Bon Iver – Bon Iver
If you caught Vernon live after For Emma, you gradually saw him putting more and more emphasis on his band, moving Bon Iver from that solitary project into something that felt more like the work of a group. And Bon Iver, with its rich and layered arrangements, extends that development in a striking direction that’s both logical and surprising. Blending natural instrumentation supplied by recruited players– such as string arranger Rob Moose (Antony and the Johnsons, the National, Arcade Fire) and a horn/woodwind section that includes versatile saxophonist Colin Stetson– with an array of electronic and treated sounds, the album combines varied textures in ways that are ambitious and unusual but often subtle enough to miss on first glance. Read the full review on Pitchfork
Jeff The Brotherhood – We are the Champions
For a raw rock combo that in their early days seemed singularly committed simply to sweet riffs and rousing energy, on Champions JEFF prove themselves through a confident embrace of dynamics — stretching the boundaries of their economical ensemble past the brink, with thrilling results.
Sure, the primal, in-your-face energy is still there and potent as ever — the breakneck, jackhammer hi-hat and pummeling power chords of “Cool Out” will transport you to a Trans Am speeding at 90 mph down the darkest of highways while you pass a spliff to your shotgun-rider and rigor mortis begins to overtake the body in your trunk. “Shredder” relentlessly shells the listener with an assailment of head-bangin’, top-shelf Sabbath and Motörhead riffs that more than befits its name. And that’s almost nothing compared to the will-make-you-start-punching-people-uncontrollably-if-you’re-not-careful stoner-rock tour-de-force “Ripper” that follows a few tracks later. Read the full review on Nashville Scene
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator
Here’s another perfect balance: Susan Tedeschi, whose soulful voice can handle blues and ballads with equal, rich ease, and Derek Trucks, her husband and certainly the best slide guitar player on the scene. Both have been leading separate bands during the first ten years of their marriage. But now the couple has joined forces, writing together and melding their groups into a single, 11-piece all-star band. The first recording by the Tedeschi Trucks Band blends wonderful, natural performances with great songs. Ideal balance. Revelator is outstanding in the extreme. Read the full review on PopMatters
We love a good challenge, we know you do too (you wonder why we’re always moving the sections around…to keep you on your toes.) Well, here’s another one for you, intrepid pure pop fans – guess the top 10 selling albums for 2010 here at Pure Pop Records in proper order, and win a 15$ gift certificate. It’s that simple. We’re even gonna make it easier for you and give you a pool of 30 potential artist/albums to choose from. Submit your numbered titled list on The facebook to be entered into the competition.
Choose your top 10 from the following 30
(these are in alphabetical order.)
Arcade Fire – Suburbs
Avett Brothers – I & Love & You
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
Beach House – Teen Dream
Black Keys – Brothers
Broken Bells – Self Titled
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Deerhunter – Halycon Digest
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
Go Go Bordello – Trans-continental Hustle
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I learned the Hard Way
Ray Lamonagne – God Willin’ and the Creek don’t rise
LCD SoundSystem – This is Happening
MGMT – Congratulations
Anais Mitchell – Hades Town
Mumford & Sons – Sigh no More
The National – High Violet
New Pornographers – Together
Joanna Newsom – Have one on me
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – Self Titled
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
The Roots – How i got over
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up from Below
She & Him – Vol. 2
Spoon – Transference
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
xx – Self Titled
1)The Black Keys – “Brothers”
I hadn’t heard of this band in till this year. My friend made me listen to “tighten up” and i fell in love with this band. I Can’t Believe its just two guys. Its not one of those cds were you like a couple of songs and skip the rest, you fall for every song.
2)Mumford and son – “Sigh No More”
The unique sound and amazing lyrics make it one of my new favorite CD’s.
3)Weezer – “Hurley” Switching labels was the best thing they could have done. This definitely makes up for Raditude. They came back to their amazing sound rather then the stupid pop rock they did on that last album also “memories” is an amazing song.
4)Band Of Horses – Infinite arms
3 years spent waiting well worth it! Ben Bridwell’s voice makes this album and this band amazing.The song “on my way back to you” gives me chills every time.
5)Warpaint – “The Fool”
Haven’t really heard anything like them before. Love “set your arms down”. Best female Rockers around!
6)Two door cinema club – tourist history” This album is amazing. Alex Trimble vocals are so good!
7)Ra Ra Riot- “the orchard”
Kind of a mixture of death cab for cutie and vampire weekend.
8)Big Echo-”big echo”
you can tell they really poured their heart and soul into this album
9)Arcade Fire – “The suburbs”
10)American Bang.”wild and young” perfect road trip song!
It’s bloody hard to go twelve months in new music without finding something that you dig, but 2010 was an especially good twelve months. For me anyway. Grand statements aside, it was much harder to narrow this year down to ten of my favorite releases than it was last year. So here we go with some honorable mentions:
I spent a good amount of time on a few mega releases. Beach House‘s Teen Dream leaked last November and still sort of feels like a 2009 joint rather than something out of this year. The duo cleaned off their basement haze pop dynamic into something all together shiny with beautifully minimal guitar and organ melodies, but Vitoria Lagrand’s voice, which was decidedly bigger than previous releases, is what really set things apart for Beach House this year. Arcade Fire‘s The Suburbs happened. The record is huge and, for better or worse, it’s Arcade Fire (for better). Deerhunter‘s new record continues to push the group into indie dominance. I don’t really have much more to say about Holcyon Digest other than, just listen to those saxes on “Coronado” or the wordless chorus on “Revival” or the rhythm jam on “Memory Boy.” Sufjan Stevens returned to relevancy with two amazing releases–All Delighted People EP and Age of Adz–both shamelessly indulging in their unending pastiche of wondrous intricacy–Sufjan ever leading his army of musicians into the territory of beautiful inapplicability. Except when it’s just him whispering softly into your ear.
My number 10 spot was especially competitive this year. Here’s what didn’t quite make the list but you should check out anyway because they’re pretty good: Twin Shadow‘s Forget was a pretty pleasant pop music surprise. The record is a sharp playlist of synthpop songs with a contemporary fondness for the 1980s. Darkstar‘s North found an endearing place between synthpop’s immediacy and dubstep’s negative space. The group’s label, Hyperdub, certainly seemed busy this past year. Perfume Genius‘s Learning was another surprise, and a pretty special record, being a collection of ten highly affecting lo-fi piano tunes. Lo-fi in the right sense too, in that it feels and sounds like it was found by chance somewhere forgotten and dusty. Australia’s Tame Impala with their debut, Innerspeaker, created some analog psych-pop that sounds drenched in 1960s summer sun. Salem led the mid-year witch house (or whatever it’s called) charge with King Night and their blend of chopped and screwed hip-hop with heavy graveyard dream pop. But enough. Needless to say, it was an amazing year. On to the list:
10. Prince Rama – Shadow Temple / The Body – All The Waters of The Earth Shall Turn To Blood (Tie)
A tie (okay, so it’s not quite down to ten). I wrestled endlessly between these two, but it’s a fitting tie. Shadow Temple is a very straight forward record, unlike a lot of pseudo-experimental psychedelic rock records these days that get too bogged down with esoteric indulgences. Prince Rama aims to create a swirling wall of sound formed by synthesizers, guitars, chants, and wordless vocals, all propelled by ceremonial tribal percussion. And it does that. With great success owed to it’s momentous energy, distant melody, and a perfect balance of all these elements to leave the listener breathless on the edge of whatever state of transcendence the group creates in the record’s thirty-five minute span. The Body finds their own form of transcendence on All The Waters… (as apocalyptic and metal as it sounds) in a primal slow freak-out brand of sludge that combines classic downtuned droney riffs and cathartic “holy-shit” banshee screams with a layer of careful experimentalism made up of femm choirs, guttural throat chanting, and string arrangements that never get in the way of the devastatingly crushing noise.
9. James Blake – Klavierwerke EP
James Blake was a busy lad this year and he deserves some kind of recognition for it. Three very strong EPs all of which showed great diversity and a sense of linear evolution from clubby dubstep into something altogether unique, ending with a cover of Feist’s “Limit Your Love,” which points forward to a pop, vocal-based direction for the young Englishman. Klavierwerke is the third in the string of EPs and easily the strongest. The Bell Sketch and CMYK are both arguably dance crossovers, whereas Klavierwerke exists firmly between your noggin as a headphones-destined kind of record. It’s so minimal in places it’s almost cocky. James Blake gets constant props for his unique use of pitch-shifted vocal samples, but the element of his sound that struck me most, especially on this record, is how powerful his use of negative space, that often descends into flat out silence, can be.
8. Scuba – Triangulation
This year dubstep turned into post-dubstep and post-dubstep turned back into dubstep until that turned back into just being general electronic music maybe and then no one cared. I did a full review of this record for Purepop back in September and it has only continued to grow on me. Scuba’s Triangulation is the essential isolated-nighttime record of 2010, basically destined for some personal midnight walking choreography. As danceable as it is meditative, Scuba’s production is full of momentum and atmosphere, and there’s enough attention to detail to impress the most nerdy of production nerds.
7. Zola Jesus – Stridulum EP
Zola Jesus didn’t quite hit it big this year, but the two EP’s she released in 2010 has her, in my mind, destined for something great if she can follow them up with an appropriate full-lenth LP. She’s only 21, for one. And otherwise, she has a pretty distinguished voice that’s touted as operatically trained, and press aside, it is huge and gorgeous. Then there’s the music simply being damn affecting for some reason. It’s made up of overlapping synth melodies drowning in a thick wash of gothic black reverb. The drums and lyrics are perfectly simple. All to create a uniquely thick and immediate sound.
6. Teebs – Ardour
Ardour sounds like a record of beautifully musical found-sound. It’s a perfectly organic album that’s offset by its beautiful melodies of sparkling shimmering percussive samples with the right amount of Brainfeeder-style drum programming to weigh it down. Teebs seems anxious to show his audience glimpses of an aural paradise he’s discovered and brought back with him only to rough it up with huge kick drums and offbeat snare. It helps the songs barely ever cross the three minute mark, creating a sort of naturalistic flow that’s been pieced together with as much delicacy as which it was discovered.