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Mary Leary

Mary Leary is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Everyone's a Critic Top Ten List

Better late than never - my 2011 Top 10 - by Mary Leary Kathryn Calder: Bright and Vivid (File Under Music) - Also involved with New Pornographers, and supported by players including Superchunk’s Jon Wurster, Calder’s addictive sophomore solo effort soars beyond both the inevitable “Indie pop” tag and her own “synth-pop” description. The Do: Both Ways Open Jaws (Six Degrees Records) – On harpsichord, sax, piano, and trumpet (for starters), Dan Levy helps Olivia Merilahti realize her hypersensitive perceptions. BWOJ sparkles and holds with hooks and ingenuity recalling the Raincoats and early Bowie. Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop) – To sound so much like CS&N (without Y) and still end up on this list? You’d have to be amazing. Fleet Foxes occasionally attains/conveys alpha levels of consciousness while feeling sincere to avoid any sense of pretense. Sam Humans: Live Free/The Heligoats: Let Loose (Greyday Records) –The Heligoats’ Chris Otepka’s songwriting so juicily merges Walt Whitman’s transcendentalism (life is full of possibilities) with CCR’s kick-up-your-heels joy, it’s almost unbearable – in the best way. Mercies: Three Thousand Days (Self-Released) – A passionate tone-poem of a (10-track) debut; recorded in a Connecticut barn. The Raincoats: Odyshape (Reissue - We Three Records): An invigoratingly idiosyncratic mash of yin with yang that broke all sorts of ground. Three British girls happened to be manning the shovels. Robbers on High Street: Hey There Golden Hair (Rocco Grecco) – It’s not easy to recapture the verve and kick of the mid-‘60s, while infusing it with joyful naivete. For the leap forward that is HTGH, the Brooklyn, New York-based Robbers have composed hits for A.M. stations that no longer exist. Trentemoller: Reworked/Remixed (In My Room) – With artists including Andrew Weatherall Prinz and Efterklang remolding Trentemoller’s tracks, and Trentemoller putting his hands all over music by Franz Ferdinand, The Do, and Lars and the Hands of Light, it seems (from the way this thing’s been glued to my ears) impossible to go wrong with this cool, trippy, and cherry-on-top (of the Pop) tones ‘n’ beats. The Velvet Monkeys: Everything Is Right (Reissue – Instant Mayhem/Thick Syrup) - Don Fleming has played a significant role in seminal new wave, punk, and post-punk (Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr). Anyone interested in any of those might want to overlook his participation in the Backbeat Band and grab this reissue of his first band’s debut, which for 29 years could only be found on cassette. Gary Wilson: Feel the Beat (Tip Records) – Based in San Diego, GW continues to weave ingratiatingly odd tales of unrequited passion that seem to emanate from the psyche of an underdeveloped 16-year-old -- to music brilliantly melding lounge, jazz, funk, and pop. (I also thought Cass McCombs' album was good; it just didn't quite make it onto this list)
— December 29, 2011 1:24 p.m.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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