So this is what I mean when I say I’ve gotta play some catch up. Surf City are from Aukland. I know, not Australian, but the guys use to play here a bit and, well…they hold a pretty special place in this blog’s life, having made my top 10 of 2010 with their last album Kudos (before this here blog became exclusively about Australian music).
Surf City are also just a fucking great band. So, when I finally read that these guys were releasing a new album entitled We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This in August, I got pretty darn excited. The first taste off the new album is ‘It’s A Common Life’, a jam that is full of the fuzzed out guitar that only a New Zealand band can pull off. It also has a freakin’ killer chorus that you have to sing along to.
The 10 Best Albums of 2010
you want the best? Well i’ll give you the best.
*ahh…when i say ‘the best’, just to clarify, i don’t actually mean ‘the best’…i mean the best.
Ok, so now that’s out of the way (what?!), we can start this best albums of 2010 list.
First off, man, some absolutely killer albums released this year. And me being me, of course there’s a whole heap of different styles that make my list.
This year has been a bit of a strange one for me. Being so heavily involved with uni work, this here thing has taken a small bit of a backseat, especially in the latter half of the year. So, it’s only been in the last two weeks or so that I’ve started to go back through the heaps of albumsI bought and was fortunate enough to be sent over the past year. Of course, there are obvious standouts, albums that stay with you for the whole year. And then there’s albums you only bought a few days ago that are so mind-boggingly good that you just gotta include the thing in this damn list.
So yeah, I started off with a list of about 36. Then I got a list of 29. Then it was down to 15. To dwindle that down to 10 was freaking hard.
But like last year, I at least wanted to give the ones that didn’t make it a mention.
In no particular order, the albums that nearly made it are: Rat vs Possum – Daughter of Sunshine, Parades – Foreign Tapes, Otouto – PIP, PVT – Church With No Magic, Super Melody – Destination Unknown, Shit Robot – From The Cradle To The Rave, Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner, Carl Fox – Chunky Rainbow, Adam Kesher – Challenging Nature, Caribou – Swim, Faux Pas – Noiseworks, Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush To Relax.
The 5 that so nearly made it were: Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers, Miami Horror – Illumination, LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening, Grinderman – Grinderman 2, Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
But yes, let’s get to the good stuff. These are in a tentative order, so don’t take too much notice of it!
10. The Holidays – Post Paradise
There is such a nice summery feel to this album. Having been impressed by The Holidays earlier on this year when they supported Bluejuice, I was hanging out for this album for a while. So glad I ended up getting it. Their sound has changed heaps (you can stream two of their earlier tracks on Hype Machine), and I think the inclusion of the percussion and the more funk/hip-hop influenced beats makes sure that they have their own sound.
9. Surf City – Kudos
I heard about these guys on the always good Incoming show on 3RRR here in Melbourne. Surf City are from New Zealand and have got a bit of blog love over the past year. Their album Kudos, is their first release here…and yes! It’s got this quality that seems to be missed by so many of these other bands. Maybe it’s the fact that they have the word ‘surf’ in their title. Or maybe it’s the way it sounds polished without being too polished. It has this clean production that still manages to sound raw and unpolished which I really really dig.
8. Four Tet – There Is Love In You
Ok, so I find it difficult to include an electronic based album in my top 10 list. But when it’s Four Tet, I’m willing to chuck that out the window. This, perhaps like the Holy Fuck album is what I like about good electronic/dance music. It pushes, and it’s innovative. It’s not boring, and it actually makes you want to move – the music has the power, not your brain telling your foot that it’s probably better if you tap along.
7. Holy Fuck – Latin.
Call me an idiot, but I always assumed that Holy Fuck were some metal band. Haha…think I may’ve been a little wrong about that. Found out about these guys through Triple J (again). And man, wow. They are the dance/electronic/live act I think bands should aim to be like. They hit the nail on the head. And man, what an intro…straight into this driving groove and it just goes and goes and goes and takes you someplace.
6. Dan Kelly – Dan Kelly’s Dream.
What a sweet local album. Dan Kelly is such an interesting songwriter, and he writes songs where you HAVE to listen to the lyrics because they paint such a vivid picture. I only knew a little of Kelly’s previous work, and yeah, I guess I liked it. I think the fact that this album also got a fair bit of promotion, from that great underwater themed take 5 with Zan on Triple J, to Dylan Lewis playing him on his show on Nova made me stand up and take some notice. Another reason would be that it’s a fun album, and it feels familiar. It reminds me of Melbourne for some reason, but in a summery way, not like all those wintery dark based Melbourne bands.
Dan Kelly – Hold On, I’m Coming On
5. Efterklang – Magic Chairs
This was easily an early contender for album of the year for me. Knowing absolutely nothing of these guys before this record, maybe I’m going in a little naively, but hey, whatyagonnado?. Opening track Modern Drift is easily one of my faves, and the track Raincoats I think I’ll always remember due to the fact that it always seems to come on when it gets super rainy outside.
4. Midnight Juggernauts – The Crystal Axis
This is definitely one of the most solid local releases of the year, but like the Juggers first record, it seemed to have flown under the radar a little bit. They still got a fair bit of play and interview time, but I dunno, I suppose I expected more for an album that I know quite a few people were anticipating. I did an album review of this back in May and I described it as ‘warm’…whilst the Axis is still dark in it’s sound, it has this warm quality to it. It’s also a hell of a lot more percussive. There are little woodblock kinda grooves working their way right through the disc, which is all kinds of cool.
Midnight Juggernauts – Cannibal Freeway
3. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
This was one of the first albums I got this year…and I’m definitely pleased I did. To me, this album seemed to nearly reach the level of hype that Phoenix’s record did last year. And definitely in Australia. O.N.E. was an absolute monster of a song. But to me, I think it was that first single Ambling Alp. Perhaps one of the greatest pop songs of the year? The album moves you, and not in some wanky corny way. I mean, it actually moves you. It takes you from one place to another and I’m definitely happy to be taken (ok, that did end up sounding a little wanky right?!)
2. Beach House – Teen Dream
This, with the Yeasayer record was probably one of the most hyped albums of the year. And well, it made my top 10 list didn’t it?! I remember calling this pop perfection, and it really kinda is. It has these beautiful tracks right throughout. It’s one of those albums where it forces you to relax, and I love that. These guys are playing at Laneway next year and I reckon they’re going to be awesome!
1. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast
I don’t know how many lists will have this as number one…and i predict it will only make it into a few lists at that. For me, it is the opening track Floating Vibes. There’s something about that opening guitar that reels me in and keeps me there for the whole disc. To me, this thing sounds fresh, and it works as an album. This year has been full of different kinds of music for me, or at least stuff that I wouldn’t listen to all that much. I think this record is testament to that.