Yes, it’s that time of the year again. I shall jump on the choochoo-blogger-train of end of year lists, and make a couple myself… The year was full of amazing shows, of great releases, of awesome collaborations and of wonderfully long days spent with one artist after the other. After days of changing my mind on this.. Here’s the first part of the things I loved reading, hearing, seeing, in 2010.
Top 5: 2010 albums
Angus and Julia Stone: Down the Way
In early 2010, I was diagnosed with highly contagious Angus & Julia Stone obsession. Here’s an album full of simplicity and incredibly sweet. I find comfort in it and in its secret message, found in the very last song; a couple of sentences were written down and sent off before I flew somewhere, the card landed in a mailbox, it was the beginning of something wonderful.
S: I’m not as good at it as you
Jenn Ghetto is my shoegaze-hero. If you are into Carissa’s Wierd or 90′s emo at all, she needs no introduction. This album is bitter and honest and there’s nothing more to it – but it doesn’t need anything else. It’s dirty and tragic and shy, and doesn’t give a fuck.
I’ve already written a full review of this album and have embarrassed myself enough times gushing about how amazing Walter Schreifels is, so I shall just shut up now.
The National: High Violet
Yes, I’m one of those hipsters who have fallen head over heels for the latest National record. Yes, I love all the other ones but YES, High Violet is close to perfection, with its awkward intimate lines, with the psycho-love tales told in Matt Berninger‘s outstanding voice. I can’t do anything but love, no, adore this album with my whole heart.
Trouble Over Tokyo: The Hurricane
I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of this record almost a year before it actually came out; Toph Taylor‘s third album The Hurricane is far above his first two, so dense with influences and complex in its arrangements, so intricate, personal and beautiful. Truly a masterpiece.
Brad Hamers: Post No Dreams
Monzano: By This Time Last Year Everything Will Seem Younger
Basia Bulat: Heart Of My Own
Troy Von Balthazar: How To Live On Nothing
Top 5: 2010 EPs
I truly loved every track of this EP at first listen; at first I thought they wouldn’t possibly reach the level of Lemonade, but they did, by a mile. I’ll let my review of it speak for me.
The one-man project of film student Freddie Lloyd enchanted me at the end of the summer. It came into my life right as the colors of the landscape around me started changing, accompanying me on the path to autumn. Truly lovely.
Across the Delta: Unit Exploded
With a couple of very strong off-album songs for free and a gorgeous DIY video, the Unit Exploded EP was one of the releases I impatiently waited for in 2010. Across the Delta‘s progressive rock with its poppy touches is still a delight live, even in their new formation – having let go of their bassist.
Solvor Vermeer: the Beaming Light
Solvor’s sweet rendering of her very simple, quiet, true and earnest songs appears to have won everyone’s hearts; mine too.
Uno Møller: How To Lead You Home
I saw Uno grow, develop, shape his music into something real, which people outside of our circle of friends could appreciate and fall in love with; the gorgeous and eerie Sailing With Hats alone is worth buying this.
Top 3: pre-2010 albums
Adam Gnade: Run Hide Retreat Surrender (2005)
I knew little about Mr. Gnade until the end of last year, and truly wondered how I managed to pass his work by without ever stopping to listen. Run Hide Retreat Surrender is marvelous and angsty, interesting and is a nice change from the folk, singer-songwriter scene.
Animal Kingdom: Signs and Wonders (2009)
My feel-good album for a good part of the year, I had it playing over and over, mostly in my headphones, mostly in the morning, fishing for motivation. The melodies are catchy and the texts are thought-provoking.
Kent: Du Och Jag Döden (2005)
Somehow, few of the other Kent albums managed to move me like this one. Maybe because it’s a concept work, or maybe because I have some memories attached to it which I shall not forget anytime soon. Maybe simply because it’s a good, solid and accessible album, with dark and beautiful lyrics.
Top 5: 2010 concerts
Acoustic Lakeside Festival (Kärnten, Austria)
I love Nada Surf. Wait, let me rephrase this: I LOVE Nada Surf. Especially live. Especially in summer, right by a lake, while standing approximately 1 meter away from Daniel Lorca and Matthew Caws, truly happy to be there.
The National @ Arena
For one thing, I wasn’t working that night so I could focus on every detail: the way they got on stage, the intensity of the encore, the close-to-perfect set-list (even though Lemonworld and Daughters of the Soho Riots were bitterly missed, but you can’t have everything). Much later, as I talked to a good acquaintance – who is a radio show host – we agreed that this was hands down the best concert of the year.
Walter Schreifels @ Szene
Obviously with my crazy Schreifels obsession this one had to be on the list; the venue was more-than-half empty, with just a couple of huge Gorilla Biscuits fans and old punks. This will obviously change in a couple of months, when Rival Schools will be opening for Trail of Dead and everyone will be wondering why on earth they were not at Szene that night.. Anyway, Walter was friendly, interesting, funny, down-to-earth, the band were solid gold, and I fell in love all over again.
Winterwell 2010 (Gloucestershire, UK)
I flew to England and had a bit of a Lazy Acre Records road trip for this one; saw some amazing and totally unknown bands, almost danced to Lulu and the Lampshades‘ set, almost got punched during the We Have Band set, was given vitamin water by a man dressed up as a cow, laughed at giant blueberries, sang along to all the songs during the Animal Kingdom set, did not shower for three days. Thank you, Gloucestershire!
Sweet Sweet Moon @ Ausser Betrieb
I’ve seen Matthias Frey play quite a few times this year (in fact, the last time was about three days ago) but one of my favorite shows of his was when he played at our exhibition in April; partly for the pride of having such a great artist perform there, partly for the insane noise piece he did on the violin, partly for the unusual setting – a university basement.