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Top CDs of 2005

Christopher Muther

1. Mylo, "Destroy Rock & Roll" Breastfed/RCA. Mylo (27-year-old Miles McInnes) wraps sampled dialogue around French house music, shamelessly recycles 1980's synth riffs (yes, that's really "Bette Davis Eyes"), and fuses electro with funk. His album, produced on his home computer, is the strongest advertisement for Apple since the movie "Tarnation."

2. Andrew Bird, "The Mysterious Production of Eggs" Righteous Babe. There are clear connections between Andrew Bird's jittery, nuanced chamber pop and Rufus Wainwright's sprawling songs. But where Wainwright has a tendency to whine his way through more emotional moments, Bird lets his lyrics and lush arrangements convey feelings more subtly.

3. The Go! Team, "Lightning, Thunder, Strike" Columbia. Ian Parton's bedroom project stacks double dutch chanting, lo-fi girl group samples, random noises from documentary films, and enough layers of percussion to make a high school marching band feel inadequate. He then filters the whole mess into a party that Phil Spector himself would be proud of.

4. Cagedbaby, "Will See You Now" Southern Fried. Tom Gandey's one-man party is equal parts Talking Heads and Royksopp, peppered with unexpectedly beautiful, lush respites, such as "Marmalade," perhaps the most beautiful fusion of jazz and chill-out ever made.

5. Devendra Banhart, "Cripple Crow" XL/Beggars. Switching gears from folk freakshow to slightly eccentric folk-rocker, Banhart tames his Billie Holiday tremolo and comes away with an languid, inspired album that still retains all of the vagabond's lyrical strangeness.

6. Annie, "Anniemal" Big Beat. The smartest dance record of the year (sorry, Madonna), this guilty pleasure from the Norwegian Annie returns club music to a more innocent, and artistically interesting, era.

7. Carla Bruni, "Quelqu'un M'a Dit" V2. It's almost possible to picture Italian model Carla Bruni pouting into the microphone between drags on a cigarette as she breathily offers a very believable chanteuse impersonation. Her detached rasp injects these buttery French songs with instant sophistication.

8. B.C. Camplight, "Hide, Run Away" One Little Indian. Brian Christinzio creates as album of mature, California pop that feels as easy as an afternoon spent lounging beside a San Jose swimming pool. Cue the sun lamp and the inevitable Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson comparisons.

9. Acid House Kings, "Sing Along With Acid House Kings" Twentyseven. A jangling, sweet Swedish pop quartet that actually sounds blond and smiling when it performs.

10. Joy Zipper, "American Whip" Dangerbird. Gauzy, beautiful girl-boy songs with an unsettling undercarriage.

Top CDs of 2005
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Read more CD reviews: Scott Alarik  |  Joan Anderman  |  Bill Beuttler  |  Richard Dyer  |  Renee Graham  |  Siddhartha Mitter  |  Steve Morse  |  Christopher Muther  |  James Reed  |  Top CDs of 2005
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