I've been scoping all of the usual 'Top Whatever of 2010' lists all over the internet and have been extremely disappointed by just about all of them. I don't quite know why I expect to be satisfied by Spin Magazine's top 50 albums or any other publication of the sort but I do know that some part of me hopes, every year, to see something truly surprising creeping it's way out of 'obscurity'. The following lists over the next couple of days are my way of expressing my disdain for much of the music hoarding all of the hype throughout this glorious year. Due to the volume of great material, I even decided to split it up into different categories...oye
Top 10 EPs. Here we go:
As far as eccentric, unconventional vocalists go, I'm quite sure this EP has got it covered. Mainly utilizing the vocal chords of David Longstreth, Björk and the backup singers of Dirty Projectors, the feel of this EP is extremely sparse. There aren't many instruments used and it seems as if an upright bass is the most prominent aside from rare acoustic guitar and some clapping/percussion. Unique in it's execution, it deserves to be listened to.
Brooding, melancholic and desolate...would you expect anything less from Connecticut's finest ambassadors of sadness? The whole EP is frighteningly dense in texture and features 2 entirely instrumental songs. Ambience and drones play a huge role and everything just seems beautiful and tragic at the same time. Perfect winter listening.
Some may call him the 'Swedish Bob Dylan' which seems fitting but it's a silly pigeonhole to doom something this beautiful to. Through his splendidly fingerpicked guitar-work and unique singing voice, Kristian Matsson evokes a plethora of emotions and is appropriate for almost any mood you may be in. Electric guitar even makes an appearance on this EP and even though im not the biggest fan of how it goes with the rest of his style, I can appreciate the attempt to branch out stylistically.
Clocking in at a whopping 4 minutes and 10 seconds, this 7" somehow manages to be brimming with intense hatred enough for hours at least. With the longest track being 36 seconds, you can expect to be riddled with hatred in short bursts of blastbeats and surgically precise stops that will send you flying forward. Mosh.
Showing some CT love, this EP hits really close to home for me. My buddies recorded this about 30 minutes from where I live and they've been with me on my musical journey from the beginning. All of the members of Suns recently joined other CT favorites, Midi and the Modern Dance. During their giant summer tour, Suns took a back seat but quickly picked up and just released this EP. It's got the rough feeling of demos and is just a precursor to their upcoming album but damn, is it great. The raw quality only lends itself more to the aesthetic of the music and lyrics. They may fool you with their catchy rhythms and a pop/rock coating but dig a little deeper and the dissonance and angst underneath will grab you and not let go.
Dr. Albert Hofmann ingested an NES cartridge and when he vomited, this came out. Flylo's quick update after his other 2010 release, Cosmogramma, is a truly strange and eclectic collage of sound. It utilizes 8-bit blips and synth sounds straight out of your favorite childhood video game. This EP is a real trip.
Toby Driver never ceases to please me with his beautifully crafted pieces and this one is no exception. Stained Glass is actually one 20 minute, vibraphone-centric track. It's hauntingly composed and filled with various percussion, saxophone, violin, fuzz bass and eerie, saw-tooth synths. It starts out soothing with the sultry vocals of Driver and soon degrades into bone-chilling, synth-y chaos. Eventually it smooths out again and delivers with beautiful melodies and chimes carrying you to its peaceful end. Truly a classic piece.
Yeah, long band name, I'm aware. Really though, I dig it and if you know what's good for you, so will you. Maybe it's the CT pride or the fact that the music really strikes a chord with me (if you don't like puns, you can leave) but these guys are definitely on to something real. It's kind of like if in 1998, Modest Mouse decided to become a post-rock band and listened to more Kinsella-related projects. If you've ever been to New England, you will quickly understand why this is great stuff.
Smooth and glitched-out, another splendid collaboration made it's way onto this prestigious list. Producer/visual artist/sound architect, Teebs, had a great year. This came out earlier in the year only to be followed by his first full-length album, Ardour, but more on that later...For now, let's focus on the lush, sonic buffet we have laid out before us. I will admit that I know little to nothing about Jackhigh. I think hes a producer from the UK or something, I should really check out his material if it's anything like this. Anyway, the soundscapes and flows created on this EP are so dense and interesting, you can't really go wrong. Each song melts into the next and I feel that it's universally pleasing so definitely check it out no matter what you're into.
It may seem silly that my #1 EP of the year hasn't even officially come out yet but it's too great to ignore or leave until next year. The band Logs is the side project of the vocalist/guitarist of Kidcrash. With Kidcrash being one of my favorite bands, I knew I would adore this project before I ever even heard it. Unlike in Kidcrash, Alex is playing bass and doing a damn fine job. His tone is dirty as hell and his style translates well to bass, creating angular and unique rhythms. Everything else is well done and I cant wait for a real album cover and actual song titles. If you check out nothing else from this list, GET THIS and give them all of your money when it's released soon.
Well that was intense...If you read all of this, that's quite impressive. I don't expect many to do so but feel free to share some of your favorites because I would hate to miss anything. Top LPs up next.