Because No. 19 rocked avant bells from Brooklyn to the Black Forest and back again.
The origin story of “Atlas,” as recycled by journalists (like me!) throughout the year, goes something like: Battles drummer John Stainer claims inspiration from hearing German DJs boot a new hole up house music’s 4/4 with the schaffel/shuffle records of pioneering producers like der bruders Voigt; fans not already down with the turn-of-the-millennium Euro techno program simply source Stainer’s boom-bap in the bleacher-rumbling glam rock bop of the early ’70s; everyone wins, minus a few blogging wags who invoke Marilyn Manson with slightly less approval. For me and just about anyone who caught Battles in person this year, the body-moving (as opposed to baffling) “Atlas” really came alive onstage, seducing even those who worried that the new Battles would no longer be bringing the math-rock pain. The second time I saw the band in 2007, a gleeful audience danced from Stainer’s first bass drum whomp, a feat that no doubt flipped the wigs of anyone who once grimaced along with “In The Meantime” or maniacally drummed their desktops to What Burns Never Returns.