Only An Expert: Ugly Rumors’ Top 50 albums of 2010 (Part 2)

Already, just ten albums in, my list has been the cause of contention amongst my friends. That’s the kind of thing that I love about these year-end festivities: we all heard a lot of the same records this year, but we all responded to them in different ways. Wonderful!

Here’s how it all began: Part 1

…and here’s the next batch of favorites!


40. eelsTomorrow Morning

The final installment in E’s multi-year trilogy is one of his finest pop efforts in years. Seeing these songs (as well as the ones from Hombre Lobo and End Times) performed live was one of the most thrilling concert experiences of the year, by far.

39. The FallYour Future Our Clutter

Mark E. Smith and the most recent lineup of his legendarily shifting band delivers an album that sounds like, well, it sounds like The Fall. They’re probably incapable of making a different-sounding record, but that’s perfectly okay by me.

38. Stan RidgwayNeon Mirage

It might not be the album that Ridgway had been threatening to make for the past few years, but Neon Mirage is a delicate, tropical turn for this ever-impressive songwriter. There are a few moments that are decidedly more folky, but those are balanced with some classic Ridgway noir.

37. Girl TalkAll Day

As of writing this, Gregg Gillis’ latest illegal masterpiece is still available for free download. When I first listened to Feed The Animals, I feared that Girl Talk was a one-trick project. Turns out that I was right, but that one trick is so damn endlessly great that All Day‘s longer pieces only serve to create a bigger party.

36. Old 97’sThe Grand Theatre Volume One

A raucous return from the Texan fellows, who promise a Volume Two within the next year. Featuring some of the group’s strongest songs of their recent career, The Grand Theatre Volume One is one of the most pleasant (un)surprises of 2010.

35. Liars Sisterworld

The difficult Berlin-based trio delivers yet another difficult record. This time, though, it’s a haunting, surf-shattered creeper with bursts of noise that punctuate unsettling harmonies. Wow indeed.

34. Reading RainbowPrism Eyes

Philadelphia’s premier couple’s sophomore album is a smart blend of familiar garage aesthetics and unexpected twists on those conventions. Unison-singing and charging rhythms make for an exciting and joyous listen.

33. Brian EnoSmall Craft On A Milk Sea

Eno’s latest is just what you’d expect: an engaging, relaxing, perplexing set of instrumentals from the man who does them better than anyone else. While his idiosyncratic vocals are missed, what he does present is everything you could ever want from an Eno record, new or old.

32. Clinic Bubblegum

The masked quartet’s most recent turn is a more mellow, psychedelic one, and while Bubblegum is certainly no Do It!, it has plenty of seething, sinister pop. Bubblegum‘s lush sounds indicate a more pensive direction, but the handful of rave-ups suggests a firm retention of the group’s unstable roots.

31. Mumford & SonsSigh No More

The British folk-rock phenoms might be well on their way to the top, but the songs on Sigh No More will reassure you that they totally deserve the hype and attention. The album’s second side might not carry as strong a thump as the first, but there’s plenty to celebrate.

Stay tuned for more!

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~ by E. on December 14, 2010.

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