Album of the Week Mix: 2010, Vol. 1

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Album of the Week Mix: 2010, Vol. 1

We’re two and a half months into 2010, and it’s already looking to be a darn good year for music. It’s early, we recognize that. But so far, we’ve seen some spectacular releases from bands we love and bands we’ve just discovered. Owen Pallett gave up his Final Fantasy moniker, but the payoff was his best record to date. Los Campesinos! may have lost a longtime member, but their growth and evolution has brought them to an astonishing new high. And Four Tet, after several years of improvisational releases and collaborations, has issued his best recording since early last decade. Yep, 2010 is looking good, and here are our favorite tracks from our favorite albums of the past couple months.

Owen Pallett – “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt”
from Heartland

What we said: “Songs such as ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt,’ an easy choice for a second single, is the quintessential display of the different aspects of Heartland. Looped keys and violin progressions, themselves intricately played, serve as backdrop for Pallett’s sing-song lyrics that countermand the message within, that of his character Lewis rising up against him.”


Download at Owen Pallett - Heartland - Lewis Takes Off His Shirt

Spoon – “Before Destruction”
from Transference

What we said: “(Before Destruction) sets an oddly eerie tone for the album with its spare sequences often comprising little more than Daniel’s voice and acoustic guitar. Yet it’s easily one of the band’s most hauntingly beautiful songs, particularly due to the buzzing organ accompanying its stark melody.”


Download at Spoon - Transference - Before Destruction

Beach House – “Zebra”
from Teen Dream

What we said: “Fluid, emitting a brilliant glow, ‘Norway’ is a revelation, aflutter with cascading guitar trickle that makes the group sound both enormous and weightless. But what’s most remarkable is Legrand’s reading of the song’s title, turning the country’s name into an impassioned cry.”


Download at Beach House - Teen Dream - Zebra

Four Tet – “Sing”
from There Is Love In You

What we said: “‘Sing’ is my favorite of the moment, with its shuffling hi-hats and videogame melodies, its subtly introduced bell tones and washes of an expertly appropriated female voice, calling us wordlessly to a paradise in the air.”


Download at Four Tet - There Is Love In You - Sing

Los Campesinos! – “Romance Is Boring”
from Romance Is Boring

What we said: “The title track, however, is a much more muscular rock anthem, with a chorus that’s less giddily cute and more ferocious. If there was any doubt that the group was able to pound out a badass rock song, this should adequately prove otherwise.”


Download at Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring - Romance Is Boring

Yeasayer – “O.N.E.”
from Odd Blood

What we said: “Second single ‘O.N.E.’ is similarly buoyant and dynamic, leaping from clacking metal percussion to a giant, echoing guitar riff, to a hyperactive synth line during the chorus.”


Download at Yeasayer - Odd Blood - O.N.E.

Hot Chip – “I Feel Better”
from One Life Stand

What we said: “‘I Feel Better’ is lush and symphonic and I really don’t want to hear any more shit about Auto-tune. Make lemonade, people. ‘We deserve what we get/when you hold me/I feel better‘ goes the lyric and I won’t try to improve on it.”

Unofficial video

Download at Hot Chip - One Life Stand (Bonus Track Version) - I Feel Better

Shearwater – “Hidden Lakes”
from The Golden Archipelago

What we said: “‘Hidden Lakes’ is purely gorgeous, vaguely reminiscent of Kate Bush’s exquisite majesty.”


Download at Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago - Hidden Lakes

Local Natives – “Wide Eyes”
from Gorilla Manor

What we said: “Throughout the album, Local Natives line up one excellent song after another, though it’s hard to top the amazing first track, ‘Wide Eyes.’ Its opening chords shimmer and sparkle, emitting a stunning melodic warmth.”


Download at Local Natives - Gorilla Manor - Wide Eyes

Frightened Rabbit – “The Loneliness and the Scream”
from The Winter of Mixed Drinks

What we said: “The stomps and handclaps in ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’ merely make an already great song that much more fun”


Download at Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks - The Loneliness and the Scream

The Besnard Lakes – “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent Pt. 2: The Innocent”
from The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night

What we said: “`The Innocents’ is the baptismal immersion into The Roaring Night‘s oceanic bliss, a lengthy builder that emerges from its cocoon of stoic, minor key piano chords into an awesome, pounding rocker.”


Download at The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night (Bonus Track Version) - Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent, Pt. 2: The Innocent

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