The sixth and final 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
Part 3 – The Cast of Cheers, Drunken Boat, The Holy Roman Army, Pearse McGloughlin, Terence Rowlands
Part 4 – Cloud Castle Lake, Fred and Bob, The Gorgeous Colours, Planet Parade, Preachers Son
Part 5 – A Northern Light, Bill Coleman, Peter Doran, Groom, Herm
- The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter
I’m a massive Fall fan but I always approach a new Fall album with a bit of trepidation initially, in case it’s another ‘Are You Are Missing Winner’ or ‘Reformation Post-TLC’ (both relatively weak Fall records, in my opinion at least). Fortunately this was the strongest Fall effort in years, probably since ‘Country On The Click’. Full of really tight garage rock riffs, some bizarre sound collage-type interludes and some hilarious Mark E Smith rants. I especially love the line in Weather Report 2: “I watched Murder She Wrote at least five times/The cast deserve to die” – it’s just so random, it comes from completely out of nowhere and makes me laugh every time I hear it. Bury pts 1 & 3 is definitely up there with the best Fall songs ever written, which is saying something. It’s totally unique, no-one else sounds like this and probably no-one else could do it. I don’t know how MES keeps pulling it off, but he does.
- Gonjasufi – A Sufi And A Killer
I first heard of Gonjasufi when he did vocals on the song Testament on the ‘Los Angeles’ album by Flying Lotus. That was my favourite track on that album so I was really looking forward to his solo stuff, and I wasn’t disappointed. The production by Gaslamp Killer is amazing, musically it’s all over the shop from crazy pyschedelic stuff to out-and-out garage rock to sort of middle eastern-sounding mantras, but for me it’s all about the vocals. He has this ravaged, lived-in voice that just sounds totally compelling. He seems like a bit of a character too.
- Aloe Blacc – Good Things
Just really amazing modern soul music. He’s got a great voice, the lyrics are really apposite for the times on the ‘social conscience’-type songs, and most importantly the songs were brilliant – how ‘I Need A Dollar’ wasn’t a massive hit I’ll never know, it’s just a great bit of pop music. And his cover of Femme Fatale by The Velvet Undergound is definitely one of the best cover versions I’ve ever heard. Some of the stuff on this record wouldn’t have been out of place on a Marvin Gaye or Bill Withers album.
- Solar Bears – She Was Coloured In
This blew me away, it’s unbelievably assured for a debut album. It’s really diverse in terms of the sound, some it’s really chilled out and languid and there’s some more banging numbers, but it flows really well. “Primary Colours At The Back Of My Mind’ is one of my favourite songs from this year. But there’s not a bad song on the album. Every time I listen to it I notice something new I like about it.
- The Hundred In The Hands – The Hundred In The Hands
I was really impressed with this. They’re a boy-girl duo from New York, sort of a electo-pop-punk type of thing. The girl who sings, Eleanore, has a great voice – she projects this sort of detached air of New York cool. It was just full of excellent songs, Young Aren’t Young, Killing It, Gold Blood, Dressed In Dresden – just really good songwriting and production.
- The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream
- Broken Bells – Broken Bells
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat The Devil’s Tattoo
- The Apples In Stereo – Travellers In Space & Time
- The National – High Violet
- New Young Pony Club – The Optimist
Now that they are going it alone (having parted company withe they’re record label) the album is louder, grittier (is that a word?) and more genuine. I love it and have had it on repeat since it was released. (Sorcha)
- The National-High Violet
Perhaps not yet my favourite National album but it still has that heart-tugging, gut-wrenching quality that I expect from them. I swoon as I listen and sing out loud when it’s on rotation on my walkman (sorry, iPod). (Sorcha)
- Beach House – Teen Dream
Like wandering into another world it takes me away. I think the beach house is more snow covered and wind blown (Eternal Sunshine) than a sun drenched part of southern France but the created world is no less enchanting. I wouldn’t skip a single song! (Sorcha)
- Devo – Something for Everyone
Hearing Devo were planning a comeback after 20 years was kind of like finding out your Dad who spoke of being in a band in his youth was hooking up with the old guard for a reunion – probably cringeworthy, totally out of date musically and best left back when they had a full head of hair and a 32 inch waist… The result of Devo’s return though, was sublime, teaching many synth/rock acts today how it should be done. The album is full of Devo’s pinball riff signatures, technicolour synth splashes and lyrical barbs about modern living, technology, and politics, (mostly)delivered with tongue firmly in cheek. Their approach and the album’s production however is bright, slick and modern with a real vitality to it that shows them to be a band embracing their second chance in some style, not content to recapture former glories but to pursue new horizons that so few ‘classic’ acts do when they reform.
If they decide to grace Ireland with their presence in 2011, I wont be calling for the Grestest Hits set, thats for sure. (Wayne)
- Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
- Fourtet – There is Love in You
- Mount Kimbie – Crooks and Lovers
- Beach House – Teen Dream
- Darkstar – North