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.)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.