40. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues - It's got to be hard following in your parent's footsteps as a performer. but Justin Townes Earle does a fine job stepping out from his father Steve Earle's shadow. There are moments where the son sounds like the father, but more often than the best comparison of the two would be like two different generations of singer/songwriters who share the same record collection.
39. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest - Deerhunter has found a regular home on this list. While this new record is mellower than previous albums, the psychedelic influence and hummable melodies remain.
38. Das Racist - Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man mixtapes - Smart, funny rap that's sometimes purposely dumb and sometimes political. They released two mixtapes in 2010 and there's very little filler on either. Both can be download from dasracist.net. Bonus points for sampling both Billy Joel and The Doors.
37. Field Music - Field Music (Measure) - Two brothers from Sunderland, England pulled together 20 intricate pop songs which are very reminiscent of XTC.
36. Bin Laden Blowin' Up - Fear of a Clear Channel Planet - I can't say I know much about the juke or footwork sub-genres which came out of Chicago neighboorhoods several miles from where I live, but I still enjoy listening to this hyperspeed off-shoot of hip-hop. Don't expect me to ever try to dance to it, I think two broken ankles would be the end result.
35. The Rebeatles Project - Get Back! - I'm a big fan of both cover versions and The Beatles, so this album definitely intrigued me. This German foursome takes The Beatle early period look and sound and applies them to modern hits. They get pretty in-depth with the concept, infusing "Love Me Do" into "Get This Party Started" and "That Boy" into "Eternal Flame." Gear!
34. Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs- Yes, it's THAT Peter Wolf, the former singer of the J. Geils Band. It's no surprise that he has some soul and blues influences here, but guests Shelby Lynne, Neko Case and Merle Haggard (!) help him add country flourishes to this rootsy collection of tunes. A pleasant surprise.
33. Free Energy - Stuck On Nothing - It is the 21st Century, right? Free Energy still seems to think it's 1979, with it's Boston and Journey inspired riffs and sing-along choruses. Good, poppy fun with the occasional hint of 21st century indie-rock creeping in, especially in the vocals. Don't anyone give them a calendar.
32. Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way - Speaking of not telling people what year it, definitely don't tell Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. They keep on cranking out album after album of pure soul. If it was revealed that they own a time machine, I would not be shocked.
31. Rumer - Seasons Of My Soul - I'm in a retro block here, I guess. The best comparison I can give to Rumer's overall sound and (especially) her voice is Karen Carpenter. No wait, come back! This is a really good collection of ealy 70's styled soft rock songs, and it's no surprise the Burt Bachrach himself is a huge fan and gave her one of his songs.
Here she is again, covering Burt Bacharach's "Alfie"