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The Best Albums of 2010: Jude Rogers

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 11:13 UK time, Sunday, 19 December 2010

With less than a week before Christmas, it's inevitable that some readers will still have every last piece of shopping to do. I can relate - though being snowed in rather helps with the excuses. But should the thaw come and the shops become accessible, perhaps a few compact discs will fill the stockings of selected loved-ones, and who better than Jude Rogers - writer and critic for the BBC, the Guardian, Word magazine and more - to lend a guiding hand with her top five albums of 2010. If the picks below appeal, find every review Jude has written for the BBC here.

1
Beach House - Teen Dream
Last January, as the cold bit hard, Victoria Legrand's wild, witchy vocals infected my brain like some peculiar fever. They still do. Teen Dream may have been Beach House's third attempt at making dream-pop sound utterly majestic and gorgeously modern, but good God, I'm glad they tried (and tried, and tried again). Top tip: sounds brilliant with the Christmas lights up after a bit of woozy festive booze.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

2
LoneLady - Nerve Up
Another girl from last winter. Julie Campbell is one of those odd, female avant-pop creatures that crops up all too rarely in the record shops - and her gutsy, bare-bones debut knocked me sideways last January. Never have the spirits of post-punk, acid house, early REM and Kristin Hersh been fused together so perfectly.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

3
Jane Weaver - The Fallen By Watchbird
Another little-known record by an artfully peculiar woman - One Direction's debut isn't out until 2011, so give us a chance, chaps. This will continue to help me bide my time, somehow: a collaborative project led by Manchester's finest folk priestess, bringing together female acid-folk types old and young. Full of beautifully rich instrumentation, magical spoken-word segments, rave-ups and hoedowns. If you ever loved Paddy McAloon's I Trawled the Megahertz, imagine its harp-strumming sister.
Jane Weaver on BBC Music

4
Rumer - Seasons of My Soul
Next to Jane, Rumer isn't peculiar at all. Quite the opposite. But as I feel myself losing whatever edge I had (I am proud of my collection of 80s Kim Wilde singles, so I never had much) do I really want to come in from a day at the coalface of word-whittling to an album that reimagines the dismantling of a fridge in the Eastern Bloc, or a record that reimagines the Carpenters for a new generation? Okay, I have a CD I adore that includes examples of the former - and it's my compilation of the year, the amazing Deutsche Elektronische Musik on Soul Jazz - but I can't get enough of Rumer's gauzy, soft- linen vocals either. Yes, I am turning into my mother. What of it. I'm off to smother myself in it.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

5
Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
Not wanting to end this top five sounding like a man-ignoring meanie, here's my chap of the year by far - a gent on the nomination longlist for Best International Newcomer at the 2011 Brits, a mere 3,500 years after he was born. This is the sound of ancient man rumbling through the rocks, through your floor, through your speakers, through the soul of the blues and into the dark, modern day.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

JudeRogers.com (external link)

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