I’ve been meaning to get this blogged started so no better time than the present and no better way to start it by making up a top 10 list of my favourite albums of 2010.
10 The Redneck Manifesto – Friendship
The Rednecks are veterans of the post-rock or math-rock or whatever you want to call it scene. Whatever they do, it’s just brilliant instrumental rock music that feels like a big breath of fresh air. This is chin wag music that will wag the goatee of your chin.
9 The Magic Theatre – London Town
This concept album made by Dan Poppelwell and Sophia Churney of Ooberman fame tells the story of two time-travelling lovers. It tells the highs and lows of romance with the parallel theme of the seasons of the year running in the background. This album combines 60s pop music with late 19th century classical music, reflecting the two time periods that the fictional couple come from.
8 Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away
Josh Ritter returned this year with another album of folk tales, this time telling us stories about mummy romance and the old west as well as a song about trains. With just a few notes or a few words, Ritter’s music can transport you into another world. This album sees him at the height of his powers and gives us more classic songs to add to his already impressive backlog.
7 Glasser – Ring
One woman band Cameron Mesirow makes music that isn’t easy to categorise, it’s electronic, tropical, tribal and circular to begin with. Every listener may find a new way to describe it. It’s trippy and dreamlike without being stoner music and also deeply layered while being accessible at the same time. Every track leads into the next while the end of the last track leads right back to the first, which is how the album gets its title.
6 Adebisi Shank – This is the Second Album of a band called Adebisi Shank
The Shank open their second album with probably one of the songs of the year, International Dreambeat. The song lives up to it’s name with 100 mph beats set against loud, brash guitars. This is the type of song you could load up on your mp3 player on a walk to the shops and by the time it’s over, you’d realise you passed the shops 1/2 mile ago. The album barely lets up from there. It’s short, sweet and to the point, just the way most albums should be.
5 Cap Pas Cap – Haunted Light
Cap Pas Cap are a band that gets things just right and their dark electro-rock hits all your musical receptors in just the right places. Whether they’re going high tempo (Mirrors , We Are Men) or slowing it down (Hearts), there’s something there that keeps you going back for more.
4 Solar Bears – She Was Coloured In
Solar Bears released their very accomplished debut album this year. It creates some of the most amazing electronic landscapes that you’re likely to hear. Their music could easily fit onto any movie soundtrack and it may only be a matter of time before we hear them score an entire film.
3 Cathy Davey – The Nameless
After a decent debut album and an improved second album, Davey’s full potential is finally realised on this her third album. Parting ways with her record company probably had something to do with it. This album mines the depths of heartache, madness and despair but still manages to feel uplifting, defiant and soothing all at the same time.
2 Sleigh Bells – Treats
This albums opens with loud buzz saw guitars and plenty of attitude that’s balanced out by Alexis Krauss’ sugary sweet vocals. Some rock fans out there may admit to you (after a few drinks) their weakness for the occasional pop tune but with Sleigh Bells you get to have your cake and eat it too, without losing any of your rawk cred. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, this album certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome and has enough intensity to last for hours after you listen to it.
1 The National – High Violet
Between Matt Beringer’s baritone voice and lyrics that are pure, beautiful poetry, this album feels like it’s William Blake being sung by Johnny Cash. This album has a constant stream of beautiful melancholy running throughout. Anyone looking for a big rock anthem isn’t going to find one here but if you just sit back and let the words carry you away (on a swarm of bees), you’ll be abundantly rewarded.