Albums of the year: Rock & Pop

'LCD Soundsystem's new album was head and shoulders in front of the competition'
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Sometimes, calling the winner is easy. LCD Soundsystem's Kraftwerkian opus Sound of Silver took the lead back in January and remained head and shoulders in front of the competition, although Felix Da Housecat's Virgo Blaktro and the Movie Disco was a fine companion piece. In a similar genre, Scotland's cocky Calvin Harris's I Created Disco was a party from start to finish, Canadian electrofunkers Chromeo's Fancy Footwork carried on where their cracking debut left off, Robyn's self-titled album positioned her as a pop-friendly Peaches and New Young Pony Club's Fantastic Playroom nearly captured the punk-funk poise of their live shows. A few of alt-rock's gnarly old buggers proved they still have what it takes: Nick Cave returned to his garage roots with Grinderman, and his former missus PJ Harvey (with White Chalk) and his proto-goth peer Siouxsie Sioux (with Mantaray) both made late-career classics, while Welsh wonders Manic Street Preachers ( Send Away the Tigers) and Super Furry Animals ( Hey Venus!) came up with the goods once again. In terms of younger auteurs, newcomer Mika's Life In Cartoon Motion had a swagger which was most closely matched, ironically, by his adversary and sometime support act Patrick Wolf, with The Magic Position. Kylie's tenth album X was both her best album and the year's best major pop release, although if more people had bought Lucky Soul's The Great Unwanted or Dragonette's Galore, she might have had a challenger...