Friday, December 10, 2010

Best Albums of 2010

40. Pigeons - Si Faustine
39. Ou Où - Baron Von Baron
38. Kemialliset Ystävät - Ullakkopalo
37. Forest Swords - Dagger Paths
36. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Love is a Stream
35. Avey Tare - Down There
34. Chris Schlarb - Psychic Temple
33. The Last Dog to Visit the Center of the Earth - Colossus Archosaur
32. Caballos y Entusiasmo - Hidropony
31. Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People

30. TOMO - Butterfly Dream and Other Guitar Works

If you scroll down a bit, you'll see that I just recently reviewed this one. An absolutely gorgeous instrumental guitar/drone album with magical healing qualities for the body and soul.

29. Yellow Swans - Going Places

For their final album as a duo, Yellow Swans decided to do what they do best better than ever: make you feel like you're drowning.
Foiled by _type

28. Sightings - City of Straw

Heavens to Betsy, this album’s brutal! Like a loose explosion of shrapnel, City of Straw leaves more than a mark. Sightings have once again created a punishing record devoid of reference points.


27. Caribou - Swim

Excepting perhaps The Knife’s “Tomorrow In a Year,” “ Odessa” has to be my single of the year. The rest of the Swim doesn’t quite live up to its opening track, but close enough.
Caribou - Swim - 01 - Odessa by dancecoma

26. Aaron Martin - Night Erased Them All

Rarely is neo-classical music so intoxicating as it is on Aaron Martin’s masterpiece, Night Erased Them All. Composed for listening while driving alone at night, this cassette is steeped in swelling minor chords and chilling emotional impact. An overwhelmingly gorgeous piece of work.

25. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid

An unwieldy, enormously ambitious pop/funk hybrid, the hits on Janelle Monáe’s debut full length are too strong and too many to be dragged down by its various missteps. The ArchAndroid may not be a perfect album, but when Monáe hits her mark (which is more often than not) she proves the most inspiring artist of 2010.


24. Caddywhompus - Remainder

This album has energy X a million, hooks X a bazillion and inventive indie-rock brilliance X a quadramajillionzillion, which equates to a pretty amazing debut album.


23. Waggers Over the Station - Upekkha

This awkwardly titled, awkwardly sized album came out of nowhere and somehow managed to be one of the most engrossing albums of the year. Melding dense, lengthy experimental passages with morphing bursts of left-field pop brilliance, Upekkha is an uncommonly unique and satisfying voyage, even if it is a bit rough around the edges.
I Stand on the Hilltop. The Light Falling on the Grass by Waggers

22. Psychedelic Horses Hit - Acid Tape

That Psychedelic Horses Hit were somehow able to successfully add dub to their palate of noise-barbed indie rock constitutes one of the most enjoyable pieces of music I heard all year. Repress this on vinyl please.


21. Sean McCann - Chances Are Staying

For the first time on vinyl, Sean McCann’s Chances Are Staying is a gift – a tightly packed assortment of noisy, shimmering, layered, percussive drones of various shapes and sizes. Vintage, essential McCann.

20. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

I have mixed feelings about this album. Is it really really good or really really really good? Whichever it is, James Murphy has done it yet again – got me dancing like an idiot.

19. Green Gerry - Odd Tymes

Odd Tymes is beautifully odd to be sure. In terms of bedroom folk/pop drenched in soggy ambience, I’ve never heard it done better. One of the biggest surprises of the year.


18. Eluvium - Static Nocturne

You would be forgiven for not knowing about Eluvium’s Static Nocturne. As a limited physical release put out by Mr. Cooper himself (in the realm of 200 or so copies), the album sold out in no time. Fortunately, it is now available for download as well. 50 straight minutes of pure bliss from the master of the form. It doesn’t get much better.

17. Marnie Stern - Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern’s hyper-staccato guitar blitz hasn’t changed much since her 2007 debut, but somehow, instead getting dull and tiresome, Stern’s third full length manages to be her best album yet. Filled with the same aerobic guitar playing, awesome hooks and excellent drumming as before, only better. Marnie Stern "For Ash" by killrockstars

16. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

Cosmogramma does sample-based electronica just the way I like it: hip-hop/jazz heavy and super, super messy. Flying Lotus - Pickled! by subraw

15. Mammal Airlines - Life of Mammals / Two Songs Too EPs

It seems ridiculous for me to love these few songs of such minor length so incredibly much. But I do. Gritty, grit-filled garage pop that’s as noisy as it is grinningly infectious.

Mammal Airlines - Spagetta from Dan Mammal on Vimeo.

14. Beach House - Teen Dream

Who didn’t see this coming? This album should be on everyone's year end list. Beach House has always been at the pinnacle of languorous loveliness, and Teen Dream may be their finest album yet (the jury is still out). Beach House - Zebra by pdxrichie

13. Samamidon - I See the Sign

Maybe the most humble of the albums spread across this list, Sam Amidon’s I See the Sign is brimming with minimalist, orchestral folk that cuts to the bone. Amidon is one of the dying few who can still enchant me using only an acoustic guitar and his voice.

12. James Blake - CMYK / Klavierwerke EPs

Two EPs of absolutely brilliant, methodical electronic music. Everything I wish Burial was, James Blake is. Expecting big things from his full length next year. James Blake - Footnotes by blackacid

11. Pumice - Pumice 10"

Three tracks of ugly, textured genius from my favourite Kiwi. Stefan Neville is simply the best of the best when it comes to weird, noisy pop, and this 10" shows why.
"Fool fool fool moon (excerpt)"

10. Frog Eyes - Paul's Tomb: A Triumph

In a year that saw Wolf Parade stumble a little bit, I am so grateful that Frog Eyes kept me grinning manically from ear to ear. Indie rock doesn't get much more complex or crazy than it does on Paul's Tomb, and the crazier the better, I say.


9. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

The new Swans album really just feels like a fuller Angels of Light album, which is probably why I like it better than anything else Michael Gira has ever done. The Apocalypse never sound so good.
Swans - Little Mouth by MuteSong

8. Chris Rehm - Salivary Stones

This is the new white noise.


7. Little Women - Throat

Throat will destroy you, pick you up and dust you off, and then destroy you again.


6. Women - Public Strain
Dear Women, please don't break up for realsies. You're the best indie rock band in the business. :(
Women - "Eyesore" (from 'Public Strain') by METRO Magazine

5. The Fun Years - God Was Like, No

This guitar/turntable duo are quick to admit that progression isn't a top priority in their sound. Fortunately, they have settled on a sound that is infinitely satisfying. I don't know how in the world I ranked this album 5th. Goes to show how strong a year its been for me in music.


4. Sean McCann - Open Resolve
I get the feeling that if Open Resolve wasn’t an obscurely limited cassette tape I would feel more comfortable positioning it in my top three (number one?). Regardless, McCann has delivered some of the most noisy-gorgeous sounds these ears have ever heard. Perhaps my favourite album of his.
Sean McCann Scapula by djamesfloyd

3. Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Personally, I consider Have One On Me to be three albums, not one. And each one is a perfect reminder of why Joanna Newsom is one of my all-time favourite artists. Another pristine album (or three) to add to her already flawless discography.
Joanna Newsom Have One On Me by niekvdh

2. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
He did it! Sufjan Stevens has made the best album of his career. The Age of Adz blows everything else he's done out of the water (and I don't have to tell you that he has composed some mighty fine music). And for as big an album as this one is, Stevens doesn't waste a second. Mind-blowing from beginning to end.
I Walked- Sufjan Stevens-The Age of Adz by HSUGreen

1. Zs - New Slaves

New Slaves is a colossal monument of composed noise. Nothing I write here could do it justice. Simply amazing.
Zs - Acres Of Skin by subraw


Carter said...

Great list, Thistle! It seems as though we share the same number one album of the year!

o said...

love the list! esp. women, sufjan and sean mccann. i feel very fortunate to have a copy of open resolve on cassette.
by the way, expo 86 is GREAT.

treakiepop said...

Fantastic list.. best I've seen - and I've trawled thru a lot to blip :D Espec. The Fun Years who seem a little overlooked to me, DD/MM/YYYY, n' Mark McGuire... cheers

Patrick? said...

Hehe, it's Psychedelic Horseshit, not Horses Hit, or is that just a joke?

Forest Gospel said...

@Patrick? - Yes, it's a joke. Though an extremely lame joke.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

icastico said...

I love it when a list is full of things I like and things I haven't heard. Gives me something to dig into. Good stuff.

Given what you've included here, you may find something to like here: