Drew Harkins is a man’s man’s man. Yes, that’s one man too many. Please, bear with me. He likes to hunt, yet he not only understands but appreciates your penchant for Belle & Sebastian. This is some sort of meta art form that demonstrates an evolution beyond a mere man’s man that Drew has somehow mastered. The ladies do not dislike this about him, either. Drew can effortlessly make you feel special by never calling you again. Here are his favorite records of 2010:
1. Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest (4AD)
Album of the year. Hands down. Read the other reviews. I get tired of writing. I’d rather listen to this album on repeat than proffer yet another ode to its beauty and brilliance. Basically, I can no longer make fun of Bradford Cox for being “tortured.” He wins.
2. Local Natives, Gorilla Manor (French Kiss)
I hate world music. Everything about it reeks of white guilt, third-world romanticism, precious NPR features and balding dudes who read Proust at coffee shops. That said, Gorilla Manor improbably manages to incorporate everything that’s remotely palatable about the genre and presents it in an impeccable five-part harmony secured package.
Let’s put it this way: You know when you start seeing a girl and you’re hanging out for a month or so and you finally reach that point where she completes your stupid joke while you’re driving around and everybody gets that warm feeling and you hold her hand and you think to yourself, “Man, this chick is so much more than meaningless sex”? Yeah, just listening to this album elicits the same super-gay emotion.
This is joyful music, and it works because it’s played with the conviction that it’s owed, right down to the ironic mustaches and dueling drumbeats. Extra points for wearing the unabashed Talking Heads influences on their sleeves.
3. Spoon, Transference (Merge)
The thing about Spoon is that they seem to reinvent themselves with every album, yet still remain the same band at their core. Transference is a great Spoon album because it re-establishes the band as masters of production value and opaque melody.
Just listen to “Is Love Forever” to figure it out. The song somehow sounds like the band is wringing it through the rotor wash of a helicopter, on some sort of lo-fi Apocalypse Now tip. Face it, dudes. Britt Daniel is the MacGyver of indie rock. He just does more with less.
4. Sleigh Bells, Treats (Mom + Pop/N.E.E.T.)
Every time I hear this album, I think of the famous football reel of Lawrence Taylor snapping Joe Theisman’s leg like a goddamned twig. This is stadium music for dudes who wear keffiyah scarves.
5. Toro y Moi, Causers of This (Carpark)
I remember when Matt Kennedy told me in 2005 that Chaz’s new project was called “Toro y Moi.” I just started laughing at how precious it all seemed. WHO’S THE ASSHOLE NOW, DREW?
6. Best Coast, Crazy for You (Mexican Summer)
Bethany Cosentino was totally that chick in high school who floated effortlessly between social groups, dating stoners and jocks in succession. You couldn’t quite put your finger on what made her tick, but once you got your turn, you realized she was merely another girl, every bit as insecure as she was hopeful.
7. Titus Andronicus, The Monitor (XL)
This album kills. Also, it’s totally brilliant. A Civil War concept album that’s staggeringly heavy, remarkably lithe on guitar lines, yet cleverly ham-fisted in the meta department? Titus Andronicus: 1, Bros: 0.
8. Taylor Swift, Speak Now (Big Machine)
“I like clothes and I still like girls. I don’t give a fuck what you think.” – Kanye West
9. Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot)
I gave this CD to my mother as a gift. She said, “He sounds like Bruce Springsteen, Elvis and Johnny Cash mixed together.” Thanks for doing my work, mom!
10. Beach House, Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
I saw Beach House in 2007 and nearly yawned myself to death. Teen Dream, however? Brooding, ethereal, ambient, gorgeous, blah blah blah. I just wish they’d included their cover of Gucci Mane’s Lemonade on this record.