Friday, February 19, 2010

13.69% of the Way Through 2010: Any Good Albums Yet?

Well, we are nearly 14% of the way through 2010 and I have yet to hear an album that impresses me to any great extent, but there are two that are right on the cusp of clinching positions on my best of 2010 list...

What are some of the 2010 albums that I have listened to thus far and disliked?

*Vampire Weekend - Contra: I find them to be very, very boring. I thought their first album was lame but this one is even worse.

*Spoon - Transference: Ho-hum, painting by numbers by this Austin-based band. Maybe they will lift from the holding pattern sometime again soon, though this might be a band that has simply exhausted the supply of possibilities.

*The Magnetic Fields - Realism: Arrghh, I had such high hopes. Just makes me want to put on 69 Love Songs instead. Not bad, but just disappointing. Still better though than most new stuff I have heard.

*Beach House - Teen Dream: Can I have that 20 minutes (before I switched to something else) back? Do we really need a new Cocteau Twins?

*Cold War Kids - Behave Yourself EP: They seem to be headed in the wrong direction

*Los Campesinos! - Romance is Boring: I know this has gotten good reviews, but sounds like LC! tune retreads mixed with "oh-so-edgy-lyrics" to my ears. I liked Hold on Now, Youngster but these last 2 have been tepid.

What have I listened to from 2010 thus far and find growing on me?
*Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM: I might even love this album if it wasn't for Beck's overproduction and "studio cleverness" which gets in the way on some of the tracks. Beck oftentimes suffers from the "Lanois Overeach Syndrome (LOS)" which is the tendency to use too many bells and whistles (figuratively and literally) in the studio just because you can. Sometimes soundscapes can add to the music; sometimes they can subtract. Luckily the album doesn't suffer from the rarer "Manu Chao Siren Syndrome (MCSS)" which is the tendency to employ a siren on every 4th song on any album he records or produces.

*Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C): While currently in the lead for worst album title of 2010, I like the music on this album a whole bunch but need to listen to it more.

What am I missing? I haven't had a chance to hear too much new stuff yet this year as I have mostly been listening to 1970-77 funk and 1975-79 Brit and American avant-punk for the last many weeks.

I am holding out hope for new and upcoming releases from:

*Gil Scott-Heron
*Watson Twins  [edit/update Feb. 24:  Ok, well, this album isn't so good]
*Peter Gabriel [edit/update Feb. 24: Ok, well, this album isn't so good]
*the final Johnny Cash American Recordings album [so says Rubin; but we have heard this twice before (after the Unearthed box and American V); this time he promises] (I have preordered it on vinyl)
*Robert Pollard
*David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (a concept album about Imelda Marcos? I am so there!)
*Drive-By Truckers
*The Hold Steady (though I am worried about what Franz's departure means for albums and shows by the band)
*Jimi Hendrix (I have already preordered "Valleys of Neptune" on double-vinyl)
*Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
*New Pornographers
*Willie Nelson (new one produced by T-Bone Burnett that comes out mid-April)

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