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Austin B. Harvey presents: The Liquid Diet writesAustin Harvey’s Best of 2010

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

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

  1. Stricken City – Songs About People I Know (The Kora) / Animal Festival EP (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This London quartet craft catchy, singable pop tunes with danceable rhythms, wonderful melodies, and sonic flourishes aplenty. The former release, a mini-album that stampedes through its 10 songs in 31 minutes, showcases tremendous breadth and range, from soaring choruses to hushed balladry. Relentlessly fun, thoughtful, and never hesitating to pull out the stops. The follow-up EP is more of the same, with more electronic elements and wistful chord progressions. Sadly, the bands second album, next years Losing Colour, will be their last. Perhaps they were just too good to last.
  2. The Walkmen – Lisbon (Fat Possum)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When The Walkmen sound great, which is often, they seem to give their brand of poppy indie-rock more space to breathe then any other quintet out there. On their latest, strings and horns are even brought into the mix. But still its the songs, even when the refrains crescendo to their highest point, that allow the listener to roam around like a vacant snowy night. The result is the best non-Scandinavian winter album in years.
  3. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The Canadian collective employed John McEntire for production on their fourth proper album, and the Chicago brainchild did good here, by the band, and the listener. The band use all their weapons in ways familiar and unfamiliar, creating an indie-rock stew that goes from minimally electronic to brutally epic, post-punk to post-rock. Its an album for sorting through ones demons, and at the end they feel exorcised.
  4. The Streets On Fire – This is Fancy (The Currency Exchange)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When starting a new business venture, some folks stick to the adage, "Do one thing, but do it better than anybody else." This seems to be the mantra of Chicagos The Streets On Fire. Their debut album roars out of the gate with disgustingly filthy guitar, vocals culled from what could be a shortwave radio, and anthemic power to light the entire Midwest. Post-punk jams from your neighbors basement, bluesy, urgent, fun, and undeniable.
  5. Four Tet – There is Love In You (Domino)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Maybe its because Kieran Hebdens live show at Metro earlier this year was one of my favorites. Maybe its because he samples, of all things, a handbell choir, and I happened to play handbells at church in my youth. Maybe its the fact that this album is a huge departure from the also-excellent (and more rock song-based) Rounds. Truth is, it's a combination of those things, as well as some of the best beats of the year coupled with bits of sound clipped from the places you'd least expect. At once moving and booty-shaking, and unafraid to do either.
  6. Eux Autres – Broken Bow (Bon Mots)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    There were so many twee-pop, chamber-pop, and Spector-influenced female-fronted fuzz-pop records released in 2010 that wading through all of them to find a gem or two is daunting and frustrating venture. So let me do you a favor and tell you this: Get This Album. Trust me. Everything about the above genres is nailed by this Portland duo. One of the few indie-pop records this year that never sounds forced.
  7. The Roots – How I Got Over (Def Jam)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    After stating that Rising Down would be their last, The Roots come back with a lean, mean, intellectual album thats the head-bopper you knew they still had in them. In addition to giving us the best Joanna Newsom track of the year ("Right On"), the Philadelphians give us piano-driven floor-thumpers that still prove that theyre the best hip-hop act in the biz, Jimmy Fallon or not. And auto-tuning the baby crying on the last track? Genius.
  8. Charanjit Singh – Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat (Bombay Connection)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Heres the deal: Back in 1982, a Mumbai soundtrack composer and wedding performer went into the studio with a few Roland synths and merged East with West, playing traditional Indian ragas on keyboards, and backing the tracks with disco beats. The result is a stunning precursor to modern techno that still sounds groundbreaking today. A commercial flop in India in the 1980s, this 2010 re-release has folks trumpeting Singh as the pioneer of acid house, years before the term existed. Mindblowing.
  9. Frightened Rabbit – Winter of Mixed Drinks (Fat Cat)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The Scottish band added a member, beefed up their sound, got over a breakup, and the resultant record is their best. More confident, with still enough insecurity to create lyrics of self-doubt as well as self-assurance, Frightened Rabbit have mastered bringing in their folk influences into a full rock band setting. Empowering stuff for anyone getting past relationship troubles.
  10. Verma – Salted Earth (Self-Released)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Aiming right for the intersection of krautrock and psychedelia, and hitting the darkest of bullseyes, this Chicago quartet paint haunting pictures with fuzz, delay, and squawks. All the while, eerie vocals and insistent drums ease their way into your cerebral cortex. It might not be metal, but its certainly one of the best heavy releases of the year in any genre.

Cut-Missers:

  • 11. Robyn - Body Talk (Konichiwa) Anyone who says "Dancing On My Own" isn't 2010s best song is a liar.
    12. Drink Up Buttercup - Born And Thrown On A Hook (Yep Roc) Imagine if an indie-rock band joined the circus. An energetic, yet well-thought, debut leaping from verse to chorus to completely-unrelated-movement with reckless abandon.
    13. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam) Proggy at times, but otherwise a brilliant and forward-thinking masterpiece from modern musics foremost nutball.
    14. The New Pornographers - Together (Matador) The New Pornographers albums are like Star Trek movies. Every other one is wonderful. This one is wonderful.
    15. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (Merge) Uneven at times, but still a wonderfully satisfying chamber-pop record.
    16. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid (Atlantic) Plays like a soul review in the 22nd Century. Also plays like the best Outkast album since Stankonia. The lady can rap, sing, and write.
    17. Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM (Because) The best work Beck has done since Midnite Vultures. A wonderful marriage of French pop and indie sensibilities.
    18. Club 8 - The Peoples Record (Labrador) Coquette-ish Swedish pop with West African backing beats? Just crazy enough to work. If it were only summer...
    19. of Montreal - False Priest (Polyvinyl) Kevin Barnes is insane. If he wants to make sci-fi sex jams, you say "yes" and dance along.
    20. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening (DFA) Would have made my top ten had I not realized that there are a couple serious clunkers on it.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

James Vest writesJames Vest’s Best of 2010

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

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

  1. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Modular)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    When describing a good music review, CHIRP music director, Billy Kalb, once noted, "Be specific. Don't use a word like, 'Beatles-esque'." With Tame Impala, it's rather complicated to move beyond the label, but imagine an alternate universe where The Beatles played "Tomorrow Never Knows" on Ed Sullivan. Moving on for there, the band exchanged flutes for synths, Yoko Ono for psychotropic soundscapes that spilt over the event horizon, arriving in our reality through the black hole we call a speaker.
  2. Broken Bells – Broken Bells (Columbia)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    One thing I will add about The Broken Bell's self-titled, is that when I listen to it, I'm aware I'm listening an ALBUM. I've yet to start a track without finishing every remaining tracks. For that, Broken Bells is a lot like CHIRP Radio. Expression lives in the tracks, Mood connects songs, and a good program captivates collectively. I listen while I get stuff done, I listen to sit and drift away, but don't interrupt me. When this album is on, I'm listening.
  3. Qwel & Maker – Owl (Galapagos)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Local hip hop duo Qwel and Maker drop another fat cut of boom-bap into some old fashioned soul stew. Their third album is indeed charmed, showing both maturity and forward thinking of bigger acts, while keeping it old school with some classic soul samples that'll make you want to dance on your kitchen table. This album represents everything I love about Hip Hop–the past, present and future
  4. GAYNGS – Relayted (Jagjaguwar)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Gayngs, the two-dozen-plus-member supergroup, reenacts an important time in rock history when all the awesome acts from the 1970s end up washed up 10 years later, playing sappy slow jams to stay on the FM dial. But stay tuned, the album quickly breaks character and goes all over the 80's and 90's road map, while keeping each song at the firm speed of 69 BPM. If you are looking for an album to play while you drive your Delorian in the slow lane, look no further.
  5. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    After attending my younger cousin's funeral earlier that day, it didn't really hit me what the world had lost until later that night, when I went to see Beach House in concert. Teen Dream is a consistent reminder of life's gains and losses, whose voice lifts you up and let's you go, in an ocean of organ waves and crashing bass.
  6. The Budos Band – The Budos Band III (Daptone)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Each album is a reminder: Don't mess with the Budos Band. No guest vocalists, no break beats, no retooling, just some god-foresaken, evil-hearted Doc Severinsen VooDoo horns, replacing Carson with a sack full of funk, and the guest's chair with a pit full of vipers.
  7. The Flaming Lips – The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon (Warner Bros.)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Like a Christmas Carol on LSD, the most important psychedelic band of our time came face-to-face this year with the most important psychedelic band of all-time, but alas, no one but me and a bunch of Ebenezer Scrooges noticed. I couldn't find one review that praised The Lips for having a blast creating a demented tribute to one of the greatest albums ever made, but this one is will be remembered for historically if for nothing more than it's good cheer.
  8. The Limiñanas – The Limiñanas (Trouble in Mind)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Simple songs channeling 60's California surf rock, sung in French and released by Chicago's own Trouble in Mind. If this album doesn't get you to look up from your computer when it comes on the rotation, then what's the point of good music?
  9. Ty Segall – Melted (Goner)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I never tire of one-man bands. What they lack in polish, I fill in with dreams of myself, playing on stage with a space helmet on, half full of fuzzy bass lines, massive delay switches, effortless ivory ticklers, and a spy glass to watch the beautiful women smiling in the front row. Until that helmet exists, here's to the one-man bands.
  10. The Magnetic Fields – Realism (Nonesuch)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    If fishing is about being bored with a purpose, The Magnetic Fields is my musical equivalent of sitting on a rocky bank. The smoothness of the surroundings are only broken when I recall that I haven't moved in an hour. The is something peaceful and freeing about Realism, you'll love the extra time off from the work that is other albums.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

Psychotic Distraction writesChesney’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Chesney.

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

In alphabetical order…

  • Backyard Babies – Them XX (Versity Rights)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Sweden’s long-running glam/punk staalwarts commemorate their 20th anniversary with an extravagantly packaged 3CD/1DVD/120 page 10X10 hard-covered collection, spanning the band’s entire career from their 1994 debut Diesel and Power to their excellent 2009 self-titled release. A massive collection of hard-to-find B-sides/live tracks/remixes, a complete video anthology, an excellent 80 minute documentary, and over 300 photos from this Swedish Grammy-winning band that just can’t seem to make a dent in the American market.
  • Blessure Grave – Judged by Twelve, Carried by Six (Alien8)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Bizarre and menacing electro/gothic rock from California that could’ve just as easily been released in 1983 as 2010. A release that would fit comfortably between your Bauhaus, Joy Division and early Sisters of Mercy albums. Sadly, it appears the band called it quits in November after only two years.
  • Grinderman – Grinderman 2 (Mute)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Mr. Nick Cave steps away from the piano, picks up the guitar, and lets loose some of the gnarliest punk-infused blues (blues-infused punk?) since…well, Grinderman’s 2007 debut. Cave and three fellow Bad Seeds prove that their first album was no fluke, and that Grinderman can indeed stand on it’s own four legs. Also of note: Nick Cave’s excellent novel ‘The Death of Bunny Munro’, released in 2009.
  • The Jim Jones Review – Burning Your House Down (Punk Rock Blues)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The 2nd full-length release by former Thee Hypnotics frontman/lunatic Jim Jones is (somewhat) more controlled than their 2008 self-titled debut, but no less visceral. A howling slab of raging garage punk & soul, delivered with the intensity of a young Jerry Lee Lewis jamming with members of the New Bomb Turks and Zen Guerilla. One of most blazing live acts on the circuit, to boot.
  • Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent (Spinefarm)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Killing Joke’s fourteenth album (!) and their first since 1982’s Revelations to feature the original line-up (Jaz Coleman, Geordie Walker, Youth, and Paul Ferguson) is the perfect mix of 2006’s Hosannas from the Basement of Hell and 1996’s Democracy (and maybe a touch of 1994’s Pandemonium), along with the cerebral lashings one has come to expect from the band. Truly a band that has not only refused to mellow with age, but have become more agitated and outspoken over their 30+ year career.
  • Kylesa – Spiral Shadow (Season of Mist)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    If one were to pinpoint the exact location bewteen Neurosis, The Melvins, Sonic Youth, and Baroness, that area would likely be Savannah GA’s Kylesa. Their fifth full-length release is the band’s third to utilize their thunderous two-drummer attack, and guitaris Phillip Cope’s production is absolutely top-notch and leaves no riff unappreciated.
  • Negative Approach – Live at the Double Door (Chicago IL); Sunday, October 10, 2010.
    Every so often a show comes along that reminds me of why I do this. I had been waiting upwards 20 years to see Detroit’s hardcore legends; not only did they not disappoint, they blew my expectations clear out of the water. Frontman John Brannon is still one of the most ferocious and maniacal frontmen of the past 25 years, and the band as a whole did everything absolutely note-perfect: no talk, all action. Inspiring.
  • Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to The Sky (Young God)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    After a 12 year hiatus and a half-dozen albums with Angels of Light (among other countless projects), Swans mainman Michael Gira brings one of the most groundbreaking and influencial bands of the past 30 years back in full force (don’t you dare call it a ‘reunion’, Gira warns), and the results are predictably levelling. Gira’s creative output over the past 3 decades is absolutely mind-blowing in its consistency, and this album ranks with some of his finest work. Also of note: if you haven’t yet read Gira’s hard-o-find 1995 collection The Consumer, hunt down a copy ASAP.
  • Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones (Century Media)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The debut full-length from former Celtic Frost mainman Thomas G. Warrior’s latest musical endeavor is a logical extension of CF’s 2006 epic Monotheist: a monsterous wall of all-encompassing, cavernous noise that stretches out over 9 songs and 80+ minutes. A dense, sprawling album that rewards heavily with repeated listenings.
  • Umberto – From the Grave (Permanent)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    The debut release from sometime Expo-70 collaborator Matt Hill is the classic ‘soundtrack for a film that doesn’t exist’, and that film happens to be a late 70’s Italian zombie gorefest. Sinister analog synth grooves that call to mind Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci’s darkest moments. The soundtrack to the greatest horror movie I’ve never seen.

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

Mike Pakowski writesMike Pakowski’s Best of 2010

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

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

  1. Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This in my opinion was not only the best album of 2010 but could also be considered one of the best albums of the past decade. I think a true testament to what makes an album great is an ability to still move you months after it has been released. Teen Dream came out in January and it's been nearly a full year and I still absolutely adore it just as much, if not more, then when I first heard it. Just a beautiful record from start to finish and also one of the most romantic albums to come out in quite some time.
  2. The National – High Violet (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    An amazing album from a group whose sound and depth has gotten better with age. Matt Berninger's songwriting has always been a fantastic combination of angst, dark humor and reflection, and those elements remain on High Violet, however they are bit more mature as many members of the band have transitioned nicely into a new phase of adulthood. By no means has this softened the band, in fact it's made them better musicians. It's a very powerful piece of music.
  3. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    A fantastic dance-rock album that showcases the absolute genius of James Murphy & Co. The man is a rock star whether he wants to be or not. "Dance Yrself Clean" is just a flat out brilliant song. One of the most entertaining albums of the year hands down. And seeing them live was one of the highlights of my year. Bravo sir!
  4. Four Tet – There Is Love In In You (Domino)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I am amazed by this album. It's such an incredible blend of hypnotic beats and rhythms that one minute will have you dancing and the next will have you lost in deep thought. Every time I listened to There Is Love In You I discovered something new. Just a great album from start to finish.
  5. How to Dress Well – Love Remains (Lefse)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    This was an album that completely blew my mind. I've been struggling on how to describe what it is about Love Remains that is so amazing and I think that is one of the things I love about it. It is hauntingly beautiful, stunning, and sounds like nothing else I've heard this year. I guess I'm better at describing it than I thought!
  6. Twin Shadow – Forget (4AD)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    There are plenty of albums released this year that harken back to new wave days of the 1980's. However George Lewis Jr. (AKA Twin Shadow) just did it so much better on Forget, somehow even making the album sound modern. Dreamy, catchy beats along with heartfelt, achingly romantic lyrics ("As If It Wasn't Enough Just To Hear You Speak They Had To Give You Lips Like That" from the incredible track "Tyrant Destroyed") made this one of my favorites. In a year filled with many an 80's pop revival record, Twin Shadow's Forget stands alone.
  7. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Thank you Mr. West for being an egomaniac with a sense of humor and a bit of a sensitive side. Thank you for name dropping pretty much every possible luxury brand in the universe (I had no idea Versace made sofas) in a way that made me laugh instead of gag. Thank you for "Monster", thank you for "Runaway", and thank you for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I'm With Team Kanye!
  8. Love Is All – Two Thousand and Ten Injuries (Polyvinyl)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    I had very little exposure to Love Is All until hearing Two Thousand and Ten Injuries. After listening to this album I couldn't wait to hear more. I love this band and I love this album. Lead singer Josephine Olausson's voice is adorable and her lyrics are sassy, sweet, angry and honest. What amazed me most was the bands ability to compliment her lyrics with such insanely fun and energetic music. It's pure Swedish punk-bubblegum bliss.
  9. Dissapears – Lux (Kranky)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    A garage-rock album that just takes off and is unapologetic and gritty. Lux is fuzzy, fast and loud. I can think of much worst things than to be compared to the Velvet Underground. It's only a matter of time before another band is compared to Disappears.
  10. Candy Claws – Hidden Lands (Twosyllable)
    BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
    Hidden Lands is a gorgeous album that is dream-pop unlike anything I've heard before. It's a sound that is smart, mesmerizing, and the fact that the band had no prior experience with keyboards and synthesizers blows my mind. This album doesn't have songs or singles instead it has mini-symphonies. Absolutely addictive.

 

2010 Honorable Mentions:
Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms (Delmark)
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (Merge)
Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International)
Foals - Total Life Forever (Sub Pop/Warner Bros./Transgressive)
Janelle Monáe - Archandroid (Atlantic)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

CHIRP DJ writesCarolyna Wheat’s Best of 2010

Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Lina Mas Fina (aka Carolyna Wheat).

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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’.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Honorable Mentions:

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)

Re-release:
Dara Puspita (1966-1968) (Sublime Frequencies)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2010

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