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The 10 Best Non Hip-Hop Albums of the Half Year

Image Via Natalie Dee

In case, you were wondering, I do have a pair of boombox pants and yes, they're quite comfortable.

10. King Khan & The Shrines-The Supreme Genius Of.... (tie)

If my review of Khan's Pitchfork Fest set didn't convince you, this interview that ran today should seal the deal as to why Khan should be your new favorite person in the whole wide world (take that Brian Williams, you telegenic newsman, you.) The guy writes great songs, he wears a cape, a gold Josephine Baker cap and says that there is nothing wrong with having sex with a unspecified type of cheese, presumably swiss.

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Buy The Supreme Genius Of

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MP3: King Khan & The Shrines-"Welfare Bread"

10. Daptone Records 7" Collection Vol. 2

New "old" funk collection from lights-out Daptone label sounds like it could've been made in the late 60s or early 70s. Do you like The J.B.'s, Aretha Franklin and Booker T & The MG's? Of course you do. You'll like this.

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Buy Daptone 7 Inch Singles Collection Vol. 2

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MP3: Sharon Jones-"Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In"

9. Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend

I understand and even empathize with the backlash. Vampire Weekend's media image is annoying, but hey, it worked and more importantly, so did their debut which comes stacked with great pop song after great pop song. Are they the band of their generation? I sort of hope not. But this is a nice start.

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Buy Vampire Weekend

8. Sic Alps-US E.Z.

Shabby, lo-fi psychedelic rock from San Francisco, Sic Alps scrape the bubblegum from under the counter and amplify it into a dirty, distorted, muddle of noise. 14 songs in 28 minutes, in that short span you feel like you've drank a half-dozen Jacks, talked some shit, got knocked down, popped back up, sat at the barstool and ordered one more round through a mouthful of broken teeth.

Buy U.S. EZ

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MP3: Sic Alps-"Bathman"

7. Wolf Parade-At Mt. Zoomer

Best album from the best band that no one cares about because they're "so 2005." In many ways this builds on Apologies to the Queen Mary, with both Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug continuing to grow as songwriters and Dante DeCaro providing an added heft and depth to their sound.

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Buy At Mt. Zoomer

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MP3: Wolf Parade-"Call It a Ritual"

6. Hercules & Love Affair-Hercules & Love Affair

Did I just go with the trendy token art-disco pick from a trendy DFA band featuring Antony from Antony & The Johnsons to get picked first for the music writer's pick-up basketball game (if only that existed)? Who knows? All I know is that this is the first disco CD I've actively wanted to listen to since a brief infatuation with the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack in the 8th Grade. That works for me.

Buy Hercules & Love Affair

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MP3: Hercules & The Love Affair-"Hercules Theme" (Left-Click)

5. The Kills-Midnight Boom

The Kills make blues played by a duo who confused Siouxsie Sioux for Robert Johnson. Music free of inhibition. Whiskey-warped, hair-pulling, dirty noise. Midnight Boom, their third record marks Allison "VV" Mosshart's ascent to the title of rock's best front-woman and more importantly, the only one who doesn't look retarded in leopard.

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Buy Midnight Boom

4. Islands-Arms Way

In the course of Arm's Way's hour-plus run time, Islands hit everything from concert hall symphony to stoner-prog, rum cocktail calypso to hair-cut indie to dizzy Sondheim-esque rambles. Hell, they even sample “A Quick One While He’s Away,” from original pranksters of genre-swiping, The Who. Lyrically, Nick Diamonds’ songs continue a morbid fascination with death, violent ocean metaphors and considerations of evil. Songs include “Creeper,” “We Swim” “I Feel Evil Creeping In,” and “Vertigo (If It’s a Crime).” To his credit, they retain a sort of sonic levity that never feels tacky and a sly playfulness that would ostensibly leaden songs with a similarly grim subject matter.

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Buy Islands-Arm's Way

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MP3: Islands-"The Arm"

3. Why?-Alopecia

The best rock/rap album ever made. Somewhere, a Chocolate Covered Starfish Named Hot Dog is crying. Or something.

Buy Why?-Alopecia

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MP3: Why?-"The Hollows"

2. Portishead-Third

Somehow, Portishead are so good that this is their worst album and I still consider it the second best non-rap record of the year. Maybe it has something to do with my allegiance to having heard them for the first time, sampled on "Kiss of the Black Widow" from Bobby Digital. Or maybe, I just smoke too much. Either way, Third is an ethereal, ice-cold nod.

Buy Portishead-Third

1. Erykah Badu-New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)

I kind of have no idea how this wound up in the top spot other than the fact that Erykah Badu is probably some sort of musical genius . I half explain it here. But really, this post from Floodwatch, detailing the battle between his ID and Ego on the subject of New Amerykah nails it perfectly.

Buy New Amerykah

Download:

MP3: Erykah Badu-"The Healer" (Left-Click)

#11-20

The Hold Steady-Stay Positive, Brightblack Morninglight-Motion to Rejoin, Lindstrom-Where You Go, I Go Too, The Black Keys-Attack N' Release, Black Mountain-In the Future, Dodos, Visiter, Crystal Castles-Crystal Castles, Flying Lotus-Los Angeles, My Morning Jacket-Evil Urges, Times New Viking-Rip It Off

Others Recommended:

Health-Health/Disco, White Denim-Exposio, Tobacco-Fucked Up Friends, No Age-Nouns, Crystal Antlers-Crystal Antlers, Beach House-Devotion, Beck-Modern Guilt, Le Switch-Hit the Sides and Work the Middle, Mezzanine Owls-Mezzanine Owls EP, The Raconteurs-Consolers of the Lonely, Sebastian Tellier-Sexuality, Lykke Li-Youth Novels, Santogold-Santogold, Karl Malcoun & The Hectors-Sahara Swing, Dosh-Wolves and Wishes


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