December 8, 2010

The Best Albums of 2010 :: 30-16

PhotobucketGrass Widow - Past Time
Raw propulsive bass lines, angular guitars and near chaotic overlapping vocal harmony lend a discordant beauty to the follow-up from this all-girl San Francisco trio.
Sample: "Shadow"

PhotobucketDeer Tick - The Black Dirt Sessions
A dark brooding collection of songs that, with the exception of "When She Comes Home" and "Mange," feel more like a sobering John McCauley solo record than than the drunken poetry of Deer Tick—but poetry it still is.
Sample: "Twenty Miles"

PhotobucketSurfer Blood - Astro Coast
From the light tone of "Take It Easy" to the giant roaring swell of "Swim" and ferocious velocity of "Neighbor Riffs," this is simply one of the best guitar-driven rock records to come out in quite some time.
Sample: "Neighbor Riffs"

PhotobucketThe Radio Dept. - Clinging To A Scheme
This is pop music in its most charming, addictive, and sweepingly creative light—a near greatest hits quality collection of singles from this elusive Swedish band.
Sample: "Never Follow Suit"

PhotobucketThe Love Language - Libraries
From the percussive tornadoe of "Brittany's Back" to the hopping harmony-glazed "Anthophobia," its clear Stuart McLamb's first recording studio experience has only sharpened his fuzzy and nostalgic vision of pop music.
Sample: "Heart To Tell"

PhotobucketToro Y Moi - Causers of This
"You Hid," "Low Shoulder," and "Causers of This" are three of the more original dance and funk-fueled tracks of the past decade, and that's just the tip of this brilliant sample-crazed iceberg.
Sample: "Low Shoulder"

PhotobucketCotton Jones - Tall Hours In The Glowstream
There's a texture and tone to this palette of overlapping male/female vocal harmony, echoing tambourine, and drifting organ that recall a place and time lost long ago and now once again found—call it psychadelic folk nostalgia.
Sample: "Glorylight and Christie"

PhotobucketGrinderman - Grinderman 2
Nick Cave, who has penned many a murder ballad, conjures more dark and twisted tales here, pairing his crazed poetry with an equally distorted assortment of demonically possessed guitars and violent bass and drums.
Sample: "Mickey Mouse and The Goodbye Man"

PhotobucketThe Arcade Fire - Suburbs
Suburbs may lack the same urgency and visceral punch in the gut displayed by the wildly intimate Funeral and Neon Bible, but even if Suburbs is a subtle misstep, it's a sprawling, epic and overwhelmingly thoughtful one.

PhotobucketFuturebirds - Hampton's Lullaby
The power of music lies in the fact it lives within time—it begins, grows, changes, and dies—and Hampton's Lullaby is a record especially alive, with band members playing on the edge of a knife between harmony and utter chaos, celebrating every moment as if its their last.
Sample: "Battle For Rome"

PhotobucketSharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - I Learned The Hard Way Singer Sharon Jones may be 54 years old, but she's in the prime of her career with the best backing band in music ready to translate her every move into a funky, hip-shaking and soul-stirring groove.
Sample: "I Learned The Hard Way"

PhotobucketThe Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
The talent in Kristian Matsson's pinky alone probably exceeds that of most successful musicians—he's simply one of the best acoustic guitar-slinging songwriters to emerge since "the great one."
Sample: "King of Spain"

PhotobucketHarlem - Hippies
Out of all the low fidelity garage rock that's inundated our musical shores over the past year, this is the charming, humor-filled and ultimately timeless record that will outlast them all, perhaps due in large part to a tireless simplicity and the band's complete inability to take themselves seriously.

PhotobucketBroken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
This is the most instantaneously enjoyable and accessible record from Canada's favorite rock collective and no experimental or sonic flourish is left unturned, thanks to the bob and weave of sound engineer John McEntire.
Sample: "Forced To Love"

PhotobucketVampire Weekend - Contra
The band that everyone loves to hate returned a large middle finger to their dissenters with an album cover featuring a blonde with a popped Polo shirt and a studious amalgamation of world music-inspired pop songs that bounce from Africa to India to Jamaica and the previously unexplored electronic realm.

Vampire Weekend

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