Best Albums Of 2010

Nik, over at the always entertaining Spatula Forum, recently posted his “best albums of the year…so far” which has gently prodded me to do likewise. I’m usually on top of this type of list (just ask Holly) but I’ve recently just moved house and blogging about music has had to suffer a tad.

It’s been an interesting year for music. Old farts making their comeback, great bands breaking up at the height of their fame, poppy favorites turning all psychedelic and a cartoon band getting serious on our asses. Some terrific new stuff, plenty of which I have yet to hear, in addition to some nostalgic rediscoveries. Still no sign of a Labour Of Lust reissue, though…

LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening. Perhaps not as good as Sound Of Silver but damn close! Not as Bowie-esque as some have noted (sure there’s some influence there, but what modern band hasn’t been influenced at least marginally by Bowie, especially his Berlin years? It’s as silly as saying “influenced by the Beatles”. Of course you are, dammit!), but it is a darker, more serious affair, save for the wonderfully silly Drunk Girls. It’s Murphy’s last album as LCD Soundsystem and that’s really too bad.

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach. The best out of their three proper albums, but only because Damon gets back to writing proper songs here. And the cameos here are simply inspired, with Lou Reed giving the best vocal performance since The Blue Mask and Mark E Smith of The Fall fame getting glamtastic on Glitter Freeze.

Paul Weller: Wake Up The Nation. This one took me totally by surprise, and although LCD Soundsystem is quickly moving up in the ranks this is still my pick of the year thus far. For a veteran of the ’77 scene to put out an album as musically creative as this is simply an amazing accomplishment. And kudos to Welly for inviting his old Jam pal Bruce Foxton to…ahem… jam with him on a few tracks!

Spoon: Transference. Here’s the thing with Spoon. I really enjoy each new Spoon release, and they seem to get better with each successive album, but they’re never going to win my coveted top album spot. Ever. I know that for a fact but I don’t know why that is. I simply cannot explain it. I really, really like ‘em, I just don’t have a passion for them. Still, their best to date in my opinion.

MGMT: Congratulations. They’ve gone from aping the synthesizer sounds of 70’s sonic terrorists Suicide to partnering with the Flaming Lips house producer Dave Friedman and crafting pop confections to this, their most challenging and psychedelic album to date. It takes quite a few listens to snag you, but give this sleeper time ‘cause it will. Grab you, that is.

The Flaming Lips: Dark Side Of The Moon. This should have been a “bonus disk” on the last album, Embryonic. Musically speaking it’s quite similar to it, and while it is certainly always entertaining it is hardly “up there” with The Soft Bulletin. But then again, it’s a friggin’ covers album, what do you expect? They put their own weird stamp on it, and Henry Rollins does do an admirable job of the spoken word “life is shit, I’m not afraid of dying, etc” segue ways. But at the end of the day it’s still just a cover version of a classic rock album.

Here’s some stuff I’ve yet to hear but I hear is great:

Robyn Hitchcock, Propellor Time. I’m really ashamed I haven’t bought this yet. Really, really ashamed…

The National, High Velvet.

Vampire Weekend, Contra.

The Knife, Tomorrow In A Year.

Massive Attack, Heglioland.

In addition to these albums I am rediscovering the Rolling Stones (pre 1978), still listening to those amazing Beatles remasters and falling in love again with Elvis Costello, Brinsly Shwarz, ELO, The Damned, DK’s, Orange Juice/Edwyn Collins, Stone Roses, Robyn Hitchcock, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and the Psychedelic Furs. And I just found the deluxe edition of Band On The Run for $4.00, which was a pretty cool find.