Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members’ top albums of 2010. The next list is from station volunteer John Lombardo.
(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members’ picks.)
97-Shiki – Showing Teeth is a Good Thing (Self-Released) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
A fierce collision of noise and groove that reminds me of DC’s Metamatics with a smattering of trumpet. This equal parts jarring and catchy EP was released only as a cassette, along with digital download code card. The best of both worlds from these retro-futurists.
Real Estate – Out of Tune (True Panther Sounds) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Somehow even more remarkable than their self-titled LP, these guys create some of the most reserved and captivating pop songs out there. Insane harmonies pacify stretches of hypnotic jamming, all glued together by relentless hooks.
White Mystery – White Mystery (Self-Released) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Virtually every one of these songs have become “instant classics” with fans going berserk at live shows at the first hint of Alex’s opening riffs. Along with their break-neck touring pace and penchant for unusual shows (living room record release shows, Halloween celebrations, and restaurant performances), White Mystery have distinguished themselves on this epic full-length which matches the duo’s live greatness.
Surfer Blood – Astro Coast (Kanine) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Seemingly appearing out of nowhere, this young Florida quartet blend Weezer’s first trips to LA with Pavement just reaching their stride to produce a new strain dreamy pitch-perfect pop. Their vocalist conjures up Morrissey in his tone as well as lyrics. With epic songs like Catholic Pagan entertaining Smiths-esque themes along with the added wit and vigor of a new generation.
Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement (Gnomonsong) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
In a rare break from her long-running solo career, Jana Hunter departs from her free-folk freak outs, joining forces with a strong group of Baltimore players to create a rock-solid and gripping debut record.
Disappears – Lux (Kranky) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Layers and layers of reverb peppered with distorted hot lixx. Fantastic songs anchored by Brian Case’s unique vocals. Hazy, swarming guitar-rock that plays smooth start to finish.
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
The highly anticipated follow-up to Microcastle truly delivers! Chock full of doubled-vocals and insane pop hooks, this record serves as a beautiful soundtrack for the depressives of the world.
Dag Nasty – Dag With Shawn (Dischord) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
The lost tapes of a 1985 Halloween recording session that would be completely re-recoded and released as the entire album, Can I Say. These songs with legendary wildcard Shawn Brown (“Swiz,” “Sweetbelly Freakdown”) on vocals give a rare glimpse of the band that most people never got a chance to see. Raw and relentless chugging riffs, all held together by Shawn’s patented howl.
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Recorded in the heart of lovely Wicker Park, this beast of an ensemble record finds local producer and drum wunderkind John McEntire and a slew of other indie rock royalty making guest appearances. High production with catchy songs that will almost make you forget You Forgot It In People.
Bill Callahan – Rough Travel for a Rare Thing (Drag City) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This live record captures a unique ‘best of’ type of glimpse of (Smog)’s discography that only a handful fans witnessed at a rare Hideout show this year. Callahan’s somber baritone on solo re-workings of classics like “Cold-Blooded Old Times,” “Our Anniversary,” and “Say Valley Maker” affirms and echoes his longevity and success. Great great great!