Singles of 2010:
- Josh T. Pearson - The Last of The Country Gentlemen
An astounding collection of whiskey stained Country from the former front man of legendary Texans Lift to Experience. Of the seven songs on offer, four overtake ten minutes, and each and every one leave a mark on your soul that is difficult to heal. It may make Hank Williams sound like ABBA, but it is achingly beautiful and mesmerizingly haunting.
- Lovecraft - Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad
Liverpool's finest purveyors of the lonely genre of Prog Pop, Lovecraft produced an album so full of creativity and ideas it was difficult to keep up. But when you did catch up, the rewards were there for all to hear. Catchy, menacing, pretty and crammed with a dark, yet camp, sense of humor, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad continues to be an endearing experience.
- PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Lauded as the best album of the year on many an internet poll, and winner of the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in the UK, Let England Shake is by far P.J Harvey's strongest album in many a year. Articulate and as individual as ever, Polly Jean strikes a great balance between lyrical dexterity and simple, yet memorable, songs and all this themed around war and the cultural death of England's Green and Pleasant Land. Remarkable.
- …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead
The return of ..And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead is always a big deal to me. They have provided me with some great moments and Tao of the Dead is no exception. A ferocious double concept album with a homemade Graphic Novel is not everyone's idea of fun, but ..Trail of Dead pull it off with their trademark punk blasts and call and response vocals.
- Fucked Up - David Comes to Life
Another Punk Concept album, but very different to that of Tao of the Dead, David Comes to Life was considered by the band themselves to be a Rock Opera in the grand tradition of The Who's Tommy. Perhaps with a bigger hardcore element. Difficult work at times and the concept is not always the easiest to follow, but despite that, it works. To stunning effect.
- I Break Horses - Hearts
Probably the biggest curveball on my list, as it came, at least to me, quite late in the year. A Bella Union signing is never going to be an unpleasant listen, but this is one of their best debut releases in some time. This Stockholm based duo don't create anything new, particularly in an era awash with faux Shoegaze wannabes, but the melodies and song writing craft show a level of authenticity their peers can only envy.
- Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Yes, I'm serious. SHUT UP.
- The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
A band so local to me in origin that, I could put on the opening track of this album and have walked to the venue they played one of their first gigs from my house by the end of it. To hear they were supporting Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden in 2011 was quite some surprise! The Joy Formidable produced an album of dark and brooding indie rock brilliance. A "Wall of Noise" is used to great effect, but it isn't exclusive and introverted.
- St Vincent - Strange Mercy
Annie Clark's third and best recording under the St Vincent mantle. Strange Mercy is a collection that sees an artist approaching her creative peak. Existential at times, but also her most accessible, a contrast that whether meant or not, is accomplished in its aims. Lyrically relevant and musically eclectic as ever, the best is yet to come.
- Radiohead - King of Limbs I'm a Radiohead fan since I first heard The Bends' wafting from my sister's room as a 15 year old. There have been ups and downs since then. King of Limbs is by no means an album I would characterize as an "up", certainly in terms of immediacy. But it does sit nicely within the ever expanding and impressive Radiohead legacy and is genuinely worth its place on the list. A natural successor to Kid A.