Posts Tagged 2010 albums

#16-ROBYN-Body Talk (Konichiwa)

For her long awaited return, Robyn ignored the conventional rules of the industry by breaking the album in three different EPs and dropping the songs almost one by one as soon as they were being recorded, which guaranteed the constant presence of the reborn Swedish in blogs around the world. The plan was shortened by releasing a compilation of the former two EP’s plus five new songs instead of the last instalment, but it has left behind collaborations with Diplo and Snoop Dogg back to back with instant classics such as ‘Dancing On My Own’ or ‘Hang With Me’. Altogether it inclued some of the finest contemporary pop music we’ve heard since her eponymous album.

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#18-LCD SOUNDSYSTEM-This Is Happening (DFA)

James Murphy’s farewell to the project that has made him one of popular music’s biggest shakers during the first decade of the new century, sees him repeating his tested formula of mixing elements of punk , new-wave and disco on a personal cocktail that in this third serving did begin to lose a bit of its original surprise. Although LCD is still acclaimed by virtually everyone and capable of such distinguished moments as ‘Drunk Girls’; ‘I Can Change’ or the best ever tribute to Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, ‘All I Want’. Murphy is probably aware of the adage that says that a timely retreat equals a victory. Looking forward to find out what he’s going to do next.

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#19-GRINDERMAN-Grinderman 2 (Mute)

Nick Cave’s parallel project to his usual output with The Bad Seeds has helped unleash his free spirit again in order to explore this time the boundaries of psychedelic and prog-rock, as well as adding a welcomed touch of humour. Grinderman’s second offering confirmed the formation as a valid alternative for the prolific Mr. Cave & co, enabling them to change their register and bravely experiment other sonic paths; also showed once more the Aussie songsmith is still enjoying an unalterable state of grace when it comes to writing.

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#21-RITA INDIANA Y LOS MISTERIOS-El Juidero (Premium)

One of the most amazing discoveries of the last few years, this multiple talented –novel writer and performer among them-, Dominican female artist who like no one else has found the way to reconcile the best tropical tradition with more contemporary dancefloor oriented rhythms. The modest production of ‘El Juidero’ cannot disguise Rita Indiana’s wealth of original narrative and musical ideas; the kind that grow with every listen. The best thing about this exhuberant debut is that it seems like an embryo of much better things to come. We will monitor her future work closely.

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#22-NO AGE-Everything In Between (Sub Pop)

The LA fuzz guitar and lo-fi duo No Age have consolidated their career with a rock solid third effort, the second for the Sub Pop imprint, containing their most accessible and energetic collection to date without losing the DIY edge – although the shoegaze touch this time has a lesser role in their sonic equation. Comparisons with Dinosaur Jr. were everywhere, like J. Mascis’ acclaimed band, No Age are growing as artists, while avoiding being swallowed by commercial pressure or populists temptations of widening their growing legion of followers. ‘Everything In Between’ found them in top shape.

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#24-ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER-Returnal (Editions Mego)

One of the indisputable movers in the electronic world, Canadian Daniel Lopatin has brought challenging experimentation through his label Olde English Spelling Bee; trendy glo-fi and dance sounds with Games and, best of it all, his own solo project Oneohtrix Point Never. ‘Returnal’ explored from drone to electronica pretty much all of today’s cutting edge ways, while opening a few more in the process. Antony Hegarty gave us a vocal reworking of the title track with astonishing results.

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#25-CRYSTAL CASTLES-Crystal Castles II (Polydor)

The Brooklyn duo that crafted one of the most original electropop albums ever by using the 8-bit sounds of arcade video games from the 80’s – unfairly dismissed by many as a one trick – returned in style. The strength of their second album, where Crystal Castles has expanded the sonic range of their debut and showed a keen eye for good tunes, was enough to silence even the most sceptical. ‘Celestica’ became a favourite and they ended the year scoring extra points by recruiting Robert Smith for their cover of Platinum Blonde ‘Not In Love’.

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#26-EMERALDS-Does It Look Like I’m Here? (Editions Mego)

One of the biggest breaches of fresh air in the world of electronica comes surprisingly from an act that incorporates elements of prog and looks back to the seventies for inspiration. This trio from Cleveland, part of the new movement vindicating the cassette as a format, led by the prolific Mark McGuire –who also released an excellent solo album this year – and specialized in drone and long experimental explorations, have found a perfect balance in this record, in which their loop-based melodies are gifted with a haunting quality.

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#27-SUFJAN STEVENS-The Age Of Adz (Ashmatic Kitty)

Sufjan Stevens´comeback has left a bittersweet taste in our mouth. Not because ‘The Age Of Adz’ was not a good record, but because after all this time he couldn’t reach the heights of his former work. First thing we knew is that the album-per-state of the union project had been definitively parked; then that the sound prevailing in ‘Adz’ was a return to the simple electronic touches of his early work; both news weren’t exactly received with joy. Compared to his peers, Stevens has proven that he still is well above the average and capable of producing quality work, but despite the notable effort, he hasn’t been able to take our memories of Illinois, not even of Michigan, away.

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#28-WOODS-At Echo Lake (Woodsist)

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Freak-folk met lo-fi wizardry in Woods former breakthrough ‘Songs Of Shame’. The follow-up is another reassured collection of beautifully crafted moments, where the lo-fi element is slightly fading away, reaffirming the bands rich Americana and psychedelic vein. Jeremy Earls high-pitched vocals shone again, whereas from his label Woodsist he kept adding to his treasure trove the work of promising new artists.

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#29-SLEIGH BELLS-Treats (Mom + Pop)

Mixing noise, electronica and guitar fuzz this Brooklyn duo’s presentation card, ‘Crown of the Ground’, was a sure shot that went straight to trend makers’ jugular, earning instant plaudits as the next big thing. M.I.A. signed them for their label and the way was paved for one of the most hyped up debuts of the year. The record didn’t disappoint, building up on the character of their first tracks in a way that reveals Derek E. Miller´s hardcore past and singer Alexis Krauss keenness for teen pop tunes. Lack of diversity, though, prevents it from classic status, but for an act that´s just started there’s still plenty of time for the promise to be fulfilled.

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#30-AUTRE NE VEUT-Autre Ne Veut (Olde English Spelling Bee)

More Cutting edge experiments from the trendiest label in the planet; Autre Ne Veut´s songs have been described as the sound of a drunken man trying to sing R&B. There´s a chillwave haze that helps placing them close to acts like How To Dress Well; but also a very lo-fi disposition, notably in the use of distortion applied to the vocal melodies reaching a confusingly engaging effect. Enigmatic in his identity, Autre Ne Veut is also surrounded by top notch collaborators such as Kingdom, who reworked the single ‘New Depth’ or in demand mix engineer Chris Coady.

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#31-JAVIERA MENA-Mena (Unión Del Sur)

Latinamerican pop has had a booming year with artists coming from all corners of the Spanish speaking continent full of propositions that often merged local tradition with hip Anglo-Saxon trends to astonishing results. Chilean chanteuse Javiera Mena confidently embraced the classic vocal influences of Karen Carpenter or Carole King; mixing it with the indie sounds of C86; the dancefloor oriented production of Pet Shop Boys or eurodance and a hint of old-fashioned popular Hispanic Diva crafting some of the best pop tunes heard anywhere in the planet over the last twelve months. Collaborations with Jens Lekman or Kelley Polar added international appeal to Javiera´s fine collection.

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#32-MATTHEW DEAR-Black City (Ghostly)

The slickest production of the year arrived by the hand of Mr. Dear, leaving aside once again his many side projects and returning under his own name. ‘Black City´, the follow-up of ´Asa Breed’, took eighties electropop revisionism to new darker and more atmospheric pastures, being its only flaw the excessive length of most of its tracks, that would have been more suited to the structure of ordinary pop songs than to their progressive electronic development. However, a record that counts with such standout moments as ‘You Put A Smell On Me’; ‘Little People (Black City)’ or ‘Slowdance’ deserves as much praise as it can get.

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