Friday, December 31, 2010

The Willy's Top 10

These are the real deal.
These ain't no "Slashies", y'all.

10. The National – High Violet
HV was a slow burner for me. It didn't have the pop of Alligator and didn't pull like The first. After some QT together, me and HV are copacetic. Every track blends seamlessly with the next. No song stands above the other. They stand together with High Violet being the ultimate product. I will say that "Bloodbuzz Ohio" is about the only thing I like about Ohio. The album is beautiful but beautifully sad like many of the National's efforts. Do not listen to this album if you are depressed, it may put you deeper. It would be a great alternative to the Smiths for that broken heart. Where was this stuff when I needed it back in the day?!? "I don't have the drugs to sort it out."

9. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast
I fought tooth and nail to get a first pressing vinyl of this at the beginning of the year - I got it! What a pleasant surprise. "Floating Vibes" made me feel like I was in high school again. "Swim" falls in line with the rest of the sunny songs this year. At times, this West Palm outfit reminds me of what My Morning Jacket would sound like if they were a band from South Florida. May be if they just "Take it Easy"?

8. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
This IS Happening. Every James Murphy project is a party. The party continues on, but let's be honest: Sound of Silver still reigns supreme. Regardless - at the 2:57 minute mark of "Dance YrSelf Clean", the party kicks into full gear and doesn't look back. "All I Want" is supposed to be the "All My Friends" of this album but never reaches those heights. For me, "I Can Change" has the most fun and the best hook to boot! House party anyone?

7. Magic Kids – Memphis
Guess where these kids are from? Their ode to their home is a power pop tour-de-force that is almost so sweet it's saccharine. "Superball" does something to you when you hear it. You almost spasm into full on noodle dance. "Hey Boy" sounds like a song your parents danced to at a middle school sock hop. The whole album sounds like a super group of the Spinto Band, Vince Guaraldi Trio, and the Boy Least Likely To produced by Ben Folds. Crazy.

6. Best Coast - Crazy for You
The companion piece to Wavves this year, Best Coast goes to beach less stoned with a female perspective. You'll be reminded of Hole's "Malibu". It's a whole album of Malibu. Less rough than Courtney Love's gnarl, Bethany Cosentino sings her simple guitar songs about boys, the beach, what it's like when you're here, when you're there, how you make her feel, and what she's gonna do about it. Simple. Straightforward. Don't think too hard. Just take it in and watch the sun go down. "When I'm With You", "Boyfriend", "Crazy For You", "I Want To"

5. Vampire Weekend – Contra
We know the place that the boys in cardigans hold in my heart. The returned with more of the same. You'd remember drinking "Horchata": here comes a feeling you thought you'd forgotten. "Cousins" fills that "A-Punk" sized hole in your heart. "Giving Up the Gun" is like nothing from their debut. It may be their strongest song, yet. "Holiday" deserves more than a Volkswagen and Hilfiger commercial (but I approve of both). "Run" and "White Sky" are classic VW. Sophomore's are never as fresh as debut's, but Contra stays in step with the original and surpasses in some areas.

4. Black Keys – Brothers
The all male White Stripes, the Black Keys, survived singer Dan Auerbach's solo career to put out one of their stronger albums since Rubber Factory. They've tapered back Danger Mouses production hands slightly, but his songs actually have the most bang for your buck. "Tighten Up" is one for the ages, while "Howlin' for You" sounds like a stadium anthem. And their "Next Girl" will be nothing like their Ex-Girl... They'll be her "Everlasting Light".

3. Harlem – Hippies
This is my pick. While it won't be on many if any lists this year. It's on mine. I love it. Garage rock trio minimalism that triumphs at SXSW. I listen to this one straight on through. "Someday Soon" has one of my favorite lines of the year. "Someday soon you'll be on fire, and you'll ask me for a glass of water. I'll say, 'nooooo'. You can just let that s**t burn." Please put me out? "Gay Human Bones" was the single. "Be Your Baby" swings with retro vibes and modern swagger. Each song wreaks of someone scorned. These songs are the rebuttle, the revenge. Whatever.

2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
After putting the dark themes of Neon Bible to bed, Arcade Fire triumph with what will likely bring them Grammy gold. The Suburbs returns to the neighborhoods of Funeral. "The Suburbs" sets the tone, while "Ready To Start" hits on all cylinders. I could go on and on about the whole album, but I don't have time and my hands are tired... "Rococo" and "Modern Man" power along like the rest of the album. "Sprawl II" is an interesting curve ball with lead singer, Win Butler's, bandmate/wife taking the lead for a Blondie channeling moment. Through and through The Suburbs are a joy.

1. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
I'll be brief. This album slays. It was the kind of thing that you feel every blue moon when you hear an album - WOW. The Strokes - Is this It?, Vampire Weekend - s/t, Franz Ferdinand - s/t all gave me that funny feeling. It's back. Start to finish there's greatness. "Wide Eyes" opens your eyes and ears. "Airplanes" grabs your heart. "Sun Hands" makes you stomp. "World News" is a sign of the times. A surprise is their cover of the Talking Heads. "Warning Sign" would make David Byrne proud. GO GET THIS - NOW!


A said...

Completely missed the memo on Magic Kids. Never even heard of them until this month's G&G blurb, and I went home (a record) 4x in 2010!! Whadya guess these are White Station grads??