Okay, it’s simple, these are my personal picks from what’s been a great year for music. There’s been so many wonderful records throughout 2010 which made this a pretty arduous task to be honest.
Right, that’s enough waffling – Drum roll please – Here it is the ‘Barrygruff Albums of 2010’.
30 Deerhunter – ‘Halcyon Digest’
29 The Black Keys – ‘Brothers’
28 The Hot Rats – ‘Turn Ons’
27 Manic Street Preachers – ‘Postcards Of A Young Man’
26 These New Puritans – ‘Hidden’
25 The Mighty Stef – ‘TMS & The Baptists’
24 Fionn Regan – ‘The Shadow Of An Empire’
23 Shit Robot – ‘From The Cradle To The Rave’
22 Captain Moonlight – ‘On The Lough (Agroculture Pt 3)’
21 The Bees – ‘Every Step’s A Yes’
20 Arcade Fire – ‘Suburbs’
19 The Futureheads – ‘The Chaos’
18 Blood Red Shoes – ‘Fire Like This’
17 Caribou – ‘Swim’
16 The Like – ‘Release Me’
15 Max Tannone – ‘Mos Dub’
New York producer Max Tannone’s spell binding mash-up album pits Mos Def’s intelligent and insightful political lyrics with the feel good vibes and rhythms of old school reggae and dub cuts. This is nothing short of genius.
14 The Chemical Brothers – ‘Further’
The Brothers Chemical returned from the brink with this one. They rediscovered their independence, blew away the cobwebs and started again. The result? A more patient album free from the pressure of big name collaborations which concentrated on doing what they do best, making great dance tunes. They haven’t gone away you know.
13 We Are Animal – ‘Idolise’
We Are Animal are a curious 5-piece from N. Wales who wrote and recorded their album in households, slate quarries, fields and woods around their locality. This DIY attitude helped conjure up something rather exciting, original and organic – a curious mix of eccentricity, buzzing guitars, pummeled drums and Rapture-esque disco-punk, often sounding like a dancier Super Furry Animals.
12 Johnny Flynn – ‘Been Listening’
Flynn continues to outshine almost all his folk contemporaries, we find him in a sombre mood sounding wise beyond his years. There’s no happy-clappy folk pastiche on offer here, rather superb songwriting with stirring, heartwarming and sombre folk music. A solid follow-up to 2008’s A Larum, marginally fails to surpass his former achievements.
11 Röyksopp – ‘Senior’
Dubbed as “the introvert and darker sibling who lives in the attic” to last years quirky, jolly and bouncy dance record. In reality Senior is more of an afterhours record than a club floor filler as they scale effervescent and melancholic synthesized soundscapes.
10 Two Door Cinema Club – ‘Tourist History’
Every year needs a ‘party’ album and the Bangor three-piece duly obliged, releasing this solid and tight debut album. Tourist History is brimming with energetic cheery indie tunes and at just over 30 minutes it doesn’t over stay its welcome.
09 Tu-Ki – ‘Pre:Seed’
It’s not exactly an album, but an amazing mixtape from four-time Irish DMC champion and winner of the 2007 Molvida World Mixing Championships, DJ Tu-Ki. All that aside, this is exemplary stuff which pays particular homage to old school electro and hip-hop which are also represented on this 80 minute jaunt.
08 The Rags – ‘A National Light’
Certainly worth the wait, it’s refreshing to find a band unafraid to deal with the everyday sociopolitical issues of modern Ireland. The beautiful poetic lyrics in particular draw parallels with The Libertines and The Smiths. You might not always agree with what they say, but like so many great song writers The Rags bear their soul to the world.
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett put together another wonderfully enchanting album full of synths, brass, hip-hop beats and cartoon grooves. Originally touted as a ‘pop album’, it takes quite sometime to get to grips with but it’s worth the work. It does help when you have the likes of Mos Def, Mark E. Smith, Lou Reed and half of The Clash with you but, Albarn is still the key.
06 LCD Soundsystem – ‘This Is Happening’
Apparently this is the third and final installment of the LCD Soundsystem project from James Murphy & Co. There’s A real feeling of deja vu on this record – touches of Bowie, Iggy Pop, Gary Numan not to mention that now renowned distinctive LCD sound; stylish and slick electro, thuddish synth lines with a post-punk attitude. A great way to bring the curtain down on this project.
05 Holy Fuck – ‘Latin’
They continue to carve out a unique niche for themselves, making brilliant electro without the safety net of loops, laptops or programmed backing tracks. Their sound is like nothing else around. Latin is tighter, leaner and funkier than any of its predecessors, yet somehow seemed to be ignored by many.
04 Villagers – ‘Becoming A Jackal’
An album of sheer depth, sincerity, honesty and quality song writing. It’s clear from the first listen this isn’t just ‘another album’. There is a perfect balance of styles intricately woven to create an album of raw power and delicacy – acoustic melancholy done right.
03 Tame Impala – ‘Innerspeaker’
Australia is hardly synonymous with warm fuzzy psychedelia but Tame Impala changed our minds. An album of beautiful sunshine vibes, meandering melodies and raw fuzzy hooks and riffs. Kevin Parkers eerie vocals are a charm and meet every melodic turn or rhythmic surge. It has a slightly vintage feel yet manages to remain fresh, vibrant and alive; no mean feat at all.
02 Akala – ‘DoubleThink’
Inspired by dystopian novels such as George Orwell’s ’1984′ album #3 is more experimental and forward thinking. It reaffirmed Akala’s position as one of the most articulate, intelligent and talented MC’s on the planet. Every breath is utilised to sound his insightful and meaningful message, sometimes agitated, angry, hopeful but always passionate, clear and brutally honest.
01 The Coral – ‘Butterfly House’
The Merseyside quintet were another band to seemingly return from the brink in 2010 to deliver arguably their best, most complete album yet. There was no surprises, still the signature fusion of 60′s psychedelia, folk and rock. The record is delivered with a reassuring air of calm and confidence, lots of sumptuous hooks and lush melodies, topped off by Skelly’s rich and distinctive vocals. A triumphant return from one of the most unlikely candidates for album of the year.