- Broken Bells – ST
The best pop songwriter (James Mercer) and producer (Danger Mouse) of the last decade at the height of their game.
- The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt
Just when you thought one man and a guitar couldn’t sound fresh.
- The Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
Reveals more on each repeated listening; Damon Albarn taps into the schizophrenia of our times.
- Beach House – Teen Dream
Baltimore twosome’s 3rd long-player adds to the strength of their prior two albums.
- Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Bradford Cox’s most solid and consistent songwriting to date.
- Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Whether folks like the comparison or not, their earnestness, musicianship and big sound brings to mind a certain Irish band in its heyday.
- Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
Australian youngsters reveal musical chops beyond their years as they create an album best listened to from beginning to end.
- Wyatt, Atzmon, Stephen – ‘……….for the ghosts within’
Robert Wyatt (and friends) continue to push the boundaries of pop, accompanied by that unique, weather-worn voice.
- David Sylvian – Sleepwalkers
Sylvian takes a break from his avant-pop recent works to cull an “odds and sods” collection of more accessible material that holds together remarkably well.
- Eluvium – Similes
Though Eno’s fingerprints are all over this work, Matthew Cooper’s strong songwriting sensibilities and clear talent carry him past his forefathers.
- Laura Veirs – July Flame
Subtlety and musicianship separate Ms. Veirs from her (sometimes more commercially successful) singer/songwriter peers.
- Field Music – Measure
This is excellent song-craft at its finest – even as they labor in the shadows of the latest flavor of the month.
- The New Pornographers – Together
The strongest effort, from beginning to end, from the Canadian “supergroup”.
- Big Boi – Sir Luscious Left Foot…
Andre who? Just in case people weren’t already aware of who was responsible for most of the irresistible hooks from Outkast’s work.
- Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
Kanye who? The adventurous, unpredictable, multi-layered work that some critics keep thinking they’re hearing from Sir Tweet-a-Lot.