Either way, time for me to point out what music you should be listening to. Alphabetically by artist:
Anamanaguchi: Dawn Metropolis
Amazingly epic chip tune music. Standard post rock lineup plus a GameBoy and NES leads to epic, amazing nostalgia trips. "Mermaid" is fuckwin.
And So I Watch You From Afar: And So I Watch You From Afar
Took me forever to get into these guys, sadly. They're pretty fucking rocking. Think Russian Circles.
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: The Century Of Self
A cool album. I only got into this (not new) band this year, and this happens to not be my favourite album, but it's still good, with solid and even awesome tracks such as "Isis Unveiled" and "Insatiable (two)."
Balmorhea: All Is Wild All Is Silent
Oh holy shit is this band epic. Another band I only discovered this year (thank you share threads). "Truth" is my favourite track on this gorgeous post-rocky album. A lot of false climaxes which is cool. Haydn would be proud.
The Dear Hunter: Act III: Life and Death
Took me forever to get into this band despite my love of TREOS because I confused Deerhunter for them and was not pleased. This is the third of a series of amazing concept albums, Crescenzo truly is an amazing composer.
fun.: Aim and Ignite
Formed of the ashes of The Format (a band I still haven't listened to) I found these guys thanks to a friend, and was quickly hooked. Amazing instrumentation, catchy lyrics, and phrasing seemingly written for the ADD-afflicted, I love it.
Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster
YEAH I FUCKING LIKE GAGA WHAT'S IT TO YOU?! My friend got me into her music one night. It was a weird night. But I like her stuff now. However, it was about two weeks ago, so, while I like it, I can't say much about it yet.
Andy Grammer: Andy Grammer Live
This guy's fucking amazing. If you ever get a chance to see him live, take it. He beatboxes in between singing while playing guitar and throwing in the occasional vocal trumpet solo. This is his only recording so far, unfortunately. Check YouTube for his awesome cover of "Apologize."
I Fight Dragons: Cool Is Just A Number EP
Just an EP, but just great. More chiptune music, but the game consoles take on a more ornamental role, adding to the music rather than turning it into an electronic album. "With You" is a definite favourite.
jj: JJ N°2
I know nothing about this band. I think I might be seeing them in April, but I'm not sure. They are so mysterious! Neat, chill electronic music. "Ecstasy"
Maybeshewill: Sing the Word Hope in Four Part Harmony
A disappointment. Amazing music, but it doesn't really stand up to last year's indescribably awesome Not For Want of Trying. If you haven't started listening to Maybeshewill... Well, I'm not sure if I should tell you to go for this one first or the other. Just get both and play all twenty-something songs at the same time as the band intended.
Mew: No more stories / Are told today / I'm sorry / They washed away / No more stories / The world is grey / I'm tired / Let's wash away
Share threads! Got into this AMAZING band via a share thread, via this album, via the gorgeous song "Cartoons and Macramé Wounds." Check this shit out. Solid album from start to finish.
Mono: Hymn To The Immortal Wind
I can't say much about this one, because I still haven't listened to it much. It's significantly better than past Mono albums, at least. "Everlasting Light" = everlasting orgasm.
The Mountain Goats: the Life of the World to Come
Knowing Darnielle, The Mountain Goats have probably put out four or five albums this year, but this is the one I know about. Each song is based on a biblical verse. It's much more relaxed than their previous few albums, but, in a way, that's a really nice thing. No real stand-out tracks, but I haven't listened to it much.
Porcupine Tree: The Incident
Epic disappointment is epic. I haven't listened to it much, I suppose, but it's... Boring. Very little experimentation it seems compared to everything before Fear of a Blank Planet, but I guess that release should have been a warning. Maybe I'll start to like it someday.
Russian Circles: Geneva
I really can't say much about this album. I only found out about it two weeks ago when I played it on the radio. I had no idea they had come out with a new album. I will point out that "Hexed All" is a great song, however.
Regina Spektor: Far
Perhaps to many people's surprise, I didn't listen to Regina Spektor prior to about three months ago. This album got me hooked, however, when I played "Blue Lips" on the radio. Probably still my favourite song on the album.
Star Fucking Hipsters: Never Rest In Peace
EPIC DISAPPOINTMENT. This one was more crushing than The Incident since I had no shitty previous album to lower my expectations. It's all standard, under-produced garbage. It verges more on death metal than punk, kind of like Fuck World Trade, but it's not good death metal, so who cares. Not up to what I expect from Stza. But maybe that only makes this a success in his eyes. Dunno.
Tip the Van: Passion, Love & Pride
Great ska band. Mostly female vocals, which is interesting for ska. Just a three-song EP, but it's good stuff.
Sara Watkins: Sara Watkins
So Nickel Creek (still haven't listened to them) broke up so they could all pursue solo careers. Sara, the violinist, is off to a good start. At least musically; don't know if this was a financial success. A lot of the tracks are covers, but they're good.
The xx: xx
While I had been playing these guys on the radio for a while, I never really got into them until I saw, to my surprise, that they were in the Top 40 most scrobbled of 2009 on last.fm. So I paid more attention the next time I played them and realized, holy shit they're good. Kind of like jj, but darker. Love "Heart Skipped a Beat" most.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!
Heard "Heads Will Roll" playing on my roommate's stereo one day, and I was hooked. Good stuff. I don't really need to describe it since I was last to the party. Karen O's Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack was quite amazing, as well if you haven't heard that one.
Now that that's out of the way, here are some honorable mentions; things I might like but I got to them too late or haven't had enough time to listen to them enough to judge, perhaps because they're just too different:
The Appleseed Cast: Sagarmatha
Black Mold: Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz
Burnt By The Sun: Heart of Darkness
Dusty Rhodes & the River Band: Palace & Stage
The King Khan & BBQ Show: Invisible Girl
Мельница: Дикие Травы
Mouse on the Keys: An Anxious Object
MSTRKRFT: Fist of God
Portugal. The Man: The Satanic Satanist
Rodrigo y Gabriela: 11:11
Starsailor: All The Plans
I would also like to direct your attention to the Glee soundtracks. Great covers of great music.
And I guess since people will ask, my favourite album of the year is: Aim and Ignite by fun. See above. Hopefully 2010 brings Anathema's new album, considering they released demos for it four years ago.
Questions, comments, recommendations and complaints are all welcome.