Coming up to the year’s halfway point, here are my top ten albums so far.
1. The Soft Pack The Soft Pack So fun…I feel guilty about this at #1, but it’s the one I play in the car all the time, even when I should be listening to other stuff, just because I love it so much. “Pull Out” is my #1 song as well.
2. Jack Rose Luck in the Valley A beautiful coda to Rose’s career…started out loving the raga tunes best, then gradually warmed to the ragtime ones. What a bummer that there’s not going to be any more of this. (Except that there probably will be, given DAT files and reissues and so forth.)
3. Wetdog Frauhaus My favorite female-led post-punk so far this year, Dum Dum Girls be damned….”Lower Leg” is also one of my favorite songs for 2010.
4. Rangda False Flag Fantastic guitar duel between Sir Richard Bishop and Ben Chasney with the not-incidental bonus of Chris Corsano setting off firestorms of drumming in between. There are harsh, explosive tracks and longer, more lyrical ones, but my favorite is the 15-minute closer “Plain of Jars”
5. Clogs In the Garden of Lady Walton Much beloved post-classical instrumental band brings in the singers – mostly Shara Worden, but also Matt Berninger and Sufjan – for this really wonderful CD, which starts in a madrigal-renaissance mode and moves into a sort of folk-influenced place late in the disc.
6. Eluvium Similes Clearly my best interview so far this year and also a pretty stunning album, also with vocals, for the first time for this mostly ambient, electronic endeavor.
7. Ted Leo The Brutalist Bricks Ted now, Ted forever.
8. White Fence White Fence A semi-slow burner, this home-recorded side-project from the Darker My Love frontman touches all the bases of 1960s psychedelia without getting too, too referential and archival. “Sara Snow” will go pretty high on my list of songs, too.
9. Laura Veirs July Flame Really fine, very well put together and beautifully arranged batch of songs from Laura Veirs, who must be a mom by now.
10. Damien Jurado St. Bartlett Spooky, spectorish wall-of-sound departure for this under-followed, under-appreciated songwriter, nothing flashy, but beautiful anyway.
Easter Monkeys Splendor of Sorrow
Also really enjoyed Rocky Votalato, Beach House, Besnard Lakes, Jack Rose with D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Future Islands…and probably a lot more that I can’t remember at the moment.
My main disappointment has been the new National record, though on a lesser scale, I was also not blown away by the new Good Shoes.