03 January 2011

Best bands I saw in 2010

16) Rolo Tomassi
playing a tiny, sold-out gig in The Chameleon (basically a loft). I didn't realise who the vocalist was till they started. I also saw them play in a polar opposite venue - outside the city hall on a Sunday afternoon in Sheffield, without compromising the insanity of their music

15) A Hawk & A Hacksaw
really impressive musicians playing weird instruments in crazy time signatures is my thing

14) Ariel Pink
power cut at the original venue meant we relocated to The Chameleon (where Rolo played). The band smoked a joint in there before they played & Ariel said it was the best crowd they'd seen in years, the gig finished at about 2am

13) Nedry
dubstep/post rock band I saw supporting other bands, twice. When I met Ayu, it was the only time I've met a musician I'm into where it didn't feel super weird! She's really cool

12) Mount Eerie
and that's the "black metal" Mt Eerie. 2 drummers, bass + synth bass, Elvereum + his guitar; awesome walls of sound

11) of Montreal
the theatrics made this, making up for the fact that I've kinda gone off their last couple of records. They covered Thriller!

10) Broken Social Scene
they were just having a great time

9) Darren Hayman
at The Chameleon again - Hayman was on his own, and didn't really bother with his microphone, but played the most engaging songs & he has the best sense of humour!

8) Autechre
sounded nothing like anything they've put on record, I thought I was going to die of bass

7) WHY?
Yoni Wolf is the coolest. This was on a boat!!

6) The Wave Pictures
my band supported them! Would surely have made the list anyway

5) Melt-Banana
for their encore, Yasuko announced that they'd play "10 more songs"... which they completed in under 3 minutes

4) Fucked Up
Pink Eyes spent the first song on stage, the rest of the night rampaging through the crowd, who were divided into people going mental at the front, and the super boring people stood way far back. At one point, Pink Eyes climbed onto the bar & motioned that he was about to stage dive into the standing-still half, did a countdown, lunged... then waved his arm like "I'm just fucking with you"

3) Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
I missed out on the Godspeed reunion but this was still great...

2) Los Campesinos!
saw them twice, but only at festivals, both times involved me meeting strangers & us screaming lyrics at each other

1) Titus Andronicus
at the front of a tiny venue - amazing atmosphere. Then they stayed at my girlfriend's house. Best day ever??

Best songs of 2010

Here are my favourite songs of 2010!

“I'm all up in the freezer at your crib like ‘Where yo gin be at?!’” (http://rapgenius.com/lyrics/Das-racist-ft-boi-1da/Hahahaha-jk oh wow)

29) Allo Darlin' - Kiss Your Lips
“Underneath the stars on the ferris wheel, you swung your feet and sang my favourite Weezer song, so I sang along... ‘I’M A LOT LIKE YOU, SO PLEASE, HELLO, I’M HERE, I’M WAITING, I THINK I’D BE GOOD FOR YOU, AND YOU COULD BE GOOD FOR ME!’”
And it’s definitely up there with MY favourite Weezer songs and it sounds just as awesome in this song, if not more so cause I’ve heard the original so many times but never on a ferris wheel but how cool would that be... and also this song sounds like it could last forever, maybe it’s just the chord structure, but it’s a twee song that actually sounds like a JAM, which is pretty great.

I wanted to dislike you, Wavves, after you put on one of the worst live shows I’ve ever seen, but I can’t deny how much fun this song is...

27) Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Mighty Sparrow
Couldn’t stop listening to this song... great pop-punk

26) The Tallest Man on Earth - Kids on the Run
“And no we will never be a part of the pictures once taken, when we’re feeding fire with the flames till no memories gone”

25) Vampire Weekend - Cousins
I think Vampire Weekend should APOLOGISE for releasing a song as awesome as this as their lead single even though they KNOW FULL WELL that the rest of the album was boring and shitty.

I think I’ve seen love for every single track on the Deerhunter record but I think this is a perfect, haunting closer, I love songs that have two distinct halves. Poor Jay :(

23) Tennis – Marathon
This is a song about sailing into a cove and it is lovely and it will be stuck in your head for days

22) Girls - The Oh So Protective One
“He'll never know about the times that you cried in the movies, never know about the times that you cried to the music, about your mother or your father or the way you got your broken heart
This took some getting adjusted to but man I never thought a Girls song could be so densely-instrumented; it’s still the same band singing about the same stuff but with a BRASS section, with a goddamn trumpet solo! Lyrically, Owens has a knack for phrasing gorgeous, complex emotions in a really simple style. I’d never think to try & write so directly but I wish I’d written this song, it says so much.

21) Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars
The demo version of this song came out last year and you know, it was ok, but the mastered version adds a level of awesome which MAKES the song, suddenly blasting it to the upper limits of volume. I imagine that Derek E. Miller hit a wall of frustration when he realised that the song couldn’t physically go any louder at the end.

“Prepare to be told ‘That shit’s gay, dude’”

19) Baths - Hall
This song works perfectly as an album closer so I dunno why Baths shifted it to the middle of his finalised album. The opening cacophony of (still pretty awesome) random samples quickly arranges itself into a driving beat, which runs until it’s just about to lose steam... then gets EVEN MORE AWESOME when Baths’ vocals come in. What a glorious ENDING.

18) Yeasayer - Ambling Alp
The final 15 seconds of this song are the most joyful thing ever!

“I've been playing straight chicken with gay girls - IT'S NEVER ENOUGH!”

Sufjan has so much ambition it’s not always fully realised, but when he pulls it off, I’m in awe.

(the live version I've linked to is the best live video I've seen this year)

Awesome electronic future jazz!!

13) Baths - Seaside Town
I must really love Baths because this song has so many things I should be cynical about but it’s still 13th on this list and oh god I love it so much

“You say you don’t wanna be my girl, but will you just be anyway?”

11) The Tallest Man on Earth - Burden of Tomorrow
“But rumour has it that I wasn’t born, I just walked in one frosty morn, into the vision of some vacant mind”

I was a bit underwhelmed by that Knife opera, in part because this track really heightened my expectations – there are so many bits of gorgeous instrumentation going on yet it doesn’t sound overstuffed. The rest of the opera was mostly electronic squelches and aimless dicking about, but this piece was utter genius.

This is just such a great tune. I don't know whether it's pop or anti-pop.

“Like all the first things, you so comically inaccessible, waiting to meet your husband from the train”

7) Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union
“Cuz tramps like us, baby we were born to die”

“He made me a tape of Joy Division, he told me there was part of him missing, when I was 16, he jumped off a building”

5) Loscil – The Making of Grief Point
“...I have lost interest in music... it is horrible...”
Endless Falls, the relatively unremarkable ambient record Loscil released this year, ends on this collaboration with Dan Bejar (Destroyer). Bejar takes Loscil’s disconcerting (but otherwise forgettable) atmospherics as a bed for this impenetrable monologue, never quite giving you a complete frame of reference for what he is talking about but it’s something about the creation of music itself. It reminds me of a captain’s log, like it has been recovered, displaying his final stages of madness. Bejar distorts personal pronouns and shifts in tone from phrase to phrase, sometimes stammering over incorrect grammar but sometimes sounding commanding and terrifying. While usually Loscil’s music doesn’t move me, his subtly changing layers and piano patterns here augment Bejar’s monologue – they work beautifully as a team. I listen to this while I’m wandering round a city and the feeling it gives me is unique.

4) Baths - Palatial Disappointment (aka Iniuria Palace, which is an even more genius title)
“All the classical music in the world cannot read weep as deeply as a broken hearted teenager”

I don’t think it’s too presumptuous to say that you’ve DEFINITELY heard this song and you DEFINITELY loved it

Sometimes I’ll think a song is cool but has one REALLY AWESOME BIT that’s like, a bridge, or the end of a guitar solo or something, and it just doesn’t go on long enough. This song sounds like a bunch of those awesome bits have been stuck together and they last the WHOLE SONG.

“Gimme that night you were already in bed, said ‘fuck it’, got up to drink with me instead”

Shout outs to a few songs which were up online in 2009 that were technically released this year – Los Campesinos! ‘The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future’ & 'There Are Listed Buildings', Big Boi ‘Shine Blockas’, Sleigh Bells ‘Crown on the Ground’, y’all woulda been in my top 10 had I written a list last year.

EDIT: Also gotta give a shout out to Nicki Minaj's verse on 'Monster' by Kanye West for being by far the best bit of an album that's either WAY overhyped, or of which I've completely missed the point