Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favourite Albums of 2010

2010 was a great year for music, although I wasn't able to listen to as much as I would have liked, here are my top 5 albums of 2010 in reverse order:

Third full length studio album from Field Music, English band led by the Brewis brothers. This one got me by surprise as I hadn't heard of the band or related side projects before. It was a suggestion from eMusic.com, and it hit the mark! A well thought out album well worth checking out!

I love prog rock, but lets be honest, prog rock is more often than not pretentious and self indulgent. And there are only a handful of groups that can pull it off these days. My favourite group of the new breed of prog rock musicians is Porcupine Tree. After I discovered them I went looking for similar artists and I haven't found many that come anywhere near. The Pineapple Thief do, and in my opinion, with Someone Here is Missing, they are finally standing on their own with their individual sound. A fine modern prog rock album and the best of 2010!

3. Matt Stevens - Ghost

Matt is from a new kind of musician that does it for the love of the art (obviously selling his music is what allows him to keep going, so I encourage you to drop by his site to get some pay what you'd like music). He is very active on the social media (twitter, facebook, ustream, you name it) and is always available to engage on conversation. You can ask him about his techniques, chord progressions or even what he had for breakfast, if you are so inclined. What this really does is to make the music more personal and accessible. He plays solo guitar by looping parts of a song and layering more sections on top of each other.

Ghost is a solo guitar album like you have never heard before. It is a must!

2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

I came late to the Arcade Fire party. Having only bought Funeral earlier this year means that I haven't been enjoying their collective music as long as most people out there. When I saw their Glastonburry set (on TV only unfortunately) they really drew my attention. I saw there was substance to all that craze around them. I bought Funeral shortly after that and The Suburbs a few weeks later. If ou haven't yet, check this one out, you won't regret it.

In theory compilations are not allowed on a favourite albums of the year list, however this one is slightly different. As I have mentioned somewhere else on this blog, I have been a big fan of Suzanne Vega since I heard Luka for the first time back in 1987. The Close-Up series features re-recorded versions of some of her most memorable songs. What makes these recordings so powerful is the way Suzanne Vega has managed o make them more raw. They feel closer. You almost feel like she is playing in your living room. Volume 2, People & Places was released a few weeks ago, and it is also worth checking out.

Other Stuff
Some other good albums to check include:
  • Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love
  • The New Pornographers - Together
  • Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
  • Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back (still waiting for the second album!)
  • Eels - Tomorrow Morning
  • Villagers - Becoming a Jackal
  • Polar Bear - Peepers
My favourite non-single track of the year is Crash Years by The New Pornographers

My favourite Irish single of the year is This Is Goodbye by CODES

The concert of the year for me was Julie Feeney live at the National Concert Hall back in February. Magical!

And finally, the weirdest opening act has to be the acoustic set by French prog rockers Averse when opening for Lisa Cuthbert (another interesting album to check)

I hope to have more time for more interesting music in 2011. Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Matt Stevens said...

Thanks so much man - made my day :)