Best Stuff Day 16: Albums 10 through 6
10. Perfume Genius – Learning (Matador)
Lo-fi songs of sadness and longing are nothing new in indie rock, they’re just rarely this affecting. Full of deceptively simple melodies and straightforward lyrics, Perfume Genius confronts tragedies major and minor like the piano-driven reincarnation of early Elliot Smith. He’ll break your heart, and you’ll thank him for it.
Sample song: Mr. Peterson
9. Aloe Blacc – Good Things (Stones Throw)
Leave it to a production team called Truth & Soul to help craft the state of the union in neo-R&B. The most authentic and thoroughly unfuckwithable take on socially conscious ’70s soul this side of Daptone Records, with butter-smooth vocals, irresistible hooks and just enough grit to make it credible.
Sample track: I Need a Dollar
8. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)
What does the future sound like? I’m pretty sure the answer is somewhere on this album, but a dozen listens in and I still can’t figure it out. Dense, discordant and downright apocalyptic at times, Cosmogramma is a Rosetta Stone for pop’s future. Or, at least, it really should be.
Sample track: …And the World Laughs With You (ft. Thom Yorke)
7. Max Richter – Infra (Fat Cat)
A neo-classical dream where melodies drift through like radio stations from the spirit world. Like the title suggests, this is music that falls somewhere just below the visible spectrum, hinting at the structures that emerge in its few moments of clarity and coalescing just long enough to keep you listening.
Sample track: Infra 3
6. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Virgin)
Apparently, defining British pop wasn’t enough for Damon Albarn. He had to perfect a pan-global, genre-spanning sonic amalgamation that moves from childish bliss to melancholy with ease, pack it with mind-blowing guest spots (Lou Reed! Mark E. Smith! Mick Jones and Paul Simonon! Bobby Womack!) and somehow outshine them all.
Previous best stuff:
The Anthology Project
El Guincho’s “Bombay” (NSFW)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Eye Spy zine
Julia Tiller, illustrator
Hip: The History
Comedy Death Ray
Metropolis + the Alloy Orchestra
Best albums 15-11