Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To make a long story longer...

Part 2 in the continuing saga of really good albums that didn't make my Top 20, leaving people to wonder what exactly did crack the list...

Exploding Star Orchestra - Stars Have Shapes (Delmark)

Two years ago, their collaboration with the late, great Bill Dixon made the longlist. While this star doesn't burn quite as bright as that one did, it's still a beautiful piece of free jazz and avant-garde composition.

Foals - Total Life Forever (Sub Pop)

While I enjoyed their debut, Antidotes, I was pleasantly surprised by what a step forward this young Oxford, UK band took on their sophomore effort.

Four Tet - There Is Love In You (Domino)

Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) is one of those guys I usually keep a spot open for on a year-end list when I know he has a new record coming out - dude is super prolific and always makes compelling / interesting records. There Is Love In You was another one of those ones I'm still flummoxed about not including in the 20...

Freelance Whales - Weathervanes (Frenchkiss)

Great band with a great record I wrote about in the summer.

Future Islands - In Evening Air (Thrill Jockey)

It's not enough that Baltimore has Camden Yards and a series like The Wire? They've gotta go and produce great bands like Future Islands?

Ghostkeeper - Ghostkeeper (Flemish Eye)

Always interesting when a band goes the self-titled route for an album other than their debut... is THIS the record they want to be most closely identified with, the statement of what they're all about?

Gianna Lauren - Some Move Closer, Some Move On (Forward Music Group)

I had the good fortune of having Haligonian Gianna Lauren stop by the UMFM studio to perform an intimate acoustic set. It was a little like this video.

Grimes - Geidi Primes / Halfaxa (Arbutus)

Grimes releases two fantastic records in the space of a year? Is she the female Bradford Cox?

Hadouk Trio - Air Hadouk (Naive)

2010 was a great year for new jazz records and Hadouk Trio was a great discovery for me. Paul Nolin, if you're reading this, consider Hadouk Trio for the 2011 Jazz Winnipeg festival!

Hannah Georgas - This Is Good (Hidden Pony)

Hannah was Canada' indie darling du jour in 2010. I missed her WECC show, but by all accounts I should have been there.

Hidden Orchestra - Night Walks (Tru Thoughts)

Tru Thoughts is one of those labels I mention at the dinner table on Thanksgiving because I'm thankful every year it's in existence.

Horse Feathers - Thistled Spring (Kill Rock Stars)

Their last album, House With No Home, made the 2009 Longlist. This is the beginning of a trend for Horse Feathers.

How To Dress Well - Love Remains (Lefse Records)

Former Twin Cities resident Tom Krell moved from Brooklyn to Cologne, Germany. Those 3 cities are key to explaining How To Dress Well: Prince funk + indie lo-fi + German electronic music = Love Remains.

Hundred In The Hands - Hundred In The Hands(Warp)

Like Chairlift last year, I feel pretty certain this is one of those picks I'm going to end up hearing in Old Navy on their in-store playlist.

J57 - Digital Society (Balanced)

I mentioned Brace in Pt.1, J57 was someone he put me on to.

Junip - Fields (Mute)

First thought on hearing Fields, "This is like a more muscular Jose Gonzalez record". Oh wait, it is.

Konono No.1 - Assume Crash Position (Crammed)

Looking for a video of Konono No.1, I found these guys. Not as entertaining as Assume Crash Position, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Land Of Talk - Cloak & Cipher (Saddle Creek)

I was going to post the official video, but I love La Blogotheque's Takeaway shows.

Les Savy Fav - Root For Ruin (Frenchkiss)

These guys attack their songs with reckless abandon.

Library Voices - Denim On Denim (Young Soul Records)

These guys and gals are such a fun band - their music is fun, their performances are fun, and it's evident from Denim On Denim, that they enjoy it as much as their audiences.

Light Pollution - Apparitions (Carpark)

Like if a 2010 version of the Beach Boys went into the studio to record Pet Sounds while on quaaludes. Which is not to say that the Beach Boys weren't on quaaludes in 1966...

Mass Choir - Live My Life On The Backbeat (Independent)

I think Mass Choir's one-sheet referred to this as sounding like Dance Mix '94. I can't find my cassette copy of that album, but listening to this song, it's evoking some serious musical memories.

Find more artists like Mass Choir at Myspace Music

Matthew Dear - Black City (Ghostly International)

Suitably dark for an album called Black City, this is a sonic trip.

Maylee Todd - Choose Your Own Adventure (Do Right)

This record is all over the place, but in the best sense of the term.

Melaena Cadiz - Rattle The Windows (Independent)

This is one of those little records I haven't seen many people talking about, but which stuck with me since it arrived at the station in June. Cadiz has a fantastic voice and she pairs it with great songs. Can't ask for more than that.

Midlake - The Courage Of Others (Bella Union)

I can't help but think of Rick Wakeman's The Six Wives of Henry VIII when I listen to this record - it feels a little like that album's folky stepchild.

So that's it for part 2! Only one more batch of longlist albums to get to before announcing the Top 20 on New Years' Eve...

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