Always a difficult choice, made even more so difficult this year by the veritable cavalcade of excellent albums released in the general locality of where I reside so in order to fit it all into a 60 minute radio show I opted for concentration on the local stuff, with a couple of notable exceptions. I make no apologies for focusing on Salford and Greater Mancunia artists as I honestly believe there is some excellent music being made around these parts at the moment.
This is the first of five shows over the Christmas period which will select best albums, single/ep/demo, gigs, session and finally band/artist of the year
So what got left out? – well I thought I’d compile a sort of list of the top 50 ones that have either made it onto shows, or have proved pleasurable listening. What’s been somewhat difficult has been a rush of excellent releases towards the latter end of the year and there are still four weeks of 2010 to go so perhaps I should have done this in January – never mind, what’s done is done. So this is the best of rest. The order and the numbering is pretty arbritrary and I’m pretty sure i’ve left out something which I really like but hey-ho it’s just a bit of fun. More importantly I think is the anticipated arrival of the new Amplifier album which sounds very promising indeed.
I have to thank my partners in radio Mr Montgomery, Mr Doyle, Mr Thornborough, Mr Coupe and Ms Zenner for sharing some excellent music with me throughout 2010 and a special “oi up me duck” to the Great Gibbo without whose diligent exploration of new music I would be less knowledgeable than I am.
Disappointments were the new Elvis Costello – which I thought was a little predictible and frankly lazy….and Darker My Love who I think lost the plot somewhat. There were a lot more vying to get on this list but I decided to go for a healthy mix of styles of genres which best reflected my listening. I’ve deliberately left out the more mainstream artists as they get enough column inches already – with the notable inclusion however of some of my particular passions in Mr Springsteen and Ms Newsom.
So in some sort of order here’s my favourites of the year 50 down to 14.
50. Bullets in Madison – We Became Your Family When You Died
49. Conductive Alliance – Water Glyphs
48. Amurekimuri – Amurekimuri
47. Deerhunter – Halycon Digest
46. Eleh – Location Momentum
45. Eluvium – Similes
44. Ty Segall – Melted
43. The Sadies – Cut Corners
42. The Unwinding Hours – The Unwinding Hours
41. The Spacious Mind – The Mind of a Brother
40. Midlake – The Courage of Others
39. Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut
38. Amiina – Puzzle
37. Invisible Elephant – The Lights Go Out
36. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
35. Stars Make Shapes – These Mountains are Safe
34. Robin Hitchcock and the Venus Three – Propeller Time
33. Red Sparowes – The Fear is Excruciating but Therein Lies the Answer
32. Silver Mount Zion – Kollaps Tradioxionales
31. PVT – Church With No Magic
30. Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent
29. Bruce Springsteen – The Promise
28. Fang Island – Fang Island
27. AMM – Sounding Music
26. Martha Tilston – Lucy and the Wolves
25. Salem – King Night
24. Maserati – Pyramid of the Sun
23. Gazpacho – Missa Atropos
22. Hammock – Chasin’ After Shadows…Living With Ghosts
21. God is an Astronaut – Age of the Fifth Sun
20. Forest Swords – Dagger Paths
19. First Aid Kit – The Big Black and the Blue
18. ZX+ – +
17. The Strange Boys – Be Brave
16. Sakert! – Facit
15. 65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway
14. Chrome Hoof – Chrush Depth
So i’m down to the top 13 (this is the number of tracks that fits best in the show length – no other arcane reason than this…..)
13. Rob Jungklas – Mapping the Wreckage
I was blown away by the dirtier sound that Jungklas has continued to use since his return from a sabbatical away from the industry. This years album was full of down and dirty blues with some exceptional slide playing.
12. Day for Airstrikes – Into the Comet
Manchester’s post-rock heroes have been away for far too long and this release – which was extremely long in its gestation – finally emerged at various points in 2010 in various forms – they are stunning live and this album effectively captures their work in 2010.
11. Charlie Barnes – Geekk
I first saw Charlie at a Kin gig in late 2009 and was mightily impressed with his song-writing talents and great voice. He did a great session for me in 2010 and released his debut album which is packed with excellent songs.
10. Moff Skellington – Sperm Jingle Harvest
For a man who released four albums in 2010 its difficult to pick one out as a highlight so i’ve done it at random. The other three are equally as good. He is a true iconoclast and a really nice chap. He deserves a much wider audience.
9. Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – Mind Carved Canoe
Another unique and compelling artists. Someone whose music I have been listening to for a few years now and with this his first album delivered a fascinating set of tunes – diverse and challenging music.
8. AAAK – The Collection
After a long lay-off Ding and Paul brought back their pulsating E.B.M. Building Scape Beats back with great danceable tunes with a great industrial feel. A fantastic double CD which remakes their old tunes on disc one, and provides a great history of the early work of the band on disc two.
7. Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist – Supermodified
The high priest of cool remaking some older tunes in a new setting. Excellent and memorable song-writing and performing of the highest quality.
6. The Blue Orchids – Slum Cavern Jest
The re-release of the last Blue Orchids album which contains some memorable performances from Martin Bramah – in the absence of studio recordings from Factory Star this is an ample substitute. Martin’s reading of Fred Neil’s “Green Rocky Road” is a particular favourite.
5. The Jannocks – The Jannocks
An exceptional debut from a great band somewhat spoiled by their dissolution in the Autumn when singer Tom Warden emigrated to the Antipodes. Some amazing guitar work and a treatise on the use of feedback in rock!
4. Spencer Cloud and The Range Brothers – Spencer Cloud and The Range Brothers
Another great debut from a band which prides itself on great song-writing and strong vocal performances. Mostly recorded in a garage in Marple and a front room in Romiley this is a class album.
3. The Black Knights – Sickle Sell Saturday Night
A blistering first album from the Irlam duo – voodoo trash blues of the highest order with enough chutzpah to blow a hole in anyone’s ozone layer.
2. The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter
Another great album from the Bard of Prestwich who seems to be turning into a heavy metal fan – a wonderful collection of Fall riffs and repetition.
1. The Inflictors – The Inflictors
A stunning collection of fantastic songs from a band that are so tight they make the bottoms of aquatic fowls look like a wide expanse. One of the best debut albums i’ve ever heard. Stunning song-writing, three great guitarists and fantastic rhythm section. The most read review on this blog and album that demands your attention!