Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I love this time of year.I usually dedicate quite a bit of time to writing my "top albums" list.This also involves a lot of editing which is often subject to my mood-therefore the list gets written and re-written more than just twice. My top album of the year was an easy enough choice-The National-High Violet. I know a lot of people agree with me on this one (for once).I'm glad to see a band finally receiving long overdue recognition since they've got quite an extensive discography.The rest of the releases aren't posted in any order of preference...

The National-High Violet
favourite track:Runaway (but up to date I've labeled each track as my favourite about twice,so..)

Eluvium's previous release "Copia" is also a solid album, but I find that the vocals add a complete new dimension to the music,making it more sincere and also more memorable.
favourite track: The motion makes me last

Swans-My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Swans used to be one of those legendary bands that you either "got" or simply detested.
This album changes that and can be seen as a sort of mediator.If you don't like Jarboe then you'll love this album as she is not featured here.
My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky definitely admits to quite a bit of the Angels of Light sound(MIchael Gyra's other Swans hiatus band),especially tracks like Jim and Reeling the Liars in.

favourite track:No Words/No Thoughts

Unwinding Hours-Self-Titled
I am quite an avid Aerogramme fan.Unwinding hours is half of Aerogramme revived,doing a pretty solid job at keeping the Aerogramme vibes alive,yet also giving it an edge of its own.Just like all of Aerogramme's albums this one is heartfelt and is an album one will revisit in years to come and still enjoy it just the same.

favourite track:(this one is tough-the "single"-Peaceful Liquid shell has gotten the best of me,but "Child" is one of the tracks that ......

The Knife (in colaboration with Mt.Sims and Planningtorock)-Tomorrow in a year
This album just explains why I love Scandinavia.This album was commissioned by the Danish performance group "Hotel Pro Forms".The Knife was instructed to write music based on Darwin's "Origin of Species" for an opera.Olof (the one half of the Knife) even attended field recording workshops in the Amazon to record sounds and gather inspiration.

favourite track
:Variations of Birds

Sufjan Stevens-Age of Adz
This album got me pretty confused at first.Sufjan is a strange guy to say the least.I think the essence of Sufjan is to embrace the absurd and to not take himself too seriously but to at the same time give his music the attention and listening time it deserves.Age of Adz is one of his most experimental efforts.The album embraces Pop in a non-conventional non sell out way,yet still features the Sufjan sensibility that can be detected in his earlier albums.

avourite track:I want to be well/ Vesuius

Ascent of Everest-From this Vantage
This is an album I never expected to come across.It was recommended to me by friends and even though I often promise to check out a band and never follow up,this was one instance where I made the minor effort and was glad I bothered.I suppose it's fair enough to give it the ambient post rock tag (as much as we try avoid that these days).Nonetheless this album does not restrict itself to the conventional formula of these genre based bands but features an unfamiliar take on the expected sound.

favourite track
:dark,dark my light

Wildbirds and Peacedrums-Rivers
This was another friend recommendation.Haasbees kept telling me about this band and I kept failing to remember their name.Eventually I came across them somewhere else online and realized that this was the band I should've checked out months ago.The band consists of a Swedish married couple "the Wallentin's" and consists of mainly drums and electronic samples supported by Mariam's (the wife's) vocals.The album consists of two combined ep's-Retina & Iris.

favourite track
:Retina: Fight For Me

Beach House-Teen Dream
Teen Dream is one of the albums that clearly did very well this year,but just as The National,it's another one that deserves the exposure.I love the dream pop sensibility featured in Beach House's music.Victoria Legrand's vocals seem distant and far off yet they somehow nonetheless hit hard and seem deeply intimate.The dream pop label seems like such a cliche,but it is quite spot on.Teen dream is definitely what can be considered a consistent follow up to Devotion.

favourite track
:Walk in the Park

Extra Life-Made Flesh
Extra Life is like an off beat cult film.It's insanely catchy yet it gives you the creeps at the same time-I think the sensation of someone pretending to break a head on your head is probably the closest I'll get explaining what Made Flesh sounds like.The twisted or let's say Avant Garde lyrics are also extremely cleverly crafted and correspond well with the music.This is something a deranged ADD kid would love (oh I'm dooming myself here)....

favourite track:Made Flesh

Efterklang-Magic Chairs
Efterklang is one of my favourite bands.Their music has so many layers and intricacies that are sometimes disguised by Casper's melodic and soothing voice.Magic Chairs was an album that left me a little disappointed at the first listen,yet managed to convince me of its genius after a few more.The album is definitely Efterklang's most listener friendly album, yet without the "let's make a terrible album so that more people will like us" approach.The band manages to remain solid in terms of their previous efforts and also manages to incorporate a more accessible element into their music without ruining it which these days is to be considered a rare skill .I think this album is sort of contemporary Märchen Musik.

favourite track:Full Moon/ I was playing drums

Have a Nice LIfe-Time of Land

I'm such a sucker for this band.It's reached the stage where they can release a 4 track ep with only two proper tracks on it and still make it onto my "best of 2010" list.This ep is available for free download from the enemies list site here:time of land

favourite track:Woe unto us

The Body-All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood
I haven't really been listening to lots of heavy stuff this year,with this being one of the exceptions as I've fully devoured this album.Another unexpected gem that I had never stumbled across until it was recommended to me.
The Body manages to take so many elements of various sounds and mashes them together successfully.IN this case it's best just to give it a listen...

favourite track:Empty Hearth/ Even The Saints Knew Their Hour Of Failure And Loss

Peter Broderick-How they are
Peter Broderick is a genius-mildly put that is.The 23 year old is not only prolific but also releases solid albums when he does release something.This album is apparently only a "stop-gap" record.Peter obtained a knee injury and had to return home for a couple of months while recording what was intended to be a major follow up to 2008's Home.This is the result.Peter started writing poems,messing around on the computer,piano and with his guitar and came up with this.According to Peter this is only a "filler" album but in truth its so much more.It's one of those records that requires or rather deserves your full attention to be appreciated and experienced to the extent that it should be.

favourite track:Guilt's Tune

Fulka-Mystery of the seven stars

This album is special to me.I think it is mostly because it seems so familiar to me.The folky edge makes it an honest effort that makes it possible to relate to and does not leave half the songs obscured by cool.Most of these tracks convey a lightness that absorbs you and makes it sincere and makes you put it on repeat over and over again.Mystery of the seven stars (the track)is one of the more serious songs that feels like an epic narrative that captures the essence of the album in a more contemplative manner .The electronic bits also help tie everything together and add the "tronic" to the :"folk".

favourite track:Mystery of the seven stars

A skyline on fire-Slow
This album is something I've seen unfold.I still have most demo recordings they did before hitting Studio Benjamin and crafting this masterpiece.I've listened to the album more than anything else this year (hands down-I unscrobbled my last.fm to avoid looking like a groupie,but it might be too late for that now).When making the artworks I listened to the demos repeatedly,and then when the recording was done I listened to the album some more to make sure I didn't misunderstand this very heartfelt record because the last thing one would want when making the album art for an album such as this is to interpret the music and make the art about your own feelings about the essence of the music.Instead I wanted the art to be a solid and sincere statement of the music without being subject to my own take on the music...I know-that's pretty much impossible but that's how optimistic i was.By going through these steps the songs that I already liked to begin with started to feel like home to me.A record that could be revisited and convey the same honesty every time.

favourite track:Expert Heart/Christmas card/Kids in bad Water

Vampire 9000- (yet to be released).
I've had the privilege to have access to these 3 recorded sample vampire tracks before everyone else gets to hear them in January.I can tell you all to be very excited.Vampire is definitely going to be a project worth looking out for next year!

favourite track:colours

A full length is coming up!