Top 10 Albums of 2010

Of course, tastes and opinions vary.

1. Ghastly City Sleep "MOONDRIFTS"

Halfway through this album, I realized that there were a LOT of other indie/post-something-or-another/etc bands doing this type of thing that were in all of the popular music magazines; getting mainstream radioplay; making videos. The thing is...Ghastly City Sleep are doing this thing (whatever you want to call it) BETTER than those bands. There are so many layers to this album that truly make this one of the few music releases deserving of the adjective: EPIC. Somewhere, Radiohead, Deerhunter, and the like are sweating it.

2. LA Vampires meets Zola Jesus

This is one album that I have listened to a ridiculous amount of times. LA Vampires (ex-Pocahaunted) and Zola Jesus work together to create an after-hours, everyone is drunk and/or high, sweating, dancing, and the lighting comes straight out of the bar party scene in Fire Walk With Me. Dark, reverb drowning layering of vocals mixed with dub and ambience... I'm doing a horrible job at trying to describe this. This is the sound of two people meeting up and creating at the right time in their lives.

3. SLICES "Cruising"

When someone tells me about a band that I should check out, and they describe them as "punk" or "hardcore," I tend to forget about the recommendation and move on. For some reason I listened to Virginia based artist Sam Vanagas when he recommended the band SLICES. Thank you, Sam. There's a lot of bands doing this noisy, raw kind of mutation of punk (for lack of a better term), but SLICES completely blow me away. "Cruising" is the second most listened to album of the year for me. The closest thing to a modernized Black Flag that I've found.

4. Grinderman "2"

I am not a fan of Nick Cave's previous work. It has never really impressed me. Grinderman is the exception. "2" is a great marriage of noise-rock, blues, and even a touch of soul. Excellent songwriting. I had to make myself take it out of the stereo.

5. The Roots "How I Got Over"

In a year of weak beats, synths, and vocoder vocals trying to pass of as hip-hop, The Roots, with their full live band, showed everyone how things should be done: with heart and sincerity. Philadelphia's own knows exactly who they are, what they're strengths are, and they accentuate it to the fullest. Black Thought evens breaks out, stylistically, more with his quiet, gruff soulful crooning mixing in and out with the ebb and flow of headstrong lyricism and delivery that makes his world-reknown. Perfect album with the exception of the last two tracks.

6. Relay For Death "Birth of an Older, Much Uglier Christ"

What do you get when you take twin sisters, put them through a deprivation medical experiment, and let them take various objects, video footage, and recording equipment along for the ride? ANSWER: The best, creeped out sound/noise/experimental album of the year. This is the album I've been waiting for. Less look-at-all-of-the-equipment-I-have wanking; more original sense of creative direction.

7. Cut Chemist "Sound of the Police"

One DJ, some turntables, an encyclopedic library of vinyl spanning music from around the globe passed through a hip-hop filter; straight to tape. Even this doesn't sound like your thing, you'll end liking it, anyway. Good music is good music, regardless.

8. White Suns "Mourning Chamber"

Three guys from Brooklyn, NY destroying guitars, drums, mics, and you. Period.

9. US Christmas "Run Thick In The Night"

US Christmas expand their ever-changing lineup to include two drummers and a violin player this time around. USX have finally found the perfect balance between the faster, more raw material of early recordings, and the spacious, trip folk freakout of their last album, "Eat The Low Dogs." The clear, precise production of "Run Thick In The Night" allows the listener to finally hear every little nuance lost in the mix of previous albums, and the contributions of the new players added. Simply put, an impressive album.

10. Body Cop "s/t"

So, I had heard this buzz about a DC band called, Body Cop. Interesting name. Watched some live clips online, and decided to give the tape a listen. First couple of listens, I wasn't sure if I liked them, or if they were just another overhyped band. Then, I started reading the lyrics while listening to the album. Now, having listened to the album many, many times... I can honestly say that this is an intense album.

They claim a love for early-SWANS, but I don't like SWANS. However, Body Cop deliver something that is genuinely disturbing. The music is noisy, raw, and crushing; but not in a chugga-chugga metal fashion. It sounds more like a person's life is failing, and the vocals amplify this feeling. Even now, I still don't feel like I've picked up on everything there. I just hope that these guys and gal are completely sincere because it feels dead serious.

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