I’ll admit it. We fell into the same trap that every magazine and blog on the planet did. The self-indulgent, we-know-what-you-should-like-better-than-you-do Best Albums of 2010 list. Here at TDOA headquarters, we’d like to think that we’ve given you some names that weren’t familiar and provided you with some surprises. But at the end of the day, who better to assess the state of music than the musicians themselves? So, we reached out to every band that we interviewed in 2010 and asked them to give us their favorite albums of the year. Below is the lengthy list that we compiled, thanks to their overwhelming response. The verdict? 2010 was a tremendous year and a great way to start a new decade. We’ve already heard a number of new releases for 2011 and can tell you that next year may be even better.
We’ve been fortunate this year, to have our readership increase to put us in the same stratosphere as the cool kids. We’re thankful for the support of our readers, the bands and the publicity firms that work to promote great music that fight the tide of “dumbing” that pervades the music scene. So here is our little present to you: the ultimate “best of” list, as compiled by your favorite musicians. Have a Happy New Year and we’ll see you next year!
Stella Mozgawa- Warpaint
1. Flying Lotus – Cosmograma
2. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
3. Ariel Pink – Before Today
4. Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM
5. Lagos Disco Inferno
Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
No Age – Everything In Between
Procedure Club – Doomed Forever
Moon Duo – Escape
Reading Rainbow – Prism Eyes
Tamaryn – The Waves
Heavy Hawaii – HH
Fresh and Onlys – Play It Strange
Woven Bones – In And Out And Back Again
Twin Shadow- Forget
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Broken Bells – Broken Bells
For a Minor Reflection – Höldum í átt að óreiðu
Tamaryn – The Waves
Dreamend – So I ate myself, bite by bite
Mogwai – Special Moves
The National – High Violet
The Amazing – Wait for a Light to Come
Dungen – Skit i allt
5. Hurray for The Riff Raff- Young Blood Blues
4. Maria Peszek- Moje Miasto
3. Lykke Li- Youth Novels
2. Gonzalez- Solo Piano
1. Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings the Floor
Anna-Karin- Twiggy Frostbite
Jonsi – Go Do
Robyn – Body Talk pt 1
Efterklang – Magic Chairs
The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt
Florence and the Machine – Between Two Lungs
Rhydian Dafydd- The Joy Formidable
1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Perhaps more of a grower than Funeral or Neon Bible, but another beautiful , dynamic body of work by the Canadian virtuosos.
It’s a carefully thought out record, the sequence of tracks feels very considered, the structure taking on almost classical structure with themes repeating and haunting opener ‘The Suburbs’ (a hauntingly beautiful struggle with modernity) being reprised at the end of the album. Regine Chassagne’s voice ( something I consider their secret weapon) is magnificent on Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains) and her vocal is one of many instrumental twists and nuances that make this album compelling, progressive and our stereo, played very repeatedly.
2. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Tough to top ‘Sound Of Silver’?! Well, James Murphy gave it a damn good shot here. This Is Happening is darker, occasionally paranoid and it reveals the voice of a leader and a lyricist capable of emotional breadth. We’ve got fond memories of listening to this on the tour bus when we were travelling through Canada. It seemed the perfect companion. But you can play it anywhere and it still sounds great.
3. The Black Keys – Brothers
Direct, re-energised; this is the ‘fuck yeah’ album of the year for us. I don’t know if working with Danger Mouse brought a new edge to their sound but we love the crunch on Dan Auerbach’s guitar, the no nonsense approach and the ever-present hooks. We smile and swing our hair around a lot to this record. Favourite highlight: ‘Next Girl’. Yum.
4. Plan B – The Defamation Of Strickland Banks
This record is a breath of fresh air in 2010. It’s fresh, soulful , lyrically and vocally moving and the vintage production sounds great. The genre feels reignited, it’s not too polished and the ambitious aim to make visuals for each track is right up our street.
5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Once again, Kanye creates an audacious soundtrack that puts many of his peers to shame. Forget the bullshit, the rants, the drama; if we’re talking about the music this latest offering feels more confident, more experimental, more bombastic, even more frenetic. But it seems to work. It could easily have gone too far but, instead of disjointed, the collaborations are tantalising (Bon Iver, John Legend, Kid Cudi…….), the references are colourful and the ridiculously honest lyrics make for an entertaining ride. ‘Let’s have a toast for the douchebags’!
Josephine- Boat Beam
1. Autumn Comets “I cant solve your problems anymore”
2. Havalina “Las Hojas Secas”
3. El Guincho “Pop Negro”
4. Janelle Monae “The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)”
5. Richard in your Mind “My Volcano”
Si Rider – Einstellung
1. Monster Magnet – “Mastermind”. Strong, heavy riffs and big production make for a real return to form after the previous album “4-Way Diablo” and its attempt to branch out into territories that Dave Wyndorf simply can’t compete. God bless Monster Magnet.
2. Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”. Yes, they sound like The Marychain. Yes, they show their influences on their sleeves. Who cares? Reverb drenched, bubblegum psychedelia will always have its place. Good on ‘em.
3. Black Mountain – “Wilderness Heart”. The only Black Mountain album I have but I’ll be after more. Psychedelic acid rock blues has always been dear to my heart and Black Mountain prove its continual importance.
4. Grinderman – “2″. This is just down right dirty. I missed the first album mainly cos I never really got Nick Cave even though I was a big Birthday Party fan. The guitar reminds me more of the Birthday Party then the Bad Seeds. I’ll be looking for the first album.
5. Soundgarden – “Telephantasm”. Essentially a ‘best of’ retrospective, you could be forgiven for wondering why this has been released. Okay they’ve got back together and maybe it’s the easiest thing to do? I don’t care, it flows really well, has a couple of unreleased live tracks, an unreleased studio track, a DVD full of possibly some of the cheesiest ‘rock-gods’ videos the cool side of Bon Jovi and a lovely fold-out digipak sleeve which I’m a sad old sucker for every time!
Steve Hough – Einstellung
1. Deftones – “Diamond Eyes”. Far and away my fave this year, an awesome ride.
2. Amusement Parks On Fire – “Road Eyes”. Epic shoegaze.
3. The Dillinger Escape Plan – “Option Paralysis”. Exhausting but satisfying.
4. Torche – “Songs For Singles”. Stripped down and direct pop rockers. (might be classed as a mini LP though).
5. Tweak Bird- Self Titled. Just because it makes me smile.
Mistina La Fave- The Prids
1. Wild Nothing ‘Gemini’
2. Crocodiles ‘Sleep Forever’
3. Monster Movie ‘Everyone is a Ghost’
4. Me You Us Them ‘Post-Data’
5. The National ‘High Violet’
Tame Imapla- Innerspeaker
Radio Dept-Clinging To A Scheme
Nic Endo- Atari Teenage Riot
1. Rat Eyes – Dickheads Guide to Assholeland
I look at a decade full of personal top ten lists and wonder if things are really getting worse every year? Stopped reading those lists in magazines a long time ago. When I heard this seven inch it felt like watching a beach full of springbreak zombies and someone drops a bomb with icewater on them. Wake up, world. Rat Eyes defines the new era of hardcore.
2. Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Didn’t catch one of their shows as I was on tour pretty much the whole year. Great to have them back.
3. Salem – Asia
Nothing that new but it’s awesome music after all. Good name, that’s half the rent right there I guess. I wish they were staying more underground and the hipsters would have NOT discovered them. But who cares…
4. Merzbow & Balazs Pandi – live 12″
Balazs gave me this vinyl. Fucking amazing stuff. Balazs is a drummer who played with Venetian Snares and many others. Merzbow is god anyway. So bring both together and you have a rare piece of brutal energy on black wax.
5. Gatekeeper – Giza EP
I am really into synths music – who would have guessed… This is very good because these guys (I assume these are guys) know their machines. If you do 80ties synth stuff, do it well.
6. Steve Aoki – Brrrat (Polydor Remix)
Saw the guy DJ in Tokyo the first time, great energy… This is refreshing when you are based in Berlin like me and have to listen to that minimal Hawtin rubbish all the time.
7. IAMX – Terrified (Alec Empire remix)
I liked the original, so I was surprised when Alec played me the remix he did of the song. I like remixes that change the song completely.
8. The Knife – Tomorrow, in a Year
This is as mainstream as I get.
9. CX Kidtronik – Let’s Go Crazy (Stones Throw)
The new guy in Atari Teenage Riot. What an insane trip this whole year has been for us. A year ago Alec and him wrote this track, CX wanted me to lay some vocals on here, like riot grrl style. It took some time to come out, as it was one of the first tracks from his album he was recording. There are two sides to hip hop these days, the commercial horrible stuff that gets played at Glastonbury festival or something, then the very very underground stuff which is more imaginary than anything else out there. Watch out…
10. Sleigh Bells – Infinity Guitars
I kind of like this band. I hope they’re still around after the 2011 backlash. Sometimes I imagine I found a 7 inch vinyl of this in some small indie record store in Newcastle or something…
Lisa Elle- Dark Horses
Bo Ningen- Bo Ningen
Black Keys- Brothers
BRMC- Beat the Devils Tattoo
Arial Pinks Haunted Graffiti- Before Today
Stellar Om Source- Trilogy Select
Gazelle Twin- Changelings
Factory Floor- Lying/A Wooden Box
Junip-Rope and Summit
Amanda- Pug Records
Superchunk – Majesty Shredding
Big Troubles – Worry
Surf City – Kudos
Wavves – King Of The Beach
Ty Segall – Melted
Las Robertas – Cry Out Loud
Of Montreal – False Priest
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter
Sandy City – Nice Hat (EP)
Me You Us Them
Hooray For Earth-Momo
Refused-The Shape of Punk to Come (vinyl re-issue)
Retribution Gospel Choir-2
Les Savy Fav-Root for Ruin
Soundpool-Mirrors in Your Eyes
Grandfather-Why I’d Try
1. Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring ‘Romance Is Boring’ is, for me, the clear winner of 2010. Packed with beautiful lyrical imagery, exceptionally produced and so brilliantly constructed that it can easily be listened to on repeat.
2. She & Him – Volume 2
3. The Megaphonic Thrift – Decay Decoy
4. Horowitz – Popkids of the World Unite!
5. Superchunk – Majesty Shredding
6. Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts
7. Shrag – Life! Death! Prizes!
8. Best Coast – Crazy for You
9. Manic Street Preachers – Postcards From a Young Man
10. Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! – Fixin’ the Charts Volume One
Ryan & Rebecca- Stripmall Architecture
1. Mountain Man – Made The Harbor
2. Efterklang – Magic Chairs
3. The National – High Violet
4. John Grant – Queen Of Denmark
5. Apparatjik – We Are Here
6. Crocodiles – Sleep Forever
7. Gayngs – Relayted
8. Hot Chip – One Life Stand
9. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
10. Glasser – Ring
5. Eternal Summers – Silver Husband/wife duo make beautiful Vaselines-esque tunes.
4. Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts British proto-punk done right.
3. No Age – Everything In Between Great things come in threes and No Age’s third LP may be their best.
2. Ty Segall – Melted I want to melt with this album forever.
1. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Beyond Today Should be dipped in bronze and left on the mantel as a testament to the lost art of album-making.
Favorite hip hop album:
Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot
Favorite world music album:
Konono no. 1 – Assume Crash Position
Kjartan Holm- For A Minor Reflection
1. The National – High Violet
2. Sleigh Bells – Treats
3. Agent Fresco – A Long Time Listening
4. Wavves – King Of The Beach
5. Skúli Sverrisson – Sería II
6. No Age – Everything In Between
7. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
8. Twin Shadow – Forget
9. Fang Island – Fang Island
10. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Andrew- Our Anatomy
1. A Dead Forest Index – Antique EP
2. Otouto – Pip
3. My Disco – Little Joy
4. Heirs – Fowl
5. Mystery Twin – S/T
1. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?
2. Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner
3. Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle
4. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
5. Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement
Steven Ansell- Blood Red Shoes
1. Pulled Apart By Horses- Pulled Apart By Horses
We toured with this band a lot early in the year when our album came out and we had to wait a few months for them to get signed and finally get the album out. They’re my favourite live band in England right now without a doubt.
2. Women – Public Strain
My bandmate Laura got me into these guys – we got back from tour and she went to see them in London and immediately called me shouting, “You HAVE to go to the Brighton show”. I’m glad I did. Amazing.
3. Autolux – Transit Transit
These guys have only just released their 2nd album after the first one came out in 2004. They have a real west-coast dreamy acid-y vibe to the noise they make but this album has a bit more use of electronic sounds as well as huge waves of guitar.
4. Rolo Tomassi- Cosmology
This is pretty dense stuff but they found a new really spacey element to their sound compared to the first album. Another great, live band who’ve really pushed themselves on the 2nd album to explore something more. Although to be honest they cover more ground musically in one song than most bands cover in 3 albums.
5. Liars – Sisterworld
You never really know quite what this band are going to come back with from one album to the next. I wasn’t that taken with their previous one, but I love “Drums Not Dead” and I really like this one too. Thematically it seems quite inspired by their return from living in Berlin back to LA and I quite like the aggression that seems to have brought out in them.
Ed- Tears Run Rings
1. Caribou – Swim (Merge)
2. The Radio Dept. – Clinging To A Scheme (Labrador)
3. Ceremony – Rocket Fire (Killer Pimp)
4. The European – In A Very Real Sense Now (Stolen)
5. The Chemical Brothers – Further (Astralwerks)
6. Blue Sky Black Death – Third Party (Fake Four)
7. Wild Nothing – Gemini (Captured Tracks)
8. Secret Shine – The Beginning and the End (self-released)
9. School of Seven Bells – Disconnect From Desire (Vagrant)
10. Bubblegum Leomonade – Sophomore Release (Matineé)
The Cavalcade – Many Moons (Pebble)
The Depreciation Guild – Spirit Youth (Kanine)
A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Autumn, again (self-released)
Robyn – Body Talk (Cherrytree)
Germany Germany – Radiowave (THaF)
Phil Wilson – God Bless Jim Kennedy (Slumberland)
Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’ (Fortuna Pop)
Benoît Piolard – Lasted (Kranky)
The Lucid Dream
Beach House-Teen Dream
BRMC- Beat The Devils Tattoo
Caribou Vibration Ensemble featuring Marshall Allen
Crocodiles- Sleep Forever
Wooden Shjips- Vol 2
Matt Finney- Heinali and Matt Finney
1. The National- High Violet
2. The Gaslight Anthem- American Slang
3. Whirl- Distressor
4. Yawning- Noah
5. Murmuure- Murmuure
Caribou – Swim
Hot Chip – One Life Stand
Twin Shadow – Forget
Massive Attack – Heligoland
Washed Out – Life of Leisure
Robyn – Body Talk
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Bot’Ox – Blue Steel
UNKLE – Where Did The Night Fall
ceo – White Magic
Brian Hancheck- The Arctic Flow
1. Belle & Sebastian-Write About Love
2. The Cure-Disintegration (3cd remastered edition)
3. The Drums-The Drums
4. Soda Shop-Farewell 7″
5. The Cavalcade-Many Moons
6. Starflyer 59-Changing Of The Guard
7. Foxtail Somersault-Reflection
8. Two Wounded Birds-My Lonesome (single)
9. Northern Portrait-Criminal Art Lovers
10. Wild Nothing-Gemini
Grinderman – Grinderman 2
The Black Keys – Brothers
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tatoo
Massive Attack – Heligoland
Maga – A la Hora del Sol
Maika Makovski – Maika Makovski
Monserrat- Las Robertas
1. Teen Dream-Beach House
2. Brothers-Black Keys
4. Hell to Play-The Whines
5. The Big Black and The Blue- First Aid Kit
6. Astro Coast-Surfer Blood
7. Halcyon Digest-Deerhunter
9. The Fool-Warpaint
10. Sex With an X-The Vaselines
11. Tiny Monsters-TGW
Mercedes- Las Robertas
1. Wild Nothing-Gemini
3. The Whines- Hell To Play
4. Beach Fossils-Beach Fossils
5. Beach House-Teen Dream
6. Girls-Broken Dreams Club
7. Heavy Hawaii- HH
9. Eternal Summers-Silver
10. Detectives Salvajes- Cairos Papasquiaro
Franco aka Ana María- Las Robertas
1. Total Life Forever – Foals.
2. Halycon Digest – Deerhunter.
3. Brothers – The Black Keys.
4. King of the Beach – Wavves.
5. Los Acetatos – Los Acetatos.
6. Everything in Between – No Age.
7. Congratulations – MGMT
8. Play it Strange – The Fresh & Onlys.
9. Forgivness Rock Record – Broken Social Scene.
10. Tiny Monsters – TGW.
1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
2. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
3. Alain Johannes – Spark
4. Retribution Gospel Choir – 2
5. Fake Hooker – La Tragedia
Sam- The Ganjas
Helmet – Seeing Eye Dog
Adam Franklin – I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years
Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky
The Black Crowes “Crowelogy”
The Versions- Resurrection Hotel
Ronnie Wood – I Feel Like Playing
Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
Earhride – Something Wicked
Tom Petty – Mojo
Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune