This post is coming a few days behind schedule (I've explained - French orals! The horror...) but I wanted to have a quick look back at the first quarter of 2010 so far. It's hard to believe that we are aready into April but there has been some fantastic releases so far, both in terms of albums and singles. I'm gonna post my favourites below and I hope that if you missed any of my tips you can check them out - or perhaps give me a push towards the stuff that I have missed out on!
As for conditions for inclusion... Simply be on an album released between January 1st and March 31st 2010, or be available as a download between this time (this is relevant for the individual tracks rather than the albums)
5. The Morning Benders: Big Echo
A fantastic record this one. Reminds me a little of Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix from last year in the sense that it is a pretty straight forward alternative rock album. Best tracks are 'Excuses' and 'Promises'.
4. Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire
Fionn is doing his level best to stick to the Dylan-esque career mapped in front of him. This record takes a more electronic approach than his debut, but retains the folk intimacy that made it so essential. Check out 'Catacombs'.
3. Hot Chip: One Life Stand
The record that finally delivered on what was promised for so long. More consistent than the previous three, album number four is bursting with killer electronic songs that are destined to wind up in the same bracket of indie-pop classic as the likes of 'Ready for the Floor' and 'Over and Over'. Get your hands on 'Thieves in the Night' and the two singles, 'I Feel Better' and the title track for a hint of how good this one really is.
2. Yeasayer: Odd Blood
When reviewing this, I claimed that nothing better would be released this year (I was wrong, but only just!) and many have agreed with me. A stunning step forward for Chris Keating et al, showcasing what true psychedelic and creative indie can sound like - MGMT take note following the dull Congratulations. Animal Collective set the bar a stunning height last year, and its tough to see if anyone will ever come as close as Yeasayer to matching it. 'ONE', 'Madder Red' and 'Ambling Alp' are my three favourites but I cannot stress how essential this record is!
1. James Vincent McMorrow: Early In The Morning
Comparisons with Bon Iver have dogged reviews and understandibly so, though Mr. McMorrow has so much on show here. A true gent, he provides what will inevitably be a footnote in terms of Irish folk in years to come. A jaw-dropping mix of intimate vocals and Fleet Foxes-y guitars, I actually find it difficult to comprehend how a gem such as this has remained largely hidden in the musical landscape of this country. Do whatever you can to get your hands on it and check him out in the live arena - this is a must have at any cost.
Close But No Cigar...
Beach House, Laura Marling, Gorillaz, Broken Bells and more...
I had to amend the rules slightly for this section. I have opted to limit the tracks to one per band or this would just have been overrun by tracks from the above releases. So this may not be an accurate reflection on the best tracks of the year, just a brief look at some of the highlights - and, above all, the bands that are essential to check out.
15. She & Him: In The Sun, from Volume Two
14. Midlake: Acts of Man, from The Courage of Others
13. Gorillaz: White Flag, from Plastic Beach
12. Vampire Weekend: Giving Up the Gun, from Contra
11. Laura Marling: Devil's Spoke, from I Speak Because I Can
10. Fionn Regan: Catacombs, from The Shadow of an Empire
09. The Morning Benders: Excuses, from Big Echo
08. Broken Bells: The High Road, from Broken Bells
07. Villagers: Becoming A Jackal, from Becoming A Jackal
06. Beach House: Norway, from Teen Dream
05. Hot Chip: Thieves in the Night, from One Life Stand
04. James Vincent McMorrow: Sparrow & The Wolf, from Early in the Morning
03. Yeasayer: O.N.E., from Odd Blood
02. The National: Bloodbuzz Ohio, from High Violet (MP3 Available on the National's official site on March 25th)
01. Broken Social Scene: World Sick, from Forgiveness Rock Record (MP3 Available on Broken Social Scene's Official Site)
C'est ca! I hope I could give offer you something that you haven't heard already. Feel free to comment, vent or point in the direction of something more suitable please!
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.