I was in a weird mood this year

Top ten lists are bogus.  Even though I make like I’m going to create one every year, I can never do it, or keep it to just ten.  Annual lists are too short-term, you have to let albums age.  Besides, quantifying everything in lists is an impulse that is bad for us.  Still,  I can make a “desert island” list in no time flat. For books, music, movies, whatever. “Desert Island” lists require more of a “long-game” thinking.  What few pieces of entertainment, from my life, would I want for the rest of my life?

To pare it down and count it down from ten or twenty on a year to year basis seems trite. Besides, there are many albums, books, etc that I disliked at the time only to love it upon further review. With that in mind here are the albums that I kept in heavy rotation, the albums that kept me warm this year – in no particular order.

Neon Indian| Psychic Chasms |2010| FADER LABEL

Heard for the first time during 2009, purchased Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed on CD after the rerelease in 2010.  Deadbeat Summer may have been the anthem of Summer 2010, or at least one of the few songs that made me happy everytime I heard it.

Deer Hunter | Halcyon Digest | 2010 | 4AD |  Bought, listened to on CD

I didn’t care all the much for Deerhunter’s previous work.  The other records don’t suck, they simply never compelled me after a first listen.  Halcyon Digest is different.  It bright and airy album that pulls you in right away. And then you realizes that you’ve heard a ton of cuts from this record – it’s seemingly everywhere.

Tennis | South Carolina |2010 | Underwater Peoples

Not purchased, the ep was only a limited release on cassette and 7 inch.  Stopped whatever I was doing and listened to it whenever is came on XMU or Blog Radio.  Fantastic debut, great lo-fi record for the summer.  Can’t wait for the full length.  Sounded like sitting on a beach forever.

Gil Scott-Heron | I’m New Here |2010 | XL Recordings

Purchased, listened to on vinyl.

His first record in years, produced by Jamie from the XX.  Scott-Heron’s voice is the type of gravelly that can only be acheived by years of smoking and singing.  Incredible songs, looking back on a life and forward to new beginnings.

Perfume Genius | Learning |2010 | Matador/Turnstile

An album full of desolation, deprivation, and loss.  The content is dark.  But the songs on the album feel like a scarf around your neck on a cold winter’s night.  Mr. Peterson and Write to Your Brother worm their way into your head.  It’s beautiful

Wesafari | Sea Survivors |2010 | Wesafari music

A great record crying for wider distribution.  This Seattle band delivers a great indie pop record with a few driving keyboard-infused rock songs, a little shoegazing pop, and some singing-as-I’m driving songs.

Girls | Broken Dreams Club |2010 | Fantasy Trashcan

Purchased CD, first listened to on a drive to Vegas

Great followup to their debut, Album. Love songs, songs about drugs and sex.  It’s another ep that leaves you wanting more.

Twin Shadow | Forget |2010 | Terrible Records

I think Castles in the Snow, the 8th cut on the album, is my favorite song of the year.  I had heard it for months before buying the record( I was trying to be frugal).  When I finally purchased the CD, I found a much more diverse record than I expected.  I was reading the first time I listened to the record and was pleasantly surprised when I finally heard  it. 

Shabazz Palaces | Shabazz Palaces |2010,| SubPop

Purchased CD, which comes with an iron-on patch.  Darker counterpoint to Of Light.  Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets and Cherrywine fronts this mysterious, anti-press Hip Hop outfit.  It’s a stand out in a year of great hip hop out of the 206.   It’s abstract, wonderful, and about the music, not the personality.

The National | High Violet |2010 | 4AD

I could not get Bloodbuzz Ohio out of my head this summer and bought the record to stop the repetition.  I played it for a day straight.

State of the Artist | SeattleCaliFragilisticExtraHellaDopeness | 2010 |  Members Only

Purchased the CD from the local section at Easy Street Records

Hip Hop in Seattle is awesome.  State of the Artist put together a hell of a debut featuring the likes of Thee Satisfaction, Helladope, Grynch, and Fresh Espresso.  It doesn’t get old.

K.Flay | K.Flay | 2010 | Self released

Purchased the EP at a show in Philly while on tour for Rock the Vote with Passion Pit, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, and K.Flay.  K.Flay is clever, inventive, and fun.  She makes her own beats, gets on stage with just her laptop and kills it.  Check out her mixtape, MASHed Potatoes too.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti |Before Today | 2010 | 4AD

Love the fuzzed out 60’s psychedelic redux sound.  Bright Lit Blue Sky is another one of those songs that I would stop what I was doing to listen to.

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  1. […] hasn’t had a lick of a chance to incubate a top ten list yet. My friend Mike Kelly said it best: Annual Lists are too short-term, you have to let albums age (but he also stated that “quantifying …,” which is clearly untrue. I mean, my Pap-pap always kept in his shirt pocket a little notebook […]

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