Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Willy's #'s 20-16

And now - on with the countdown...

20. Sleigh Bells - Treats
After digitally putting out one of my favorite songs of last year with no physical album/ep/contract to speak of, Sleigh Bells put out their proper debut in Treats. "Ring, Ring" is included on Treats in a new fancy studio version (albeit as "Rill Rill"). It's still catchy as ever. While that song is the most palatable, the rest of the album comes at you like a chainsaw through a megaphone. Lead singer, Alexis Krauss, goes from a faint whisper to a pep rally yell. The cheerleaders on the cover are somewhat ironic as this music sounds like pre-game music for skateboarding competition pep rally. "Kids" has got the punks ready...

19. Cornershop - Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast
While this album technically came out last year internationally, it's domestic release was this year. Remember the song, "Brimful of Asha"? It was a Buzz Clip on MTV circa summer 1997. Well, it's the same fellas. While it came out in the winter, Judy Sucks a Lemon plays like the ultimate summer fun album. The whole album exudes cheery fun-in-the-sun. The title track will make you move, while the cover of Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn" will bring Phish to mind (their Live cover from years back...). Put on "Soul School" this winter and you may feel like your in a convertible with OMC singing, "How Bizarre". (Thank you to the band for autographing my LP - I ordered it from them, and I got an email saying the band would be back in town soon. If I didn't mind waiting, they could sign it for me...OK?)

18. The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
Jack White's umpteenth side project, The Dead Weather, comprised of Allison Mosshart of the Kills, QOTSA's guitarist, and Jack Lawrence of the Greenhornes returns with their second album in as many years. Still dark. Still bluesy. Still Dead. Jack moves from behind the drums on this one to take a little more stage light from lead singer, Mosshart. It ends up being more of a duet for the two. The high points/singles are not as strong as Horehound, but the album as a whole is better in my mind. "Blue Blood Blues" says it all. "Jawbreaker" breaks your jaw! This is my lawnmowing music. Riding around "shaking hips like battleships".

17. Spoon – Transference
Let's get it out of the way that Spoon is one of my favorite groups. Britt Daniel just does so much cool stuff with minimalism. That being said, Transference hits on all cylinders but lacks the appeal that was found in previous releases. Every song matters to Britt but may not matter to everyone. "Written In Reverse" could be any Spoon song. "Got Nuffin" reappears from its EP release. "Mystery Zone" was my favorite with this album being more of a mystery to me.

16. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of ADZ
Illinois this is not. Sufjan is back and weirder than ever, but it works. Like all Sufjan, this album begs to be listened to as a piece and not as individual tracks. The title track hits a lot of the themes. "Too Much" is a bit more approachable. There is little you can say to describe it... It's like he's been hanging out with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood for the past couple of years. Hmmm?