December 10, 2010
One of my passions is discovering and sharing new music.
It can be indie-rock, nu-jazz, eletronica-pop, funk or even country. But it has to be *new* and embody the zeitgeist of what's going on in the world. That's why I love the CMJ charts, Pitchfork and Good Records. They track what's hot (either in college or for hipsters) and along with collaborative services like Pandora, Amazon and Apple Genius ... I have a great collection of records to choose from.
I'll listen to a few tracks of each, and usually buy a track to drop into my "New 2010" playlist. When I like a track, then another, I purchase it, usually at a store like Freakdaddy Records in Sherman Oaks. Sometimes I grab it from Amazon. The CD goes into driving-around rotation. I look for records that have a lot of great songs OR tell a story either sonically or lyrically. In many cases, the band/artist has a great song (such as Empathy by Crystal Castles or Dominos by Big Pink). In rare cases, the CD is so good -- it's an album!
Each year, using this system, I find about two dozen GREAT records. From that pile, I compile my top 10. I personally guarantee each one to rock your socks.
1 - Brothers by The Black Keys. This is the record of 2010. It showcases their gritty funky, yet highly danceable side. This is the soundtrack for any rock party you want to throw.
2 - Astro Coast by Surfer Blood. This Palm Beach FLA band has the oomph of Silversun Pickups with the tunesmith power of Wheezer. Top CD in rotation in my car this year.
3 - Wilderness Heart by Black Mountain. This band combines a southern feel with the bluesy-psychedelic side of Led Zeppelin.
4 - There Is Love In You by Four Tet. Best electronica record of 2010. Throw this into the Folktronica pile, alongside a brooding Chemical Brothers or the Underworld. Track 2 KILLS.
5 - Permalight by Rogue Wave. Best collection of songs I've heard all year. He's not just a great writer, he's got the indie-hook thing down to a science. Sing along hipster rock.
6 - Plastic Beach by Gorillaz. Wow, this combo has honed their style into it's own funk-jazz-hip hop genre. The strongest collection of tracks they've offered yet.
7 - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks by Frightened Rabbit. This Glasgow three piece plays with an emotional urgency that makes me miss Big Country or Cactus World News.
8 - Budos Band III. Best instrumental record of the last few years - funky, jazzy and shake-your-booty party music. Think War meets De Phazz by way of East L.A. Party soundtrack!
9 - Sisterworld by Liars. What a dark, but lovely hard rock record. The lead singer is crazy, but the band is remarkably methodical. Think Jesus Lizard, early NIN or even Cop Shoot Cop.
10 - Mixed Race by Tricky. The king of trip-hop is back and his tracks are better than ever. He's matured a ton, but at the same time, re-captured his bounce and edge. If you liked Massive Attack's last attempt, you will LOVE Mixed Race.