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.
Olafur Arnalds – …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness
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!
Probably the most fun record of the year. Pop genius teams with indie heroes ?
Yes we can!
Woods – At Echo Lake
The most focused and solid album by this Brooklyn group.
Folk-rock in lo-fi mode, beautiful songwriting, can’t ask for more.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
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.
Black Tambourine – S/T
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
Wild, sweaty, filthy garage-roll from the Brazilian trio. Give me a Budweiser.
Tomo – Butterfly Dreams and Other Guitar Works
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
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.
Starflyer59 – The Changing Of The Guard
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.
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
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 – Dark Country Magic
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.
Nels Cline – Dirty Baby
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
Repetitive acid-fuzz guitars anyone?
Sean Smith – Eternal
West coast guitar maestro with a reissue of a classic album. Well, to become classic at least.
Goldmund – Famous Places
Goldmund pays his solo piano tributes to the beaches of the US. Modern classical music, heart touching simplicity and honesty.
Ulaan Khol – III
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.
Sarah June – In Black Robes
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
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
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.
Fursaxa – Mycorrhizae Realm
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
Yeasayer – Odd Blood
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.
Sharron Kraus – The Woody Nights
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.
Rockfour – The Wonderful World
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.
Polar Bear – Peepers
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
The new album by Scottish minimal and avant-garde composer Bill Wells, together with Stefan Schnider in a minimalistic album for minimalistic needs.
Pierre Bensusan – Vivdly
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
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
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.
Robyn Hitchcock – Propellor Time
Another Hitchcock album with his new band Venus3, another beautifully crafted songwriting. Don’t know how he does that.
Bela Tarr – Pulsar
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
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.
Alasdair Roberts – Too Long In This Condition
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.
White Fence – White Fence
The lo-fi psych-rock album of the year. This is beautiful stuff. really.
Quetev Meriri – Al Xurvot HaAviv
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.
Tape & Bill Wells – Fugue
Another Bill Wells release, this time with Swedish group Tape (who also released a beautiful album last year). classic minimalistic again. Beautiful.
Electra – Heartbreak For Fools
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.
James Blackshaw – All Is Falling
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.
Albert Beger – Peacemaker
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