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The Best of 2010...So Far

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sleigh Bells Sleigh Bells (mehan/flickr)

With 2010 halfway over, Soundcheck's music critics have selected the top 10 must-listen recordings of the year so far. Joining us to look at the period from January through June are Maura Johnston, freelance music writer, and Steve Smith, music editor of Time Out New York.




Maura Johnston's Picks

Tracey Thorn, Love And Its Opposite []

Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son Of Chico Dusty []

Sleigh Bells, Treats []    

Robyn, Body Talk Pt. 1 []

Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Pt. 2 []


Steve Smith's Picks

Scott Johnson, Americans []

Yuja Wang, Transformations []

Matt Marks, The Little Death, Vol. 1 []

Janelle Monáe, The ArchAndroid []

Chris Lightcap, Deluxe []


Maura Johnston's Picks: Best Singles

Robyn, "Dancing On My Own"

Big Boi, "Shutterbugg"

Janelle Monáe, "Tightrope"

The-Dream, "Florida University"

Lady Gaga/Beyoncé, "Telephone"

Sade, "Soldier Of Love"

Raheem DeVaughn, "I Don't Care"


Also featured:

Wagner, Gotterdammerung, Brunhilde's Immolation scene

Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate, Ali & Toumani


Maura Johnston and Steve Smith

Comments [18]

ScottMJohnson from

Perhaps, there are connections to my poetry,song lyrics and or blogs... I lived in ATL, went to Morehouse in 88 across from the Library off Jeptha st... next to a few Dreads named Aphabet and J they had a band then playing Downtown off Peachtree then AQUEMINI was a piece I wrote as well as There's a thin line between love and hate ....check the sources and find me in AZ ,Merritt Scott Johnson, went to Camden High School in NJ that was some time ago but I'm still writing music and poetry if there are interest...

Sep. 22 2010 06:51 PM

Top Ten or Eleven (in order of scent):

1. David Karsten Daniels & Fight the Big Bull "I Mean to Live Here Still"
2. Otis Redding "Live on the Sunset Strip" (released in '10...I know, I know. But it's amazing!)
3. Fol Chen "Part II - The New December"
4. The Roots "How I Got Over"
5. The Punch Brothers "Antifogmatic"
6. Derobert & The Half-Truths "Soul in a Digital World"
7. Kronos Quartet "Music of Central Asia Vol. 8: Rainbow"
8. The Black Keys "Brothers"
9. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings "I Learned the Hard Way"
10. Samamidon "I See the Sign"
11. Polar Bear "Peeprs"

A little diversity goes a long way. Keep your ears open. There's something good in everything. (P.S. This list aint but the tippity tip of the iceburg)

Jul. 19 2010 08:29 AM

so did 'nyc play "florida university" on-air? I'm curious what the FCC call is on that one (and couldn't tune in)

Jul. 12 2010 03:36 PM
Philip Luber

Favorite albums 2010 (so far):
Judy Collins, "Paradise"
Evelyn Evelyn, "Evelyn Evelyn"
Jimmy Webb, "Just Across the River"
Mary-Chapin Carpenter, "The Age of Miracles"
Frightened Rabbit, "The Winter of Mixed Drinks"
Otis Gibbs, "Joe Hill's Ashes"
Poets of the Fall, "Twilight Theater"
Peter Wolf, "Midnight Souvenirs"

Jul. 09 2010 05:13 AM
Kieran from Brooklyn, NY

In my opinion there are a few things that make an album great:
1. at least four great songs (could be "singles" if you'd like, but maybe that word sounds almost too "pop-ish") that you just want to play over and over
2. unifying theme/concept/mood
3. flow of the album with well-thought-out song order/mastering i.e. you can listen straight through and let it ride

With these criteria in mind, I'd pick The Roots' album "How I Got Over" (their best since Things Fall Apart), Janelle Monae's "The ArchAndroid," Jose James' "Blackmagic" (producer Flying Lotus' work is featured heavily on here but I don't think his own album Cosmogramma makes the list) and Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh."

Jul. 08 2010 06:28 PM
lara davis from NYC

Bobby McFerrin's VOCAbuLarieS

Jul. 08 2010 03:11 PM

And good call on the Scott Johnson - I've been missing the music of this unique American voice for quite some time. Welcome back, Scott!

Jul. 08 2010 03:00 PM
BK from Jersey

For me, "Omni" from Minus the Bear really captures the essence of what a rock record can and should be in 2010. They're playing at Webster Hall tonight, I'm obviously excited.

Jul. 08 2010 02:47 PM

Gerald Finley's "Batter My Heart" aria from "Doctor Atomic" is awesome. I have it on a 2010 Chandos recording of "Opera in English." It will literally raise the hair on the back of your neck!

Jul. 08 2010 02:38 PM

What about Flying Lotus new album: Cosmograma.
He continuously recreates his own persona and this year comes out with a much more jazzy and enthusiastic set of songs. Without a doubt it should part of the picks of the year.

Jul. 08 2010 02:32 PM
jim macnie

steve's smart to include Lightcap - there's plenty of liftoff by the band as the music unfolds. gotta make sure people see them live. - JM

Jul. 08 2010 02:31 PM
cap from manhattan

Maura Johnston needs to find a different job as do your producers. What a bunch of crap. Haven't listened to this show for a while and am surprised to see that it is even more in the toilet than it was. Somebody help John out!

Jul. 08 2010 02:29 PM
DK in BK from Brooklyn

Hey what about Rock and Roll!? Rock Icon Jeff Beck released an album this year. Emotion Commotion breaking down the boundaries between rock, classic and techno. Jeff Beck does it again! What about it?

Jul. 08 2010 02:24 PM
AC from Queens

Tix for concerts have continually gone up and only recently have they begun to notice that fans can't front the cost of these 60+ tix. Also this is the bread and butter of many artists/bands they have to make sure they don't seem like they are ripping off their fans with this high prices. Additionally the AEG/Tickemaster/Live Nation's of the world tack on processing fees in addition to production costs that the bands themselves have and the venue's costs. All around - a bad summer concert season for 2010.

Jul. 08 2010 02:23 PM
AC from Queens

Robyn is a complete gem with her songwriting and lullaby style of singing.
The new Erkyah Badu's album is a great throwback to what all her fans originally loved about her!
Love your list by the way!

Jul. 08 2010 02:18 PM
Jeremy Shatan from NYC

And shout out to Funkadelic - it's their "Can You Get To That" that provides the basis for Sleigh Bells "Rill Rill"...

Jul. 08 2010 02:14 PM
John from Brooklyn

Robyn's album Body Talk Pt. 1 is on the top of my list so far. Hopefully her next two albums (Body Talk Pt. 2 and Body Talk Pt. 3) will also top my list by the end of the year.

Jul. 08 2010 02:09 PM
Jeremy Shatan from NYC

I can't pick just one of are the contents of my Best Of Ten playlists as it stands today:

Girl I Love You - Massive Attack (Heligoland)
Waves - Holly Miranda (The Magician's Private Library)
Each Time Is A New Time - Field Music (Measure)
In A Landscape - Brooklyn Rider (Dominant Curve)
Africa Must Wake Up - Nas/Damian Marley (Distant Relatives)
The Mystery Zone - Spoon (Transference)
Start To Dreaming - Wooden Shjips (Vol. 2)
Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells (Treats)
49 Cigars - Nick Nicely (Psychotropia)

I'm sure Big Boi will make it in there, too...

Jul. 08 2010 01:34 PM

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