This is the first of my "Best Of" lists. Here is the first half of my top thirty albums. Enjoy.

30. Starlight Mints - Built On Squares

Pop-licious. The Mints last album was one of my favorites and I knew it would take a real stinker for the one one to be left off my list this year. Well, Built on Squares isn't a masterpiece, but it's still pretty awesome. So, it gets this list started.

29. Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism

Ho boy. They just keep churning out good records. This would probably be a lot higher if that Postal Service hadn't come out this year. So, keep up the good work Cuties!

28. The Sea And Cake - One Bedroom

I feel bad this record is so low on the list. I think it's one of their best but I just haven't been in a big post-rock mood lately. If you are, you owe it to yourself to pick up this record. They're at the top of their game.

27. Muse - Absolution

This album was disappointing, yet it managed to stay on my list. After hearing Origin of Symmetry I thought their next record would blow the world away. That didn't happen. Maybe Matt Bellamy is a little too into himself at the moment. Thankfully a fair Muse record is still better than most others.

26. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Nocturama

When I first heard this record, it completely and totally blew me away. I had never really listened to Nick Cave before and this was a shock to my system. I was amazed that someone could write a forty-three verse song that stayed exciting the whole way through. Quite an achievement. When the time came to choose, the record seemed to slip down in the lists. I'm still going to be buying a lot of old Nick Cave records.

25. Rufus Wainwright - Want One

The next fifteen records are so ridiculously close in quality it was almost painful to select the order. Nonetheless I did put them in order, and this is one of the records that may have been slighted. That being said, Want One is a beautiful album with lush orchestration. He is one of the most prolific and competent songwriters working today.

24. Beulah - Yoko

This album has some serious maturity going on, which is awesome. My biggest problem with their last couple albums was the lack of overall quality. I liked a bunch of the songs but never really wanted to listen all the way through. Now, they seem to be focusing on new aspects of songwriting and the new direction is, well, awesome.

23. Deerhoof - Apple O'

This is the first of two albums that I discovered thanks to an internship at Spin. Of course, neither of them ever made it in the magazine this year (as far as I know), but that is to be expected. Apple O' really shocked me when I first heard it. It's the kind of album that makes your parents go, "Wah?" After two or three listens, I fell in love with the unusal, discordant melodies. I think this might be the most original record I've heard all year.

22. The New Pornographers - Electric Version

Stop it, please. All of this awesome pop is giving me those convulsions you get after eating too much sugar. New Porn continues to make some of the best rock and roll records in the world. The only reaosn it's not higher is because I was hoping for something a little more original. This almost feels like Mass Romantic pt. 2, which is great but not exciting.

21. Cex - Being Ridden

Is this rap? No, not really. Is this Eletronica? Definitely not. Being Ridden is the kind of album that makes you wish we could do away with classification altogether. The lead track, "The Wayback Machine," is just amazing. If the rest of the album had been as strong, it would have sent this to the top of my list. Since it's at twenty-one, you can guess it's not. Nonetheless, the rest of the album holds its own.

20. Radiohead - Hail To The Thief

I've listened to this album a bunch of times, but for dudes who have been more innovative than just about every other band around, Hail to the Thief doesn't really bring things up a notch. Thankfully, a seemingly half-assed album by Radiohead is still good enough to be a third of the way up my list. Another solid outing from these kiddies.

19. Damien Jurado - Where Shall You Take Me?

Yet another record that could have easily been number eleven, but I had to give everything a number and Where Shall You Take Me? kept slipping. I think Damien Jurado is one of the best songwriters in the world. All of his albums are solid and varied, with his newest being no exception. A more relaxed effort than his work with Gathered in Song, but the perfect record for a Sunday morning. Aaaahhhhhh.

18. Manitoba - Up in Flames

Their live show is what pushed me over the edge. I was enjoying Up in Flames, but once I saw him/them playing the songs I listened to the record about fifty more times. A sonic masterpiece with a number of standout songs.

17. Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash

Kish Kash could have easily been higher if I hadn't bought it a couple weeks ago. Albums change over weeks and months so I had to let it sink in some more. Over the time I've owned it, I couldn't get enough of it. The Jaxx are completely unbelievable and I've wholeheartedly given in to them. Ever since I heard "Romeo" in London a few years ago, it's been all up hill. Kish Kash has less sex, but the beats are out of this world.

16. The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart

First listen: Bah, sounds like everything else. I had listened to the album on their website and was only mildly impressed. A couple weeks later a good friend of mine recommended the album and I decided to buy it since it was cheap. I will never say "bah" to this album again. It felt a little too slick at first, but now I'm totally into it. Vice, your magazine may be annoying but your first record release was right on the money.