This year I acquired slightly less new music than I did last year, but with a higher ratio of new stuff: roughly 140 new releases but only 12 that were more than 3 years old. Though I note with interest that this list is roughly half the length of last year's. So while I acquired roughly the same amount, this year I loved less of it. Hmmmm.
Number of these bands that I saw perform this year: 30.
Number of these bands that performed at DNA Lounge this year: 0.
Here is your shopping list:
- The Limousines - "Get Sharp"
Something about this album really hooked me. It's a little poppier than I usually go for, but this was one of those rare cases where I found myself listening to the album on repeat for three days. They also put on a very good live show.
- Amanda Blank - "I Love You"
The stand-out gimmick on this album is her amazing cover of "Might Like You Better", which took the raunchiness to another level. You might think the original was dirty, but that was just 80s dirty. However, the rest of the album is fantastic too, and pretty varied, especially the Adult-ish "Make-Up". (Which I have just learned is actually a Vanity 6 cover! Huh.)
- Dirty Epics - "Straight In No Kissing"
Possibly the best band I saw at SXSW this year. The joke we kept making was that if this album was the soundtrack for your evening, that would be the kind of evening where you woke up in jail or missing a kidney.
- Blood Red Shoes - "Fire Like This"
So, this is the part in the year-end music wrap-up where I realize that, though I loved this album a whole lot, I just don't have much to say about it. Do I try and describe the music to you? Well that's kind of pointless, shouldn't you just click the link and listen and then know exactly what it sounds like instead of me trying to translate it to words? Or I could tell you some anecdote about how I saw them live (I did) and they were fantastic (they were) but really, who cares? Also, I could tell that same story for 3/4ths of this list -- that's why they're on the list!
So that's my disclaimer. Just because there's not a review doesn't mean you should pay less heed to an album's inclusion on this list. I know you will anyway, and I feel bad about that, but not bad enough to try and think of something to say for every one of these bands. That's hard, and it's a long list!
- Stripmall Architecture - "Feathersongs for Factory Girls"
Technically it's half of an album, but it's still great.
- Scott Pilgrim Soundtrack
I admit, I may be including this album because I loved the movie so much, but the Sex Bob-omb (Beck) and Clash at Demonhead (Metric) tracks are fantastic. This movie made me enjoy Beck songs! Unbelievable.
- Warpaint - "Exquisite Corpse"
See "Blood Red Shoes" disclaimer, above...
- How to Destroy Angels - "How to Destroy Angels"
The new NIN thing, and probably a lot of you have some knee-jerk hate for it on that basis alone, but I think it's fantastic. It's basically "Ghosts" with the female singer that had, in retrospect, been missing all along.
- Los Campesinos! - "Romance is Boring"
- You Say Party! We Say Die! - "XXXX"
- iamamiwhoami - "iamamiwhoami", "To Whom it May Concern"
I wrote about this project on ye olde blogge.
- Hell Beach - "Welcome to Hell Beach"
There isn't a whole lot of range on this album, but I really love the noisiness of it.
- Aluminum Babe - "17"
- Crystal Castles - "Crystal Castles II"
- Intimate Stranger - "Under"
- Kasms - "Spayed"
- The Hundred in the Hands - "This Desert", "The Hundred in the Hands"
- The Prids - "Chronosynclastic"
- Minuit - "Find Me Before I Die a Lonely Death.com"
- Hesta Prynn - "Can We Go Wrong"
- Cold Cave - "Love Comes Close"
- Panic Girl - "Burn and Rise"
- Sleigh Bells - "Treats"
I like this album a lot, but the live show was horrid. Almost all of the music was all pre-recorded, including half of the vocals, and despite that they still managed to sound like ass. I left early.
- Norma Bates - "Hey You! Get Down!"
- Salem - "King Night"
After reading the Village Voice review of this album, in which they named "Trap Door" as the sixth worst song of 2010, and after having seen some live videos of Salem's halfassed performances, I considered pulling this album off my list, because the band really do sound like a bunch of talentless douchebags. But then I listened to it again, and hey, I actually do like the album, so it stays. It will at least serve as a placeholder for the current batch of "Witch House" bands, which is a micro-genre that was invented about six minutes ago that seems to be comprised of an odd mix of late-80s goth, shoegaze and trip-hop, as if Love is Colder Than Death were covering Jesus and Mary Chain while the singer from Rosetta Stone tried to rap.
I'm also fascinated by the fact that one of the primary indicators of a band being a part of this micro-genre is that you can't really say the band name out loud, like "oOoOO" and "†‡†" and (less difficult, but still odd) "LAKE R▲DIO" and "GuMMy†Be▲R!". (They like them some triangles and crosses, yo.) It's something that probably wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago, because it assumes that people discover music by clicking links, not by talking about it, or (the very idea!) walking into a store.
(Incidentally, if Death Guild was actually a goth club, not a "90s synthpop nostalgia club", this is what they'd be playing, because it's just about the only thing that remotely qualifies as "goth" that has come out in the last ten years. I figure they'll have discovered it and added a token entry to the stock set-list some time after 2021.)
See also Zola Jesus, Esben and the Witch. I'd lump them in with the rest of these folks, even though they're more on the Diamanda Galás side of things than the shoegazery side.
And finally, here's mixtape 097, which includes one track by each of the above artists (at least until the various dinosaur record labels pull them off of Youtube or retroactively prohibit embedding or something, as they do constantly.).