The third part of my excellent series where Irish artists pick their favourite albums of 2010. Check out the previous parts if you missed them:
Part 1 – The Dirty 9s, I Am Not Lefthanded, Bat Kinane, MilanJay, Solar Bears
Part 2- Captain Kennedy, Ham Sandwich, James Vincent McMorrow, We Are Losers, Yeh Deadlies
Vampire Weekend – ContraProbably the album iv’e listened to most all year. It’s fantastically layered with a weird sense of aristocracy or nobility. Its just jammed packed with amazing songs that grow stronger with every listen. Its produced so well giving every sound on it the perfect amount of breathing space.
Adebisi Shank – This is the second album of…A band I have loved since the beginning pulled off the impossible – to top they’re amazing first album! Such a powerful record that shows off every aspect of everything they’ve covered before and expands on it exploring new dimensions of itself. I could write an essay on how good this album is… but it’d be boring so ill say just listen to it.
Foals – Total Life ForeverIts tropical in an arctic sense. I wasn’t expecting this album at all. They could have easily thrown out ‘antidotes 2′ and alot of fans would have been happy. Instead they grew a forest on the fertile soil that was they’re first album.
The Redneck Manifesto – FriendshipI never thought i’d hear the rednecks sounding spacey and like it. I’m an idiot and I was wrong! Not that its a space record or anything but Friendship is peppered with synth bits and a little self indulgence that hadn’t really been heard in this capacity before from the band and it suits the songs to a tee. Beautiful record.
Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist HistoryHook filled, energetic and accessible tunes from start to finish. This is such a mover and shaker of a record – thats at face value. Under the surface theres some fantastic guitar and bass riffs pumping along too. Its got song structures that even the most hardened critic couldn’t bemoan.
- Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises
I am obsessed with this album. I listened to it at least once a day for two weeks straight and then left it for a while. When I went back to it it was even better. Kozelek’s sonorous voice is hypnotic, soothing and eerie. His immaculate guitar picking is backed up by some incredibly subtle percussion and keys. A masterpiece.
- The Dinah Brand – I Can Walk Through
This album took me completely by surprise. Its full of brilliant catchy folk songs. There are lots of similarities with The Band and the vocals are similar to Rick Danko or maybe even Wayne Coyne. Cant get enough of it!
- Women – Public Strain
- Menomena – Mines
- The Radio Department – Clinging to a Scene
The most consistent recording artist on planet Earth (this is his fifth genuinely excellent record in row) releases his best album to date. A truly gorgeous mix of psychedia, hypnotic rhythms and watery vocals. I’ve listened to this more than any other album this year and keep finding new things on every listen.
Four Tet- There Is Love In You
I could listen to pretty much anything Kieran Hebden records, he’s a true musical genius. Watching him play live is like watching Ronaldinho at the height of his powers- a beaming smile on his face every time he does something amazing. Techno with a huge beating human heart.
The National- High Violet
I really didn’t like this much the first time I heard it, it seemed a bit too slow to start, plodding almost. But day by day it grew on me, slow becoming stately, vague becoming thought-provoking. Ever since Ireland went to the wall, I feel like Matt Berninger is singing to us on ‘Runaway’, the saddest and most beautiful song of the year.
Hot Chip- One Night Stand
This really was the year of consistently good musicians releasing some of their best work. Or maybe I’m getting old. The latter is definitely true. Anyway, this is a lovely warm collection of songs with some real crackers in there. Amazing set at EP too.
Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid
I somehow managed to pick this up on import two weeks ahead of it’s release (in HMV on Grafton St, oddly enough), so I got to listen to it before being told by everyone how good it was- nothing puts me off an album as much as that. I literally burst out laughing the first time I heard it, the audacity of some of the things she tries. It’s a great record, when the hype dies down it will still stand as a classic.
- Groom – Marriage
Really enjoyed this album. Mike Stevens is a fine lyricist and when I listen to him it really reminds me of how a strong lyric can bring a good song to the next level. I feel writers overlook lyrics so often. Not the case with Groom. ‘Mysteries of Life’ is ripe for an indie film placement! I also liked At the Natural History Museum from 2009.
- Ann Scott – Flo
Lovely spooky far out feel to this album. It’s not afraid to take its time. The title track is my favourite.
- At Last an Atlas – From Which We Were Raised
Atmospheric, beat driven poetic songs. Reminiscent of Radical Face at times which for me is a very good thing. Tasteful art work too. Touching.
- Cathy Davey – The Nameless
I loved the quieter songs on this album – ‘Lay your Hands’, ‘Universe Tipping’ and ‘End of the End’. She has a curious lyrical turn – ‘Army of Tears’ is clever.
- Justin Grounds – The Dissolving
Justin did the support slot at my launch for ‘Twine’ in CFCP in November. It was a beautiful night and the songs from this album really came to life for him. We’ve done several gigs together in 2010. On The Dissolving ‘We Ride’, ‘The Spinning of the Circle’ and ‘Two Horses’ are delicately crafted pieces, with innovative use made of thumb piano and violin loops.
- Fionn Regan – The Shadow of an Empire
Although comparisons to Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams were plentiful on its release I think this album is really good. His delivery on the touching ‘Lines Written in Winter’ and ‘Lord Help My Poor Soul’ is so expressive with beautiful imagery. On these songs I felt Regan’s vision was really strong.
- The Tallest Man on Earth: The Wild Hunt.
I must have been the last person in the country to have heard of him. When I grow up I want to be this guy.
- Angus and Julia Stone: Down the Way.
I’ve loved their music’s simplicity and the contrast of their voices since seeing them support Newton Faulkner. Met them both backstage and they seem like really nice people. For siblings they look nothing alike. Julia is super cute and Angus looks like a deep south redneck serial killer (think Ed Gein) but I’m reasonably sure he’s not.
- Bill Coleman: You Can’t Buy Back Your Life.
Only got this a few weeks back and it’s great! If you’ve seen him live much you probably know most of the album already. I rarely go a week or two without listening to his first album.Noticeable mention: Dan Mangan’s Album: Nice, nice, very nice would have to be the album I listened to most this year and would have easily have been my number one except that it was released in late 2009. I came across him early in the year and have listened to everything he has recorded to the point of obsession. My girlfriend calls him my gay crush.