Ted Leo and the Pharmacists — Brutalist Bricks
Seems like every other Ted Leo record is a flat out classic. This is that record. Straight ahead, literate, spikey punk n’ pop with lotsa charm.
Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise
Super chilled, blissed out kinda barely there electro squibs n’ blips. It’s hard to find an electronic record that won’t bug the shit out of you after two listens. Black Noise has never bugged me. Not even once.
Scout Niblett — The Calcination of Scout Niblett
Scout Niblett kicks so much ass it’s not even funny.
Alasdair Roberts and Friends — Too Long In This Condition
Another trip the middle ages where plauge abounds, there’s nothing to eat and the king wants to put your head on a pike. Good times.
Grinderman — II
Makes me yearn for the Birthday Party, but I’ll take a spasmodic Warren Ellis and a yowling Nick Cave over Arcade Fire any goddam day.
Otis Gibbs — Joe Hill’s Ashes
Good pissed off political folk punk. Imagine if Billy Bragg was born a shit-kickin’ good old boy.
Will Oldham and the Cairo Gang–I don’t care what anyone says,Will Oldham is not turning into the Eagles.
Bacon’s apparently still stuck in 2009 Picks
Pelican — What We All Come to Need
Chill metal and no lyrics. Badass for solo fly swinging sessions on the iPod and way better than listening to jetboats ferry Dudes around all day.
Bill Callahan — Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle
Skeena 2010 soundtrack, powerdrive north to see some old friends, eighteen cups of Tim Horton’s rotgut coffee eating holes in my ulcer and no-hands pissing in a Houston park and ride’s gravel. Sun was rising over the Bulkely Valley and I was feeling the only kinda religion that matters. The tune ‘Faith/Void’ kills it: ‘It’s time/to put God away.’
Atmosphere — Blood Makes the Blade Holy
Sluggo proves he can still rock the wordwork and bring it back to the Lucy Ford days.
The Moth Podcasts Dunno if this qualifies as a record, but the stories are hilarious, often tough or uncomfortable and real. I do a lot of driving to rivers. I can’t stand pundit radio, right or left. And if I gotta hear NPR’s Click and Clack EVER again…NOTE: Sadly, The Drive-By Truckers’ The Big To-Do didn’t make this and a podcast did. A fucking podcast. Pretty much because The Big To-Do was weak-ass and proved Patterson Hood’s ego never shoulda fired Jason Isbell. We suffered through Brighter Than Creation’s Dark in the hopes TBTD would show promise, but well, I’m calling it: R.I.P DBT.
Creek’s Softer Side of 2010 Pick
Tall Hours in the Glowstream has been getting all kinds of attention from me the last few months and is clearly my pick of 2010. Call it Cosmic Country. Call it indie folk. I just call it good. The album is based on the river that flows through the band’s hometown. River music, indeed.
The New Mastersounds – Ten Years On
More badass Brit funk and soul. Reworked Grace Potter’s already great “Nothing But the Water,” got Grace to sing it, and made it even better. Catch them if you can, but wear your greezy pants.
OK Go – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
Geek pop was never so much fun. Well, since TMBG. Whatever. Highlight: “WTF?”
John Butler Trio – April Uprising
Pissed off legions of neo-hippie fans by producing 15 tightly-written songs, mostly under 5 minutes long, while still showcasing some tasty guitar stuffis. “One Way Road” is one damn well-crafted tune.
Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune
I hesitated, having been repeatedly bummed by the flood of Weekend At Jimi’s-style posthumous releases, but this ain’t them. This includes the final throes of the Experience, following Electric Ladyland. It’s nothing shiny and new, but it’s got the voodoo stank, and I don’t imagine there’s much of that left lying around.
Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
Gnarls Barkling Cee Lo gets a nod just for “Fuck You,” which rightly got a lot of attention. Way beyond a novelty song, it’s HQ Motown with about the best hook ever, and good luck getting it out of your head. Huge props for the video production too. I need me some backup singers.
Now aint that some shit?
I’m feeling pretty pedestrian after reading the above picks. I’ll easily second Wook’s OK Go and Cee Lo selections. Other stand outs for me this year were Vampire Weekend’s Contra (best tracks IMHO are Giving Up the Gun, Diplomat’s Son and Giant).
California, or at least a certain idealization of California, seems to loom large in my picks this year. Neo-surf rock from Wavves went into heavy rotation and Best Coast sounds a bit like Neko Case moved to Hermosa Beach and got a tan.
Albums not released in 2010 but that I discovered this year include Richard Hawley’s Lady’s Bridge, found via the trailer for Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Canadian roots music from Stan Rogers and The Beaton Family of Mabou.
Speaking of retro soul, hard to miss JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound’s cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”
Then again, I’m probably just losing my edge.