Just Music That I Like’s Twenty Five Favourite Albums of 2010 - Part One

Just Music That I Like’s Twenty Five Favourite Albums of 2010 aka The Best 25 Albums of the Year.

I was originally going to do just a top ten, but there are so many great records this year that I’ve done a top twenty five as I found it impossible not to include a couple of the records here. Though don’t expect to see Kayne, Boi Boi, Janelle and co making an impromptu appearance to make me look cool, I know I'm not.

I’ll release this in five parts due to the length of the posts. 25-21 below, then the next five daily - just to keep you in suspense (or something). Will update links below once posted. Anyone want to comment, speculate, disagree, recommend something better, the feel free to below.

This is by no means a gospel but these are the albums that I have listened to the most this year, those which have made me smile, laugh, relax. In a nutshell my favourite albums of 2010. So without any more waffle:

Direct Links to Albums: 25 - 21 // 20 - 16 // 15 - 11 // 10 - 6 // 5 - 1

25. Scary Mansion – Made Me Cry
http://scarymansion.tumblr.com/ 

Order // Criminally overlooked on release at the start of 2010 ‘Made me Cry’ is Leah Hayes’ second album recorded as Scary Mansion.

No Law kicks off proceedings brilliantly, a lively and engaging start with layers of reverb, explosive synths and guitars.

Hayes' voice is an appealing one, naturally fragile, its breathy sincerity works more majestically well on energetic songs like “Scum Inside” (a more urgent re-working from Scary Mansion’s debut). Its heart achingly beautiful in places; “On My Mind” is a poignant piano led track and a definite highlight, although I’m not sure there is a need for the prolonged silence that follows it before closure.

‘Make Me Cry’ is a melancholic joy that flows from start to finish wonderfully well, at only nine tracks it’s all too fleeting a trip, but is worthy of much higher praise and acclaim that it's received to date.

Previously: Scary Mansion covered Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” with amazing effect, you can hear it here, as well as a more (for me) in-different cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” too.

Listen:
Scary Mansion - No Law by morrisday

Watch:



24. Sharon Van Etten - Epic

www.sharonvanetten.com/

Order // Epic shows a more varied range of styles to Sharon Van Etten's debut LP. Lyrically the overriding feeling is that of love and heartbreak, dealing with the aftermath of a romantic break-up. However, instead of turning into a sad, defeated victim the lyrics show signs of strength and resilience.

The biggest strength of the album is in the vocals, throughout they are simply stunning, Sharon's husky gorgeous voice goes through an amazing range of over the course of the album, melancholy folk, up-tempo alt-country, pure driven pop, rock and even a little experimental all within half an hour.

"Peace Sign" the most urgent track and carries a political anti-war statement housed as a rock song, the country-tinged "Save Yourself" would fit straight into any Nashville barroom.

Though 'Epic' is pretty short for a full length record at just seven songs and half an hour in length, it does save the best tracks for the later half of the record. The highlights for me are the instantly accessible "Don't Do It" along with the bluesy feel of "One Day" and finally "Love More" which closes the LP with a slow burning harrowing beauty of a song full of shimmering harmonium and heartbreak with a wonderful emotional climax.

Full of emotion and sentiment 'Epic' is beautifully crafted, the seven songs capture different moods and highlight the amazing talents of Sharon.

Listen:
Sharon Van Etten - Don't Do It by morrisday


Watch:


23. Zazie Von Einem Anderen Stern – regen:tropfen
www.myspace.com/zazievoneinemanderenstern

Order // Zazie Von Einem Anderen Stern; the name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but the German "unconventional" classical pianist has produced a stunning debut album entitled 'regen:tropfen' (rain:drops)..

Now classical music is not my thing at all, and I mean at all, let alone one where the few vocal tracks are in German. However, this is quite astonishing.

From start to finish you are transported on a wholly emotive and absorbing journey, I love albums that are a complete experience and "regen:tropfen" is just that, no quick singular download from iTunes here.

Essentially the tracks are piano based melancholic compositions. There are times when you hear loads of weird noises and sounds, such as birds / traffic / babies and the like, then also random German speech but the sound of the piano heard almost throughout brings it all together and makes each track really beautiful, the themes are melancholy without doubt but also endearing and blissful.

I have absolutely no idea what Zazie is saying (I did Spanish at school!) but the vocal tracks are fragile, delicate and to simply sum this whole experience up, wonderful.

Listen:
Zazie Von Einem Anderen Stern - regentropfen by morrisday

22. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening


Order // LCD Soundsystem’s work has always been hit and miss for me, this the third album is the most consistent yet (although I know I’m in a minority there), it sits amongst a genre I’m not particularly fond of, but James Murphy sure knows how to make you dance.

 Disco-rock, dance-punk I’m not sure how to pigeonhole it, but ‘This is Happening’ works well for numerous reasons. The ‘Heroes’ esque “All I Want” is a fantastic ballad, if musically that similar to the Bowie classic that I can’t believe the lawyers haven’t come knocking. The punchy, amusing “Drunk Girls” and the bouncy “Pow Pow” are dance-floor friendly anthems. “Dance Yrself Clean” takes far too long to get going, but once it does the payback is worth it.

Those highs are certainly enough to make this a likeable dance album.

Listen:
LCD Soundsystem - Pow Pow by morrisday
Watch:


 21. Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Rivers

Order // Why it took me until the release of the release of the Iris EP to fall for Wildbirds & Peacedrums is one of life’s mysteries. Rivers, their third release is the first that deviates from the duo’s impressive percussion and voice combination.
The first half of Rivers sees them joined by an entire choir which adds an eerie, religious sound to the trademark steel-pan military drumming and Miriam’s exquisite voice. That voice, it’s simply unbelievable in its power.
There are some captivating almost medieval moments, the echoing, ritualistic chants during “Fight For Me” create a brutal, tribal call that could almost have you cowering under your bed. “Peeling of the Layers” is on the other hand a beautiful experience, the military drumbeats and the voice one of real understated beauty.
The second half is more minimal and the results are gorgeous, hushed and tranquil “The Drop” stands out as an incredible performance. The steel drum evident throughout on the cohesive ‘Iris’ side, it’s most upbeat moment is on "The Well".
Like so many of my favourite artists, W&P are even more spectacular live. If you’ve not seen some of the videos I’ve posted previously make sure you do, even better go and see them next time they are in town.
Previously: Wildbirds & Peacedrums archive for links to some amazing videos from the band, a couple of live sessions and more.

Listen:
Watch:


Direct Links to Albums: 25 - 21 // 20 - 16 // 15 - 11 // 10 - 6 // 5 - 1