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|Ma-marko's Top 25 Of 2010 List|
Here they are. The top 25 albums in terms of my personal taste. I believe I listened to close to 75-100 albums. The descriptions are my thoughts on the album and lastly my favorite track.
It has become clear to me that one thing can grab my attention among all others: Ambient. For I cannot withstand any ambient elements in music. And folks Benn Jordan since his freely distributed A Soundtrack To A Vacant Life was released a few years ago has perfected this craft. While that album was disjointed, sample driven in some cases; Arboreal remains to be its polar opposite in terms of continuity and consistency. Where free flowing tones within "Dragging Afloat" move is only brought to the ground by "Meadow Crush"; a precise drum movement that beckons for more.
Favorite Track: Meadow Crush
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Regardless of my qualms with the name, Kanye has never really astounded me. Yes I know this is a horrible thing to most people. I never gave in the hype only skimming through his tracks until he released this monster. Where I think I failed to notice before is I dislike Kanye, just Kanye. I just do, he doesn't interest me, but man does he know how to collaborate with guests. Practically every track on here distinguishes itself from the next and that is why I probably have finally succumbed to it.
Favorite Track: Power
|23||Gifts From Enola|
Gifts From Enola
Gifts From Enola's earlier offering before their self-titled was far more ambitious then their level of imagination was able to bring them. It stretched ideas to the point of mediocrity and only got me clamoring for more of Loyal Eyes Betrayed The Mind. We wanted a less favored minimalistic tone within their music and more hard-hitting sound. Gifts From Enola actually picks up from their debut, without any problems. The nagging minimilistic movements that were so far into From Fathoms are mostly buried and only introduced for transition purposes, which by the way is done well. The group starts with furious energy, something we haven't seen in quite awhile and with these build-ups that are extensively sustained without repetition; where single riffs move an entire song with ease and vocals are so rarely used and mostly whispered become immediately addictive.
Favorite Track: Dime and Suture
|22||Maps and Atlases|
An album where a multitude of texture and distinct vocal work can develop into something extremely accessible. Perch Patchwork harmlessly moves progressive rock, pop and other styles with ease and allows for both addictiveness and sing-a-longs.
Favorite Track: The Charm
Dubstep has taken over. Every day I seem to notice more elements of dubstep within mainstream music, but more importantly in the younger generations (teenagers to be precise), where it has taken a stranglehold. Phaeleh's album Fallen Light would seem to be an odd one to jumble within a more destructive, fast bass heavy genre, but he does it so eloquently by missing ambient pieces within his work it almost seems like he isn't what he is advertised to be. I guess that is the genius of this album. Where Flying Lotus' latest isn't as accessible as Fallen Light, it still remains to be one of the more concrete dubstep albums this year. No fault of Phaeleh, his stands on its own as an almost organic piece of soul, dubstep, ambient, and minimalism in some instances.
Favorite Track: Hollow
The one thing that really sticks with me within Foreign Tapes is the fact the choruses are so masterfully intertwined with the main vocals that is only trumped by some of the best guitar and piano work I've heard in awhile. Pop harmonies are hard to come by, but Parades looks to have the formula for it because they use it extensively within Foreign Tapes without any problems.
Favorite Track: Hunter
Lotus' debut was to be fair a fairly boring affair. When he released Los Angeles it floored me and with the release of his 2010 album, Cosmogramma remained to be another stepping stone to a different kind of method of musicianship. Where the elements stay the same, it's the pacing of the album that makes you want to keep listening. The same catchy themes are with Cosmogramma, you just need to work a lot harder to find them. Once you do, the head bopping never stops unless, of course, it comes off.
Favorite Track: Do The Astral Plane
There Is Love In You
I'm probably in the minority when I say Keiran Hebden's work after Rounds was not very good. I really do give up to easily, especially on some electronic-oriented acts because as soon as they find a sound they're off and running. Precisely what I see on There Is Love In You. An album where simultaneous inspirations meet somewhere and decide to walk together in one parallel movement. Not quite as I described, but There Is Love In You shows when one sound starts it completely melds within the music until it is part of it.
Favorite Track: Circling
A punk band at heart, The Menzingers hide their pop punk sound quite well. I really fucking hate pop-punk. It has no business between my ears, but The Menzingers offer so much more then those bands usually give (I don't pretend to know of every act worth knowing in that scene). Chamberlain Waits is masterfully put together, the lyrical themes within the album are more like past stories then anything else. It is interesting to listen, along for the ride they meld harmony and some punk aesthetic. It is worth listening if you're not a pure punk enthusiastic, The Menzingers are on the cusp of something and when or if they ever find the pinnacle of it they might be the talk of the town.
Favorite Track: Deep Sleep
Since the release of Alligator, The National have found their way onto my radar. While I still contend that Boxer remains to be their best, High Violet still shows how a band who have found their comfort zone, a group where they've matured to the point where lyricism takes precedent over anything else. There's a good reason for it, it is integral part for any band, but The National remain to be one of the best.
Favorite Track: England
You know when you listen to anything that creeps in with minimalism or a cold electronic aura about it that once it opens up, it becomes something more glorious then you could of ever anticipated. It happen on Eluvium's Copia and Ben Frost's Theory of Machines. It happened on Infra as well. Nowhere else can my statement be more exemplified then from the start of the album to Infra 4.
Favorite Track: Infra 4
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
As straight forward as hip-hop can get, without any silly lyrics that make you cringe. And while I may take that back on some instances on this album, those are mostly from guest spots. The overall sound on this album is monstrous something that I believe couldn't be touched in the hip-hop genre this year. See General Patton.
Favorite Track: General Patton
|13||The Black Keys|
Call me stupid names, but I think at its heart, Brothers, is just a classic rock album. It feels like an traditional meld of blues and rock then anything else. Like I've gone back and time where the Midwest and Southwest were the epicenter of all things blues. Brothers just helps me time travel or if I had a Delorean I might be able to, but I don't have one of those now do I?
Favorite Track: Tighten Up
Anyone else extremely surprised this didn't much love from the overall community? The entire album oozes melodic, mature, bass heavy, movements that along with Dan Snaith so non-offending vocals is exceptionally funky as addictive. It is where the brilliance stems from, the flawless transitions between the introductions of his vocal work and the musicianship. They develop without a hitch and feel like they've belonged all along.
Favorite Track: Sun
Gotta thank the person who recommended me this. Was it Yeti? I don't know exactly, but thanks because these guys are on my radar. Condors is an exceptionally deep album in terms of sound. While the traditional trip-hop elements are seen, you get the sense that there is much more under the veil. A mixture of shoegaze, dubstep and splices of ambient in between some beautiful female vocals is what makes this group somebody to watch for in the coming years.
Favorite Track: Scattered
The consistency the band exhibits is extremely impressive. Other than their self-titled album they released post-White Pony they've been churning out quality in droves. Some may say that they haven't changed their sound enough to be interesting anymore, but neither have Tool or countless other staple groups because they practically are what everyone aspired to when those genres broke into a wide audience. Diamond Eyes shows the Deftones aren't anywhere near a breakdown in terms of quality and this feels like their best since White Pony.
Favorite Track: You've Seen The Butcher
While listening to this the first time I couldn't help, but feel an overwhelming sensation of passion throughout every track. Regardless of me not analyzing every moment, it showed that The Monitor was fanatical. It is the embodiment of giving a damn in any country and throughout The Monitor you can't help, but feel attached to the band's cries of delusion, sanity and America.
Favorite Track: Richard II or Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Fucking forget about Caribou lack of interest. Where the hell did Tricky come from on this album? There has been practically no buzz about this on here and it saddens me. Other then a few Sputnikers I can't think of any Contribs or Staff even remotely knowing this came out. It is unfortunate because it shows Tricky isn't a dead horse that everyone kicked after a string of horrible releases. Instead he picked up the pieces that worked in Knowle West Boy and converted them within a more electronically danceable mainstream album without losing his signature trip-hop sound. And we all know, for the most part, less Tricky equals more Tricky on his best albums. Mixed Race features fantastic performances by guests that aptly enhance his moments ten-fold.
Favorite Track: Mixed Race
Disregard the album title because this the album gives the complete opposite. All the joy in the world. Where post-punk traditionalists meet a minimalistic overtone throughout the entire album. Where the energy is so capped, you'll be screaming for it to explode. It never truly does, but it still remains to be one of the best albums of 2010 and if it wasn't for Tricky's album my biggest surprise.
Favorite Track: Rivers
THANKS TRUST ME, I'M A DOCTOR YOU FIXED ME UP REAL GOOD. Gemini is one one those albums where I had heard about it, but just never actually attempted getting. Well thanks to my fellow bloggers...Kiran, Rudy, Yeti, TheBhoy they were able to fulfill their dream of helping me with music that I MIGHT like. You're welcome fuckers. Equal parts of dream pop and melody that all come together with excellent references of nothingness (what?).
Favorite Track: Bored Games
Tomorrow, In A Year
Its been quite awhile since I've been challenged by a listen. The last you ask? Joy Division's Closer. When I finally realized the grandeur, passionate, heart-wrenching sound of it all, I couldn't help, but submit to its superiority over all others. Tomorrow, In A Year is kind of like that. Sure, its missing the lyrics to express its sentiments, but with an hour-long opera album that mixes along with the most minimalistic stuff I've heard since Stars of The Lid it does show its intentions earlier then most would dare. It is an extremely risky, albeit challenging listen to all The Knife fans. For those understanding those intentions it closes as quickly as it opened.
Favorite Track: Colouring of Pigeons
Total Life Forever
DaveyBoy and I never do have any similar tastes, but with the clamoring I heard for this album I had to get it. I wasn't disappointed one bit, actually it hooked me on first listen. The best thing about Total Life Forever is it sets itself up masterfully. A vocal there, a bass line here, then the moment of chorus explosion opens the whole damn thing up for all to behold. Funny that the whole thing I just said there means absolutely nothing when you listen to Spanish Sahara. Just another reason to get it.
Favorite Track: Spanish Sahara
An early release from these guys didn't help, but hell either did a prolonged breakup of 15 years. The staple for most EBM bands in their heyday, this German duo took charge when they released their synth-laden musicianship onto the world in the late 80's and early 90's. It wasn't until their 1995 release of Big Hit did they lose their way in terms of sound and true chemistry. I needed to put that there because Industrial Complex is one of the biggest surprises I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Nowhere, other then hints within Big Hit, does Nitzer Ebb show they have the ability to make such a complex, intricate, and modern industrial sound...and to do it after 15 years of their last release is astounding.
Favorite Track: I Am Undone
|2||The Pineapple Thief|
Someone Here Is Missing
Muse has fallen so far from what they once were. They were, for me, a mainstream progressive rock leader, but The Pineapple Thief's release of Someone Here Is Missing shows there are others willing to take it and they do so easily. Bellamy and co. take notes because you've lost what made your fans listening. Someone Here Is Missing isn't as overly ambitious as most progressive rock groups, but therein lays its beauty. It is straightforward as it is uproarious in energy. Something I've wanted for quite some time from most progressive rock groups, but consistently fail to grab my attention.
Favorite Track: Someone Here Is Missing
As personal with its pop, shoegaze and fuzzy moments then all their contemporaries could have hoped for this year. Halcyon Digest really grabbed me with its opening and it still holds me under its will as we speak.
Favorite Track: Earthquake
|Absolutely fantastic read Marko. Despite the fact that our tastes in music have very little in common (well, apart from Foals & Parades), you know that I have always found your writing excellent. |
I am not a fan of your #1 & #9 at all, but your mention of Muse on #2 may have tempted me to give that a listen. I must get around to #17 too.
|Great list man. Agree on what you say about 12 - top 10 for me. Gotta thank Yeti for 11 too - sweet album.|
|Good work man, did you check out Black Sun Empire's latest? Thought that might've made an appearance on this list|
|Awesome list, man. Looks like I'll be checking out 2 and 6.|
|MassiveAttack! Great list.|
|awesome list, some stuff here I want to check out|
|Really great list. 15....yes.|
|WHERE IS JANELLE!!?!?!?!?!?!|
|list rules. i love the inclusion of 17.|
no state lottery, though?
|Yea CK that is true about our tastes :)|
I have gotten it Deviant, but its not as good as Black Sun Empire's Driving Insane and missed my list all of these are 4-4.5s.
And no State Lottery sorry. Never got to it (never recommended to me). I was already so far behind on this list, hopefully I'm not for 2011.
|phaeleh was a nice surprise, didn't know you were into it! and you FINALLY listened to titus! |
|Yea it kind of took me back. It's extremely chill and relaxing, unlike more energetic type of bass crazy dubstep.|
|: ) love it.|
and I so gave you Nedry and Wild Nothing. I feel so f'in accomplished. also I need more than a few of these I think.
|great work, have a feature ;)|
|Great list, good to see 2 as high as it is|
|Nice, 5 of these are in my top 10.|
|Nice list. I guess I really have to download Pineapple Thief now. Been thinking about it for weeks. |
|Don't think, just do it! And thanks Obs :D|
|Really good list! One of my favorites, and one of the ones that seems similar to mine. Major yes to numbers 1 and 5.|
|Even though I dislike most of the albums listed here (except Parades. yay Parades!) it was a great read. Nice work bro.|
|great list, lots of albums I wasn't expecting I'll have to check some of them out|
|really no tallest man? good list tho|
|fuck ya deftones|
|Your spurred me to check out #2, mainly due to muse now being shite|
|good. I just started listening to them from a recommend and it was awesome.|
|Good list though i would have like Tallest Man on Earth and Lone Wolf somewhere...|