Like Zak, my best-of-2009-so-far list has been a long time coming. There's plenty I haven't checked out yet that I hope to add to this list by the end of the year.
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Not quite as good as It's Never Been Like That, but then again, not much is.)
Future of the Left - Travels with Myself and Another (They got angrier and edgier; I didn't think it was possible. They are a lean, mean, insulting-people-you-don't-know machine.)
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Bat for Lashes - Two Suns
White Rabbits - It's Frightening
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country (perfect headphones record for your commute)
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest (mainly for "Two Weeks" and "Foreground")
Glenn Kotche (of Wilco) with Bang on a Can All Stars @ University of Maryland (March 29)-- What an amazing and disciplined drummer Glenn is. Completely zen and in full control of his surroundings. Incredible.
Dirty Projectors @ 9:30 Club (June 8) -- By the time they were done, I had completely forgotten that TV on the Radio were on next.
Des Ark & Trophy Wife @ DC Mini Gallery (June 18) -- The space (a storefront converted into a minimal thrift store/gallery) gave me the DIY warm fuzzies. The gallery's wood floors allowed Des Ark's rhythm section to lay down a stomp & hand clap accompaniment to Aimee's acoustic guitar on a couple songs. This would not be possible at most clubs in D.C. Note to city permit people: please keep allowing 20-somethings to open and run music venues.
Sonic Youth @ 9:30 Club (July 6) -- I can only hope I rock this hard when I'm 50.
Space Tigers @ Velvet Lounge (June 14) -- First show by locals from College Park, MD. Reminded me of Mazzy Star, except with drone-y Jesus and Mary Chain guitars on top. Why didn't I think of that?
Rock n Roll @ Studio Theatre -- Ok, it was a play, not a band. But the soundtrack of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, and the Plastic People of the Universe (who knew?) was so good it made me forget how much I hate the boomers. Hi Mom and Dad!