Less than a month ago I was busy rating and ranking my favourite albums of last year. January isn't even over yet and here I am with a handful of albums I won't be shoving aside any time soon. Notable releases like Pantha du Prince's Black Noise and Four Tet's There is Love in You have yet to sink in. Currently I cannot get enough of Toro Y Moi's electronic masterpiece (?), Causers of This (set to be released in late February), the first of two long players he plans to release this year. Closer to my comfort zone is Surfer Blood's debut Astro Coast, a catchy straight-up indie rock record that steals the best elements from bands like Built to Spill and pre-crappy Weezer. Heavy guitar driven songs that sound as familiar as Pavement. Nothing too complex here, but with the right formula I'm a pretty easy sell. Probably the most essential album to released so far in 2010, however, is the latest opus from Owen Pallett, who's dropped the Final Fantasy moniker due to legal worries -that's my guess anyway (he know's he's gonna be huge in a couple months). Heartland is an album I still need to give a significant amount of time to. It's much larger in scope than anything he's done before, both musically and conceptually. The album is a collection of twelve monologues from Heartland's main character, Lewis, a farmer from a place called Spectrum. Over the course of the album Lewis eventually vows to kill his creator (i.e. Pallett). Hmm. Meta-narrative much? The final album of this rant is Beach House's third album, the more adventurous Teen Dream. Like all their work, it's dreamy folk-pop bolstered by droning atmospherics. I've been listening to this album for a month now and I'm convinced it's their best. How could it be anything less with a song like "Norway"? I can't believe we're only a month into the new year and there's already a wealth of fantastic new music out there. If this continues my head might explode. But thinking back to this point last year, a good number of us were already convinced that Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion was going to be the best album of 2009. Some of us tend to get ahead of ourselves.