2010 Album Capsules (with Twitter Restricted Length)



Arcade Fire - The Suburbs: 72.
Undeniably good but I like it a little less with each new play. Bombast is approaching U2 levels of toxicity.



Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Before Today (2010): 67.
Ariel Pink learned to write these beautiful pop hooks sarcastically.



Avey Tare - Down There: 86.
Atmosphere is the primary achievement; thick, swampy w/ gurgling explosions of bass. Unlike anything I've heard.



Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh: 80.
My favorite release thus far from Badu; consistently strong for 50 minutes.



Basia Bulat - Heart Of My Own: 67.
Strong second albummu that doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from peers (Lucinda Williams, Neko etc).



Baths - Cerulean (2010): 50.
So glitchy and spastic that I want to drop it off at the Emergency Room. Some good ideas but nothing develops.



Beach Fossils - S/T (2010): 67.
I enjoy this album every time I spin it but it has absolutely no sticking power. I have forgotten it already



Beach House - Teen Dream: 88.
More immediately resonant and confident than DEVOTION, which was a grower, this time the hooks pop out at you.

Beach House - Zebra EP: 66.
The two new tracks are fine but they wouldn't have been welcomed additions to TEEN DREAM.



Best Coast - Something In The Way 7": 81.
Fuzzy lo-fi but all three songs have pure, primal pop hooks. Her LP can't come quick enough.

Jeans Wilder/Best Coast - Split 7": 70.
"Tough Guys" is overlong but has a cool guitar sound. "Up All Night" has vocals too buried in fuzz.

Best Coast - Crazy For You: 75. Her ear for melody is impressive and her decision to not to include any of her 7" material is very ballsy.



Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty: 73. First half is terrific pop/hip hop but this stumbles hard down the homestretch.



Blonde Redhead - Penny Sparkle: 52.
You are getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy. When you wake up you will have no memory of PENNY SPARKLE.



Built to Spill - Water Sleepers 7": 67.
A side reminds me of sleepy Radiohead's "Lucky." B side is fun, live "Linus & Lucy" theme.



The Thermals/The Cribs - Split 7": 65.
Very solid tracks from both, although I give a slight edge to The Thermals for their cool riff.



Crystal Castles - Celestica/Doe Deer: Both 63. "Celestica" is new soothing CC & "Doe Deer" is more aggressive and brutal than ever. Um, okay...



Das Racist - Sit Down, Man: 66. I hope they stop rhyming "man" with "man" & cut the length by half when they do an LP proper. Promising tho.



Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest: 81. Nothing quite as invigorating as the breakdown of "Nothing Ever Happened" here. Mostly excellent & mellow.



Destroyer - Archer on the Beach: 51.
Baffling in really uninteresting ways. Hopefully a one-off and not a new direction.



Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be: 77.
Infectious pop meets sexy grrrl rock that doesn't come close to wearing out its welcome in a spry 30 minutes.



Roky Erickson with Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil: 76. Erickson wrestling with his (non-horror) demons in a folk register.



Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma: 73.
Completely defies genre with its jazzy, electronic blips & slivers of harp with mutilated vocals phrases.



Four Tet - There Is Love in You: 62.
Songs don't feel like they are building in meaning/emotion, they're just accumulating more elements.



Future Islands - In Evening Air: 80. The growling vocals remain from debut but the production now feels sanded down & less frantic.

/Future Islands - In Evening Air/: 84. Slight upgrade for this which is proving to be one of the most durable, exciting LPs of the year.

Future Islands - Undressed: 65. A better title would be redressed, but I prefer the original, crude versions to these fancy, Cello'd ones.



Girls - Broken Dreams Club EP: 72. A more confident production sound and delivery that suggests early Elvis Costello is a major influence.



Girl Talk - All Day: 73. Turns any normal party into a dance party very quickly and also functions as continuous music trivia.



Grinderman - Grinderman 2: 70.
Nothing as happening as "No Pussy Blues" in this sequel but Nick Cave is obnoxiously consistent in output.



The Growlers - Hot Tropics EP: 73.
Shows growth in terms of sequencing flow. Still pretty one-note in terms of dynamics but its a good note.



Happy Birthday - Shampoo 7": 69.
I need to listen to the Happy Birthday asap. This is sunny, very eccentric pop.



Harlem - Hippes: 67. Fun and energetic Garage Rock LP that is just simply too long at 40 minutes. Two opening tracks are definite keepers.

/Harlem - Hippies/: 75. Was 67. Still too long but this has much more staying power than I initially figured. "Gay Human Bones" FTW.



How To Dress Well - Love Remains: 56. Atmosphere is undercut by intentionally shoddy production/mastering that brings digital mud to front.



Jaill - That's How We Burn: 70. Very fun pop LP with jagged post-punk guitar riffs. Like Harlem's HIPPIES without the bloat.



Jeremy Jay - Splash: 57. A rare bland effort from very prolific Jeremy Jay. Pleasant but no apparent lasting power to any of these tracks.



Jeans Wilder/Best Coast - Split 7": 70.
"Tough Guys" is overlong but has a cool guitar sound. "Up All Night" has vocals too buried in fuzz.



LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening: 79. Easily LCD's best LP. However, it still seems like songs play best when taken out of context of LP.



Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks: 78.
A return to form after (relatively) disappointing LIVING WITH THE LIVING.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Oldest House 7": 68.
Two strong leftovers presumably from THE BRUTALIST BRICKS sessions.



Jamie Lidell - Compass: 58. The soul of JIM helped explain MULTIPLY. Maybe his next will help me digest this funky, voice-effect heavy mess.



Local Natives - Gorilla Manor: 74. Sounds better every time I hear it. Bold to include a Talking Heads cover. "Camera Talk" is highlight.



Magic Kids - Memphis: 65. Sunshine pop pastiche that sometimes really nails the sound ("Hey Boy") but always feels like secondhand emotion.



Menomena - Mines: 83.
Still sounds like Menomena (and unlike anyone else). The dynamic shifts are less jarring & the lyrics are more clever.



MGMT - Congratulations: 69. Transitional, psychedelic sophomore effort is slight improvement over hook-filled debut. "Brian Eno" always FTW.



Janelle MonĂ¡e - The ArchAndroid: 45.
Gaudy & overblown. A Broadway extravaganza passing itself off as a soul LP.



Nina Nastasia - Outlaster: 68. Many additional instruments to try to achieve what Jim White was able to do with just drums on YOU FOLLOW ME.



The National - High Violet: 82. Best tracks follow BOXER footsteps & put drums prominent in the mix. Lyrics starting to become predictable.



The New Pornographers - Together (2010): 71.
Nothing game changing here, just another very solid collection of pop tunes.



Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me: 90.
Lyrically personal & naked (even overt love songs) without much obfuscation. Inviting but long & dense.



No Age - Everything in Between: 82.
No Age realize the promise of their earlier recordings with this one; this is the next level of awesome.



Nobunny - First Blood: 74. A short, unpretentious fusion of 50s pop & glam rock that hits all kinds of pleasure sensors in my brain.

/Nobunny - First Blood/: 82. In 2011, I need to be less resistant to fun. This LP is unpretentious, derivative and always a blast of energy.



No Joy - Ghost Blonde: 66. Nails the 80s shoegaze sound without becoming sonically repetitive. Hopefully some stronger hooks next time.



OFF! - First Four EPs: 74. Propulsive hardcore punk that feels time stamped in the early 80s. 16 songs in 18 minutes. No fucking around.



Of Montreal - False Priest: 64.
Interesting in pieces but draining as a whole. I'm ready for something dramatically different from Barnes.



Thee Oh Sees - Quadrospazzed 12" (2010): 75.
A ten minute rave-up recorded live that feels like a dry run for "Warm Slime."

Thee Oh Sees - Warm Slime: 76.
Side A is an extended psychedelic jam that shows these guys are just beginning to realize their potential.



Doug Paisley - Constant Companion: 69. More subtle melodically than his (nearly great) debut. Guests Garth Hudson & Feist add needed color.



The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme: 75.
Twee vocals with a foggy, shoegaze atmosphere and really catchy hooks. Strong on repeat listens.



The Roots - How I Got Over: 78. Completely bullshit free; a lean 42 minutes without skits to muddy the water. They had me at Joanna Newsom.



Screaming Females - Castle Talk (2010): 76.
Grrl rock doesn't come with more balls than this. Great hooky guitar riffs, not a weak cut here.



Sleigh Bells - Treats: 71.
Dance metal with heavy guitars and stomping, cheerleader-sweet delivery. Production is less blown out on vinyl.



Small Black / Washed Out - Split 7": 74.
Remix each other to dazzling, summer-drenched results. I'm officially on board this Chill Wave fad.



The Soft Moon - S/T (2010): 77. Dark, brooding post-punk (mostly) instrumentals that would make for a terrific 1980s Michael Mann score.



Spoon - Transference: 76.
More elegant rock from one of the best rock bands going right now. Might not be quite up to GA X5, but what is?



Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz: 43. No way into these structural incoherent songs with their overstuffed arrangements (now 100% more glitchy).



Suckers - Wild Smile: 79. A very impressive debut with wild, unpredictable song structures and a strong sense of dynamics. Nearly great.



Surfer Blood - Astro Coast: 72.
A trendy album on the surf rock/lo-fi train but the songs have great hooks and the album is expertly paced.



The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt: 73. Strong sophomore effort for man with voice like sand and glue. New Weird America, but Swedish.



Teenage Fanclub - Shadows: 64. Lovely power pop melodies occasionally drifting into adult contemporary hell. Charming but mostly forgettable



The Thermals/The Cribs - Split 7": 65.
Very solid tracks from both, although I give a slight edge to The Thermals for their cool riff.

The Thermals - Personal Life: 59. Personal in a very generic and neutered way. Has none of the passion or energy of their first three LPs.



These New Puritans - Hidden: 71. Steve Reich plus Gang of Four is such a confounding combination that I'm still figuring out why it works.



Tijuana Panthers - Max Baker (2010): 72. A lot of bands taking garage rock out surfing these days, few are doing it as well as this debut.



Titus Andronicus - The Monitor: 70.
Not really a fan of concept albums this literal or long-winded but there are several fun anthems here.



Toro Y Moi - Causers of This: 61.
Some good tracks but the glitchy, audio fades are the causers of this headache I have.



TV Girl - TV Girl EP: 69.
Chill wave sample of Todd Rundgren's "Hello It's Me" is pretty much worth the price of admission. Very promising.



Vampire Weekend - Contra: 68.
Eccentric and isolated from the world while incorporating disparate World Music elements to express themselves



Laura Veirs - July Flame: 66. The most consistent album yet from the talented Veirs but she's still not a top tier female singer/songwriter.



The Walkmen - Lisbon: 83. Casually elegant & suave. Seductive instead of forceful and blunt; they don't even bother giving a fast anthem.



Small Black / Washed Out - Split 7": 74. Remix each other to dazzling, summer-drenched results. I'm officially on board this Chill Wave fad.



Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: 74. An impressive, bloated, pretentious mess with some of West's best songs to date.



White Fence - S/T: 71. Sounds like a tape of a tape of a lost 60s demos from a forgotten British Invasion band with proto-punk tendencies.



Wild Nothing - Gemini (2010): 75. Jumps between the 1980s genres most trendy at the moment (shoegaze & dream pop) with irresistible hooks.



Josiah Wolf - Jet Lag: 55.
Disappointing debut for Why? drummer has rhythmic instincts intact but he lacks Yoni's deft lyrical wordplay.