Odds and Ends 037
Afuche: Highly Publicized Digital Boxing Match (Cuneiform '11)
tUnE-yArDs sax section carouses even more explosively when voices join in, and not usually Merrill Garbus's ("Monster Smith," "Dance Marino") ***
Sun City Girls: Funeral Mariachi (Abduction '10)
After 50 albums, many unlistenable not just because they're out of print, "uncategorizable" trio drop what Pitchfork's smartest designates their last and friendliest record ("Ben's Radio," "The Imam") ***
Ben Folds/Nick Hornby: Lonely Avenue (Nonesuch '10)
"Ben Folds adds music and melody to Nick Hornby's words," which are so much better than Ben Folds's words, but tend cute and pat even so ("Levi Johnston's Blues," "Belinda") ***
Jenny Owen Youngs: An Unwavering Band of Light (self-released '12)
Loser in love loses label too, then bucks up rhythmically and hence maybe lovably ("Pirates," "Your Apartment") **
The Wailing Wall: The Low Hanging Fruit (JDub '10)
Songful spawn of Orthodox Judaism and Swami Muktananda seeks divine guidance and/or multi-instrumental satori ("Pineapple/Clarinet/Buffalo," "For C.M.R.") **
Ashton Shepherd: Where Country Grows (MCA Nashville '11)
She'd be fixing to backslide all the way down if there wasn't a title song making her bow her head to you-know-who ("Look It Up," "Tryin' to Go to Church") **
The Superions: Destination . . . Christmas! (Fanatic '10)
Fred Schneider and friends wish you an ebulliently ironic 25th ("Fruitcake," "Jingle Those Bells") **
Toby Keith: Clancy's Tavern (Show Dog/Universal '11)
After the anti-"American Saturday Night," he starts sounding almost like the registered Democrat he is ("Red Solo Cup," "Beers Ago") *
Also, the Sir Elton John review on Odyshape is top shelf. Nice work, good Doctor.
1. Kanye West: Yeezus (81)
2. My Bloody Valentine: MBV (78)
2. Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City (78)
4. Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (74)
5. The National: Trouble Will Find Me (68)
6. Haim: Days Are Gone (65)
7. David Bowie: The Next Day (61)
7. The Knife: Shaking the Habitual (61)
9. Savages: Silence Yourself (60)
9. Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze (60)
10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away (58)
11. Arctic Monkeys: AM (55)
11. Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady (55)
13. Queens of the Stone Age: Like Clockwork (53)
14. Laura Marling: Once I Was an Eagle (51)
15. Arcade Fire: Reflektor (50)
15. Yo La Tengo: Fade (50)
17. Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest (49)
17. Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold (49)
19. Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight . . . (48)
20. Bill Callahan: Dream River (46)
20. Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe (46)
Best year in music in recent memory.
I haven't been overly impressed with the music released the first two-three years this decade. But this year has been fantastic, easily the best since 2007 (for me, anyway). My problem with the lists so far is that I don't think they've done the year enough justice.
My own favourite of the decade (thus far) is The Roots' How I Got Over.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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