So we all tend to discover some of our favorites of a given year immediately or long after it has passed. I decided to share mine. Despite being the first week of January, I’ve already discovered, revisited, and heard enough albums in a better light (courtesy of my brand new Sennheiser 280‘s) to start a list going. This is the first in a series to unfold for the next month or so. All I know for sure is that this music is at least as worthy of a listen as anything listed in Best of the Rest 2010, or even Best of 2010.
- Forest Swords – Dagger Paths
This album I heard once, the moment it dropped. Despite intriguing me somewhat, it managed to slip to the back of my must list and languished for the rest of the year. Spotting its placement on several highly respectable year-end lists, I felt compelled to give it another chance. So thank you, fellow list makers. Especially my friend at Bubblegum Cage III. What sets this material apart from the beat scene or the solo-psych-project folks – or anyone else for that matter – is the serpentine guitar work and murky, lived-in feel of every moment. Lurching beats dangled around thunderous, bassy guitar melodies and an almost tribal, foot stomping ethos, this (frankly) astounding debut sounds like the work of an accomplished veteran, confidently going out on a limb, then rising, rising, rising. The only direct reference point I have is Gang Gang Dance, live, lately. Don’t look to their records for anything like this; you had to be there. Thankfully that ecstatic experience seems to be just what Forest Swords aims for and achieves on this album.
- How To Dress Well – Love Remains
Honestly, I kept away from this one out of sheer knee-jerk hipster/pitchfork/etc rejection. I shouldn’t have. It’s so much more (and less, in a good way) than what it’s been sold as. Far more psychedelic than any description employing “r&b” infers, it’s a syrupy miasma of primal notions and half-thoughts, the bits and bytes of heartache and longing twisted up in a melting dream logic David Lynch would be proud of. This is drone music for the dance party comedown, dance music for the somnambulist, love songs for the fucked up.
- Shackleton – Fabric 55
So I had the impression that Fabric mixes were simply a series in which an artist makes a DJ mix of other artists work. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re just alright.. but they’re never essential or brilliant like the artist’s own work. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Shackleton mines his own discography, past present and future, using elements of his Three EPs release as thematic glue to bind a striking set of 22 tracks that, to me, is possibly the final word on dubstep as we know it. One listen through and I’m already confident that I’ll be spinning this more than his prior album – and I absolutely LOVE that album. This one is simply more vibrant, active, playful. It shuffles off on an oceanic dub odyssey, seamlessly whirling through almost 80 minutes of depth charge awe. The fact that I ignored this profoundly satisfying set, from a personal favorite artist, makes my head spin.
If you’ve got suggestions for something I may fall in love with, please leave a comment. We all benefit from hindsight. MORE to come…
14 thoughts on “Albums I Missed: 2010”
Can’t believe I slept on that Forest Swords for so long. It’s like The Fall crossed with Burial crossed with Nudge crossed with Scorn crossed with Mordant Music crossed with Moonshake… Currently trying to source a reasonably-priced vinyl copy.
Well I’ve got you to thank for my re-evaluation (just fixed the link) and must say, listening on some good headphones alone at night was the perfect situation to fully embrace that album. How about these other two? Tried them or no?
Think I just scored the last existing reasonably-priced copy of that album. Yay!
Next month, I need to get some Hype Williams on vinyl. And the new Seefeel, of course!
Lucky bugger, guess I’ll have to settle for CD.
Did you notice the similarities to Gang Gang Dance at all? or is it just not apparent on their albums? I mean, he’s murky like their older material but his construction is exacting and centered like their new stuff – and the way the guitar holds the middle throughout it all is something I’ve only heard from these two. Basically it makes me excited for what each will do next…
as for Hype Williams: what do I look for? I got some untitled thing with untitled tracks but haven’t listened yet..
Yeah, I see the GGD thing.
I think the Untitled Hype Williams thing is supposed to be the best. That and What Happens When People Stop Being Polite…
I need to get that Shackleton mix!
Cool I’ll give it a spin today then.
and YES you do need the Shackleton mix. It’s brilliant. A bit easier to crack than his Three EPs, too. Though mainly that’s a function of more active percussion and smaller track times.
First of all, happy new year, and congrats for your great articles!
I’ve discovered lots of good music here, in late 2010’s, so thank you!
I was compelled to reply, so I could share some of my best-of from 2010, not presented so far:
– Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
– The American Dollar – Atlas
– The American Dollar – Ambient 2 [ambient remix of the same songs of “Atlas”]
– The War on Drugs – Future Weather EP
Thanks, I’ll have to check those out. I almost listened to the Tame Impala one but was distracted at the time…
If you haven’t heard Senking’s Pong, I recommend to give it a try. It’s pretty far removed from a lot electronic music I heard last year (in a good way, of course!) and I think it’s something you’d really enjoy =]
Awesome, thank you. I had not heard of that artist at all to be honest! I’ll be giving it a spin.
Forest Swords seems like a really promising EP.
It really, really is. There’s a ‘full length’ version out – it was reissued with two bonus cuts – but I have yet to hear that. I couldn’t imagine the two cuts adding that much to what is already a great album, but I’m sure they’re worthy if the artist thinks so.
dude, i can’t believe that you missed out that shackleton mix!
it’s addictive as hell!
loving the stuff that you post by the way, is there any way that i can send you my music too?
Yes of course you can send me your music. You can contact me here in fact. I think if you click on the name you can send a msg but if that isn’t how it works, then let me know right in these comments ok?