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The Best Albums of 2010: Paul Lester and Martin Aston

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 12:51 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

We've another double-header for you today, with two of the BBC Album Reviews team's finest providing their top fives. These guys know what they're talking about - Paul Lester's New Band of the Day column for the Guardian has helped break a number of artists, and Martin Aston has penned celebrated articles for titles including Mojo and Q - so do check out their picks of 2010.

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Paul Lester (reviewed albums)

1
Drake - Thank Me Later
This could have been a self-indulgent whinge-fest from the young Canadian rapper, but his regrets about fame and celebrity disorientation, thanks to the production of Timbaland, Swizz Beatz and someone called Kanye West, made for the most endlessly listenable album of the year.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

2
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
Don't be fooled by titles such as Hot Body Rub and Butt-house Blondies; this was Pink's most accessible album yet, minus the trademark hiss and crackle that made his name but with lashings of luscious MOR melodies.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

3
Toro Y Moi - Causers of This
For some, chillwave was a fad, a 2009 thing, but Toro Y Moi - and Neon Indian and Memory Tapes - hinted that there was longevity, and considerable beauty, in this lone-boy-and-his-laptop lark.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

4
DJ Nate - Da Trak Genious
They call it juke, or footwork, but really it's just frenetically polyrhythmic music based on RnB samples subjected to extreme chopping and editing from a 19-year-old Chicagoan who just might be as clever as that title suggests.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

5
Gayngs - Relayted
A conglomerate of musicians, including Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, record an album of tracks, all apparently 69bpm, based on a mutual love of 10cc's I'm Not in Love. The result is a languid classic with moments as lacerating as they are lovely.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews
Read our Album Reviews Q&A with Gayngs

New Band of the Day (external link)

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Martin Aston (reviewed albums)

1
John Grant - Queen of Denmark
Backed by Midlake's vintage 70s empathy, Grant bypasses the inhibitions that traditionally airbrushed soft rock and channels a life's worth of self-loathing and self-deflating humour into an intense masterpiece of catharsis and bittersweet balladry.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

2
Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo
The most hotwired guitarist in a generation, 19-year old Avi Zahner-Isenberg also tangles up The Shins, Galaxie 500 and Crazy Horse to make a heavenly noise. New band of the year.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

3
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
No riffs on the Chinese Zodiac or American states, just love, sex, angst, et al, with a more intricate mosaic of folk-avant-classical-choral than before, plus more shaded, glitchy beats and rhythmic cut'n'thrust. Over the top, perhaps, but the boy's a genius.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

4
Villagers - Becoming a Jackal
Shapely, painstaking melodic/narrative smarts from Dubliner Conor O'Brien and chums' debut, like a songwriting masterclass held by Paddy McAloon, Paul Simon, Roddy Frame and Mark Linkous, but with added strains of Dublin sea air and Allen Poe gothic tremors.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews
Read our Album Reviews Q&A with Villagers

5
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
A more subtle, beguiling and sometimes despairing and even anthemic record than 2008's Microcastle, and still the best psych-rock adventure on the planet.
Read the BBC review and listen to previews

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Read more Best Albums of 2010 entries

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