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.)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.