is one of the most sought after producers in the country today.

Words by Robin Murray

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Crocodiles ‘Summer Of Hate’
(Fat Possum)

A chance encounter at an anti-fascist meeting was the beginning of it all for these old-school punks. But forget power riffs and anarchy, this San Diego duo like their music a whole lot fuzzier: cue ear-splitting feedback and impenetrable walls of sound. And, riding high on the waves of the shoegaze revival, Crocodiles hit the jackpot earlier in the year with their debut LP, ‘Summer Of Hate.’ Like a Johnny Rotten fronted My Bloody Valentine, but with even more bite.

Words by April Welsh

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Dizzee Rascal ‘Tongue ‘n’ Cheek’
(Dirtee Stank)

Since grabbing British pop by its bare bones and slapping some much-needed credible substance into it, Dizzee Rascal is a man who can do no wrong.

Going straight into the UK chart at number three, his fourth studio album ‘Tongue ‘n’ Cheek’ has taken a step away from his grime roots to a more mainstream pop sound. Something that appears to have been his wisest move yet, with three of the eleven tracks boasting a Number One position and new track ‘Dirtee Cash’ looking set for similar success.

With his own record label, Dirtee Stank, and a 2010 tour planned with Lily Allen, twenty-four-year-old Dizzee’s days of being the ‘Boy In Da Corner’ seem destined to remain very much a thing of the past.

Words by Laura Routledge

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Read about our Album of the Year, Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavilion', HERE, the albums in our top ten HERE, those just outside the top ten HERE and into the twenties HERE.

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