50 best albums of the year so far

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Since we’re halfway through the year, we thought we’d look back at the best music released so far in 2010. Starting with Laura Marling, ‘I Speak Because I Can’. NME’s original review said: “The growing pains of an old soul make for compelling and powerful music.”

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Gill Scott-Heron, ‘I’m New Here’. NME said: “The sparse beats are in keeping with the apocalyptic blues contained within, and Gil holds his own next to relative youngsters, Gonja Sufi and King Midas Sound.”

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Gayngs, ‘Relayted’. NME said: “This album is decadent and sprawling.”

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Foals, ‘Total Life Forever’. NME said: “It is nervous, intense and quite brilliant.”

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Flying Lotus, ‘Cosmogramma’. NME said: “A be-bopping riposte to UK dubstep.”

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Field Music, ‘Field Music (Measure)’. NME said: “The brothers Brewis cram in a wealth of highbrow fun, but no huge surprises.”

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Deftones, ‘Diamond Eyes’. NME said: “As gloriously non-era-specific as ever.”

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Built To Spill, ‘There is No Enemy’. NME said: “Built to Spill’s seventh is a deft blend of American folk, psych rock and country & western with killer, dope-fuelled pop hooks.”

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Villagers, ‘Becoming A Jackal’. NME said: “Acoustic melancholy, done properly.”

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Band of Horses, ‘Infinite Arms’. NME said: “Soft and tender country-inflected comfort blanket rock from Seattle.”

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Avi Buffalo, ‘Avi Buffalo’. NME said: “The second summer of Sub Pop blooms into a bittersweet, magnificent debut album.”

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Ariel Pink‘s Haunted Graffiti, ‘Before Today’. NME said: “Ariel Rosenberg’s first un-homemade record proves surprisingly light relief from bin and fax noise.”

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Archie Bronson Outfit, ‘Coconut’. NME said: “Their personality is bold throughout, an excess of top-shelf distortion and a cast-the-crutches-aside sense of euphoria.”

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Animal Collective, ‘Oddsac’. NME said: “Set to weird out their newest fans, the band’s audio/visual collaboration is a gloriously rich, if very freaky, feast.”

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The Black Keys, ‘Brothers’. NME said: “One word seems to follow two piece bands around: authentic. Authentic? Who cares when it sounds this good.”

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Liars, ‘Sisterworld’. NME said: “You are about to enter a universe you’ve never before been to. Be prepared…”

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Kelis, ‘Flesh Tone’. NME said: “She’s living up to her own legend again.”

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Joanna Newsom, ‘Have One On Me’. NME said: “Joanna leaves fantasy behind and enters the real world for three discs and two hours.”

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Janelle Monae, ‘The Archandroid’. NME said: “The tux-clad crossover hip-hop siren with the sci-fi fetish makes her play for UK shores.”

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Holly Miranda , ‘The Magician’s Private Library’. NME said: “Sitek-assisted triumph with songs as odd as her back story.”

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Marina and the Diamonds, ‘The Family Jewels’. NME said: “Ms Diamandis mixes sparkling pop with beautiful darkness for a debut that dazzles.”

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The Drums, ‘The Drums’. NME said: “If you came looking for sun and surf, prepare to leave with your heart in their hands as they more than clear the hype bar.”

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Stornoway, ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’. NME said: “Technology takes a battering as dreams of the simple life are given a beautiful, pastoral makeover.”

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Steve Mason, ‘Boys Outside’. NME said: “An elegant blend of trilling piano, strummed guitar and crisp digital beats.”

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Sleigh Bells, ‘Treats’. NME said: “MIA’s new protogés have perfected a menacing, obnoxious sound all of their own.”

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Rolo Tomassi, ‘Cosmology’. NME said: “Violent howls and sweet screams.”

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Mystery Jets, ‘Serotonin’. NME said: “Eel Pie Islanders plunder their broken hearts to come back scrubbed up and self-assured for a glorious coming-of-age.”

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Factory Floor, ‘Untitled’. NME said: “Not an easy listen, maybe, but this four track noisecore epic is all the more rewarding for it.”

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Blood Red Shoes, ‘Fire Like This’. NME said: “Rumours of the duo going ‘soft’ were just that – they’re as thrillingly loud as always.”

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Erykah Badu , ‘New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh’. NME said: “A personal and laidback affair.”

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Harlem, ‘Hippies’. NME said: “Fed up of over-thinking? These chorus-happy garage-rockers will blow your mind clean.”

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Richard Warren, ‘Laments’. NME said: “This long player is a sampler woven from many strands but the unifying influence (claimed by many, deserved by few) is that of Big Star.”

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Ikonika, ‘Contact, Love, Want, Have’. NME said: “One small dubstep for man, one giant leap for experimental UK club music.”

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Konono No. 1, ‘Assume Crash Position’. NME said: “They twist traditional Bazombo trance music intro a relentless groove.”

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Mi Ami, ‘Steal Your Face’. NME said: “An erratic EP whose behaviour intoxicates.”

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Richard James, ‘We Went Riding’. NME said: “James is the master of that sort of gently eerie psych-folk whimsy that is to Wales what kohl-eyed chilly ‘60s pop pastiche is to Sweden.”

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Walls, ‘Walls’. NME said: “Dealing in woozy digital and analogue electronic psychedelic noise, their joyful wash of tuneful hooks is a wake-up call to lazy Animal Collective copyists.”

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David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, ‘Here Lies love’. NME said: “A glittering array of talent assemble for a complex pean to a former dictator’s wife.”

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