i won't even try to narrow down my favorites of the year into one list. WTF?! impossible for an over thinking over reactor. musicians, albums, tracks..they resonate on levels worthier than simply best of...i personally am a fan of sub categorization.. so i will break down this musical year of 2010 into several lists..perhaps a favorite album list, favorite shows list, happiest songs of the year, saddest, best shows....blah blah bling!
so here's to taking it back all the way to january album style...in a not so particular order...
Beach House-Teen Dream: this is probably my favorite release of the year. big surprise. As an entire album, there's nothing i want to skip, and everything I want to feel. definitely an "emotional" album, if that makes sense. textured, full and lush, simple, and artfully weaved. it flowed perfectly. Take Care at the end. brilliance. i should just take all the songs from Teen Dream and i'd have a favorite songs list of the year.
Wavves-King of the Beach: was not let down by the studio recording and this was an album of havin fun, making fun of fun, and wishing things were more fun. favorite tracks: No Hope Kids, King of the Beach...and the line "green eyes, i'd run away with you" always speaks to us green eyed girls ;)
Deerhunter- Halcyon Digest: what can I say, this is another album so close to my heart that I can feel it. The sound of lonliness, confusion, coming into adulthood, nostalgia, dreams and fear. It sounds covered in a damp blanket, in a musty attic…where memories are hidden and dust can be blown off trinkets and keepsakes rendering them alive again. Perhaps it’s the basement references on my favorite track that makes me willing to bet this, but damn this album prolly sounds even better in one.
Wild Nothing-Gemini: home of one of my favorite tracks of the year, “Chinatown” dreamy pop, soft and danceable, layered synths, sullen lyrics, “we’re not happy till we’re running away.“ a one man fucking genius. Thank God you're coming to town
Harlem-Hippies: these fuckies made one hell of a follow up. Surfy, do woppy, garage bliss. I don’t care if I don’t hear South of France at the shows anymore.. Gay Human Bones, Be Your Baby, Friendly Ghost…I could name all the fucking tracks. Self deprecating dudes, singing about girls and drugs. Music doesn’t have to be rocket science. Sometimes it can just be a frenzy of fun. Stage presence is pretty fuckin A too.
CEO- White Magic: this is by far the best dance release of the year. Argue with me, c’mon. Catchy beats, bleeping syths, experimental samples involving wicked screams, tribal percussion, full on orchestra at some points…and the crown of all, the chilly sound of a knife blade sharpened in “No Mercy.” a little nod to Pet Shop Boys here, but so much more intense. If you don’t like “Come With Me” well, you don’t like me then ;)
Local Natives-Gorilla Manor Okay so technically released at the end of 2009, French Kiss released it in 2010 so fuck it, I’m calling it a fave. Can’t say enough about the harmonies and chants, throbbing beats…one of the best live shows I’ve seen all year…Sun Hands, Airplanes…these songs crescendo at perfect moments, and yes, they will get stuck in your head…
Best Coast-Crazy For You- Again, it doesn’t have to be rocket science, it’s the California sound that got so fucking big this year. Not super groundbreaking, but really does it have to be? I love that a young woman is being just real here…nothing fancy…. confused, lazy, boy focused, cat loving, and high a lot of the time..well doesn’t it sound like ..um life? Maybe not everyone’s, but can’t really think of anyone who doesn’t relate to one of these things. Favorite track, the hit…”When I’m With You.’ Best Coast, when I’m with you I have so much fun. I want to rollerskate and dance like a little girl.
Alberta Cross-Broken Side of Time: Hard to describe this one…essentially soulful folk rock, with emphases on rock I would have to say with a dash of psychadelia…the most distinctive of their sound would be Petter Erickson Stakee’s lead vocals.. To me his voice is that of an angel. How does this man sing that high and hold those notes…fluttering and quivering at just the right moments? Compared to Band Of Horses or My Morning Jacket…Alberta Cross sets the bar higher. Each song a narrative…bluesy lead guitars, plummeting down to just a single ghostly “oooh “ , full piano both driving and accenting the songs moments of psychadelic geekouts a la Yo la Tengo’s Painful. There’s so much here. Just listen to it. Leave Us Or Forgive Us and Taking Control , and a song named for Austin Texas. Alberta Cross has my heart.
Future Islands-In Evening Air: I’m used to hearing electropoppish, heavy on samples and synths tunes, from these dudes… I can’t complain of course, but god bless Thrill Jockey for putting out this release, which displays the maturity of the Future Islands sound. I adored the Little Advances EP with all its upbeat and frenzy (Nu Autobon, Little Advances !!!)but the next release Wave Like Home was lost on me…the fearlessness wasn’t there.. So here we are in 2010 with the fully formed solid member band, and it couldn’t be better. The beats exist but not at the forefront, so I can’t peg them as dancy or electro..maybe nu electro, haha. Much of the sound relies on the post punkish, dark wavish bass lines (its like peter fucking hook up in here!), repetitive and catchy synths, song arrangement, and sequences. There’s a happiness here, but the Factory Records dark appeal, it juxtaposes perfectly.
The Drums-The Drums: home to some of my favorite songs of the year. These dudes are masters at minimalism and simplicity. Let’s Go Surfing was the first track I heard, sorta lumping them into the hazy beach pop genre.. But they exceed and excel on so many more levels. Yes they wear their Smiths/Cure/New Order influences on their sleeves, but hey know when to say when to stay minimal and leave the fluff out. A few sequened drums and hand claps..some jangly guitars. Simple lyrics, entirely relatable, and bittersweet…” I’m sleeping in the kitchen, I’m eating in the bedroom, and everything is backwards, I wish I never met you..“ awww… “I don’t know what to say cuz when I open my mouth I always sound so stupid..” sort of endearing huh? Simplicity is bliss.
Okay so more more more..other favorites include in no particular order:
Beach fossils-Beach Fossils
Lower Dens-Twin Hand Movement
Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Diamond Rings-Special Affections
Surfer Blood-Astro Coast
Palmbomen-Moon Children EP
Couple of regrets:
Sorta disappointed with the arcade fire Suburbs, cuz I fucking love them quite a bit..but shit, I guess I built it up too much.
Shoulda listened more to The National’s High Violet .. I loved what I heard but I never bought it. Sometimes I make dumb decisions.
Have yet to hear the new Starfucker in its entirety. Hey there’s still a couple of weeks left in the year..
And with that, there are a couple more lists.. Elf girls out for now. <3