Only An Expert: Ugly Rumors’ Top 50 albums of 2010 (Part 4)

My how things are just speeding along! We’re getting closer and closer, but there are still plenty of surprises to come!

Catch up with: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3!

Now, on to Part 4:

20. Arcade FireThe Suburbs

About four or five songs too long, the third album from the indie favorites is a nonetheless stunning reflection on the past and future of suburban life. If there is a future, that is.

19. The New PornographersTogether

After a few years pursuing their own individual muses, everyone’s favorite Canadian power pop collective regroups for a lively new record. Featuring great contributions from all four leaders, Together might not be groundbreaking, but it’s a lot of silly fun.

18. Gorillaz Plastic Beach

I never would’ve guessed that Damon Albarn’s cartoon hip-hop project had an album as cinematic and thrilling as Plastic Beach in it. With already another Gorillaz album on the way, Albarn continues to prove himself as one of the cleverest musical minds around.

17. Admiral RadleyI Heart California

The Grandaddy/Earlimart project features the best that both bands have to offer. A trip through the psychedelic burn-out that is the Central Valley, I Heart California shows that, while California might not ‘heart’ them back all the time, the relationship is a generally fortuitous one.

16. V.V. BrownTravelling Like The Light

A firecracker of a performer (and an extremely friendly girl, too), V.V. stands out in a year populated by very singular lady singers. She might not be as far-out as Janelle, but V.V. shows proficiency in so many styles that she could easily take her career into a number of different, exciting directions.

15. Delta SpiritHistory From Below

Rocking, soulful, bluesy. Delta Spirit’s second full-length is all of that and much more. From the Tex-Mex roundup of “St. Francis” to the soaring refrain of “Vivian” (not to mention the epic closing number), Matt and the gang have outdone themselves this time around.

14. Stornoway Beachcomber’s Windowsill

A handsome debut from a group that shows more promise than any other newcomers I’ve seen this year, Beachcomber’s Windowsill is at once traditional and modern. With plenty of pop and folk sensibilities to go ’round, Stornoway lead with their best, and follow that with the rest of their best.

13. Grinderman Grinderman 2

Come on, it’s Nick Cave, people! The Bad Seeds’ splinter group presents a more thought-out (yet still menacing) set of heavy, heavy material. The glacial songs at the album’s center slow things down a bit too much, but they’re bookended by some of this year’s finest freakouts.

12. LCD SoundsystemThis Is Happening

Let’s all say it together: “I was there.” And even if you weren’t there, This Is Happening made you feel like you were. I’m still hoping that James Murphy’s impending resignation of the LCD moniker is still tentative, but should this record be the project’s last, it’s one hell of a swan song.

11. The MynabirdsWhat We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood

In the face of some truly worthy contenders, the debut album from Laura Burhenn’s new band (her old one was called Georgie James) has stood up as one of my most beloved of the year. A hazy album whose songs are as sepia-toned as its cover art, What We Lose features Burhenn’s country- and pop-influences channeled into gorgeous original material.

Tune in tomorrow for my Top 10!!


~ by E. on December 16, 2010.

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