Everyone's a Critic Top Ten List

We asked our http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/critic/">Everyone’s a Critic contributors to compile a CD hit list for 2011, which we cross-pollinated with our own in-house faves to drop on you this wicked-scientific and original top-ten. So, without further adoodoo:

10. Youth Lagoon’s electro-pop collection The Year of Hibernation is this year’s bed-sit comp to rise from the interweb cesspoolio. You just have to encourage the yutes to lock in, be completists not defeatists, and 22-year-old Trevor Powers completed the crap out of this record. Also, he looks a lot like the E*Trade baby.

9. Glenn Campbell’s Ghost on the Canvas makes our list because we respect the hell out of this guy and think you should, too. The Paul Westerberg–penned title track is, like, song of the year.

8. Can we lump Cass McCombs and Ryan Adams at number 8? Yes, we can, cuz they’re passing each other on the walk of fame ri-i-i-i-i-ight NOW.

7. Jersey Mike’s Chipotle Cheesesteak. This delicious sammy hits all the right notes. Jes kidding. Though the JMCC does indeed totally rock, They Might Be Giants came on late but strong with comebacker of the year, Join Us. We liked what Andrew Hamlin had to say on the matter: “I’d forgotten how much I missed these fellows. Their first ‘adult’ record in awhile, but ‘adult’ really does mean ‘grown up.’ The history of 20th-century music in adorable nibbles, never flaunting it, filled with the breadth of quotidian wit.” (He sounds smart.)

6. Yuck tried on all the thrift-store sweaters of ’90s indie-rock icons, which fit the Brit trio to a tee. Their s/t debut is bloody charming.

5. Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring for My Halo will take you for a walk on the Vile side, if psych-folk flopper rock is your taste in tea, and we think it is.

4. Serengeti’s Family and Friends is a flat-out soul-bearer of a trip-hop disc. Infectious honesty. That’s art changing a motherfucker.

3. You made it to the pure enjoyment end of the list. Good for you. Bon Iver’s Bon Iver. Wow, right? How come it only got three votes, SanDago? Spoiler: this one is Pitchfork’s numero uno this year — last year — whatever.

2. Wilco’s Whole Love got the most contributor votes, so, mathematically, it really should be number one. Dad rock, however, is a solid number two.

1. Destroyer’s Kaputt destroyed ’em all. Shapeshifter Dan Bejar worked his weird pop alchemy and added some smart to the tart of ’70s AM radio. We came to this one late but can see it spinning deep deep deep into the new year. Canadian haters (don’t look away), feel free to move this entry to number ten and everything else down one.

Extra added business: for best local record, we got a lot of props for the Donkeys’ Born with Stripes. So, let’s call it that.

Happy Newt Year, everybody.


Better late than never - my 2011 Top 10 - by Mary Leary

Kathryn Calder: Bright and Vivid (File Under Music) - Also involved with New Pornographers, and supported by players including Superchunk’s Jon Wurster, Calder’s addictive sophomore solo effort soars beyond both the inevitable “Indie pop” tag and her own “synth-pop” description.

The Do: Both Ways Open Jaws (Six Degrees Records) – On harpsichord, sax, piano, and trumpet (for starters), Dan Levy helps Olivia Merilahti realize her hypersensitive perceptions. BWOJ sparkles and holds with hooks and ingenuity recalling the Raincoats and early Bowie.

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop) – To sound so much like CS&N (without Y) and still end up on this list? You’d have to be amazing. Fleet Foxes occasionally attains/conveys alpha levels of consciousness while feeling sincere to avoid any sense of pretense.

Sam Humans: Live Free/The Heligoats: Let Loose (Greyday Records) –The Heligoats’ Chris Otepka’s songwriting so juicily merges Walt Whitman’s transcendentalism (life is full of possibilities) with CCR’s kick-up-your-heels joy, it’s almost unbearable – in the best way.

Mercies: Three Thousand Days (Self-Released) – A passionate tone-poem of a (10-track) debut; recorded in a Connecticut barn.

The Raincoats: Odyshape (Reissue - We Three Records): An invigoratingly idiosyncratic mash of yin with yang that broke all sorts of ground. Three British girls happened to be manning the shovels.

Robbers on High Street: Hey There Golden Hair (Rocco Grecco) – It’s not easy to recapture the verve and kick of the mid-‘60s, while infusing it with joyful naivete. For the leap forward that is HTGH, the Brooklyn, New York-based Robbers have composed hits for A.M. stations that no longer exist.

Trentemoller: Reworked/Remixed (In My Room) – With artists including Andrew Weatherall Prinz and Efterklang remolding Trentemoller’s tracks, and Trentemoller putting his hands all over music by Franz Ferdinand, The Do, and Lars and the Hands of Light, it seems (from the way this thing’s been glued to my ears) impossible to go wrong with this cool, trippy, and cherry-on-top (of the Pop) tones ‘n’ beats.

The Velvet Monkeys: Everything Is Right (Reissue – Instant Mayhem/Thick Syrup) - Don Fleming has played a significant role in seminal new wave, punk, and post-punk (Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr). Anyone interested in any of those might want to overlook his participation in the Backbeat Band and grab this reissue of his first band’s debut, which for 29 years could only be found on cassette.

Gary Wilson: Feel the Beat (Tip Records) – Based in San Diego, GW continues to weave ingratiatingly odd tales of unrequited passion that seem to emanate from the psyche of an underdeveloped 16-year-old -- to music brilliantly melding lounge, jazz, funk, and pop.

(I also thought Cass McCombs' album was good; it just didn't quite make it onto this list)

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