post brought to you by: dyson
I decided to take a different approach to my year end list. I tried and tried to rank my favorite records knowing I had my #1 spot filled months ago. Filling in the rest of the top ten? Not so easy. I love a wide variety of music and what I want to listen is completely based on the mood I’m in, not in the quality of the songwriting, production, or performance. Although those things do matter a ton to me.
Just recently I decided I wouldn’t do a ‘Best of’, or ‘Favorite’ list, I’d do the thing I could calculate the most accurately. That left me with giving you my list of ‘Most Listened to Albums of 2010’.
Some choices you’ve seen are on many lists already released. Why? Because they’re good fucking records! That’s why I listened to them a ton. Hope you enjoy and potentially find something new to listen to. My guess is not. But who knows?
mp3: Girls – Heartbreaker
Girls took their next release to a new level. As good as Album was, Broken Dreams Club took the attention they gained and put it into making a proper studio release. This received some negativity among critics because they really enjoyed the raw sound on Album. While I love that record, I credit it to the same problem Elliott Smith had. True fans didn’t like hearing the extremely well produced sound that Broken Dreams Club supplied just like they had with Elliott Smith’s later releases. I say good for Girls and Elliott. They paid they’re dues doing it the DIY approach and now were able to stretch out their wings in the studio. The only reason comes in at #10 is because of the late release date and that it’s an EP.
mp3: Jukebox the Ghost – Empire
Jukebox the Ghost came out of the blue for me this year. When I heard their record was produced/engineered by my idol Peter Katis, I jumped at the chance at picking it up. Am I ever disappointed by the work Peter Katis does? Never. You may see another record of his pop up on this list. Seeing them live just only sealed the deal for me. This trio knows how to rock with their unusual lineup of just drums/guitar/keys.
mp3: Laura Veirs – July Flame
Laura Veirs July Flame was an early release this year and took me a while to work it into my regular listening. Once it was there it stuck like glue. I really can’t say enough about this record. Her fully produced tunes are gorgeous and her stripped down ones are the farthest thing from snooze worthy. Melodically beautiful, each song on this record captures your interest yet is one you can slip on while you need to get some work done. It’s a record that ranges for many moods. An instant classic that will only be appreciated more and more as time goes by.
mp3: Blake Mills – It’ll All Work Out
I’ll give full credit to Jess from Lucius and Danny from Elizabeth & The Catapult for turning me onto this record. Blake Mills played guitar on the latest Elizabeth & The Catapult release and I thought that was pretty impressive. But look at his line of credits on other records and you will be blown away by what this early twentysomething guy has accomplished. I have little back story on the making of this record, but I know it is absolutely amazing. This guy is a talent that should in no way go unnoticed. You think you’re listening to a typical record when it starts but give it a few songs, you’ll realize why he’s made the top ten list for me.
mp3: Belle & Sebastian – I Want the World to Stop
On Life Pursuit Belle & Sebastian took their production level up quite a notch. This has been the pattern since their first record. Each one that comes out after it has the same Belle & Sebastian spirit in it, but the production has always bumped up a bit. On Write About Love I feel they found a comfort zone. The didn’t try to top Life Pursuit but went out and made a record that sounded great, but stayed true to what we all love about the group. It has quality songs, sounds great while not pushing the production edge. This is a record I’ve been listening to over and over again. And FINALLY they decided to release it on one LP instead of pushing the double LP on us.
mp3: Arcade Fire – Ready to Start
Arcade Fire knocked it out of the park with Funeral. They followed up pretty well with Neon Bible but it lacked some luster that Funeral gave us. Well, Winn Butler found a fascination with archived photos and decided it would be cool to translate that into a record. What we have is a completely analog record where the CD and MP3 versions are the archive. I waited patiently until the vinyl arrived so I could hear the record as it was meant to be. Was it worth it? Hell yeah.
mp3: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Sink/Let It Sway
Don’t let the silly name of this group fool you. These guys have made three outstanding records in their young career and Let It Sway is far and away their best to date. Hopefully that leaves us in a great place for their next release. Going with an outside producer on this one, the group managed to create a masterpiece of indie/pop glory that is catchy, sophisticated, and a down right joy to listen to. Sonically gorgeous, this is one of those records that made it’s way into my car and couldn’t find it’s way out of the CD changer. It also led me to purchase all 3 of their release on vinyl that get regular spins.
mp3: The National – Afraid Of Everyone
There’s not much to say about this record aside from the fact that it’s the second on my list produced and engineered by the amazing Peter Katis. I’m a raging fan of The National and they didn’t let me down on this record. My late wish is that the alternate version of the opener ‘Terrible Love’ actually made it to the final release. The trashing drums are cool but what I love most about the sound of the group is their boombastic drum sounds. But that didn’t deter me from playing this record on repeat once it was released. It also didn’t deter me from buying two vinyl copies of it. One kept sealed as the purple vinyl numbered release and one to crack open and actually listen to. Yes, I may have a slight problem.
mp3: of Montreal – Sex Karma
You may notice a pattern with the top two most listened to records of the year. Both have a heavy hand lent from my all time musical idol, Jon Brion. On False Priest, Jon Brion took Kevin Barnes in a new approach towards making records. He wanted to actually record real instruments. The genius of Kevin Barnes has been apparent on previous of Montreal records but having Brion in the studio working side by side with Barnes made this one of the most appealing and palatable records to date. This album is cohesive, hook filled, and sonically gorgeous. (sense what I love in a record yet?) Like my #1 that is soon to be announced, I own this album on many formats. CD, stunning red vinyl deluxe package, and even cassette. Needless to say, my car has rocked out to ‘Sex Karma’ just as much as my bed wished it has.
In TSURURADIO fashion…
Are you ready??
Not sure you are…
Maybe you are? Who knows?
Ok enough of that.
mp3: Punch Brothers – You Are
“What!? A bluegrass record is the most listened to record of your year?? I thought you had some cred!?” That’s right folks. (and I can hardly call this a bluegrass record.) Keep your panties out of a bundle. If you have an open mind when it comes to music and actually sit down in a good listening environment for this record, I’d find you to be hard pressed as to why it’s my most listened to record of the year. The Punch Brothers are without a doubt the most talented musicians I’ve heard this year. Their compositions are like nothing you will ever hear, their live show is something I recommend every music fan to attend, and this record is absolutely perfect from start to finish. Jon Brion had his hand on this one as well and if all he did was bring a bottle or Port to the playbacks well then shit, he sure did his job. I can go on and on but this record stands out among any other record I’ve heard this year. It’s musically proficient and palatable at the same time. Let’s call this bluegrass/pop because everyone from your young punk-ass cousin to great grandmother can probably enjoy this record. It’s a record that can bring divorced parents back together. I swear to you it’s that good. I own 3 CDs of it, a special DVD, and of course the vinyl. This record has been my go-to for the year and it earns the rightful place at my #1 spot.