HT 25 Best Albums of 2010: Numbers 16-20

For the second consecutive year at Hidden Track, we concocted our innovative little experiment for the year-end Best Albums list. Instead of picking the old fashioned way – subjectively – we opted for something a little different: a collaborative, collective list that incorporates the opinions of everybody here at HT.

To begin, we devised an all-encompassing list of well over 100 nominees, whereby most everything our contributors recommended made the list. Then we invited our crew of writers to independently and blindly vote on the whole list on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 = five stars). We ended up with varying degrees of familiarity with the nominees as some folks voted on just about everything, while some just a few. From there, we deployed our egghead algorithm for rating albums: (two times the average rating) + (the total number of votes). At that point, we took the top 25 highest scores and presto: the Hidden Track 25 Best Albums of 2010. No bullshit, no big opinions; just the results.

We’re on to day two of on our week long countdown, let’s check out albums number 16-20…

20) Marco BeneventoBetween The Needles & Nightfall

Key Tracks: Greenpoint, Between the Needles, Numbers

Sounds Like: Brad Mehldau meets Tortoise

The Skinny: Marco Benevento’s latest solo record is the prolific keyboard player’s most impressive release yet. Bassist Reed Mathis’ sense of space and harmony along with drummer Andrew Barr’s subtly explosive poly-rhythmic playing lay the foundation for Benevento’s hook-laden melodies, shape-shifting piano, and circuit-bent sounds. While his first two studio releases were solid, Between the Needles and Nightfall has a cohesiveness not found on either that allows Marco’s songwriting to truly shine. The one-two punch of Greenpoint and Between the Needles at the front of the album set the overall tone for the album, while Marco’s solo at the end of Numbers highlights the whole thing.

READ ON for the next four albums in our countdown…

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On paper there is nothing cool about Vampire Weekend. They’re four Ivy League graduates that play indie-pop music inspired by African rhythms and guitar with lyrics full of literary references, visits to foreign countries and summers spent in New England on records put out by a small UK-based label. With barely two-dozen songs in their catalog, these fresh-faced early 20-somethings have managed a meteoric rise in a just a few short years selling close to half a million copies of their infectious self-titled debut, and more recently dropping their sophomore effort Contra on January 12.


[All Photos By Jeremy Gordon]

Last week Ezra Koening & Co. returned to New York City, playing their first proper hometown headlining shows since December of 2008 taking over three different size venues over the course of three nights. VW played a 3,000+ person theater, a mid-size and small club – all of which sold out within minutes. The second of their mini-NYC tour brought them to the historic Webster Hall – a venue that these splits time between hosting concerts and dance parties – located in a nebulous area between Manhattan’s Union Square and East Village.

Decorated with a giant backdrop that featured the cover art for Contra, Vampire Weekend strolled onto the stage shortly after 10 PM to the strains of DJ Kool’s club anthem Let Me Clear My Throat, before launching straight into the synth-y, drum machine laced White Sky to the roar of a packed house of enthusiastic fans – many of which, from eavesdropped conversations, were college classmates with the foursome. Over the next hour and change the band ran through almost every song in their repertoire as the floor bounced and pulsed from the dancing and pogo-ing masses.

READ ON for more of my thoughts and Jeremy’s fantastic pictures…

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