Friday, December 31, 2010

My Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

In under eleven hours (as of press time), it will be 2011. Whoa. Happy New Year, everyone. And if there's one thing that a new year means to a semi-dedicated music blogger, it's a clean slate--a tabula rasa--musically speaking. My Top Albums of 2010 playlist will exist no longer, and in its place I'll create a Top Albums of 2011 one. But what, my friends, will be on that playlist? What will be the best albums of 2011? Well, I don't know--but it's fun to speculate, which is why I've included my fifteen most anticipated albums to (potentially) be released in 2011. Several of these are indeed speculations, as many don't have names or release dates or anything, but all of the albums below, if released, should be awesome. Hopefully. The albums are listed alphabetically by artist, and have their release dates in parentheses (if their release dates are known). Cheers to a happy, healthy, good music-filled new year! See you in 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Favorite Albums of 2010 (Odds & Ends)

So I've already reflected on my favorite proper albums in this post (which you could also just scroll down to see), but here I'm giving some love to some neat-o 2010 albums that aren't quite "normal" albums--i.e. EPs, mixtapes, compilations, reissues, improvised music albums, and, well, "other." These are albums (around forty in total) that I've loved and listened to throughout 2010 and that deserve recognition. I've listed them in clusters based on the aforementioned categories, and the albums are organized alphabetically within each cluster, which is to say they're not ranked according to favorite. That said, I have bolded my #1 favorite of each bunch and italicized my second favorite. First and second favorite are obviously subject to change, but I feel pretty good about my bolds and italics, so... whatever. Anyways, enjoy (after the jump, obviously).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Favorite Albums of 2010

This is the best list to make. The album, as a format, is just the most interesting, the most nuanced, and the most fun to discuss of any long- or short-form piece of media. Period. Over plays, operas, movies, whatever. A truly great album is an unparalleled experience, aural or otherwise. That's why this blog exists. That's why I'm eager and able to articulate what I like and how I feel. Albums. They're awesome.

2010 was/is a big year for this writer. He turned 18, which means he's an adult. And he has no idea how to be an adult. (He will now switch to first person narrative.) I truly don't. I mean, I'm perfectly capable of waking myself up, taking the el to school, eating meals on my own, etc. but the intricacies of adulthood--how to manage money, relationships, time, jobs, whatever--are completely beyond me. That I'll be going to college (in the country's biggest, busiest city no less) in the fall only further exacerbates these insecurities. How will I manage to live in the standards in which I'm accustomed to living, and, more importantly and more dauntingly, how will I do something worthwhile--especially in a place where everyone is basically an equal, and often better, version of myself? What's my duty, and how will I accomplish it? Or do I have a duty to fulfill at all? It's a scary world out there, and reading copious amounts of Gide doesn't necessarily make me feel better.

I do have one constant, though. One thing that'll be there for me in New York or wherever I end up. That, as lame as this is to say, is music, is these albums listed below and their brethren from the past and future. As someone who kind of shy and uncomfortable with emotion, I've found something, in music, to let me buckle down and also explain how I think and feel. I can hear something and interpret it and apply it to my life, thereby helping me explain and articulate the emotions that I often try so desperately to hide... I'm getting too over-the-top with this post, aren't I? Anyways, I'll just say that these albums--and albums in general; audio stories and journeys and experiences--have greatly enhanced my life and others', and I look forward to taking them with me as I try to face being a grown-up. Oy.

The albums in question cover plenty of stylistic and emotional ground. 2010's most omnipresent trend seemed to be that of chillwave/H-pop, which in and of itself has many different strains. The whole hazy bedroom pop strain (Wild Nothing and whatnot) didn't really do it for me, so you won't see much of that below. The more kraut-influenced, new age-y strain of the movement does certainly interest me, as it presented a new form of non-abrasive drone that's atmospheric, beautiful, and weird when done correctly. There's the batshit crazy psychedelic strain of H-pop, which I rather enjoy as it's, well, batshit crazy psychedelic music. And then there's the surf-obsessed, chilled-out rock n' roll, which is kinda boring. Right? Right. 2010, though, for me, was a lot about the old guard--or my own personal indie rock old guard. Artists that have delivered genius in the past delivered again (cough, Kanye, LCD, Joanna, Arcade Fire, Robert freakin' Wyatt, cough)... But putting albums by time-proven artists at the top of the list can be a bit unsettling, as I often question whether I'm just putting them at the top because it's easy, because it feels right, because I was anticipating their albums and they were satisfying so they must be the best, right? Maybe right. I don't know. There were enough young'ns, enough new artists, to keep me pleased, I suppose. So who really cares. Right? Right.

In terms of this particular list, it's a list of my 45 favorite studio LPs that were released in 2010. No EPs, compilations, etc. on this list--those will come in a separate list to be published later this week. Also, I know I've waited a little longer to publish the list; however, that's for a variety of reasons: 1) because I've been in school and taking exams and having existential crises about my future that I alluded to above, but now I'm past all of those things (sort of), 2) the year still isn't over, and it was much less over at the beginning of the month when lists started coming out; what happens if a great album comes out on December 21?, and 3) the longer I wait, the more time I have to reflect on certain albums. It's a proven truth that year-end lists are weighted towards albums that came out nearer to the end of the year; new albums are fresher, and they're the ones we're all listening to over and over again in November and December. By waiting a tad longer, I get to reflect, unbiased, a tad longer. Also, I get a chance to pick up and familiarize myself with albums that came out earlier in the year that I hadn't heard and then subsequently hear due to their high placements on certain other publications' year-end lists. Anyways, the point is: here is my list. Here are my albums of 2010.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Final* List Roundup

*I'm saying final, but I've said I'm done posting other people's lists before, and, well...

The lists keep comin', so I'll post a few more. I don't want to go into any detail, so here are Altered Zones' albums and tracks list, Haunting The Chapel's albums list is here, Pitchfork's Guest List series can be found right here, and, to wrap everything up, Metacritic's critical breakdown is right over here. There y'all go.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Tracks of 2010

Lists have been flying by like, well, something that flies by in great volume at great speeds. But now it's time for me, for my own list(s). First up is a list of my 90 (yes, 90. No more wussy 45 track lists!) favorite songs of this past year.

Collecting a songs list is, in my opinion, the most difficult. Because songs are short (compared to albums, at least) there's much less separating one from the next. "Song A and Song B sound very similar, but Song A repeats its chorus once more, which is unnecessary, so Song B gets to go ahead on the list." This is what I have to resort to: counting choruses! Not really, but still... It's an extremely inexact science, picking favorite songs is. At the end of the day, I suppose, it's about which ones I like listening to best, which ones I listen to the most. And that's how I compiled this list. The songs you'll see at the top are the ones that I played nearly to death throughout 2010, that racked up play counts on my iTunes sure to make all my other tunes jealous. You may notice that this means the list is skewed to short-ish, pop-ish songs. As much as I appreciate difficult music--it'll have a stronger presence in the albums list--the songs I listen to most are the big ones, the fun ones, the catchy ones. The songs that warrant me clicking the repeat buttons are the ones with the singalong choruses. The ones that give me goose pimples because they're so uplifting. The ones that put in a good and/or contemplative mood every time--even after successive listens over periods of months.

So, yes, some of these songs are predictable, everyone-loves-them kind of pop songs. But they're my favorite. Here they are, in all their glory (after the jump, of course).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Milk Factory's 2010 Review

I lied. One more list. The Milk Factory's. Here it is. It's cool. Big ups for Supersilent.

The Wire's Records of the Year

The Wire is just so darn cool. Even if their longwinded articles about sound artists or designers or whatever sometimes whoosh over my head without me even realizing they whooshed, they still remain my favorite magazine, with the best writing and best photographs of any publication in circulation today. And my tastes and theirs actually do cross paths pretty often, as is evident with their year-end list (which, as predicted, is one of the--perhaps the--most interesting lists of the year). As always there are albums I've never heard and/or heard of, but there are several I know and cherish. Which is good. So go to your local music magazine retailer and pick up this month's copy to see their 50 favorite albums of 2010, along with some genre-specific lists and nice articles by David Keenan et. al. (In case you don't get to see the rest of the list, just know that Sun Araw, Gonjasufi, and Emeralds helped fill out the top twenty. Neat!)

Pitchfork's Top Albums of 2010

Ah. The list every hipster/young folk/casual music fan/music critic/other has been waiting for. You know about Pitchfork. I know about Pitchfork. Blah blah blah. Here's the list. (Top ten after the jump.)

Tiny Mix Tapes' Favorite Albums of 2010

We've come to the first of (probably) the final three lists I'll be posting for 2010: Tiny Mix Tapes' albums list. TMT, along with the two publications whose lists will be posted after this, is arguably my favorite source for finding music (and movies). Its taste delicately balance the indie mainstream and the avant-garde--just like I like to think my own do--and thus I find myself agreeing with (or if not agreeing with, respecting) their ratings and lists more than nearly all others'. This year's list has many of the predictable year-end albums, but throws in enough interesting, unpredictable picks so that it's a unique and intriguing list. So, without further ado, you can view their top ten albums of the year below and check the whole dang list here.

Resident Advisor's Top Tracks of 2010

The ever-useful Resident Advisor threw their favorite tracks at us this weekend, supplying 50 songs worth of wonderful grooves--or at least seemingly wonderful grooves; I haven't heard the majority of the tunes. Regardless, the list looks good, and I'll be sure to download many of those songs I don't know (including each of the top nine tracks). Look at the list, in all its glory, here.

The Line Of Best Fit's Albums of 2010

First list of the night belongs to The Line Of Best Fit, a British music site that manages to be pretty cool most of the time. One of the times they aren't cool is when they try to tell us that The National made the best album of 2010. Not cool, Line Of Best Fit. Check their High Violet-topped list here.

Song of The Day #193

"Days Of Wine and Roses" by Sun Ra

So we've got a veritable buttload of lists comin' at you tonight, so all I'll say about this is: it's Sun Ra. How could it be bad?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FACT Magazine's 20 Best Compilations of 2010

FACT Magazine hits us with their 20 favorite compilations of the past year. One thing I'm a little unclear on is whether a collection of reissued tracks from an old artist or something like that counts as a compilation or a reissue. Does this really matter in the scope of life? No. But I'm curious. Anyone out there on the interwebs know the answer? Much appreciated. Sweet. Cool. Whatever. Anyways, here's FACT's list.

Song of The Day #192

"Valley Of The Dolls" by Mylo

Chill tune, bra.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rough Trade's Albums of 2010

Legendary music store Rough Trade released their 100 favorite albums of 2010. That's a lot of albums! Caribou's Swim took another top spot, and you could see the whole darn list if you'd only click the word "here."

All Songs Considered's Best Albums of 2010

Faithful listeners of NPR's All Songs Considered voted and, unsurprisingly, came up with a very user-friendly (and therefore boring) list. View it here.

Resident Advisor's Top Albums of 2010

This long awaited (well, comparatively long awaited) list from electronica's foremost coverers Resident Advisor doesn't disappoint. It's one of the neatest albums list we've seen here at Il Buono, and we're excited that it's more Il Buono-friendly than we would've expected. Oftentimes RA picks a bunch of European dance records we've never heard. Such is not as much the case this year. (The "we" I've been referring to, of course, is the royal "we.") My favorite feature of this list besides its good taste is that several of the blurbs are written by the artists themselves. Neat-o! Anyhow, the top ten is after the jump, original is here.

Tiny Mix Tapes' Chocolate Grinder Mix

More from one of my favorite sites... This time 'round we get a mixtape (it's called Tiny Mix Tapes, after all) of the site's favorite songs of the year. It's not a proper list or anything, but it's still a nice 2010 wrap-up and certainly a worthwhile listen. Check it out here, yo.

Song of The Day #191

"Enfants (Chants)" by Ricardo Villalobos

I'm a total sucker for children's choirs. Then again, who isn't? And when a children's choir is aided by a minimal house-tastic beat and piano riff courtesy of the inimitable Villalobos...pure magic.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pitchfork's Top Tracks of 2010

Ooooh, Pitchfork! Seriously, though, even as the biggest music webzine has all but burst the seams of its britches over the past few years, it's remained the most interesting, informative, and well-curated mainstream/underground music publication. Sure, there are times I cringe while reading it (such as while perusing the MBDTF review), but there are way more times that I learn something cool or find a new artist/band/track I like. Bottom line is that Pitchfork's good. Very good. And we here at Il Buono like their lists. So I now present to you their 100 favorite tracks of the past year--well, I present the top ten, rather, and they present the top 100 here (pt. 1) and here (pt.2). (As a whole the list isn't too unpredictable, but it's solid. Some nice placements for Azari & III, Titus, and some more. I do have some qualms with the we-pick-a-maximum-of-two-songs-per-artist rule, though. C'est la vie.)

Song of The Day #190

"By The Time I Get To Phoenix" by Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes is the man. His voice--not just its smooooth depth but also just the way he says things--is obviously unparalleled, and his ability to tell to stories is entirely enviable. These skills are showcased best in the nearly 20 minute "By The Time I Get To Phoenix." Hayes takes a classic song and weaves his own personal memories and stories and personality into it, updating it and internalizing it for all listeners to enjoy. When listening to this, you feel like you're in a dimly lit dive standing inches from Hayes, hearing him pour his heart out to you and only you. It's a beautiful thing.

Tiny Mix Tapes' Top Album Covers of 2010

Pitchfork already gave us their "Worst Album Covers" of 2010, and now Tiny Mix Tapes offers us this more positive spin on that theme with 25 record covers they really liked. A great album cover functions as an extension of the musical artist's art and, at least for me, can sometimes make the music itself better. It's a subconscious thing... So anyways, click here to explore some of this year's finest square-shaped masterpieces. I'll mention that, while I don't agree with #1, I think their picks are pretty solid.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jim DeRogatis's Best Albums of 2010

Local legend Jim DeRogatis, of Chicago Tribune and NPR fame, released his "Reasons For Living: The 20 Best Albums of 2010" today. I like DeRogatis, partly because I have an inclination to like all Chicago people who make national names for themselves, but also because he does a great job with Sound Opinions and the books he's done, such as Kill Your Idols, Milk It!, and that new one about The Beatles and Stones. So anyways, here's his list--the top ten is posted after the jump, and the original version is here.

Song of The Day #189

"Heaps Of Sheeps" by Robert Wyatt

Boy have I been falling hard for Mr. Wyatt lately. His voice and arrangements are so great and so recognizable, he... he's just awesome. "Heaps Of Sheeps," besides having a deceptively incorrect title, showcases the oft-melancholy Wyatt in fun mode, as he croons over a driving, Bo Diddley piano riff and soaring guitar effects. This whole album, Shleep, is really a boatload of fun--at least compared to other Wyatt efforts.

Resident Advisor's Top Compilations of 2010

Another dance-eriffic list from Resident Advisor, their compilations list features plenty of label and DJ compilations I haven't heard (plus a couple I have). Seems pretty neat-o. Check it out--a top twenty list--here. (Presumably their best albums and singles lists will come out this week. As, of course, will Pitchfork's.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Song of The Day #188

"Come Out Of Her" by Fraction

A song that sounds like it could have been done by anyone from Alice Cooper to an American version of Boris, "Come Out Of Her" is an overwrought, extremely suggestive early hard rock gem. Great for air guitar (and air thrusting). (As a side note, Moon Blood's cover is one of the better album covers I've seen.)

Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys' Best of 2010

Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys is an awesome blog that more or less gives away mp3s of crazy hard-to-find psychedelic and experimental music. Their Best of 2010 list is chock full of great stuff, some of which I've heard and I love, and much of which I've never heard (or even heard of). But, alas, even this experimental-focused blog can't escape Kanye West. Ha! Check their (cluttered but still informative) list here.

Uncut's Albums of 2010

Uncut is a British music magazine that, like the other British music magazines whose lists I've profiled here on Il Buono, has distinctly British taste in music. It's weird how, while there are many artists and albums that get love on both sides of the pond, there are certain things that British people universally love that Americans don't and vise versa. You can view their top 50 albums here. All I'll say is that I'm satisfied with their #1 pick, but not much else in the top ten.

Clash's Top Albums of 2010

I don't know too much about Clash, but I saw their list, and it's a nice one I think. I don't feel like actually posting the list or making comments, although I'll say that I like that they show plenty of love for Gonjasufi. So check it out over here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

TIME's Top Albums of 2010

TIME Magazine is a pretty big deal. I don't read it or anything, but it's a pretty big deal. So I'll post their Top 10 Albums list. As you may expect from a semi-out-of-touch-but-trying-to-be-hip-and-cultured magazine, the list is full of albums that are on just about everybody else's top ten list. This is bad because it's predictable, but good because many of them are very good albums. It's a paradox, really, making these lists. Because you want to put all your favorites at the top and your favorites are often ones that got lots of hype because those are the most accessible and in-your-face and all around listenable albums which is why they got a lot of hype in the first place, but, at the same time, you don't want to sound like everybody else, which is why you listen to some more out there music that other people don't listen to. You do it so you can look cool and unpredictable when you make a year-end list, but then you realize that you really do love some of that out there music, and that it's just as appreciable as much of the heavily hyped stuff. But at the end of the day, you know Kanye and LCD Soundsystem are just always the best and you gotta put them at the top no matter how predictable and uncool you may feel for doing it. Ugh. TIME's top ten is after the jump, and the original is here.

The A.V. Club's Best Albums of 2010

Obviously we all love The A.V. Club because they're funny while still being unique, tasteful, and intelligent. But, while their music taste is well informed, it doesn't always quite align with my own. Regardless, I respect them and their list of their twenty-five favorite albums of 2010. The top ten is posted below, and the rest of it's here.

Rolling Stone's Playlist Issue

So the relatively lame but nonetheless respectable Rolling Stone recently released "The Playlist Issue," an issue filled with, well, playlists--themed lists of ten songs from various RS-approved artists. I was originally gonna reprint all of the lists here on Il Buono, but I realized such a task would be an arduous one, and I'll instead just recommend that you all visit your local magazine retailer and check out the issue itself. While none of the lists are in any way revelatory, if you like lists the issue's a fun read.

FACT Magazine's 100 Best Tracks of 2010

On the heels of their more-interesting-than-the-average-list 40 Best Albums of 2010 list, FACT Mag released their 100 favorite tracks of the year over the past week on their site. This list, like the albums one, is pretty interesting and features plenty of tracks I like and plenty I haven't heard of and am excited to listen to. Click "read more" to see their top ten, and click here to see everything.

Resident Advisor's Top Labels of 2010

Another list from the wonderful folks at RA, this one being a little more Il Buono-friendly as I'm actually familiar with many of the labels. As RA is a dance and electronic site, it makes sense that all the labels are ones that specialize in, well, dance and electronic. Mainstays like Hyperdub, Warp, Ninja Tune, and Planet Mu are of course on the list, as well as several new labels and/or ones I'm unfamiliar with. So the top ten is posted after the jump, and the whole list is here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FACT Magazine's 40 Best Albums of 2010

It wasn't until a few months ago that I discovered FACT, but it's quickly become one of my top resources for everything music. It's great, seriously. And their albums list is one of the most interesting we've seen, full of albums I love and ones I haven't heard, and very free from many year-end cliche picks. While it doesn't necessarily align with my personal list, it's highly intriguing nonetheless. So pay close attention, kids, as the top ten is posted after the jump and the top 40 in its entirety is right over here.

Song of The Day #187

"Ca A Rate" by Francoise Hardy

We'll take a break from list-reading to admire this truly wonderful '60s cut from a truly wonderful lady. Francoise Hardy definitely cracks my Top Ten Dream Women of All Time list--that is, if I was creepy enough to actually take the time to make such a list.

Gorilla vs. Bear's Albums and Songs of 2010

I always look forward to GvB's year-end lists; although I don't necessarily agree with them 100%, the lists often lead me to some great 2010 music I was previously unaware of. Such is not really the case with their 2010 edition, however, which is mildly upsetting. Though I certainly align with several of their choices, the lists themselves are just a little...blah. That they include EPs as albums is a little upsetting--or at least interesting--as well. As usual, they love White Denim, Beach House, and scrappy lo-fi rock, which, depending on who you are, could be a good thing or a bad thing. Whatevs... Top tens after the jump, full lists here and here. Happy Chanukah.

New York Magazine Best Of Potpourri

Lotsa lists comin' at you today, the first being a grouping of three 2010-music-related posts from New York Magazine's wonderfully-lowbrow-yet-highbrow Vulture pages. Part 1 is critic-with-a-fun-name-to-say Nitsuh Abebe's Top Ten Albums of 2010 list, which can be found both here and below. Part 2 is a discussion with Oliver Platt, who has pretty cool taste (I love him), on his favorite music of this past year. That's a nice read and can be found here. Part 3 is a poll--who doesn't love a good poll?--asking you, yes YOU, your favorite albums of the year. They will presumably publish the results at some point... That's here. As you can tell I'm a little overwhelmed by the lists, which may explain why I'm using so many dashes and speaking schizophrenically. Or maybe not. Whatever. Abebe's list after the jump.

Resident Advisor's Top DJs of 2010

Okay, so I can't really comment on this list because, although I've heard of some of these dudes, I've never actually seen any of them DJ. But I thought I'd link to it regardless because it's interesting, and I like Resident Advisor. So their list of the top 100 DJs of 2010 is right here. (I'll ruin it for you and say that #1 is the always-awesome Ricardo Villalobos.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stereogum's Top 50 Albums of 2010

Stereogum, one of my most trusted sources for music news (if only for the reasons that it's updated frequently and has hilariously petty hipster quarrels on the comment boards), released their list of their 50 favorite albums of 2010 today. (They also included a list of their 15 top EPs, a feature that Il Buono will sorta also include when its own year-end lists come out.) Unlike in previous years, the 'gum's list is a staff list as opposed to a fan-generated list known affectionately as The Gummys; that said, there will be a less fun, less comprehensive modified Gummys to follow. Anyhow, the list itself is pretty interesting--at least more so than Rolling Stone's--and many of my own favorites grace the top 50, even if many find themselves in the 30 to 50 range on the list. Definitely high on predictable blog picks, but also high on great albums, so... yeah. The top ten, per the usual, is found after the jump, as are their top five EPs of 2010. The whole darn thing is here.

Song of The Day #186

"Wassup World?" by Dudley Perkins

This used to be my jam. Haven't heard anything about Perkins since, but at least he left me with this song.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Song of The Day #185

"The L Train Is A Swell Train And I Don't Want To Hear You Indies Complain" by Out Hud

Remember Out Hud? Me, too. I like Out Hud.

Rolling Stone's Top Albums and Singles of 2010

We all know about Rolling freakin' Stone magazine. And I don't feel like typing much more, so I'll just say that they, as usual, put out lists that show just how out of touch they are while still having solid taste. Kanye tops both lists, f.y.i., hitting #1 with "Runaway" on the Singles list. You can peruse the albums here and the singles here.

SPIN's Best Albums of 2010

More lists! Today we get SPIN's 40 favorite of the past year, and, as would be expected with a list from the SPIN folks, the list is boring and predictable but largely inoffensive. It includes several new blog favorites, but is actually most heavy on the old list-topping stalwarts: Kanye, Deerhunter, LCD, Arcade Fire, M.I.A., etc.--a.k.a. it includes basically the same people it includes every year. Whatevs. Not too much to quibble about. Top ten's after the jump, and the whole thing is here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Drowned In Sound's Albums of The Year 2010

I don't really feel like talking about Drowned In Sound, although it is a pretty solid list. They released their top 75 albums of 2010, and 75-51 are here, 50-11 are here, and the top ten is both here and posted below.

10. Sufjan Stevens--The Age Of Adz
More interesting on paper than in reality, this album doesn't move me.
9. LCD Soundsystem--This Is Happening
We all know what I think: Should be even higher.
8. Yeasayer--Odd Blood
More like Lame-sayer. Ha!
7. Shearwater--The Golden Archipelago
6. These New Puritans--Hidden
I'm indifferently surprised at this album's year-end praise.
5. The Knife--Tomorrow, In A Year
I revisited this album recently, and, I must say, it's quite good. Not this good, though.
4. Perfume Genius--Learning
I dig this pick; even though I wouldn't put this this high, I still love it.
3. Deftones--Diamond Eyes
While Deftones are one of those bands from my hard rock/alt. metal phase that took place in 4th through 7th grade that I still semi-enjoy, they're not this good at all.
2. The National--High Violet
More like The Lame-tional.
1. Emeralds--Does It Look Like I'm Here?
Surprising choice for #1, but I'm all for it. It's not my #1, but it's a damn fine album.

Overall a pretty cool, moderately unique list, eh?

Song of The Day #184

"Beach Point Pleasant" by Ducktails

An early artifact of the now-overdone chillwave movement, "Beach Point Pleasant" sounds exactly how you would expect--although Ducktails seem to be able to make more intricate, interesting music than the many, many beach-inspired, lo-fi, synth-y groups that have since popped up.

Pitchfork's Worst Album Covers of 2010

With all the "Best Of" junk, it's nice to talk about some 2010 stuff that absolutely sucked. Enter this list: Pitchfork's so-called Worst Album Covers of 2010. It's a treat, albeit a hideous one, every year to peruse this list for its disgusting artwork and snooty comments, and 2010's is no exception. I won't go through it in detail because, well, the pictures are worth a thousand--or at least ten--words. I must say, though, it's amazing how aesthetically displeasing many elder rockers' album covers are. (Jeff Beck, Ringo, Richard Thompson, etc.) Oh, and here it is.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Greg Kot's Top Albums of 2010

Even if I don't always see eye-to-eye with him, I like Greg Kot. He does a good job hosting Sound Opinions, and his writing is usually nice to read (even if he sometimes comes off as the stereotypical hapless, middle-aged white man desperately trying to cling to the hipness he once had). That I see him at concerts from time to time only increases his likability in my mind.

Here's his list of his favorite 2010 albums. As one might expect, it's a little middle-aged-white-guy-y, but that's mostly okay... The top ten, as usual, is posted after the jump, and if you want to see the rest--which includes a top 20 and some written explanations--click here.

Song of The Day #183

"Bbydhyonchord" by Aphex Twin

What's the title mean? I don't know, but I do know that this is a nice, laid-back, percussive slice from the wonderfully underrated pie that is DrukQs. Although I've dug Aphex Twin for a while, it wasn't until recently that I truly realized his genius; the man is arguably the most important electronic producer of this generation (even if he's a little creepy looking).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mojo's Best Albums of 2010

I like Mojo for their articles--their lists not as much. Think of Mojo as NME's older brother: more mature and with better taste, but still undeniably British--British to a fault, even. (They're also a little baby boomer-centric sometimes.) That said, they remain moderately relevant with their 2010 Albums list. The list--which includes some sub-lists such as best song ("Tightrope"), best reissue (The Promise), and various best-albums-from-a-specific-genre lists--contains some nice surprises (Sam Amidon, Robert Wyatt, Gonjasufi, Swans to name a few) but certainly falls into the sorta-popular British music magazine trap of obsessing over people like Paul Weller and MGMT. There are also some things I've never heard nor heard of, though, which makes it semi-interesting. Without further ado, here's the top ten, but, at least for now, you're gonna have to actually buy the magazine to see the rest of the top 50.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Song of The Day #182

"Fix Me" by Black Flag

This isn't your father's Black Flag (assuming your father is Henry Rollins), but rather the O.G. lineup with frontman Keith Morris, now of super-awesome punk revivalists OFF!. "Fix Me" is just what you want out of an early hardcore tune: self-loathing, hatred, distortion, and a runtime under one minute. Beautiful.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Song of The Day #181

"Funk Release Valve" by Drexciya

Whenever we're deep in Neptune's lair, we need a little funk release valve to relieve the stress. You know? Seriously, though, this tune further proves that as brainy as Drexciya were, they never forgot about the dancefloor or having fun.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NME's Top Albums of 2010

More magazine junk. This time around, it's NME hitting us with their seventy-five favorite albums of this year. NME has notoriously British taste--which makes sense considering it's a British magazine--and that means that it often lauds crappy Brit-pop/rock. Such is not the case at the top of their 2010 list (there's plenty of Brit-pop lower down), although the number one spot does go to a British act--that said, it's an Il-Buono-approved British act. And there's actually some pretty cool selections throughout the list, notably a top 15 finish for The Fall and their rockin' Your Future Our Clutter. So that's that. The top ten (with my comments) is after the jump, and the whole darn thing is here.

Decibel's Top Albums of 2010

The magazines are rolling out their year-end lists in time for their December issues... Today we get metal mag Decibel's Top 40 Albums of the year. I don't exactly read Decibel on account of I don't really love metal, but I always enjoy checking their lists just to see a different point of view--or at least to learn some great band and album names. The top ten is listed below, and you can see the whole thing here. I won't make any snide comments because I haven't heard a single album in the top ten. In fact, the only albums I've listened to at all on the entire list are High On Fire's and The Body's. Typical hipster metal, I know I know I know... I'll be sure to take a peek at their top picks, though.

10. The Austerity Program--Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn
9. Nails--Unsilent Death
8. Thou--Summit
7. Ludicra--The Tenant
6. Torche--Songs For Singles
5. Enslaved--Axioma Ethica Odini
4. Dawnbringer--Nucleus
3. Triptykon--Eparistera Daimones
2. Watain--Lawless Darkness
1. Agalloch--Marrow Of The Spirit

Song of The Day #180

"Drink Deep" by Rites of Spring

Nice and emotional.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Song of The Day #179

"My Game of Loving" by White Noise

Delia Derbyshire is the best.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Song of The Day #178

"Insight (Live BBC Recording)" by Joy Division

I often don't care too much for live recordings, but to hear Joy Division live is to gain new insight (pun somewhat intended) into their genius. (Note: this YouTube link isn't the version I'm referring to, but it's still good.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Song of The Day #177

"Bastard" by Tyler, The Creator

There are a couple reasons Tyler and his Odd Future crew have been getting a lot of hype lately. The first reason is presumably because they're really, really batshit crazy. Their beats are fuzzy, their lyrics are bizarre and random and unlike any other hip-hop lyrics, and they themselves are wild and strung out seemingly all the time. But these dudes are also getting hype because their music, crazy as it may be, is very good. This cut, the title track from Tyler's album, is a slow-moving banger, full of hatred and humor and more non sequiturs than you can shake a stick at. We'll see what happens to Odd Future in the future, but, for now, they're ruling underground hip-hop.