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best albums of 2010.

DAN MANGAN Nice, Nice Very Nice EVERY now and again an album will land on your lap by someone you've never heard of before, forcing you to wonder how you ever coped without it. The latest by little-known Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan is just one such example, managing to blend the heavyweight tunesmith's chops of Damien Rice, the chamber pop prowess of Andrew Bird, while adding a little of Badly Drawn Boy's early impishness into the mix. And it contains my song title of the year in the form of the unlikely sounding tearjerker You Silly Git.

GIL SCOTT-HERON I'm New Here THE godfather of rap, Gil Scott-Heron's comeback had been a long time coming. Having spent much of the last decade banged up for various drug offences, all but the insanely optimistic would have written off any notion of a return at this late stage. But that's exactly what this grizzled but unbowed 60-year-old's gone and done with this, his first proper release in 16 years. Far removed from the acid jazz sound he once pioneered, much here has a dark electronic, almost industrial vibe with tracks like Robert Johnson's blues standard Me & The Devil recast as spooky dubstep.

THE JOLLY BOYS Great Expectation DISMISSED by the snobbier music mags as little more than a novelty record, this collection of pop classics reinterpreted by a quintet of superannuated Jamaicans was a blast. Boasting an average age of 76, they took famous tracks by everyone from Iggy Pop, The Stranglers, Grace Jones, Blondie and New Order and gave them the mento make-over. That's mento by the way, not mental. It's a Caribbean musical style that predates ska and reggae. Having said that, their versions of Nightclubbing and Blue Monday, in particular, were actually bonkers, causing this listener to grin like someone on day-release.

SUN KIL MOON Admiral Fell Promises THE former main moper of Red House Painters - America's premier '90s musical miserablists - Mark Kozelek has spent the last decade or more expanding his musical palette. Sun Kil Moon - his latest incarnation, named after a Korean boxer - initially saw him amp up and rock out (well, relatively), but here, with just some virtuoso classical guitar and bucketfuls of multi-tracked atmos, he's stripped this right back again with starkly beautiful results. A forlorn and utterly uncommercial sounding record, its slowburning songs grow with each listen.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Dec 26, 2010
Next Article:dvds; MISFITS SERIES TWO.

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