Wax Off’s Best of 2010 Lists
While everyone else gets their list out in July, we like to absorb the entire year before we go through our list. Anything on here that you’re unfamiliar with? We suggest you check it out!
Travis’s Top 15 Non-Wax Off Tracks of 2010 (w/ links to listen online)
- Sunday Afternoon: The Black Angels- Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)
- I Feel Better: Hot Chip- One Life Stand (Parlophone)
- A More Perfect Union: Titus Andronicus- The Monitor (XL Recordings)
- Odessa: Caribou- Swim (Merge)
- Bloodbuzz Ohio: The National- High Violet (4AD)
- Swim: Surfer Blood- Astro Coast (Kanine Records)
- Let Them Go: Action Makes- Eponymous (Optical Sounds)
- I Don’t Love You No More: Kings Go Forth- The Outsiders Are Back (Luaka Bop)
- Waiting: Rough Francis- Introducing…ROUGH FRANCIS (Unsigned)
- Fot i hose: Casiokids- Topp Stemning Pa Lokal Bar (Polyvinyl)
- I Was Denied: Thee Oh Sees- Warm Slime (In The Red)
- Goodbye Sweet Dreams: Roky Erickson & Okkervil River- True Love Cast Out All Evil (Anti-)
- Converter: Helio Sequence- Helio Sequence/Menonmena Record Store Day 7″ (City Slang/Barsuk)
- Lying Around: Magic Bullets- Lying Around 7″ (Mon Amie)
- Answer To Yourself: The Soft Pack- Eponymous (Kemado)
DJ Renton’s Top 15 Non-Wax Off Albums of 2010 (In no particular order)
- Sleigh Bells – Treats (Mom + Pop) – This duo started off the year with a completely distorted, love-em-or-hate-em tour-only EP and finished it up with a great full-length on M.I.A.s new label. While their live act leaves plenty to be desired (a la Jessica Simpson’s appearance on SNL), there’s no denying the sounds they’ve programmed in the studio.
- Titus Andronicus – The Monitor (XL) – Epic. Their best yet.
- The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack (Kemado Records) – Their first proper full-length, this San Diego-based quartet released this collection of polished garage rock in January. For some reason, these guys remind me of what the Violent Femmes would have sounded like if they grew up in the late-90s.
- Liars – Sisterworld (Mute) – The latest release from Liars is a hypnotic blend of uncompromising noise and atmospheric moods that set the stage for their unique style of artistic sonic creep. At times it seems like they are trying to suffocate the listener with dissonant layers of noise churned out of the instruments they happen to be attacking. Conversely, there are moments defined by a single haunting organ note accompanied by sub-sonic bass blasts and melancholy vocals. While it is hard to ascribe a single style to Liars latest, ‘paranoid tension’ seems to be the common thread that binds all eleven of these movements together. Need more proof? Look no further than here.
- Tanlines – Settings EP (True Panther Sounds) – Easily one of the catchiest EPs of the year, Tanlines integrate Latin beats and 80s vibes in this 6-song intro.
- Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – I Learned the Hard Way (Daptone Records) – The voice, the horns and the soul. Damn.
- Sage Francis – Li(f)e (Anti-) – The latest from indie-hip hop artist Sage Francis finds him collaborating with members of Califone, Death Cab, Sparklehorse and Grandaddy among others to create moments that are less “street” and more “countrified Americana”. Despite a more guitar/drum-oriented approach to the music, his angst-ridden and confrontational lyrics are front and center. He’s a solid storyteller when it comes to topics as sensitive/provocative as growing up an outsider, organized religion and failing relationships. The best track also comes neatly packaged in a video that made me think of Tool for the first time in a decade – check it out.
- Black Keys – Brothers (nonesuch) – By now you’ve heard these guys in commercials for everything from Cadillacs to hemorrhoid cream. They’ve taken the Delta Blues into the 21st century, giving it a flair that only way two dudes from Ohio could do. A classic.
- Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards (Third Man Records) – It’s not all about Jack White, but if it was you might agree with me that this is his best release in the last six years or so. My interest in this was high from the moment they webcast 24 hours of this album streaming – from vinyl.
- Robert Lester Folsom – Music and Dreams (Mexican Summer) – A 70s AM radio classic, unknown until now, reissued by the aural geniuses at Mexican Summer. One of their strongest LPs of the year, and that says ALOT considering the wealth of great sounds this NY label put out. You can read more about the interesting back story of this release here.
- Vampire Weekend – Contra (XL) – A sophomore release that does anything BUT slump. Hook-filled, manic pop tunes with an afrobeat style they may or may not have ripped straight from the grooves of Paul Simon’s Graceland LP. If anything, they gave that style a new breath of life. In my opinion, a better release than their stellar debut.
- Best Coast – Crazy for You (Mexican Summer) - Let’s face it, late-2009 and all of 2010 were the “year of bedroom lo-fi”. Plenty of acts, a majority from the left coast, hitched their wagons to this sound, but no one made it more enjoyable to listen to than Best Coast. A suitable addition to one of the best songs (and videos) of the year – their first single “When I’m With You”. Almost made me want to be a teenager again.
- The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon) - The brooding psych-rock of this group is refined on their 3rd LP, which also carries on the tradition of matching the sounds with seizure-inducing cover art that is best experienced in LP form. At the moment, there are a number of bands mining this classic sound – but no one has mastered it like this band from the Lone Star State has.
- Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St. (Universal) – A 2xLP set that has opened my eyes to the Stones like no other record could have. Sure, I’ve heard all the others, but not in the way that this remastered edition made me listen. Despite the ridiculous price tag, I’m looking forward to the next reissue from the Stones vault.
- Syl Johnson – Complete Mythology (Numero Group) – This 6xLP, 4xCD set of Johnson’s 60s and 70s output is hands down the one release in this entire list EVERYONE should own. Very few of the 81 tracks included on this set do not surpass the bar set by James Brown, Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield. A strong statement – I know. That’s why I stated it. Why is it that you are still reading this and not purchasing a copy at this very moment?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 11:16 pm and is filed under Album Review, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.