Clif’s Top 20: numbers 16-20

Since adding Craig, and soon Mark, it’s been a bit confusing how to handle a Tops of 2010 list. So, we’ll do it individually for now. I will list my top 20, and Craig will follow a bit later. Maybe next year, we’ll coordinate our picks. So here it goes… Clif’s top 20, starting with 16-20.

20. Beach House – Teen Dream: Baltimore’s dream pop mavens scored big with Teen Dream. It was one of those albums I grew to love. Zebra and Norway drove this album, but the album sustains its place because of deeper cuts like Silver Soul and the trio of Better Times, 10 Mile Stereo, and Real Love. [Buy it on eMusic]

19. Suckers – Wild Smile: The Brooklyn indie rock outfit were one of the few ROCK bands with compelling releases. You figure with a cover like this, they have to be a little wild. Tracks like Black Sheep, A Mind I Knew, and Roman Candles best represent the infectious joy that is Wild Smile. This was my album of the summer, and I am sorry I missed their show with Menomena in October. [Buy directly from Suckers]

18. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest: To me Halcyon Digest is Deerhunter’s most complete album to date. I think this may have something to do with Bradford Cox releasing more experimental material as Atlas Sound, and Lockett Pundt doing the same in Lotus Plaza. Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza gives each an outlet to exert his creative prowess, while allowing Deerhunter to be more focused and accessible to a wider audience. Revival, Fountain Stairs, Desire Lines, Helicopter, and Coronado represent what’s best about Halcyon Digest. [Buy direct from Deerhunter]

17. Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can: At age 20, I was entering college after a two year hitch in the army. At that same age, Laura Marling released her second critically acclaimed album. Marling is a bit of an anachronism in this era of glitz and bling, as her vocal style and compositions are reminiscent of something from the British Folk Revival. The powerful Alpha Shallows best demonstrates this connection. Other standouts include Devil’s Tracks, Hope in the Air, and Rambling Man. [Purchase from her website]

The Harvey Girls - I've Been Watching A Lot of Horror Movies Lately

16. The Harvey Girls – I’ve Been Watching A Lot of Horror Movies Lately: Using intricate layering of looped samples, the tracks on I’ve Been Watching… resonate with sonic depth and complexity, but do not become exercises in mental masturbation. Rather, the Harvey Girls’ sound is sometimes weird, sometimes macabre, sometimes cool, indie pop. As an example, the first track, The Body Without Any Eyes, opens with horses trotting, handclaps and layers of instrumentation. Tracks like A Letter to Bees, Monster, and Only Apparitions On The Lawn best demonstrate their eccentric pop chops. An instrumental (vocals are not lyrical but musical), Smile Like Gwynplaine, is hypnotic. While listening to Smile Like Gwynplaine, I could not believe how it captured my attention. I shut out everything around me, which is a little dangerous when you’re running. [Buy it from Circle Into Square]

Up next…11-15!



3 responses to “Clif’s Top 20: numbers 16-20

  1. Pingback: Clif’s Top 20: #11 through #15 «·

  2. Pingback: Clif’s Top 20: #6 through #10 «·

  3. Pingback: Clif’s Top 20: #1 through #5 «·

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