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D.C.'s best rock albums of 2010

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 3:28 PM

BELLFLUR

"Asleep. Asleep."

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The music of this eclectic art-rock quartet has a dreamy quality yet is also crisply propulsive. Although the band often supplements its lineup - this album features horns and the vocals of Exit Clov's Susan and Emily Hsu - such additions are carefully considered and fully integrated.

IMPERIAL CHINA

"Phosphenes"

Although this crafty trio draws on both the style and spirit of '80s D.C. punk, its message is in the music. The vocals are mostly wordless and half-buried in compositions that neatly balance raw power and artful experimentation.

MEDICATIONS

"Completely Removed"

This rhythmically tricky post-punk trio has a new trick: pop appeal. On its years-in-the-making third release, the band still careens excitingly, but its sideways riffs often resolve into straightforward choruses.

TITLE TRACKS

"It Was Easy"

Tracks mastermind John Davis (late of Georgie James and Q and Not U) writes some of the brightest melodies around. But on this album, the group's debut, vehement performances and rueful lyrics give the cheery tunes a sharp edge.

TRUE WOMANHOOD

"Basement Membranes"

Shards of '80s British indie-rock sparkle on this debut mini-album, but the predominantly male trio is not simply in the revival business. With its rich textures and rhythmic contrasts, the band's style is reliably forward-looking.

- Mark Jenkins


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