2nd January, 2011

My year in music

I used to write often about music for this journal. Those days of turning sounds into words have slipped by, but I still consume new music as eagerly as I did at any other time in my life. Like many, I cannot help but compile lists, and I shall not apologise for it either. Here, for your pleasure, are my top albums, songs, and performances of 2010.

My apologies for the lack of links or samples, but it won’t be too difficult to dig around on Last.fm, iTunes, YouTube or whatever if your ears are inquisitive. You can’t have everything on a plate, dear reader.

Top albums of 2010

Aside from The National's High Violet (my album of the year by light years), the albums I played the most through the year were Surfer Blood's Astro Coast, The Antlers Hospice and the eponymous album from Real Estate (both from 2009) and the Ryan Adams classic Love Is Hell from 2004. Plus a lot of Shins albums.

  1. The National: High Violet
  2. Surfer Blood: Astro Coast
  3. Local Natives: Gorilla Manor
  4. The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
  5. Titus Andronicus: The Monitor
  6. Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record
  7. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
  8. Laura Marling: I Speak Because I Can
  9. Interpol: Interpol
  10. School of Seven Bells: Disconnect From Desire

Not quite making my top ten include solid offerings from Sufjan Stevens, Deerhunter, Best Coast, Beach House, Belle & Sebastian, Avi Buffalo, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Blakroc (the last two actually released 2009).

Most disappointing release by a million miles was the crap third album from Band Of Horses. Boring, forgettable dogshit. Such a shame.

Top songs of 2010

I could pretty much just list all ten songs from the Surfer Blood and The National albums, truth be told. Both were perfect in every way. Still, let’s try and spread the love.

  1. The National: Terrible Love
  2. Surfer Blood: Swim
  3. Arcade Fire: We Used To Wait
  4. Local Natives: Wide Eyes
  5. The Besnard Lakes: And This Is What We Call Progress
  6. Surfer Blood: Slow Jabroni and Fast Jabroni
  7. New Pornographers: Crash Years
  8. Seabear: I’ll Build You A Fire
  9. Broken Social Scene: Meet Me In The Basement
  10. Beach House: Zebra

I’m sure there were others, but my brain is struggling with this one. Besides, Last.fm does not lie, right?

Top live performances of 2010

In 2010, I tended to see bands in short blocks, such as at Glastonbury, or a week of gigs in New York. There were many highlights, but I think this ten is about right. Despite a fairly disappointing fourth album, Interpol are always incredible live, and their Rock City show in November was sublime.

  1. Interpol (Rock City, Nottingham)
  2. Surfer Blood (downstairs at Rock City, Nottingham)
  3. The National (Other Stage, Glastonbury)
  4. School of Seven Bells (Terminal 5, New York)
  5. The Walkmen (Terminal 5, New York)
  6. The Flaming Lips (Other Stage, Glastonbury)
  7. The Cribs (Other Stage, Glastonbury)
  8. Laura Marling (Park Stage, Glastonbury)
  9. Field Music (John Peel Tent, Glastonbury)
  10. New Pornographers (Terminal 5, New York)

My biggest error of the year was arriving at Terminal 5 too late and missing the Ted Leo And The Pharmacists set. I also missed Minus The Bear a few days earlier due to a cumulative hangover of epic proportions. Getting too old for this.

That’s that

Nice and simple. All in all I think it was a tremendous year for music across the board. Hell, I even heard some amazing pop music in a New York cab this year. It may have been Katy Perry, I’m not sure. It was fucking good. At the time.

Anyhow, feel free to moan at me, tell me I’m wrong, or do the classic “Hey, you forgot bla bla bla…” as if you know my mind better than I do. Alternatively, share your best of 2010, if you have the time. I’m always interested in new stuff that I might have overlooked.

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