Thursday, 23 December 2010

Albums of the Year 2010: 25-16

 Part one of the best 25 albums released in 2010, as chosen by The Popscener...

25. Black Francis - Nonstoperotik (Cooking Vinyl)
The Pixies man returned to twisted, ingenious form on Nonstoperotik, which could have been the soundtrack to a film-noir/porn crossover with Francis as the lusty master-criminal protagonist.

24. Best Coast - Crazy For You (Mexican Summer)
Bethany Cosentino’s always-stoned homage to 60s garage-pop and simple ruminations on love was perfect late-Summer listening.

23. Caribou - Swim (City Slang)
Mixing burst of psyche-pop with pulsating dancefloor shakers and brooding electronics, Dan Snairn tempered the math-geek in him to produce his most accessible effort.

22. Drive-By Truckers - The Big To-Do (ATO)
Streets ahead the endless country clichés they imbibe and subvert, D-BT’s lived-in sound added their best batch yet of grim, insular and morbidly detailed small-town tragedies.

21. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening (DFA/Virgin)
Going out on a ‘high’ is the easy quip, but James Murphy and co had never sounded as level headed and focussed on what is purported to be their final studio album. The hilarious yet empathetic ‘Drunk Girls’ was also one of the singles of the year. 

20. Allo Darlin' - Allo Darlin' (Fortuna Pop!)
Ugly as the tag of ‘twee-pop’ might be, Allo Darlin’ strummed their ukes with pride and pristine melodic vigour, while Aussie singer Elizabeth Morris decorated the hooks with mournful short-stories on the lukewarm thrill of life as a going-nowhere-fast 20-something in London.

19. Bad Religion - The Dissent Of Man (Epitaph)
Perhaps a last shot at the ‘big time’ – as far as their tightly-coiled double-time, four chords and oozin-ahh harmonies allow – Graffin and Gurewitz sharpened their songwriting chops, stuck closely to tunes with words rather than words with, well, anything and fashioned their best for a decade.

18. Afrocubism - Afrocubism (World Circuit)
14 years on from the original aborted sessions between Cuban and Malian musicians in Havana, Afrocubism’s mesmerising culture-clash turned out to be worth the wait. Beautifully played, and imbued with an air of almost symbiotic chemistry and serene relaxation.

17. Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts (Sub Pop)
Unashamedly rough and raucous, the lone Sub Pop Brits’ debut nonetheless polished the sharp edges of the rambunctious garage-punk-rock of their live shows enough for the songs to shine. Moreover, the London trio displayed a breadth to their sonic palette – including an acoustic number, no less – which had been hitherto unrealised.

16. Jenny and Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now (Warner Bros)
Jenny Lewis may have found her muse in boyfriend and co-collaborator Johnathan Rice. His half-flat dourness perfectly tempered the sometimes-cloying sickliness of Jenny’s vocal whine, while the relationship sub-plot added a layer of intrigue to call and response arguments (‘My Pet Snakes’) and an unhealthy obsession with razorblades. Hearty surf-pop, alt-country and shoegaze flourishes provided ballast.

Check the Spotify playlist for a aural overview of Albums of the Year 2010: 25-16

Don't forget to try the Albums of the Year 2010 - Honourable Mentions

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