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The CHIRP Blog

Jonny writesJon Schech’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Jon Schech.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

These are in chronological order by release date...

  • Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM (Elektra)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: “Le Chat du Café des Artistes”, “In The End” b/w “Time Of The Assassins” - Even when these two get ambitious for a “get you later” hit (Heaven Can Wait) or a striptease anthem (Trick Pony) the results are all fine and good. Half are great, most are really good. Thanks, Beck!
  • Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: (side one/A) and “Lover of Mine” - This surprised me – I’m not the indie hype type. This is just brilliant music that even overrides the few times Alex goes all Chris Martin. Too much to love about this. It’s just a beautiful record.
  • Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders Are Back (Luaka Bop, Inc.)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: (every track on the record!) - Okay I’m a bit impartial because they’re from Milwaukee, but why not? As long as they stay away from jazz, I’m on board.
  • The Poison Contol Center – Sad Sour Future (Afternoon)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Track: “Stay Golden” - This is the aural equivalent of having the finest slice of whatever you have been fancying the most. I just don’t know what to do because I’m not this indie, unless I’m listening to this. It’s like the White Album of indie. A delectable slice of almost perfect indie pie, disguised as genius off center pop music from Iowans!
  • The Black Keys – Brothers (Nonesuch)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: “The Only One” b/w “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Tighten Up” - This is no ‘solid album’, but what is these days? These guys are so proper with everyone their record registered on the corporate charts. What they do is great, and somehow it makes no difference as long as they keep doing good things. Also: “Everlasting Light” jams so good it needs no hook. Modern day greatness...
  • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: “Hot Body Rub”, “Round And Round” b/w “Little Wig” - At first you think this is a joke but then the massive genius ambition grabs you. I never thought or I forgot how making this kind of music could be possible. Thanks to this record, I hope more of this kind of music begins to exist. Amazing harmonies and awesome hooks abound. Refrain from ignoring “Butt-House Blondies”. The song has substantial meritas actioni!
  • Jaill – That's How We Burn (Sup Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: “Demon” b/w “Thank Us Later” and “That’s How We Burn” - I’m not a-gonna try to convince you this is good. Either you dig it or not. I personally even like the album cover. That has to be none other than the west coast of Lake Michigan. Green.
  • Orgone – Killion Vaults (Ubiquity)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: (Every track on the record! Again!) - This band released two records this year. This is the instrumental one that blew me away. Now they have to get that star vocalist to step up (or add another one?) because they’ve got it. West coast sh’ comin’atcha!
  • Aeroplane – We Can't Fly (Eskimo)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: “London Bridge” b/w “My Enemy”, “Superstar” b/w “Caramellas” - I’ve been waiting to get sick of this record. I haven’t. This is true continental music as implied by the title, and this is, at this point, still a good thing. They can always come to America and infuse their already genius music with some deeper soul, and that would blow me away.
  • Violens – Amoral (Friendly Fire)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Best Tracks: “Violent Sensation Descends” b/w “It Couldn’t Be Perceived” - This record deserves high marks for just plain being ambitious. With so many strong influences vying for a ‘sound’ makes listening more challenging. I wouldn’t want to be laughed at for overlooking the amazing potential here.

 

The Suburban Wives Fantasy Singles! (honorable mention songs, records…)
Broken Bells
Affair EP
“Traxx” b/w “Frozen” by Salem
“Hang On In There” by John Legend/The Roots
“Rollercoaster” by Black Mountain
“Wings Away” b/w “Dance Floor” by The Apples In Stereo
“Lines” by Elsinore
“Bellringer Blues” b/w “When My Baby Comes” by Grinderman
“I’m Aware” by Clinic
“Tarmac City” b/w “Mighty Fine Pie” by Endless Boogie
“Come On Sister” b/w “Suicide Girl” by Belle & Sebastian
“Search Party” b/w “Photojournalist” by Small Black
“Horophones” by The Love Language

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

CHIRP DJ writescloudsasha’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio volunteer cloudsasha.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

  1. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This album is true to it's name. It feels like a dreamy crush. It's the perfect combination of melody and harmony; an album that's so easy to fall in love with.
  2. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Modular)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Aussie trio Tame Impala brings back rock 'n roll the way it's supposed to be heard: with the perfect mixture of smooth as heck production, reverb, percussion and guitar slam dunks. Innerspeaker is an album the way that an album is supposed to be. Each track is a show-stopping psychedelic adventure
  3. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When I first heard that Ariel Pink was going to release a fully produced album using actual, real-life drums I couldn't believe my ears. Before Today is a throwback to the 70's and early 80s in the best way. Ariel has broken out of his reclusive shell and with the backing of Haunted Graffiti, they've created a perfect pop gem.
  4. How to Dress Well – Love Remains (Lefse)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    My friend recommended me this track by saying, "He samples Inoj, man!" Annnnd that's when I was sold. Love Remains' second track,"Ready for the World", cuts up Inoj's "Love You Down" and transforms it into a beautiful accompanying melody with graceful hand claps and ghosty background vocals. Each track fits into the next one seamlessly. How To Dress Well makes me feel like I'm riding a giant, sparkly, white horse through a magical forest.
  5. Toro Y Moi – Causers of This (Carpark)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I just want to be happy. I just want to listen to music that reminds me of how nice the summer was. Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick makes me feel good. He sets himself apart from the other recent bands that fall under this mush of Beach Boys-esque music through his crudely produced style that shifts from rock 'n roll to slicked out electronic. [Note: His follow up 7" single Leave Everywhere deserves major bonus points.]
  6. Las Robertas – Cry Out Loud (Art Fag Recordings)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    What's better than three super hot Costa Rican girls playing super poppy garage rock? Nuthin'! Las Robertas are surfing the 2010 wave of garage girl bands with grace and style, and boy, wouldn't I like to be on that surf board with them.
  7. Caribou – Swim (Merge)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    As soon as you hear the start of "Odessa" off of Caribou's Swim, you're sold. Daniel Snaith, a former mathematician, puts his his big, number crunchin' brain to use by developing the most successful Caribou album yet--not to mention the live show is killer, filled with kaleidoscopic videos that will blow your miiiiiiind.
  8. Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils (Captured Tracks)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    With a slight nod to the reverb-filled vocals and melodies of the Clientele, Beach Fossils sing their summer hearts out and twang their guitars. This is a perfect sleepover dance party album from the hearts of these four Brooklyn boys to you.
  9. Fur Cups For Teeth – FCFU (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Fur Cups For Teeth are an all-girl, Brooklyn based, trio. The start of this album is reminiscent of the riot grrrl with guitar and drum heavy pop beats with perfectly harmonized, soulfully sweet vocals. These girls ooze attitude and wit. They’re able to shift from punk songs ("Buffalo," "International Baby") in the beginning of the album to Le Tigre and Ladytron-like electro dance beats ("Dadadaddy") with no difficulty at all. This album is versatile, danceable, and can easily seduce the ears of first-time listeners.
  10. White Mystery – White Mystery (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    No one can ever deny a brother-sister duo that is not only from Chicago, but one of the best live acts of the whole entire year. Look out world, there's a ginger cloud rising over the mountains!

 

Honorable Mentions
Girls - Broken Dreams Club
Teen Inc. - Fountains/Friends of the Night 7"
Minks - By the Hedge

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

Owen Harris writesOwen Harris’ Best Of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Owen Harris.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

  1. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    As confirmed by James Murphy, this album doesn’t signal the end of LCD Soundsystem per se, but future endeavours may involve less touring in support. Or more. Their previous long-play outing, Sound Of Silver, is still a high-rotate turntable showing at the Kiwi pad, but it’s in the live arena – festival or club - where LCD come into their own. Their Coachella performance closing out Friday night was a weekend highlight, 20-ft disco ball and all, and similarly the Metro performance threatened to tear the roof off the sucker. And yes, Nancy rocks! Fave tracks? Opener Dance Yrself Clean, Pow Pow, I Can Change.
  2. Sharon Van Etten – Epic (Badabing)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Sharon’s 2nd full-length outing is, indeed, gorgeously epic. I was lucky enough to catch her 6 or so months back at the now-legendary Chris Knox Stroke Benefit concert in NYC, and was impressed. Now, I’m bummed I missed her gig at Lincoln Hall supporting Junip. Word has she blew them off the stage. This LP has been on high-rotate and I’ll probably still be listening in decades to come. Standouts? Hard to choose, but if pressed, Peace Signs & One Day.
  3. The Fall – Your Future, Our Clutter (Domino)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Mark E. Cha Cha! To my ears their best since Kurious Oranj, but don’t ask me about most in-between. The riffs are their, the Mancunian mumble is in full effect, and reports from their recent Auckland NZ gig suggest The Fall have never been better. We saw them there in the early 80’s, bootlegged by Chris Knox as Fall In A Hole. Check out Bury Pts. 1 + 3
  4. Stan Ridgeway – Neon Mirage (A440)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The man will need no introduction to many, but to the rest he’s best known for Mexican Radio back in his Wall Of Voodoo days. Stanard has been pretty prolific ever since, and even organizes musical train adventures around the Southwest. His current album Neon Mirage is right up with the best of Wall of Voodoo, with an eclectic mix of musical styles from ubiquitous country steel guitar to bossa-nova rhythms. His stories are colourful, told with a vivid musical palette.
  5. The Puddle – Playboys In The Bush (Fishrider)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    George Henderson is a Kiwi music legend. The Puddle have been around in one form or another for many a year, but their latest Playboys In The Bush is arguably their best. Check out the epic Valhalla which in a live setting is even more powerful. Other personal faves include What I Believe and Sleepy People.
  6. Dear Time's Waste – Spells (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Kiwi Clare Duncan has crafted yet another collection of beautiful song, in some cases even more delicate than those on her debut EP, Room For Rent. Check out Alice, Swallowed, We Are Where We Were Before
  7. The Phoenix Foundation – Buffalo (EMI)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    These Wellingtonians from NZ have churned out yet another great album, just as diverse and different as the last. Here’s hoping we have a proper US tour soon! Buffalo, Pot, Bitte Bitte
  8. Grayson Gilmour – No Constellation (Flying Nun)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Grayson is the first signing to the recently re-purchased and re-juvenated Flying Nun records out of NZ, which has indie musical pedigree going back to 1981. The songs are largely in the orchestrated pop vein, with a definite Kiwi edge. I look forward to more. Pure pop for now people! I Am a Light, Pearly Whites
  9. Gil Scott-Heron – I'm New Here (XL)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    It’s not Winter In America or Pieces of a Man, but it’s a new Gil album, which many predicated would never happen. Produced by XL Recordings owner Richard Russell, it has a contemporary edge, with spoken interludes adding rather than detracting from the grittiness of the delivery and material. A solid listen, standouts include Me and the Devil and New York Is Killing Me. Welcome back, Gil.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

DJ Betynka - It's 12 O'Clock Somewhere writesElizabeth Ramborger’s Best Of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ and treasurer Elizabeth Ramborger.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members’ picks.)

My first year of DJing on CHIRP has brought a lot of new and different music my way and I’m glad to say this by-no-means-exclusive-or-even-in-any-particular-order list is influenced by the wealth of new music I’ve been exposed to from fellow DJs. It’s also been an incredibly busy year and odd that I haven’t had as much time to really process music coherently. No matter! Spending Xmas day on my couch, looking out on the snow in Ukie Village and cataloguing some of my favorites from 2010 is about the best way I could hope to spend an afternoon.

  1. Stornoway – The Beachcombers’ Windowsill (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    first heard this release one afternoon when I was getting frustrated working on some paperwork at the studio. Billy Kalb threw it on and quietly backed out of the office and it did the trick. There’s something about Stornoway that makes me think of other great British songwriters…it led me to dig out some old Kirsty MacColl and Billy Bragg. Beautiful stuff that just hits me the way music should. They’re also a nice group of lads who can pull off their lyrical sincerity, raising mundane moments up into simple grandeur.
  2. The Fresh & Onlys – Play It Strange (In The Red)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The prolific Fresh & Only’s brought us their best yet, improving on their previous lo-fi neo-surf-garage-psych-jangle releases with an album that haunts and twinkles and stomps.
  3. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Ironically it’s with his supposed last LCD Soundsystem record that I fall completely in love with James Murphy. One of the best moments of the summer was LCD Soundsystem taking the stage at Pitchfork—the Chicago skyline, the moon coming out…Murphy brings a warmth to his shows that took me completely off guard. Swoon.
  4. Robyn – Body Talk (Konichiwa_
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I’m listing the whole she-bang of EPs here, too. From hipster guilty pleasure to full-on pop star, Robyn’s come a long way.
  5. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Great hooks and beauty all over this one with a good dose of jangle.
  6. Sonny and the Sunsets – Tomorrow Is Alright (Soft Abuse)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Sonny Smith strikes me as being a modern-day Jerry Lee Lewis. The Sunsets emerge from the San Francisco scene along with favorites the Fresh & Onlys and Thee Oh Sees, but with a humor and swagger all their own. “Love Among Social Animals” will put a smile on your face.
  7. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I hate to admit I didn’t realize the lead singer was a girl. Sort of like Yaz? The “dream pop” categorization sums it up. A beautiful album you can listen to over and over and over again
  8. Judson Claiborne – Time and Temperature (La Société Expéditionnaire)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Solid local folk rock. A gorgeous album from start to finish.
  9. Jonsi – Go (XL)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    “Go Do” is my inner indie Nike slogan, propelling me out into the sun to just do it. Whatever it is, it will be good.
  10. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush To Relax (Goner)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    It seems appropriate to close out this list with a band that formed at a work Christmas party (at a vinyl pressing plant!). I overlooked them awhile back when recommended to me by a friend, but this release led to an immediate purchase of their back-catalogue. Infectious garage punk. An unfortunate middle-booking at the Empty Bottle just led them to steal the show.

 

Other Odds and Ends

The Liminana’s – “I’m Dead” 7” (HoZac)
ooo! French pop at it’s new best! And on a local label!

 

Radar Eyes – “Not You Again” (B-side, HoZac Hookup Klub Record 12)
my favorite little local release, this has a nice shambolic indie pop vibe.

 

 

Black Tambourine – s/t (Slumberland)
best reissue

 

 

Posies – Blood/Candy (Rykodisc)
my favorite band ever but this wins worst Thax Douglas reference award. Oh Jon and Ken, what were you thinking?

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

Tony Breed writesTony Breed’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from local cartoonist, CHIRP Radio DJ, and Marketing Co-Director Tony Breed.

(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)

It’s been a great year for music, which makes it a hard year for making a top 10 list. (I could easily have made a top 20.) As usual, I labored too hard over this list, and will want to rearrange it in a few month’s time anyway. Well. I can stand by my decisions through the end of the year, anyway.

  1. Janelle Monáe – The Archandroid (Atlantic)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    It’s a little bit rock and a little bit soul and a little bit hip hop and a little bit 1960’s Disney musical. Janelle Monáe debut full-length album is impressively diverse, but more importantly, it works, start to finish. It’s also proof that the album format is still vital – don’t just buy the songs you like from iTunes, buy the whole thing and listen to it start to finish.
  2. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    James Murphy’s latest (and last, so he says) album is his best yet. This Is Happening mines the depths of 1980’s synthpop (think The Human League) without sounding like a retro fetishist. I think I’m OK with this being the last LCD Soundsystem album (because I suspect Murphy has developed this idea as far as it will go), but I do hope we continue to hear from him in other projects.
  3. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Brilliant. Newsom is also an artist who just keeps getting better. OK, I accept that she’s not for everyone. But if you haven’t made your mind up, this is the album to check out. The music on Have One on Me is complex and dense and gorgeous. I recommend listening to it on headphones.
  4. Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    More good headphones music. The Golden Archipelago explores the theme of life on islands in 11 lush and heady tracks with that prog-rock edge I find so irresistible.
  5. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Nothing sounds like Ariel Pink except Ariel Pink. And to be honest, I never really got it before. Some songs I liked, but generally I could take or leave the albums. I don’t really know what it is about Before Today that is so good, but I just love this album. It’s got a wistful, nostalgic quality to it — but not idealized; murky, like memory.
  6. Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders Are Back (Luaka Bop, Inc.)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Hot, from start to finish. Kings Go Forth revisit disco and funk and make you want to get up on the floor and dance.
  7. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Avant garde music makes you think, but it’s not always easy on the ears. Cosmogramma is good music and a good listen. The album includes both samples of Sun Ra and samples of people playing ping pong. All that could have been very good, or terrible. Fortunately for us, it’s excellent.
  8. Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can (Astralwerks)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    It’s entirely possible that out of all my picks for this top ten list, this is the album I will end up listening to the most. It’s not the lyrics, though they are good; it’s not the beautiful melodies – it’s Laura Marling’s gorgeous, gorgeous voice that really carries this album.
  9. Martha & The Muffins – Delicate (Muffin Music)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    After an 18 year hiatus, Mark Gane and Martha Johnson are back with new material. Frankly, I was worried. This is one of my favorite bands; what if it wasn’t good? Comeback material is so often weak. Well, no worries, this album is pretty great.
  10. Canasta – The Fakeout, The Tease, and The Breather (Canasta)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    One of my favorite local bands, Canasta makes smart, catchy chamber pop. The Fakeout, the Teaser, and the Breather further develops the band’s sound. I have special affection for “Choosing Sides”, a cheerful-sounding tune about an ordinary, ugly divorce.

 

  • Honorable Mention:
    Laurie Anderson — Homeland
    Arcade Fire — The Suburbs
    Broken Social Scene — Forgiveness Rock Record
    Elvis Costello — National Ransom
    Dungen — Skit I Alt
    In Tall Buildings — In Tall Buildings
    Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings — I Learned the Hard Way
    The National — High Violet
    Yeasayer — Odd Blood
  • Songs of The Year:
    Songs so good that I’m afraid I might overplay them. I could certainly play them every show and never get tired of them.

    Mark Ronson & The Business Intl — "Lose It (In The End)" [feat. Ghostface Killah & Alex Greenwald] Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Yeasayer — "O.N.E." Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    In Tall Buildings — "The Way to a Monster’s Lair" Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Laurie Anderson — "Only an Expert" Amazon / Insound / iTunes

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

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