Friday, December 24, 2010

Von's Top 20 (Or: Things we kinda dug)

The Annual Von's Records Top 20 Countdown:
20. The Walkmen: "Lisbon"
RabbitRabbit: We all know how I felt about this one--my marriage proposal is still out there.

19. Vampire Weekend: "Contra"
Tyler Figg: Good album, but I was really hoping for more. "White Sky" is my favorite track, even though Ezra Koenig's falsetto may border on irritating.
RR: I liked this one quite a bit, but I never sought it out. I still find myself reaching for their self-titled debut.

18. Sufjan Stevens: "The Age of Adz"
TF: Stevens is the closest thing we have to an indie-pop composer. Ornate and complex.
RR: Me and Sufjan, we're still getting to know each other. It's a tentative process, but I think we'll be friends.

17. Titus Andronicus: "The Monitor"
TF: Love this band, loved this album. I don't know why no one has written an alt-punk album about the Civil War until now. Get on your shit, blink 182!
RR: I....still haven't listened to this yet.
TF: You know you work in a record store, right? With music and stuff?
RR: David really liked it. Does that count?

16. Caribou: "Swim"
RR: Is it wrong that I didn't care for this album? I prefer the Chemical Brothers and El Guincho.

15. El Guincho: "Pop Negro"
RR: Speaking of...I'll just come right out and say it: I love this album. It's lovely and breezy tropical electro-pop you could shake it to with champagne in one hand and a palm fan in the other.
TF: ...and a shirtless Puerto Rican pool boy in your lap.

14. Ratatat: "LP4"
TF: Oh Ratatat, how I love thee. One of the few bands that can make this lanky white boy want to dance.
RR: Layered repetition at its finest. (If you like this, give Holy Fuck a spin.)

13. Kanye West: "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
RR: I would like to add that while this is a good album, and technically very interesting, I just really can't see why everyone is so completely gaga over this. He may be a pop genius, but he still couldn't carry a tune in a bucket if his life depended on it.

12. Hot Chip: "One Life Stand"
RR: Deliciously dark (or sometimes, at the very least, sad) electro-pop . I kinda want to break out the knee boots and green lipstick again.
TF: Simultaneously sad and peppy. It's hard to say whether this is a home alone album or night out album. Either way, worth a listen.

11. Janelle Monae: "The Archandroid"
RR: Aw hell yes. Janelle is just so wide-eyed and fragile looking in her (incredibly attractive) suit jacket...and then she opens her lips and you know exactly why your first assumption just shattered into a thousand pieces. She just kicked your ass.
TF: Aggressive and surprising: bad for a bus ride, great for an album.

10. The Dead Weather: "Sea of Cowards"
TF: The Dead Weather is sexy, no matter how you look at it.
RR: Dirty, yes. Sexy, a bit. Overdone? Yes.
TF: ...which is why I didn't vote them higher. Great album, very rocking, but I hold Jack White projects to a very high standard, and compared to other albums, this didn't hold up quite as well. Still better than most things this year.
RR: I tolerated "Horehound," but I just can't get behind this one. I like Jack White, and I like the Kills...but this is so overwrought and stylistically forced that it--quite frankly--bores me.

9. Gorillaz: "Plastic Beach"
TF: Perhaps this is more my fault than the band's, but I expect better work from the Gorillaz. It's hip and fun at points, but it isn't consistent.
RR: Yawn. The second half picks up, though.

8. Deerhunter: "Halcyon Digest"
RR: I've never really liked their releases. But this is good--some of it is tedious--but overall I really like it.
TF: I just wish the text on the album's cover was more legible. It took me three code-breakers and four days to figure out the title of the damn thing. Other than that, it's pretty fun.

7. Beach House: "Teen Dream"
TF: Mournful and beautiful. Listen to this album alone in your room with a tear in your eye and an empty pack of cigarettes.
RR: This album sent me on a Galaxie 500/Feelies/Luna bender.

6. The Chemical Brothers: "Further"
RR: This is the first Chemical Brothers album I've just HAD to have since 1999's "Surrender". Feel it, love it, buy it. (P.S. Lauren: Neeeeigh!)
TF: And I dance, dance, dance, and I dance, dance, dance.

5. The National: "High Violet"
TF: This album was boring. This is the perfect music for a night spent tying and untying the same knot in a piece of string, over and over again.
RR: If The Great Gatsby somehow came to life, wrote an album and then drank himself to death, it may have sounded something like this.
. Is this TF's audition for 1 Girl and 5 Gays? Dance 'n' Dish! Dance 'n' Dish! Dance 'n' Dish!

4. LCD Soundsystem: "This is Happening"
RR: James Murphy is so intense sometimes I can feel my capillaries bursting under the strain. He's manic and brilliant--and startlingly sad and in-depth--and I do so adore him.
TF: Spacey and electronic, dancey and infectious.

3. Broken Bells: "Broken Bells"
TF: Danger Mouse doesn't know how to make a bad album, and this is no exception. Groovy and gorgeous.
RR: One of the weirdest collaborations I've yet seen, and so completely brilliant that adjectives fail me. It's broken in all the right places, buoyed along on deceptively upbeat indie-pop sensibilities.

2. The Black Keys: "Brothers"
TF: What did the hipster paleontologist say about the Cretaceous period? "Meh, the Triassic was better."
There is often the trend where a band tends to lose their signature sound with each successive album, but this is not the same for The Black Keys. They have not only held onto their original sound, they've managed to evolve and grow with each album.
It's groovy, rocking, and bluesy. My personal favorite for the year.
RR: I have a hard time really liking the Black Keys--you can blame my coworkers for rocking every album all the time I suppose--but this was brilliant. It's bruised and spitting teeth and smiling all the while. Cheeky bastards.

1. Arcade Fire: "The Suburbs"
TF: Suburban life hasn't seemed so equally depressing and iconic since "The Wonder Years." Arcade Fire don't make albums, they make melodramas in music. "The Suburbs" is emotional and vibrant. This album feels alive.
RR: What Figg said. <3

Other Things We Liked:

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