Wednesday, 22 December 2010

steve's highlights of 2010

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


i usually hate looking back on years of things. the illusion of how fast a year went is shattered when you realise how much happened.
2010 is slightly different though.. when i look back on its music, i actually feel really happy. so, so many outrageously good albums and singles have kicked in the door this year. i cant remember what it was like in previous years, but this year seemed to have one highly anticipated release after another.
these next seven tracks are, to me, the songs that most defined 2010. and what a year it was:

i think a lot of people have lcd soundsystem's 'this is happening' as the crowning album of the year in their books. its easy to see why with so many genius dance-punk jams (and a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek spunk) squeezed in there. 'home' was my favourite on the album, and seeing it live really made me smile.

LCD Soundsystem - Home (alt)

i feel like hot chip's "one life stand" is sometimes forgotten when people put together their top lists for 2010. solid without being incredible, it was an album that got a lot of airplay from me throughout the year. "take it in" is a far cry from what many people love hot chip for, but the wholesome, happy vibe of the song really stood out for me.. one of my faves:

Hot Chip - Take It In (alt)

i seriously went off kanye after all of his antics. however, after reluctantly watching his mini movie promo for "my beautiful dark twisted fantasy" i had to get back in the action. and im glad i did. i dont think that ive heard a hip hop album that captured my imagination quite as much for a long time. the guy is a perfectionist, and it shows.
its hard to pick a favourite, but one of them would have to be 'so appalled'. epic strings, solemn vibe and a list rappers longer than your arm:

Kanye West - So Appalled (alt)

twin shadow's 80s inspired pop came too late for some, but right on time for me. i think this album was on repeat for longer than any other for me this year. addictive hooks, pleading vocals and reminiscent charm had me sold. my only criticism was that it wasnt long enough. 'tether beat' was my pick of the bunch.. a closet stormer with a dark, brooding feel.

Twin Shadow - Tether Beat (alt)

caribou and four tet really owned s*&t this year. thanks to 'swim' and 'there is love in you', i believe they finally got the attention they deserved. although both of these albums got significant plays, it was 'odessa' that really got flogged. the muttered vocals and off-kilter melody really won me over - and when i started to get sick of it, i watched the video and fell in love all over again.

Caribou - Odessa (alt)

the sweaty fun of el guincho's "pop negro" was a highlight for me this year as well. i might have enjoyed it a little more than i should have cos i was learning spanish, but probably not. his brand of latin pop was a fresh sound for me this year, and i look forward to listening to plenty over the summer break as well.

El Guincho - Ghetto Facil (alt)

disco/house had a solid year as well, but the clear stand out in my book was tensnake's coma cat. the first time i heard it, i couldnt quite believe that something that sounded this good existed. steel drums, a driving 90's warehouse bassline and pianos. i couldnt imagine that combination sounding any better than this. a stone cold classic.

Tensnake - Coma Cat (alt)

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on a personal level, i feel that the amazing quality of diverse music released this year forced me to broaden my horizons and enjoy music ive never listened to before - or have not listened to for a long time. in recent years, my obsession with electronica, chillwave, disco and house has meant i havent had the opportunity to listen to as much "real" music (with guitars and drums according to some haha) as i should. with psychedelic rock having such a fine resurgence in '10 it was hard to continue this trend.

these are few of my psychedelia based picks of the year:

tame impala kicked off my interest in this whole psychedelia shebang. 'innerspeaker' was easily one of my favourite albums of the year.

Tame Impala - Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind? (alt)

women have been on my radar for quite a while, but 2010's 'public strain' was an absolute winner. and when i first heard 'eyesore' and its staggering final couple of minutes, i instantly thought this would be a song id want to show my future children.

Women - Eyesore (alt)

no joy's "ghost blonde" was one of those albums that crept into my itunes without me realising. as a whole, it was one of the stand-out psychedelic releases of the year for me. but because the songs work so well together, it is tricky to pick a favourite. but one of the highlights was definitely "pacific pride". its breezy, drive time fun stuck its hand up for me.

No Joy - Pacific Pride (alt)

the ruby suns are an nz band that i cant believe i only just heard about. with three excellent albums under their belt, i hope they get plenty more exposure. 2010's "fight softly" got a little more electronic-y than the others and channelled the best of animal collective and yeasayer. if you havent yet, check this band out.

The Ruby Suns - Mingus and Pike (alt)

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after skirting it for several years, 2010 was the year that i finally got really into minimal techno and idm. the craft that goes into this music and the passion of the fans really got me excited.
i also feel like it was a good year of crossover, with several tech-based artists releasing tracks that really gained some widespread attention.

i think matthew dear might have been the most notable of these, with his album and single 'black city' popping up all over the place.
the song that stayed with me the most wasn't the lead single (even though i loved that as well), but this song, "slowdance". the "bum-bum-bumpadumm's" and bouncy, yet serious beat were true winners for me and got a serious workout throughout the year.

Matthew Dear - Slowdance (alt)

scuba also made waves this year with 'triangulation'. his brand of minimal dubstep saw him feature on numerous high profile dj mixes including ones by surgeon and modeselektor. i really loved the industrial, and sometimes creepy vibe of the album. his fine, subtle touch really exemplified what i dug about minimal tech. "glance" is just one of a host of highlights from the album.

Scuba - Glance (alt)

the name "nicolas jaar" seemed to be on everybody's lips in 2010. every release and mix was eagerly awaited.. this kid seems to destined for great things. "a time for us" was the first cut i heard from him, and the chunky-yet-understated tone of the track really caught my ear. can't wait to see how he goes in '11.

Nicolas Jaar - A Time For Us (alt)

2010 was the year of massive attack's "heliogland". im really amused by the hysteria that is caused when seminal artists like these guys decide to release an album. the "closet fans" that come out of the woodwork are the best.
i really enjoyed the album, but also gui boratto's take on "paradise circus". remixes that remain faithful to the original, whilst also extending it into new and interesting areas, seem to come along rarely. im glad that one came around for this song.

Massive Attack - Paradise Circus (Gui Boratto Remix) (alt)

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so thats it! what do you think of my 2010 highlights? were there any big things i missed? any inclusions that you think are a bit questionable? what were your highlights?
hope to hear from you guys! and sorry about the ridiculous length.

if you are into it, you can grab up my 'best of 2010' tracklist in a zip file (176mb) here.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

look forward to speaking to you next year!

2 comments:

Aunt Hazel said...

aw dude fantastic list!

Steve said...

thanks heaps! glad were thinking along the same lines