10.The Clientele – God Save the Clientele
Nothing makes me feel more like I just woke up in a wet paper bag on shrooms while listening to Nick Drake more than the Clientele. I keep thinking they’re going to burn out on their trademark sound, but they keep finding plenty of lovely facets of it to explore.
9.Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
On the official list of the world’s most awkward record titles that God keeps in a file cabinet, Hissing Fauna… appears well below Fiona Apple’s When the Pawnâ€¦ and not far from Bright Eyes’ Lifted, or The Story’s in the Soil Yet… , for all the obtuseness and kinda bratty falsetto vocals, Of Montreal’s mix of beats, glam, and bitterness makes for a surprisingly frothy (and danceable) experience.
8.Radiohead – In Rainbows
It’s not Nebraska, but this Radiohead feels awfully stripped down. I, for one, appreciate In Rainbows‘ utter lack of anything resembling the kind of philanthropic wankery (that’s wankery for the benefit of the fans) of post-OK Computer releases. Just 10 strong songs and nothing so overtly experimental that it kills the momentum. And unlike any of their other records, this one actually gets stronger as it reaches the end. Each time out, Radiohead seems somehow more in control of its art than ever before, and the trend continues with In Rainbows, along with the band’s obvious mastery of commerce.
7.Blonde Redhead – 23
With its slaloming Loveless guitars and Kazu Makino’s vocals so reminiscent of ethereal 4AD stalwarts Lush, 23 is a difficult album to talk about without resorting to the word “shoegazing.” I thank the secret cabal that controls world events that I didn’t have to go there.
6.M.I.A. – Kala
Kala’s rich sonic stew expertly blends styles and sounds of the last three decades while managing to sound completely up to the minute, genuine, and deeply weird.
5.Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
That fat bass locking in on the beat, the terse guitar commentary, the handclaps, finger snaps, and tambourines, and the ragged glory of Britt Daniel’s vocal add up to a cocktail that’s potent and pure.
4.Von Sudenfed – Tromatic Reflexxions
Von Sudenfed’s LP shot an arrow straight through my umlaut-loving heart, exuding toxic charisma, nervous beats, and the unmistakable sound of Mark E. Smith.
3.Feist – The Reminder
The male-centric indie rock world hasn’t been this unanimous in its praise of a record by a female artist since Exile on Guyville. I wonder if 10 years I’ll put this on and think, “this is so 2007.” Right now it sounds timeless. I bet Leslie Feist would do a great cover of “Fuck and Run,” with that spare upright-bass sound of “My Moon My Man.”
2.Deerhunter – Cryptograms
Deerhunter’s blend of noise, drone and melody is evocative. Sometimes it’s bracing and intoxicating, like being slapped in the face with absinthe-soaked seaweed. Sometimes it’s like the net of static electricity when you pull a sweater over your head. But even while throwing all manner of wrench into the work, the band hangs on to the thrust of these song and never veers into wankery for its own sake (as opposed to wankery for the sake of others, also known as philanthropic wankery, see Radiohead.)
1.LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Hard to deny the genius of these heartfelt songs, which soar in spite of the dark tales they tell. Murphy achieves dance-floor glory with “Us V Them” and in “All My Friends” he has penned a flat-out classic, as the gripping covers by John Cale and others attest.