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Author Topic: Best Of 2010 - The preamble  (Read 24585 times)
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Nick Ink
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Posts: 7018


« on: Nov 27, 2010, 01:20:06 PM »

A year or two ago, I remember Jim saying how useful it was to see people's 'Best Of' contenders as a means of jogging the memory and catching up on a few that may have slipped thorugh the cracks.

With that in mind, here's a place to line your runners and riders up on the starting line, whether or not you feel like getting round to the serious business of final lists.

Personally, I have to say it's been a slightly less awesome year than the last couple, but of course still loads of stuff to enjoy.

My main contenders, in alphabetical order:

Top Tier
Autechre - Oversteps / Move Of Ten ep
Their best album in 10 years, glossy 3rd Encounters bibbling flowing in and out of the most innovative beats around.
Celer - Dying Star / Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness / Hell Detoured / All At Once Is What Eternity Is & Will Thomas Long - Sequoia
Danielle Baquet Long sadly passed away quite recently, but her husband and fellow Celer member seems to have endless old material still unreleased. Calm, peaceful, reverential drones.
Chihei Hatakeyama - A Long Journey / Ghostly Garden / The Secret Distance Of TOCHKA / Variations
Also at the lighter, prettier end of ambience, these albums are headphone magic, crackling and shimmering with sonic alchemy. Animistic undercurrents and prominent use of field recordings.
Christopher Hipgrave - Slow With Pages Of Fluttering Interference
Mellow, tubular, fuzzy, furry drones.
Coldstream - South Island LP /Alarums ep
Best new ambient artist to emerge this year. There'a a hint of William Basinski around the edges, dragging heavy, repetitive shapes of sound throughout longish tracks.
ConcernCaesarean
Slow, long, scary dark ambience
Demdike Stare - Forest Of Evil / Liberation Through Hearing /  Voices Of Dust
These 3 brilliant releases will be collected together into an album called 'Triptych' in January. Spectacular and original dubby, electro-drone with an occult fixation.
Excepter - Presidence  / LATE + Tank Tapes
How to describe Excepter? Some bloke drooling and groaning over half-hour long, pulsing, improvised vintage synth experiments.
Forest Swords - Dagger Paths / Rattling Cage ep
Kind of Morricone guitars meets R'n'B. Features a splendid cover of Ailiyah's "If Your Girl"
Gultskra Artikler - Galaktika
If you like the idea of a choir of monks floating through space and singing while the universe creaks and bends around them, then don't miss this.
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Marge Simpson-on-helium went into her chrysalis and re-emerged huskier and more melodic but still as adventurous and amazing as ever. I didn't think Ys could be followed, but I have to admit I was wrong. Undoubtedly the best album of the year.
Keith Fullerton Whitman + Geoff Mullen - November 28 2009 / Keith Fullerton Whitman - Generator / Variations For Oud & Synthesizer / Disingenuity / Hallicrafters, Inc / Keith Fullerton Whitman with Mike Shiflet - Split
Lots of different things going on across these releases, but Whitman's main idea this year has been the use of keith fullerton whitman analog modular synthesizers. Loads of stuff to listen to at his site
Library Tapes - Like Green Grass Against A Blue Sky
Partly short, Satie-inspired piano pieces and partly longer drones. Always reliable.
Machinefabriek - Slovensko / Nerf / The Breathing Bridge / De Jonge Jaren / Music For Studies / Daas / Kilauea (with Freiband) / Drifts (as L / M / R / W) / Duotoon / Drape (with Gareth Davis) / Halfslaap / Tuendra / Vloed version 2.0 / Wurdskrieme (as Piiptsjilling) / Par Avion (with Ithaca Trio)
"Daas" is the standout release this year, with 5 tracks' worth of slow, spare beauty spread over 85 minutes
Menomena - Mines
My favourite proper band this year. Their KEXP performances http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BFDoI3B8_s&feature=channel are a good place to start if you haven't heard this one, and I think they show the personality of the band well too.
Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise
I haven't spent that much time listening to 'techno/house/dubstep' etc this year, but this album from early 2010 is my favourite of those I've heard. Catchy, deep and multi-coloured - the title is misleading
Philip Jeck - An Ark For The Listener
Jeck's latest shipwreck meditation. The usual array of surface noise, samples and melodic phrases, this is nevertheless one of his best and most cohesive  albums, in my opinion.
Richard Skelton - Landings  / Clouwbeck - From Which The River Rises
Textured string pieces which scrape and swoon, caught somewhere between the pain of loss and a celebration of nature.
Solo Andata - Ritual
Fantastic dark ambient release
The North Sea - Bloodlines
Very dark ambient, bordering on noise at times. Cavernous and alienating, a strange turn of events from the owner of Digitalis records and former purveyor of twangy alt folk banjo.
Yellow Swans - Going Places / Being There / Pete Swanson - Challenger / Ghost O Clock / Where I Was / Feelings In America /  Waiting For The Ladies (with Rene Hell)
Large scale, grainy ambinet noise from our 'Man Of The Year' here at Ink Towers, Pete Swanson

Other Good Ones
Alva Noto - For 2
anbb - Ret Marut Handshake ep/ Mimikry
Andrew Pekler - Entanglements In The Orthopedic Sensorium
Avey Tare - Down There
Benoit Pioulard - Lasted
Brian McBride - The Effective Disconnect
David Thomas Broughton - Boating Disasters ep
Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here?
Fabio Orsi - Winterreise / Random Shades Of Day
Giuseppe Ielasi - Tools
Goldmund - Famous Places
Grouper & Roy Montgomery - Split  /  Grouper - Hold / Sick 7”
Lee Noble - Infinity Bore / Darker Half / Our Star, The Sun / Loaded Image
Max Richter - Infra
Michael Santos - Memory Maker
Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers
Nos Phillipe - Nos Phillipe ep / Shh…Camille
Rafael Anton Irisarri - Reverie ep/ The North Bend
Scott Tuma - Dandelion
Scuba - Transfiguration
Simon Scott - Traba ep
Svarte Greiner - Penpals Forever (And Ever)
Taylor Deupree - Snow (Dusk, Dawn) / Shoals
The Books - The Way Out
TwinSisterMoon - Then Fell The Ashes


« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2010, 04:33:34 AM by Nick Ink » Logged

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Babar
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Posts: 3305


« Reply #1 on: Nov 27, 2010, 01:39:43 PM »

My main contenders, in alphabetical order:

Top Tier
Autechre - Oversteps / Move Of Ten ep
Celer - Dying Star / Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness / Hell Detoured / All At Once Is What Eternity Is & Will Thomas Long - Sequoia
Chihei Hatakeyama - A Long Journey / Ghostly Garden / The Secret Distance Of TOCHKA / Variations
Christopher Hipgrave - Slow With Pages Of Fluttering Interference
Coldstream - South Island LP /Alarums ep
ConcernCaesarean
Demdike Stare - Forest Of Evil / Liberation Through Hearing /  Voices Of Dust
Excepter - Presidence  / LATE + Tank Tapes
Forest Swords - Dagger Paths / Rattling Cage ep
Girl Talk - All Day
Gultskra Artikler - Galaktika
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Keith Fullerton Whitman + Geoff Mullen - November 28 2009 / Keith Fullerton Whitman - Generator / Variations For Oud & Synthesizer / Disingenuity / Hallicrafters, Inc / Keith Fullerton Whitman with Mike Shiflet - Split
Library Tapes - Like Green Grass Against A Blue Sky
Machinefabriek - Slovensko / Nerf / The Breathing Bridge / De Jonge Jaren / Music For Studies / Daas / Kilauea (with Freiband) / Drifts (as L / M / R / W) / Duotoon / Drape (with Gareth Davis) / Halfslaap / Tuendra / Vloed version 2.0 / Wurdskrieme (as Piiptsjilling) / Par Avion (with Ithaca Trio)
Menomena - Mines
Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise
Philip Jeck - An Ark For The Listener
Richard Skelton - Landings  / Clouwbeck - From Which The River Rises
Solo Andata - Ritual
The North Sea - Bloodlines
Yellow Swans - Going Places / Being There / Pete Swanson - Challenger / Ghost O Clock / Where I Was / Feelings In America /  Waiting For The Ladies (with Rene Hell)

Other Good Ones
Alva Noto - For 2
anbb - Ret Marut Handshake ep/ Mimikry
Andrew Pekler - Entanglements In The Orthopedic Sensorium
Avey Tare - Down There
Benoit Pioulard - Lasted
Brian McBride - The Effective Disconnect
David Thomas Broughton - Boating Disasters ep
Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here?
Fabio Orsi - Winterreise / Random Shades Of Day
Giuseppe Ielasi - Tools
Goldmund - Famous Places
Grouper & Roy Montgomery - Split  /  Grouper - Hold / Sick 7”
Lee Noble - Infinity Bore / Darker Half / Our Star, The Sun / Loaded Image
Max Richter - Infra
Michael Santos - Memory Maker
Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers
Nos Phillipe - Nos Phillipe ep / Shh…Camille
Rafael Anton Irisarri - Reverie ep/ The North Bend
Scott Tuma - Dandelion
Scuba - Transfiguration
Simon Scott - Traba ep
Svarte Greiner - Penpals Forever (And Ever)
Taylor Deupree - Snow (Dusk, Dawn) / Shoals
The Books - The Way Out
TwinSisterMoon - Then Fell The Ashes




Fix'd!  Razz
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ellaguru
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 27, 2010, 01:49:40 PM »

Artists should not be alphabetized by first name! Alphabetical order looks like what I did!

I guess this is what I'd rep for this year:

Sam Amidon - I See The Sign
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: the return of the ankh
Big Boi - Sir Luscious Left Foot: the son of Chico Dusty
Elizabeth Cook - Welder
The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Let's Wrestle - In the Court of the Wrestling Let's
Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
Janelle Monae - The Archandroid
John Mellencamp - No Better Than This
The National - High Violet
Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
Owen Pallett - Heartland
Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society
Sun City Girls - Funeral Mariachi
Swans - My Father Will Lead Me Up a Rope into the Sky

I still haven't heard The Age of Adz or Kanye's Fantasy.

I have heard the Ryan Bingham, Books and Menomena albums, but not closely enough to know where they fit.

I wonder if Girl Talk will mysteriously appear on my list, too?
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ellaguru
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 27, 2010, 02:21:13 PM »

Here, I'll provide a little more detail (same list, though):

Sam Amidon - I See The Sign
     Folktronica type covers of public domain American folk songs. Very sweet and quiet. Tracks: Relief,  Way Go Lily.

Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: the return of the ankh
     Not as good as part one, partly because it’s less adventurous, but still good.

Big Boi - Sir Luscious Left Foot: the son of Chico Dusty
     I think the rule was that this is supposed to win this year, right? Tracks: Tangerine, Shutterbug

Elizabeth Cook - Welder
     I really like this album. She comes out of Nashville (I guess she’s played the Grand Ol’ Opry over 300 times), but it’s quite varied. For the Miranda Lambert crowd. Tracks: El Camino, My Heroin Addict Sister.

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
     This one grew on me. Tracks: The Diamond Street Church Choir, The Queen of Lower Chelsea.

Let's Wrestle - In the Court of the Wrestling Let's
     Sort of just indie pop, but pretty fun. Also, best album title of the year. Tracks: My Arms Don’t Bend That Way Damn It, We Are The Men You Will Grow To Love.

Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
     Young, heartfelt singer-songwriter type. Tracks: Rambling Man.

Janelle Monae - The Archandroid
     My favourite science fiction concept album of the year (although not quite as fun as Princess Superstar's My Machine. When will she come out with something new? Tracks: Tightrope, Cold War.

John Mellencamp - No Better Than This
     Not quite as good as the last one, but still very good, very simple and very grizzled. Tracks: Thinking About You, Love at First Sight.

The National - High Violet
     Yeah, I like it. So? Tracks: Bloodbuzz Ohio, Lemonworld.

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
     Looking forward to the Versions of Joanna tribute album coming out in a couple weeks. Tracks: Good Intentions Paving Company, Baby Birch.

Owen Pallett - Heartland
     I love how well the strings are arranged throughout this album. Chamber pop written for chamber pop orchestration. Tracks: Lewis Takes Off His Shirt, Tryst with Mephistopheles.

Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society
     Vocal jazz with string section. This woman can sing. Tracks: Wild is the Wind, What a Friend.

Sun City Girls - Funeral Mariachi
     Not sure how one describes a Sun City Girls album. Tracks: Ben’s Radio, The Imam.

Swans - My Father Will Lead Me Up a Rope into the Sky
     Heavy and intense. Tracks: Eden Prison, Reeling the Liars In.

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edison
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 27, 2010, 02:49:00 PM »

Janelle Monae - The Archandroid
     My favourite science fiction concept album of the year (although not quite as fun as Princess Superstar's My Machine. When will she come out with something new? Tracks: Tightrope, Cold War.

I was walking down the street in Bern last Saturday night with my hosts, who were telling me that some place we were passing by used to be a venue for gigs, or maybe still was - two girls happened to be standing in the street near that spot, so he asked her and they replied "Yeah, yeah, and Princess Superstar's playing tonight, you better hurry if you want to get tickets because it might sell out soon". I think the name Princess Superstar turned him off, and he immediately replied "no, thanks" - while I was actually thinking that I'd heard the name before and that it might be something interesting. Now I know, I guess!

I'll come up with a shortlist of my own soon!
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edison
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 27, 2010, 02:54:06 PM »

Richard Skelton - Landings

Out! Sadly...
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Nick Ink
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Posts: 7018


« Reply #6 on: Nov 27, 2010, 03:02:34 PM »

Swans - My Father Will Lead Me Up a Rope into the Sky

This is an example of what I was talking about - I think I need to give this a listen before things are finalised.

Richard Skelton - Landings

Out! Sadly...

I wasn't sure. I think it was re-released on Type this year, but I suppose I have to strike it.
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edison
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 27, 2010, 03:09:02 PM »

Richard Skelton - Landings

Out! Sadly...

I wasn't sure. I think it was re-released on Type this year, but I suppose I have to strike it.
[/quote]

Well, actually, upon further scrutiny, it looks like this was January 2010 after all (at least, that's what Boomkat says). My bad! The re-release was on his own label, Sustain Release, and the CD is exactly the same. This will definitely rank quite high on my list then!
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Nick Ink
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Posts: 7018


« Reply #8 on: Nov 27, 2010, 03:32:05 PM »

One thing I have noticed - and I think it's partly due to the way music is created now, especially the type of music I listen to a lot of the time - is that a good chunk of my favourite artists are releasing more than one album per year.

Machinefabriek is the most notorious, of course. The general feeling was that Rutger had been more restrained in his output this year, but looking back, he still managed 15! Keith Fullerton Whitman has also been splurging, managing 6, while Chihei Hatakeyama, who went 3 years in monastic silence after 2006's Minima Moralia, has now gone into overdrive, putting out 7 brilliant albums in less than 2 years. The likes of Pete Swanson (Yellow Swans) and Will Thomas Long (Celer) have also put out at least 3 or 4 releases each, while artists like Excepter and Fabio Orsi weren't satisfied with triple albums, popping up later in the year with more material.

It's all to the good, but leaves me with a bit of a knotty problem for this list. I suppose the slightly unsatisfactory solution is to pick a representative album and limit it to one per artist. Otherwise Messrs Zuyderfeldt and Hatekayama might take up most of my top 20 on their own.
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ellaguru
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Posts: 5447


« Reply #9 on: Nov 27, 2010, 03:37:59 PM »

Janelle Monae - The Archandroid
     My favourite science fiction concept album of the year (although not quite as fun as Princess Superstar's My Machine. When will she come out with something new? Tracks: Tightrope, Cold War.

I was walking down the street in Bern last Saturday night with my hosts, who were telling me that some place we were passing by used to be a venue for gigs, or maybe still was - two girls happened to be standing in the street near that spot, so he asked her and they replied "Yeah, yeah, and Princess Superstar's playing tonight, you better hurry if you want to get tickets because it might sell out soon". I think the name Princess Superstar turned him off, and he immediately replied "no, thanks" - while I was actually thinking that I'd heard the name before and that it might be something interesting. Now I know, I guess!

I'll come up with a shortlist of my own soon!

Princess Superstar does mostly DJ sets these days. I haven't seen her spin, but I have heard a DJ mixtape of hers. It was fine, but mostly party dance tracks, which I'm not that into.

She also raps, though, and she's a fun and funny rapper. Her last album was a hip hop concept album about her cryogenically freezing herself for a 1000 years, waking up, cloning herself, and forcing her slave-clones to kill all the other famous people and take over their jobs so that Princess Superstar (and her clone army) would be the only celebrity in the world. It's pretty hilarious, she needs to do more of that.
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Andrew_TSKS
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Posts: 39426


« Reply #10 on: Nov 27, 2010, 05:55:01 PM »

Haha this year, the year in which I mostly quit LPTJ, is the year in which I have actually given this subject the most thought over the time I've been part of this community. Isn't that ironic? [cue Alanis Morrissette]

Anyway, here's a long list from me, of things that are in contention if not guaranteed a spot on my list:

Coheed And Cambria - Year Of The Black Rainbow
Conditions - Fluorescent Youth
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Four Year Strong - Enemy Of The World
No Man's Slave - 29 song cassette
Deftones - Diamond Eyes
Starkweather - This Sheltering Night
Coliseum - House With A Curse
Roky Erickson And Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Robyn - Body Talk (still haven't heard part 3, but just consider this a unified entry for all 3 EPs anyway)
Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
Big Boi - Sir Luscious Leftfoot: Son Of Chico Dusty
Adam Franklin And The Bolts Of Melody - I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years
Best Coast - Crazy For You
Jonsi - Go
Hole - Nobody's Daughter
Sleepy Sun - Fever
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
Superchunk - Majesty Shredding
Salem - King Night
Envy - Recitation
Das Racist - Shut Up Dude/Sit Down Man (Who knew DCDave would turn out to be right about these guys?)
Neil Young - Le Noise
Dungen - Skit I Allt
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
Grown Ups - More Songs
Ratt - Infestation
Eleven Tigers - Clouds Are Mountains
Marnie Stern - Self-titled
The Roots - How I Got Over

Still haven't heard Kanye or MCR, so those may still get onto the list.

Becoming responsible for assigning and writing scads of new-release record reviews for a magazine has made me overly aware (perhaps "inundated" is really the word) with new music. I feel like there are still some things I haven't really gotten my head around, and I'm already going to have to make tons of cuts just to make this list remotely manageable. Ugh.

By the way, I also have to give serious amounts of credit to the reissues of The Cure's "Disintegration" and Godflesh's "Streetcleaner" that came out this year. Both stunning in their excellence.
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Trousers and Pat
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 27, 2010, 07:08:13 PM »

These are good to read, here's what I'm working with. a long list, but I really like music this year.

Lil B- Rain in England, Dior Paint, Blue Flame- these are actually really important to me, in a way. clear #1, already
Harvey Milk- a small turn of human kindness
A.G.- everything's berri
Mellowhype- blvckenedwhite
Stian Westerhus- pitch black star spangled
Pocahaunted- make it real/ threshold 7" - that 7" is particularly great- glimmering dub
Islaja- keraaminen paa - moody finnish shit. muted electro pop for walking at night, I guess.
Kemialliset Ystavat- ullakkopalo - we've been over this. A masterpiece, or masterpieces, all cluttered together.
Geoff Mullen- bongo closet - providence represent! this is his new album on touch (wow). eerie, eavesdropping guitar sounds stream
flying lotus- pattern + grid world - and yet I still haven't heard cosmogramma. I bet I would like it.
Excepter- presidence/ LATE tank tapes - I agree with Nick, but I saw excepter live and really liked it so what do I know
Tyler, the Creator- bastard - but only if you skip the first track because I still think it's really bad. That said I listened to the same three and a half songs every morning on my way to work for about two months.
darkthrone- circle the wagons - this album helped me through a rough time when I had a really shitty job
anika- anika - produced by dude from portishead, this is almost like pop/dub/oldies, sad, fun stream. I think this album appeals to the side of me that really likes the flying lizards.
destroyer- archer on the beach EP - is this a single or an ep? anyway, two songs, bejar with tim hecker and bejar with loscil! wonderful.

dead c- patience - There's a new dead c. I need some more time with it, but I think it's on there. This one is less spacey than the last one I really listened to, and more spacey than the one I didn't. Which might be good.
women- public strain
The-Dream- love king
sun city girls- funeral mariachi - It's almost... restrained? which is not usually what I listen to SCG for, but this album is really nice.
no mas bodas- erotic stories from the space capsule
naked on the vague- heaps of nothing - kind of like a much much noisier, grimier version of the pocahaunted album that's also on this list.
jefre cantu-ledesma- love is a stream - fuzzy guitar clouds in love stream


Damn, I'm looking forward to making this list. Also, I'm waiting to hear the new buddha machine, but that has a good chance of making it too. *edit- and the tomokawa!
« Last Edit: Nov 27, 2010, 08:41:41 PM by Trousers and Pat » Logged

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kyle
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« Reply #12 on: Nov 27, 2010, 07:32:38 PM »

More descriptions plz. Ya'll are incredibly helpful to me in keeping up with things.
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davy
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 27, 2010, 09:46:03 PM »

I have heard the Ryan Bingham

Pretty disappointing, in the final reckoning.
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Little Sixes Little Nines
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« Reply #14 on: Nov 28, 2010, 12:52:04 AM »

hilton. hilton. bitch i'm paris hilton.
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Black Amnesia of Heaven
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 28, 2010, 01:33:13 AM »

Pasted directly from the text file I've been keeping all year:

Laurie Anderson: HOMELAND
Big Boi: SIR LUSCIOUS LEFT FOOT: THE SON OF CHICO DUSTY
Dear Astronaut: ESCAPE FROM RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles: THE GRAND BOUNCE
Drake: THANK ME LATER
The-Dream: LOVE KING
Earl Sweatshirt: EARL
Elephant Rifle: CHRISTIAN HOUSE OF GIRLS
Enslaved: AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
The Extra Lens: UNDERCARD
Flaming Tusk: OLD, BLACKENED CENTURY
Harvey Milk: A SMALL TURN OF HUMAN KINDNESS
Linkin Park: A THOUSAND SUNS
Little Women: THROAT
My Chemical Romance: DANGER DAYS: THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS
Joanna Newsom: HAVE ONE ON ME
Nina Sky: THE OTHER SIDE
Marnie Stern: MARNIE STERN
Superchunk: MAJESTY SHREDDING
Swans: MY FATHER WILL GUIDE ME UP A ROPE TO THE SKY
Sun City Girls: FUNERAL MARIACHI
Sun Kil Moon: ADMIRAL FELL PROMISES
Taylor Swift: SPEAK NOW
Tyler, the Creator: BASTARD
Underworld: BARKING
Kanye West: MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #16 on: Nov 28, 2010, 01:53:45 AM »

More descriptions plz. Ya'll are incredibly helpful to me in keeping up with things.

Fair enough; not gonna say much about the ones I figure you dudes know plenty about already (though feel free to ask what's up with something if I've assumed you know more than you do). Links are to youtube videos.

Coheed And Cambria - Year Of The Black Rainbow
Falsetto prog/emo/metal--their best in 5 years, if not their entire career.

Conditions - Fluorescent Youth ("Better Life")
Awesome emo band with progressive socio-political lyrics. Plus they are just incredibly catchy. And they're from Richmond! I wrote a detailed review of this album for RVA here.

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
gelfling doing Joni Mitchell covers on harp? You know what you think of this.

Four Year Strong - Enemy Of The World (It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now)
Amazing metal-inflected poppy punk that has hooks to infinity and spent two or three months basically glued into the stereo at one of my jobs. This is great music to shelve books to. Plus it makes me jump around like an idiot, because I love it. Then customers look at me funny.

No Man's Slave - 29 song cassette (Empty Skulls)
Surely the most obscure thing I got really excited about this year. An incredible record full of angry hardcore with a brutal vocalist who more yells than screams, but still pulls it off. Tempo changes galore have led people to call these guys power-violence, but I just think they're too straightforward for that. It's just very fast hardcore with very intelligent songwriting. Which is why I love it.

Deftones - Diamond Eyes (Sextape)
These guys have gotten really good over the past few years (or really the past decade) at mixing really brutal rhythm guitar riffs with slow, melodic singing and humming atmosphere provided by the keyboards and samples their fifth member adds. It gives their songs layers they wouldn't otherwise have, and makes them stand out from tons of far inferior bands that people typically lump them in with. Even if you think you hate this band, you should probably listen to this.

Starkweather - This Sheltering Night (All Creatures Damned And Divine)
This band has been doing ridiculously complex and progressive metal for over fifteen years to little notice or acclaim, but I've always been in awe of their technical power and insane songwriting skills. Plus their singer, Rennie Resmini, sings like a fucking demon. He doesn't sound human at all. Oh, and finally, I have special love for these guys because I wrote a review of a show I saw them play on my blog two years ago, and Rennie read it and mailed me a CD-R of demos for this album, fully a year and a half before it came out. He didn't have to do that shit. These guys are good people. But I mean, they could be total assholes and I'd still love them.

Coliseum - House With A Curse (Blind In One Eye)
On their first three records, these guys did that sort of dark, downtuned hardcore that southern cities like Memphis and their hometown of Louisville have been famous for ever since His Hero Is Gone came out. But this new album slows things down and gets a good bit more atmospheric. I had trouble deciding how I felt about it at first, but seeing them live totally sold me on their new style, and now I love this album.

Roky Erickson And Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil (Goodbye Sweet Dream)
Not sure how many of you checked this out when it was released this year--I know I was hugely excited for it, almost to the point where I figured it couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. But thankfully, it totally did, and not only were the new songs Roky wrote with Okkervil River just as good as the older songs they rerecorded, but the whole thing had this interesting sound and feel that seemed like it integrated a lot of the ideas from Roky's 13th Floor Elevators days that were left behind during his solo career. Not that it sounds like garage rock, because it doesn't, but there's a lot of subtle experimentation with feedback and found sound on this record, especially on the opening track, "Devotional Number One." I also felt like the lyrics were much more of a head-on addressing of what it's been like for Roky to live the last 30 years of his life than I could ever have expected. The horror lyrics are still there, but songs like "Please Judge" and "Goodbye Sweet Dream" (linked above) seem much more direct than anything like "Creature With The Atom Brain." Plus, both of them have a lot of emotion in the vocal takes. The whole record does, really. It's probably my favorite thing Roky has done post-Elevators.

Sleigh Bells - Treats
Totally stupid bouncy fun dance music featuring ex members of Poison The Well. No, really.

Robyn - Body Talk (still haven't heard part 3, but just consider this a unified entry for all 3 EPs anyway) (Cry When You Get Older)
I've been really into dance music for the last couple of years, and Robyn not only does a version of that style that I find catchier than most (I may like her music as much as I like Lady Gaga's), she has lyrics that seem insightful and contemplative in a way that most dance music decidedly doesn't. I appreciate being able to get that same personal-identification charge I get from a lot of the emo and hardcore I listen to from a dance artist. "Cry When You Get Older" (linked above) is a particularly meaningful song for me, as it is about getting older and feeling lonely, and too caught up inside your own head to be able to do the kind of crazy shit you used to do when you were a teenager. Goddamn do I ever know how that goes.

Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
Psychedelic soul revival stuff that is way weirder than the singles would tell you. Way more interesting, too.

Big Boi - Sir Luscious Leftfoot: Son Of Chico Dusty (General Patton)
Best album anyone connected with Outkast has been involved with since Stankonia. I know this is supposedly mainstream or whatever, but that shit is relative where Big Boi is concerned, and there's no way anyone could accuse him of dumbing his shit down for commercial purposes. You should all know how you feel about this but I'm giving you a song to listen to anyway because I love it that much.

Adam Franklin And The Bolts Of Melody - I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years (Yesterday Has Gone Forever)
Before this album, it always seemed to me like Adam Franklin was trying to make his solo work avoid any easy comparison to Swervedriver, as if he was afraid that sounding like Swervedriver meant he was regressing or something. I don't think this new album is any sort of regression, though--if anything, he's taken everything he learned over the last 10 years playing in Toshack Highway and Magnetic Morning and brought it with him to his new group, Bolts Of Melody, in which he is playing a more mature, more melodic, but still fundamentally excellent version of the garage-infused shoegaze guitarnoise that has always been his strongest suit.

Best Coast - Crazy For You
I wrote a review in which I called Best Coast "stoner girls with Phil Spector-esque reverbed-out production and a flawless sense of melody." I stand by that. Also, this record reminds me of my friend Jojo (and then I sent her a song from it and she loved it so much she bought the album), and Jojo makes me happy so this record makes me happy by proxy.

[Uhhh... I hit a character limit? That didn't used to be there, did it? Anyway, part two in a moment.]
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 28, 2010, 01:54:19 AM »

Jonsi - Go (Animal Arithmetic)
I'm basically thinking of this record as a sequel to the last Sigur Ros LP, which is fitting because it's an album's worth of Jonsi seeing how much farther he could take the sound of "Gobbledigook" and the few other songs on Med Sud that really experimented with the Sigur Ros sound. The result reminds me of Jeremy Enigk's early solo albums, but much happier. I love this shit so much.

Hole - Nobody's Daughter (Nobody's Daughter)
OK, yeah, Courtney Love is a trainwreck, it's a joke for her to call her new band Hole with Eric Erlandson not involved, and her tour has been a disaster in every way. Plus, I admit that two to three of the eleven songs on this album aren't that great. But the eight or so that sound most like the title track and "Pacific Coast Highway" are genius, and to me sound like everything Courtney Love would have matured into as an artist if she hadn't completely lost her way after Kurt died. I'll bet it was like pulling teeth to get these tunes written and recorded, but I don't care. The final product is like a dispatch from the world where the best of all possible Courtney Loves makes records like this every two years--and, by the way, the best of all possible Kurt Cobains is alive, off of junk, and making Nirvana's twelfth album. I wish we all lived in that world, but the 30 or so best minutes of this album is all we're gonna get. Still, I'll take it.

Sleepy Sun - Fever (Marina)
Some kind of weird San Francisco psych revival is afoot on the West Coast, if the amount of promo albums in that style that I got this year is any indication. Sleepy Sun are my favorite of the bands I heard that are doing that whole thing, because they shred hard but still base their songwriting around gorgeous melodies and intelligible pop-song construction. I feel like they walk the perfect line between Wooden Shjips and Eagle-Winged Palace, where that whole psych-revival thing is concerned. Not too boring and hippie-fied, not so out there that they forget to have songs. Pretty rad, on the whole. Seems likely to narrowly miss my final list, but regardless I like it a lot.

The Dead Weather - Sea Of Cowards (Gasoline)
How Jack White's third band, in which he plays drums, manages to turn out an album I'd stack next to my favorite of his albums with his main group, the White Stripes, I don't have the remotest clue. But fuck it, man, it's not important. What is important is how excellent this band is. Alison Mosshart's vocals and organ, and Dean Fertita's guitar, have a lot to do with it, but when all is said and done I can't help but figure Jack White is pulling the puppet strings on this entire band. And he's doing a great job with it, so I'm not complaining at all. These guys fucking rock.

Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Firework)
Ex-Christian contempo singer turned polymorphously perverse makeout queen discovers puppy love and makes an emo record. Sorta. This is another record on which I can't deny that about a third of the songs are mediocre. But the other two thirds knock me out, so what the hell, this stays on the list.

Superchunk - Majesty Shredding (My Gap Feels Weird)
Thank god these guys are not only back but actually good-to-great again instead of decent-to-mediocre, which is what they sounded like to me by the time they went away the first time. Sorry, but it's true. This is their best record since 1994, and that makes the 16-year old Superchunk superfan I once was very, very happy.

Salem - King Night (King Night)
I've been obsessed with all this spooky witch house stuff most of this year, ever since I discovered bands like oOoOO and †‡† and White Ring being discussed on weird blogs. Salem aren't the absolute best of the witch house groups, but they are up there, and they're definitely one of the spookiest. Apparently they are also taking heat for their screwed n' chopped influences, since doing such things and being white at the same time is apparently not allowed, but I don't put much stock in any of those criticisms. I'm just into the fact that there's some kind of horror-techno musical genre now, and one of the best groups in that genre has put out an album this year that I really enjoyed. So yeah, hope my mentioning them on here doesn't reignite any controversy that may have occurred earlier this year while I was away. But fuck it, I like this a lot.

Envy - Recitation (Dreams Coming To An End)
The trend towards lengthy, post-rock influenced epics in the screamo genre is one I've been following, admittedly from a safe distance, over the past several years. When an album with that sort of thing going on comes right up and gets in my face, though, I usually love it (see past endorsements of Who Calls So Loud and Drowning With Our Anchors). Envy, being Japanese, have added levels of weirdness, and of majesty, to what previous bands experimenting with this style have done. They've taken it to a new apex of epic-ness, and it makes for a great, enjoyable record. This will probably appeal equally to fans of Jesu and Dananananaykroyd, but maybe that's not even all that weird.

Das Racist - Shut Up Dude (Rainbow In The Dark)/Sit Down Man (Return To Innocence)
Depending on how you look at it, these guys have either released one or two albums this year. And yeah, when they first hit the scene, I was just as annoyed with "Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell" as anyone. Even when I downloaded the entire album, I still had to skip that song every time. But fuck, "Rainbow In The Dark" is just undeniable. Das Racist are actually really creative lyricists, and have beats I totally dig. Plus, they use their playful word sense to make serious points about the sorts of things that people try to get away with in indie and hip-hop culture. See "Fake Patois" or "Return To Innocence" (linked above) if you don't know what I mean. Like I said before, who knew DCDave would be right about these guys? And yet they're clearly one of the most interesting currently active hip-hop groups, and they deserve to be taken as such, even if they do get silly sometimes. In fact, I think their ability to pull that shit off is part of what makes them so great.

Neil Young - Le Noise (Hitchhiker)
What if Neil Young had made Ragged Glory without Crazy Horse? What if he'd just cranked the shit out of his guitar and gone out there and wailed with no rhythm section? Would it have sounded weird? Or would it have ruled? Considering that Le Noise seems to be exactly what that version of Ragged Glory would have sounded like, I think I've got to come down on the "it would have ruled" side. Fuck, I haven't been this sincerely excited about a Neil Young album since Mirrorball. Sure, he's had some good songs since then, but none of the albums from this decade really stuck with me. I kind of dug Greendale, I didn't mind Prairie Wind, but this is the first album of his that I've played out of something more than a sense of obligation since 1995. I really thought he was done as a truly awesome creative artist, which was a bummer considering how long he was able to keep his career interesting and good. I'm glad he's come back from it, and I hope this album is not an aberration but a return to form. We'll see, I suppose.

Dungen - Skit I Allt (Barnen Undrar)
I wasn't as into Dungen 4 as I was into Tio Bitar and Ta Det Lugnt, but I see now what was going on there. Dungen were transitioning from one type of psychedelia into another. This record is more ethereal, more jammed-out, and maybe closer to true psychedelia than the previous garage-pop revival sound they had. But it's not bad or even halfway-decent--it's pretty damn good. It can be hard sometimes to accept when one of your favorite bands changes significantly, and no longer sound like they once sounded. But if what they end up sounding like is just as good, or damn near, what reason is there to complain, really?

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today (Bright Lit Blue Skies)
Without all the lo-fi willful obfuscation, Ariel Pink sounds almost like a 1970s AM radio sunshine-pop artist. But I'll be damned if he doesn't totally pull that sound off. This stuff still sounds vaguely oversaturated, like an old photo that got a bit too exposed, but it's nothing compared to the muddy muck of The Doldrums or Worn Copy. I once thought that maybe if Ariel Pink's songs got cleaned up there'd be nothing interesting left of them, but it turns out I was wrong. I'm glad.

Grown Ups - More Songs (Three Day Weekend)
Another band, like Algernon Cadwallader, who've revived the Cap'n Jazz sound after it lay dormant for 15 years and made it their own. At first I was not impressed, and decided one Algernon Cadwallader was enough. I even gave this record a bad review on RVA's website. Then I kept going back and playing it again and again, thinking "I don't want to like this!" But you know what? I do. I like it a lot. They've got a lot of great riffs and great transitions, they're different enough from both Cap'n Jazz and Algernon Cadwallader that I can distinguish them all from each other, and if these songs disappeared from the world, I'd miss them when they were gone. So why split hairs over who invented the sound? They do a good job of it, and they deserve to be on this list.

Ratt - Infestation (Best Of Me)
Yes, this is the new album by that "Round And Round" band. Yes, they've been around for damn near 30 years--for so long that one of their original members is deceased. Yes, glam metal peaked 20 years ago and has been a dead genre for over 15 years. But yes, this is also a fucking great album. I still love the way glam metal sounds, and I still listen to it on a regular basis, so I had to at least check this album out when I heard about it. But I wouldn't still be talking about it at the end of the year if it wasn't a really excellent example of the glam metal genre. I truly believe that "Best Of Me" would have been a bigger hit than some of the best-known glam metal songs if it had come out 20 years ago. Fuck Bon Jovi, fuck Slash's solo album, and even though I liked it, fuck Chinese Democracy. If there's going to be glam metal in the year 2010, this is what it should sound like. This and Andrew W.K. Haha. (By the way, for those who are curious--I heard his new album, and kind of liked it! But it wasn't good enough to make my year-end list. I Get Wet it ain't. Sorry.)

Eleven Tigers - Clouds Are Mountains (Stableface)
These guys are this year's Burial for me. When I reviewed this for RVA, I said: "This album combines the best ideas from the past two decades of electronic music--hyperactive drum n' bass beats, Burial's underwater dubstep, plus dark ambience and the reverberations of post-apocalyptic cityscapes." Plus, it's really quite catchy. There isn't much in the way of vocals, but the distorted R&B vocal hooks were actually my least favorite part of Untrue, so replacing them with the ambient vibe-outs of Future Sounds Of London's Dead Cities does nothing but make me happy. Any of y'all who are into the sort of "intelligent dubstep" that Nick Ink regularly hypes around here absolutely have to hear this record.

Marnie Stern - Self-titled (Nothing Left)
This woman has said some unforgivably snobbish things in interviews this year, things that made me want to hate her music forever. Then I heard her record, and goddammit, I just couldn't stay mad at her. The fingertapping guitar melodies she layers all over her records sound like Kaki King playing lead guitar in Parts And Labor, and her excellent choruses, plus Zach Hill's signature hyperactive drumming, make me think of the Hella album they did where they had a singer--There's No 666 In Outer Space. I loved that album. I love this album. Marnie Stern is still a snob, but whatever, I'm pretty sure I'd have trouble getting along with Mike Cheese from Gehenna too, and I still love his band.

The Roots - How I Got Over (Right On)
This is a mellow, pensive hip-hop album that digs deeply into a single mood, one that you don't usually get from that genre at all. It speaks well for the talent and intelligence of the Roots that they can put something like this together and still be considered part of the hip-hop mainstream. My favorite song from the record ("Right On," linked above) samples Joanna Newsom for the hook, and that's fucking awesome. But the whole record is that awesome, and has a similar vibe to this song. I don't play hip-hop stuff often enough, but every time I put this record on I get mad at myself for not playing it more. It's awesome.

Things I should really listen to and evaluate before the year ends and it's too late:

My Chemical Romance - Danger Days
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Sky Larkin - Kaleide

There are undoubtedly more.
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2010, 02:04:54 AM by Andrew_TSKS » Logged

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Nick Ink
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 28, 2010, 03:53:48 AM »

Kemialliset Ystavat- ullakkopalo - we've been over this. A masterpiece, or masterpieces, all cluttered together.

Oops, This should be on mine too!

More descriptions plz. Ya'll are incredibly helpful to me in keeping up with things.

Yes, sorry - I'm going back to my original post to put something in.
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Babar
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« Reply #19 on: Nov 28, 2010, 06:51:00 AM »

Ack, babar, no! Katy Perry is the Avril Lavigne of 2008, don't fall for it!

Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

Interesting turn of events, my dear Watson.
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #20 on: Nov 28, 2010, 01:02:18 PM »

I still hate her first album, dude. But there's some good shit on the new one!

Plus, she's too pervy for me to totally hate.
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Antero
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« Reply #21 on: Nov 28, 2010, 01:09:10 PM »

I feel like the pervy bar is getting a little low.
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #22 on: Nov 28, 2010, 01:39:13 PM »

I don't know--I'm convinced that the fact she wears latex dresses regularly without even calling attention to it means she's probably pervier than anyone suspects. I could be wrong, though.
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davy
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« Reply #23 on: Nov 29, 2010, 09:37:45 AM »

I really like Katy Perry's visual aesthetic, but I don't know her music from Adam.
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dieblucasdie
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« Reply #24 on: Nov 29, 2010, 09:48:38 AM »

If'n anybody cares, I'll go ahead and count any lists from people in this thread who never post a final list in the proper 2010 thread.

Here's my preliminary 20, in rough order:

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Leftfoot The Son of Chico Dusty ("Shine Blockas")

Gucci Mane - The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted ("Little Friend")

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor ("A More Perfect Union")

Bottomless Pit - Blood Under the Bridge - ("38 Souls")

Cotton Jones - Tall Hours in the Glowstream - ("Glorylight and Christie")

Four Tet - There is Love in You - ("Angel Echoes")

Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone - ("Wrote a Song for Everyone")

Girl Talk - All Day - ("Get It Get It")

J Roddy Walston and the Business - J Roddy Walston and the Business - ("Don't Break the Needle")

Sweet Apple - Love & Desperation - ("Do You Remember?")

Endless Boogie - Full House Head - ("Tarmac City")

Grinderman - Grinderman 2 - ("Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man")

The Walkmen - Lisbon - ("Angela Surf City")

Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago - ("Black Eyes"

Omar Souleyman - Jazeera Nights - ("Hafer Gabrak Bidi (I Will Dig Your Grave With My Hands)")

Owen Pallett - Heartland - ("Oh Heartland Up Yours")

Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me - ("Good Intentions Paving Company")

Mose Allison - The Way of the World - ("My Brain")

Gil-Scott Heron - I'm New Here - ("Me and the Devil")

Isobel Campell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk - ("Come Undone")
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