The Best of 2009 (so far)

It's never too early to start picking the best music of the year, right? Just like those ever-popular "Christmas in July" promotions, we're rolling out an end-of-year fixture a little early. But, while those swimming-trunk-clad Santas will disappear by fall, we intend to keep this rolling into the new year baby.

We've just launched a new channel on Future Perfect Radio featuring the music we feel best represents 2009 so far. Tune in clicking the button below.

Here's a run-down of the first 5 tracks that popped up on our radio player:

1. Deastro - "Biophelia" from Moondagger

In returning to his home state of Michigan, electronica producer Randolph Chabot was inspired to launch Deastro -- an '80s-loving synth-drenched group that released Moondagger in late June. The sort-of concept album has a lyrical storyline for those who want to look for it, but the addicting glittering electro-rock is the real highlight here. Future Perfect Radio interviewed Chabot here.

2. Frontier Folk Nebraska - "Lay It on the Line" from Pearls

I'd like to see a bill with both The Rural Alberta Advantage and Frontier Folk Nebraska -- what a delicious tongue-twister of folkish locale-inspired monikers. I have to admit, in a classic case of judging a book by its cover I desperately wanted to like this Kentucky group based on their name alone. Thankfully, their music backs them up: Pearls is one of the best indie folk records this year and it deserves way more attention than it's getting.

3. The Builders and the Butchers - "Raise up Your Weary Hands" from Salvation Is a Deep Dark Well

I (sorrowfully) missed Portland's The Builders and the Butchers' debut eponymous album from 2007, but their sophomore effort Salvation Is a Deep Dark Well blew me away. Where I -- a longtime Decemberists fan -- struggled to fall in love with Hazards of Love, Salvation instantly had me hooked. From the opening dark chorus of "Golden and Green," you know you're in for a darkly riveting ride through blasted Spanish landscapes, tortured souls and the occasional vampire lake.

4. Loney, Dear - "Summers" from Dear John

Was there ever an album that better captured the lonely and bleak feeling of January in Chicago? Sweden's Loney, Dear, headed by Emil Svanängen, hit gold on their third album Dear John. Introspective, self-critical lyrics are paired with somber, moving melodies that offer enough pop-friendly beats and upbeat synths to convince you to play the whole thing over again.

5. Passion Pit - "Moth's Wings" from Manners

Where Svanängen's music more often than not reflects the somber nature of his lyrics, Passion Pit wraps their sorrow in a pulsing synth-laden beat. "Moth's Wings" is a prime example: a shining, anthem-like melody offset by a disillusioned Michael Angelakos asking "Who's side are you on? / What side is this anyway?" For me, Manners is the king of 2009 so far. Every song is a gem. After two months I still haven't tired of this masterpiece.

Of course, our Best of 2009 channel isn't limited to these 5. It also includes music from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Jeffrey Lewis, Sonic Youth, The Decemberists, Silversun Pickups, Grizzly Bear, Andrew Bird, Pet Shop Boys and more.

We ain't perfect though: there may be stuff in there that totally sucks, and we probably forgot a few killer albums. It's up to you to point out the error of our ways. Comment to tell us, or yell at us on Twitter. Please. It's the only way we'll learn.