Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Albums of 2010: 11 - 25 (in alphabetical order)

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot; Son of Chico Dusty

This behemoth of an album has several missteps(clunky “rock” choruses, Yelawolf, losing those Andre 3000 guest spots) but when it’s right, it is so right that the bad stuff doesn’t stick. Big Boi gives his best performance as an MC, over an LP that can just about fill the Outkast sized hole in your life.

Hannibal Buress - My Name Is Hannibal

Hannibal Burres is one of the sharpest comedians around. A lot of people have a problem with me propping comedy records up with music, I say make your own damn list. You did? Oh. No I don’t want to read it.

The Dream – Love King

The biggest snub of the Grammys 2 years in a row, The Dream is making dynamic amazingly fantastic records. The amount of songs on here that sound like hits is astounding. The fact that most weren’t is tragic. We are depleting our love making anthem reserves; future generations will ask us “Why?”

The Fresh & Onlys – Play It Strange

The Fresh & Onlys will continue to build a sterling reputation as they construct a discography on a balance of an ever deepening palette of wide eyed pop and proto punk influences, and an intuitive and rewarding sense of song craft. Get on board now, or we’ll see you for the reissue.

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

For a brief moment in the mid90’s alt culture was reveling in a thousand influences from a thousand directions at once. Cornershop disappeared, Beck became a sad scientologist, and Jon Spencer became a rock revival act. Gorillaz is the clearest extension of that aesthetic and this is their best work.

Grass Widow – Past Time

If you’re into mildly angular, somewhat dissonant, indie pop sung by women, your cup runneth over the last few years. So you could be forgiven for skipping these guys as also-rans. Forgiven, but sadly out of the loop on one of the best rock records of the year. Your bad.

Harlem – Hippies

Snotty, unhinged and funny, Harlem are perhaps the clearest heirs to all of Jay Reatard’s finer attributes, without the edge of psychotic perfectionist angst. Which is good because we want these guys to stick around for a while.

Lindstrøm & Christabelle – Real Life Is No Cool

Everything about this album from it’s atmospheric vocals welded onto motorific grooves to it’s title screams: Soundtrack to Asian Fusion Restaurant in Williamsburg. But it’s deliciously spicy and starchy comfort food at the same time, why fight it?

Joanna Newsome – Have One On Me

After the packaging and the shear volume of work comes into focus, Have One On Me is a really grounded album. That it’s still played on a harp by a beautiful young woman who’s distinct ears suggest she’s a mythical-magical humanoid sent here for our collective bemusement is just gravy.

Off! – The First Four EPs

Off! like all great hardcore have an agenda. They are reviving a dead horse beaten to death by a thousand misguided teenagers. They are riding it into the indie-blogosphere and murdering kids with glasses. We thank them.

The Radio Dept. – Clinging to a Scheme

This band has been around for years but apparently never sounded like this beautiful dreamy Swede pop before. So I’m off the hook on hearing their early records. A stunning debut.

Sleigh Bells – Treats

Everything but “Rill Rill” already sounds dated. Here is your incredibly loud First half of 2010 time capsule. Lest We Forget.

Tyvek – Nothing Fits

Hardcore with a Yelp rather than a Growl. Better than that statement suggests, I swear.

Vampire Weekend – Contra

These guys should actually be MORE popular than they are. The songs are great and the music is smartly subtly multicultural. Well I guess that explains it.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Too long, too ambitious, too full of its self, but then too good to be ignored. Kanye is as witty as ever, and guest verses from Nicki Minaj and Pusha T are among the best by anyone this year. Skip the extended instrumentals.

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