The Best Of 2010, Not Only Over-Hyped Albums

It was another great year in music.  Again, like last year, I can’t understand those who insists that ‘nothing good happened in 2010’, annoying hipsters.

It was such a diverse year, full of brilliant gems. I won’t go into charts and numbering, but here’s a rough overview of the stuff I liked this year.

Some of the albums I managed to write about, some simply went by with ongoing listening and no review, but still, they made this year better for me.

Listening suggestion – while most probably you won’t read the entire thing, just click on the first song and minimize this window after you had enough, the songs here will play automatically one by one.

This year was special because it saw the release of my debut album Remember.

I want to give away a free copy of the album to one of the readers so leave me a comment with your 2010 favorites and you might get a package from me. Have a great 2011.

Teaser : My favorite album of the year is in the bottom of this post.

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Olafur Arnalds – …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness

STR Review | Olafur Arnalds – Bu Ert Jordin

Quietly evolving piano and strings compositions, brings the melancholy to the right place and in perfect time.

Solex Vs. Cristina Martinez and John Spencer – Amsterdam Throwdown King Street Showdown!

STR Review | Solex Vs. Chrstina Martinez and Jon Spencer – Bon Bon

Probably the most fun record of the year. Pop genius teams with indie heroes ?

Yes we can!

Woods – At Echo Lake

STR Review | Woods – Suffering Season

The most focused and solid album by this Brooklyn group.

Folk-rock in lo-fi mode, beautiful songwriting, can’t ask for more.

Woods At Echo Lake Cover Art

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

Ariel Pink”s Haunted Graffiti – Freight Night

This is a sensational pop masterpiece. Strange fusion of 70’s glam, 80’s synths and the group’s unique sound.

Also, in this record you’ll find the best song of the year. It is also available above these lines.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffity - Before Today

Black Tambourine –  S/T

STR Review | Black Tambourine – For Ex-Lovers Only

So you like that poppish shoegaze stuff right? There you go, one of the important reissues of this year.

The Black Needles – Bury My Heart

The Black Needles – Good Times

Wild, sweaty, filthy garage-roll from the Brazilian trio. Give me a Budweiser.

Black Needles - Bury My Heart

Tomo – Butterfly Dreams and Other Guitar Works

STR Review | Tomo –  Ceremonial Music In Sheol

A fabulous acoustic guitar-minimal-drone album, in the tradition of Fahey/Basho with Japanese Music. For fans of these two, Ben Chasney’s music and Ravi.

The Soundcarriers – Celeste

The Soundcarriers – There Only Once

I wish I could find enough time to write about how beautiful and touching this album is.

If you’re into analog sound, 60’s magic a la United States of America, fans of Broadcast and Morricone/Mancini passionates – this album is for you.

The Soundcarriers - Celeste Sleeve

Starflyer59 – The Changing Of The Guard

Starflyer59 – Fun Is Fun

At first I thought this album is over-produced and sound like an 80’s Jeff Lynn production (in terms of size), but over couple of listens this became a personal fav album of mine. can’t listen to it anymore as I heard it too many times. Each song is a hit single in potential.

Starflyer59 - Changing Of The Guards

Warm Ghost – Claws Overhead

STR Review | Warm Ghost – Claws Overhead

If you’ll read my review of this album, you’d understand that I can’t sum this album in two lines.

Big Blood – Dead Songs

Big Blood – New Eyes

700 copies only, hard cardboard and heavy LP. Big Blood are doing it again – another psych-folk masterpiece by a group that each of their album is simply amazing and addictive.

Big Blood - Dead Songs

Big Blood – Dark Country Magic

Big Blood – Song For Ro-He-Ge

Yep, they have released two albums this year, and this one can be downloaded on Freemusicarchive.org, like some other albums of theirs. As I said before – each album is brilliant.

Big Blood - Dark Country Magic

Nels Cline – Dirty Baby

STR Review | Nels Cline – DIRTY BABY: Part IV (Shut This Gate)

The new extravaganza by Wilco guitarist and a mastermind of guitar. This is not a free jazz guitar album, but simply a double album who covers so many styles, that I can only say that if you love music, try out this album. And buy the actual Cd, the package and the booklets cannot be separated from the music.

Moon Duo – Escape

STR Review | Moon Duo – Motorcycle, I Love You

Repetitive acid-fuzz guitars anyone?

Sean Smith – Eternal

STR Review | Sean Smith – Palak Paneer

West coast guitar maestro with a reissue of a classic album. Well, to become classic at least.

Goldmund – Famous Places

STR Review | Goldmund – Dane Street

Goldmund pays his solo piano tributes to the beaches of the US. Modern classical music, heart touching simplicity and honesty.

Ulaan Khol – III

Ulaan Khol – Untitled II

The third part in the Ulaan Khol trilogy. Steven R Smith is one of my favorite guitarist, a deep influence on me with his fusion of composition, noise, and aesthetics. Classic album for fans of the genre.

Ulaan khol - III

Sarah June – In Black Robes

STR Review | Sarah June – Cowboy

Fans of Marissa Nadler, this is an album you’ll probably love. Great songwriting and a unique voice of this talented songwriter.

Itamar Ziegler – Memories Of Now

STR Review | Itamar Ziegler – The Story Must Be Told

The Balkan Beat Box and Pink Noise bass player with such a deep, personal album – touching and mostly inspiring album.

Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope To The Sky

Swans – You Fucking People Make Me Sick

The only reason why I didn’t write about the new Swans album, was because I thought anything I’ll write would not be 0.05% of the depth of this gorgeous piece of art, full of pain and misery. One of my favorite Swans albums ever.

Swans My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope To The Sky

Fursaxa – Mycorrhizae Realm

Fursaxa – Well Of Tuhala

Tara Burke’s Fursaxa moniker returns with its paganistic and witchcraft music. Not easy for the acid-folk lovers, but certinley send shivers down the spine

Fursaxa - Mycorrhizae Realm

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

Yeasayer – Love Me Girl

Yea Yea Yea ! We love experimental pop, and we love the Brooklyn scene, and we love the combo of the two and that’s why we love the new (and previous) Yeasayer.

Yeasayer Odd Blood

Sharron Kraus – The Woody Nights

Sharron Kraus – Evergreen Sisters

The UK representative of the contemporary folk movement, with her best album to date, gentle and deep and mostly mysterious. Fans of June Tabor and Judy Collins? this one’s for you.

Sharron Kraus - The Woody Nightshade

Rockfour – The Wonderful World

Rockfour – Menat Yeter

The new album by Israeli psych-power-pop group Rockfour, first time in Hebrew since 1995, but don’t let this disturb you.

The powerful melodies, brilliant production and amazing group dynamic, make the language barriers easier.

Check out their Bandcamp page for a full album stream.

Rockfour - The Wonderful World

Polar Bear – Peepers

STR Review | Polar Bear – Happy For You

Becareful : This a true jazz album, though innovative and refreshing – jazz album of the year for me (except, of course, Peacemaker, see bottom of the page)

Bill Wells & Stefan Schnider – Pianotapes

Bill Wells & Stefan Schnider – Pntps 08

The new album by Scottish minimal and avant-garde composer Bill Wells, together with Stefan Schnider in a minimalistic album for minimalistic needs.

Bill Wells and Stefen Schnider - Pianotapes

Pierre Bensusan – Vivdly

Pierre Bensusan – Veilleuse

Jazz-folk acoustic guitar maestro with his new album. This is a bit more ‘world music’ album rather then jazz or folk, but definitions aside – another album by this inspiring guitar player and composer, is always a cause for celebration.

Secret Cities – Pink Graffiti

STR Review | Secret Cities – Boyfriends

One of the only ‘indie’ released you’ll find in this list, and that’s mainly because it stands out from the rest of em indies.

A group that learned and soaked a lot from their father figures, and managed to release a beautiful album that sounds like Secret Cities and not a certain homage to anyone else. Kudos.

The Fresh&Onlys – Play It Strange

The Fresh&Onlys – Waterfall

After so many blog posts, 7” and internet releases, comes the very much anticipated album by this group, who brings a cool breeze of sixties influences, with surf elements, and lo fi style. One of the top five in my list. In This case, the over hype is indeed correct.

Fresh&Onlys - Strange

Robyn Hitchcock – Propellor Time

Robyn Hitchcock – Ordinary Millionaire

Another Hitchcock album with his new band Venus3, another beautifully crafted songwriting. Don’t know how he does that.

Robyn Hitchcock  Propellortime

Bela Tarr – Pulsar

STR Review | Bela Tarr – High Life

The first album by Israeli musician who rides the 4AD way in a very interesting style. Give it a shot, it’s really cool.

Kitzu – Sand

Kitzu – Diamonds

If Bear In Heaven were Israelis, they would sound like Kitzu. This group of talented young musicians managed to gain a lot of respect in the local indie scene with their mix of electronica, Greenwood-style guitars and a outrageously good singer.

Kitzu - Sand

Alasdair Roberts – Too Long In This Condition

Alasdair Roberts – The Golden Vanity

The new album by Scottish singer/songwriter, is a collection of covers he recorded with friends. This is traditional stuff, in its hardcore like always, so if you’re into that style – this album is a must have.

Alasdair Roberts - Too Long In This Condition

White Fence – White Fence

STR Review | White Fence – Mr. Adams

The lo-fi psych-rock album of the year. This is beautiful stuff. really.

Quetev Meriri – Al Xurvot HaAviv

Quetev Meriri – BeAshmat Atzabim Refufim

If I had more courage, I would write about what this album did for me. But I’m not. so I can just beg you – listen to their album in their bandcamp page, listen to it because I ask so. In this case, what works for Julian Cop, works for me.

Qetev Meriri

Tape & Bill Wells – Fugue

STR Review | Tape & Bill Wells – Fugue 1

Another Bill Wells release, this time with Swedish group Tape (who also released a beautiful album last year). classic minimalistic again. Beautiful.

Tape and Bill Wells - Fugue

Electra – Heartbreak For Fools

Electra – Coming To Get You!

If The Clash and The Move and The Jam ever could join forces, they would have sound like Electra.

Mind their stunning ability to write catchy tunes, and interpetate other people’s songs. Powerful, popish, angry, passionate, in the shape of a threesome.

Electras - Heartbreaks For Fools

James Blackshaw – All Is Falling

STR Review | James Blackshaw – All Is Falling, Pt.5

His best album to date, really beautiful electric soundscapes, cinematic moods and a passion for innovation. At first I didn’t know how this guy keeps getting better each and every album. So I interviewed him, you can hear it in the review.

James Blackshaw - All Is Falling

Albert Beger – Peacemaker

STR Review | Albert Beger – Nigun

Well, this is the album of the year for me. But I’m not the most neutral opinion when it comes to Albert’s music.

Still, even if it sounds like jazz, remember the Soft Machine sounds like jazz as well, and we still love them. Open your ears, you experimental music lovers. Listen to it entirely

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