Saturday, December 25, 2010

Maitre DK -- 2010

15. Delorean: Subzia

Tastes great, less filling. I kept coming back to this dance album. These dudes are young and I am looking forward to their next.

Favorite tracks:
--Stay Close
--Simple Graces*

14. Mgmt: Congratulations

This is a cerebral, measured follow-up to their first. I love this album solely for the title track "Congratulations".

Favorite tracks:
--Siberian Breaks

13. Titus Adronicus: The Monitor

Titus Adronicus is one of the most interesting personalities in indie rock. Their Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Grizzly Adams brand of punk rock is both intriguing and bad-ass. You either love it or hate it.*

Favorite tracks:
--Four Score and Seven
--To Old Friends and New
--Theme from "Cheers"

12. Vampire Weekend: Contra

An excellent follow-up to their first, Contra offers an evolved version of their debut.

Favorite tracks:
--Giving Up the Gun
--Diplomat's Son
--I Think Ur a Contra

11. Matthew Dear: Black City

Matthew Dear offers up a dark, mysterious brand of ornate dance music that combines musical and theatric traditions of the following three Davids: David Byrne, David Lynch, and Fame-era David Bowie. But don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself!

Favorite tracks:
--You Put a Smell On Me*
--Little People (Black City)*
Note:If you squint and use your imagination you can see my girlfriend and I in the bottom left corner of these videos.

10. Robyn: Body Talk (1, 2 & 3)

With her Body Talk series, Robyn has placed a pop-music kamikaze blitz, full-court press, and sideways supplex on us this year. Her Scandinavian sensibilities command you to the dance floor. The songs have mass-appeal, but are written with the honesty and authenticity that is missing from top-40 radio.

Favorite tracks:
--Don't fucking tell me what to do
--Dancing on my own*
--Hang with me
--You should know better (featuring Snoop Dogg)

Note: This is the best collaboration Snoop has done since "Ain't nothing but a G thang". Snoop's steez pairs great with Robyn's lazy delivery and these space-age Nordic beats.

9. Sleigh Bells: Treats

Guitar stabs and samples are stitched together to create a cacophony of sound that is contrasted dangerously with syrupy-sweet, sing-song lyrics. The result is exciting and got you amped in 2010.* Can this sound grow?

Favorite tracks:
--Rill Rill
--A/B Machines

8. Beach House: Teen Dream

The sleepy spell this Baltimore duo casts is gentle and dreamy. The album is confident, strong and has an intangible quality that leads me to believe my children will own it (or will have at least downloaded it.)

Favorite tracks:
--Silver Soul
--Walk in the Park*
--Used To Be

7. Tame Impala: Innerspeaker

This is the perfect album for staring at the sun. New-comers Tame Impala fits the year's trend of beach friendly psych-out jams. They, however, do-so with effortless genuine honesty and without the self-aware wink that accompanies many of their contemporaries' songs.

Their vocals sound like John Lennon reincarnate and their bright, ambling guitars are accompanied by loping, enthusiastic drums.

Favorite tracks:
--It's not meant to be
--Solitude is Bliss*

6. LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening

LCD's third album is a succinct set of nine patient Krautrock jam-outs. These measured, calculated dance beats maintain their organic, improvisational mores and pleasantly pair with the soulful crooning, conversational ramblings and dry humor of veteran soundsmith James Murphy. It is an expertly executed album.

Favorite tracks:
--Dance Yrslf Clean*
--All I Want
--Pow Pow*

5. Hot Chip: One Life Stand

Hot Chip writes heartfelt, soulful songs with undertones which are both quirky* and tender*. You can enjoy this album equally dancing or stewing in bittersweet satisfaction.

Favorite tracks:
--Thieves in the night
--Hand me down your love
--Alley cats

4. Deerhunter: Halcycon Digest

This Deerhunter album is their most accessible, pop friendly album to date. It is a surreal, introspective collection of pop-music soundscapes. Bradford Cox is the hardest working man in the indie rock universe and in concert, or on album, he shares his infectious, genuine joy for musical exploration and the development of his craft.

My favorite Halcycon Digest moment is the heavy, wailing rhythm & blues saxophone on Coronado. Its one of those moments where an artist takes a certain sound (this of which I've always associated with over-produced, over-the-hill rock-n-roll) and breathes new vitality into it.

If you enjoy this album you should also check out the four volumes of demo albums Bradford Cox released this year as Atlas Sound. They are called the Bedroom Databank albums and were made available to download for free on Bradford's blog*. My favorite tracks include the loopy, sample-based song "New Romantic" and the cover of Bob Dylan's "This Wheels on Fire" on Volume 1.

Favorite tracks:
--Don't Cry
--Desire Lines

3. Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

My first opinion was jeezy's newest was good, but not "pee your pants good". Upon retrospection, I may need to reverse this statement. Kanye is definitely on "some-other-shit" and has crafted an album that, in this guy's opinion, is the best mainstream rap album since Stankonia. It is both dirty and delicate, aggressively authentic and beautiful.

Favorite tracks:
--Dark Fantasy

2. Gorillaz: Plastic Beach

Damon Albarn has again collected a misfit group of collaborators to demonstrate mastery of pop-music and compose the newest chapter in Gorillaz's prolific mythology. The rich, colorful voices combine with broad musical traditions to spin a yarn of melancholy and poignant optimism.

My only criticism is with such a wide-range of collaborators and special guests the sum of the album may feel more like a lengthy compilation rather than a cohesive album.

Favorite tracks:
--Some kind of nature (featuring Lou Reed)* and my see my view here.
--On Melancholy Hill
--Plastic Beach*
--Pirate Jet

1. Yeasayer: Odd Blood

Yeasayers psychedelic, rhythmic wall-of-sound evokes grandiose landscapes, epic in scale. It encourages the listener to shed all clothing and dance, with arms raised to the rain, beneath the pale moon-lit skies of some ancient alpine valley.

Favorite tracks:
--The Children
--Ambling Alp*
--Love me girl

* -- don't miss these selections.

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