(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)
Actress – Splazsh (Honest Jon's) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
There isn’t an album that I’ve played more according to my semi-accurate i-tunes counter. Headphones locked on my ears, racing down LakeShoreTrail on my bike, Fiona, I move faster than I would with out these beats: deep, penetrating, electro-grooves. The track “Lost” puts me into ecstatic meditation and keeps me positive living in the urban environment, surrounded by so many personalities.
Salem – King Night (IAMSOUND) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This entire album crushes my nightmares and brings greater purpose to my subwoofer. Long live grinding vibrations spooking my inner ear enough to dizzy me with wicked wonder.
Best Coast – Crazy for You (Mexican Summer) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
For those moments when you just can’t get that special someone out of your mind, here is a cutie lady, unlucky in love. Lyrics born from her break-up dangle with a lo-fi yet realistic teen-angsty pop. She wrote a letter, in twelve tracks, each under or at 3 minutes highlighting the ups and downs of a sensitive yet passionately adorable galpal lost in her mind about a boy. It’s just too too, opposed to so so!
Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This album takes me on a trip to China, the basement house party and into the caverns of my imaginative mind. Every track has a little something special and the expressions vary like all the musicians Ghostly represent. It’s happy, it’s calming, it’s fun...it’s a must have for 2010.
Shawn Lee – Sing a Song (Ubiquity) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This album can break through pessimism like a cat can spring onto the kitchen counter. Longtime lover of soul/r&b/jazz and all things groovy, Shawn Lee represents the ultimate “Come up to my room, I’ll play you some tracks” guy. Oh, no, really, cup my face in your hands and kiss me, gently. Yes, thank you Sing a Song album, your tunes turn me on.
Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Wait, I though he was going to make an album about every state? Uh, next plan, here is definitely a new state of mind. Once again, his lyrics can bring me to tears as they relate to every moment of my life. So, it’s thoughtful that the words Sufjan’s angels whisper nightly in his dreams can be presented on this delicate yet experimental tender album.
Yeasayer – Odd Blood (Secretly Canadian) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
“Speak up for yourself, son, no matter what anybody else does.” These lyrics, and then some, have been my 13 year old son’s mantra this year. The tracks on Odd Blood are an inventive example of first-wave vibes alongside peppy, self-help lyrics. When listening, I feel like I’m wrapped up in my wool blanky, lying on my teenage bed writing in my diary circa ’88 while shouting lyrics like “Don’t give up on me.” Or “ No, you don’t move me anymore, and I’m glad that you don’t because I can’t take it anymore.” Aw, adolescent crushes empowered by kick-ass dance inspired optimism, right here. It came out in the early 2010, and it still feels so good to jam.
Alex B. – Moments (Elm & Oak) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Variable moments of un-quantized beats bring this electronic musician to a pleasurably novel place. Tracks aren’t too long and they are playfully in a sequence that flow together giving this album listener a little fuel for the long car ride or jog. It’s raw, it’s funky, it’s rightly representin’.
Indian Jewelry – Totaled (We Are Free) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This album is a phenomenal background soundtrack ripe for the art meets music world. I know because I’ve played it start to finish enough to enjoy it’s raucous misbehavior among melodies. There is a hidden sense of order that feels so rough and improvisational. The quality of the lyrics and instrumentation fits into a category all by itself. It’s creative, innovative and thus earns itself a place in an Avante Garde of 2010.
Greie Gut Fraktion – Baustelle (Monika Enterprise) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Yet another one of these unique examples of found sound meets kraut-rock-electronica meets social activism. I was rocking out to Mischmaschine this summer when an SUV of boys rolled their tinted windows down and said “Damn girl, you seem deep into those beats.” It was true, I was almost riding my bike with my eyes closed taking in every nuance of the environment in my head phones coupled with the sonic space of the city. This album is like an assembly plant where every unusual part has an incredible opportunity to be built into the inspired whole.
Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea (Warp)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti - Before Today (4AD)
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening (DFA)
Eskmo - Eskmo (Ninjatune)
Allo Darlin’ - Allo Darlin’ (Fortuna Pop)
Dara Puspita (1966-1968) (Sublime Frequencies)