Saturday, 18 December 2010

Stuff That Was Proper Good This Year Like

In no particular order, here are my favourite musical things of the past year. I'm sure i've forgotten loads. I have linked to the albums (when available) on spotify for those who have accounts. S'funny, some of my choices seem to match up a lot with the general top tens out there. Are there that few good albums out there? Hmmm, I obviously must try harder to be MORE OBSCURE and therefore more HIP...


Connan Mockasin
Please Turn Me Into The Snat (Phantasy)

A super talent quite unlike anyone out there. This is what happens when really technical musicians employ good taste. For those that like Deerhoof

Tory Y Moi
Causers Of This (Carpark)

One of the best beatmakers in the world today, no doubt. Romantic, cosmic, synth-flavoured bangers. Like a much-better version of Flying Lotus

Jamie Lidell
Compass (Warp)

Patchy for sure, but always interesting. Phenomenal production throughout and 'She Needs Me' is one of the best modern soul songs EVER, tongue-in-cheek though it certainly is

Vampire Weekend
Contra (XL Recordings)

Took me a while to warm to this, what with the zeitgeist-y sounds and auto-tune, and liberal use of animal collective type bleeps, but the songs are just way too catchy to ignore

Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)

An astounding pop record. Takes 20 listens to even scratch the surface. He's a modern day Wagner (not the X Factor one)! And quite obviously a complete c-unit 

Black Keys
Brothers (Nonesuch)

Sonically awesome, by some way their best album. Great songs, huge beats, and some of the very very finest guitar sounds committed to tape this year

Janelle Monae
The Archandroid (Wonderland Arts Society/Bad Boy)

I literally HATED this when it first came out. Six months later the penny drops. A few songs could/should have been cut, but there are more ideas here than most artists have in an entire career

Joanna Newsom
Have One On Me (Drag City)

Astonishingly good. Amazing songs, beautiful Arrangements. The woman is a jay-nius, there's not really much to even say. Like Jimi, Joni, Nick Drake, this is simply untouchable

Sleigh Bells
Treats (N.E.E.T/Columbia)

A sonic assault, an album as much felt as listened to. Some surprisingly tender moments though. Incredibly contrived, but who cares?

Everything Everything
Man Alive (Geffen)

A bit like eating haribo, listening to this is. Tasty as hell at first, but you do get a bit sick of it after a while. 'Schoolin' is awesome though. For fans of XTC and general British whimsy

Mountain Man
Made The Harbor (Bella Union)

This is a gorgeous album. Obviously recorded in a shed somewhere with a shit microphone but nevermind, just listen to those harmonies... swoon. I think I collectively fancy them all

Avi Buffalo
Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)

Beautifully understated record, but completely self-assured and confident despite this. Reminds me of Fleetwood Mac (not the blues incarnation) in a weird way. Sexy-time music  

Maps & Atlases
Perch Patchwork (Fat Cat)

Slightly miffed that they raided Grizzly Bear's dressing-up box for this album but they get away with it. There's still a bit of the fret-tapping that I know and love

Erykah Badu
New Amerykah Part 2: Return Of The Ankh (Universal Motown)

Not as good as Part One, and sampling Sylvia Striplin's 'You Can't Turn Me Away' is definitely WACK, but it's still brilliant. It's a two-horse race with Monae for most funkadelic album cover of the year too


O.N.E (Mute Records)

I think I read somewhere that this was shit and sounded like The Thompson Twins. Fuck it, it's funkier than a mosquito's tweeter. Just the percussion alone makes my ass shake involuntarily. File with Womack & Womack's 'Teardrops' and Fleetwood Mac's 'Everywhere'


Dirty Projectors with Alarm Will Sound @ The Barbican

Enthralling from start to finish, firstly playing 'The Getty Address' in it's entirety and then stripping down (not literally) to play songs from 'Bitte Orca'. They've never sounded so good

Darwin Deez @ Green Man Festival

Hard to describe really. I'd never heard his music, so didn't know what to expect. So so so so so so much fun, his band are a complete bunch of hipsters but damn do they know how to do a good dance routine. I mean they did an interpretive one to 'Automatic' by The Pointer Sisters for fuck's sake. BRILLIANT

Mountain Man @ St. Giles In The Field Church

I felt like a schoolboy at this. See HERE

Joanna Newsom @ Royal Festival Hall

Flawless. Kind of weird actually to see something so perfect. Tasteful in a good way

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