2010: My Albums of the Year

Castevet and Into It. Over It. (really just one dude-bro with mad skillz) released, what might be, my favorite split of the year. Both are amazing and worth checking out.

As the year winds down, I thought I’d share my favorite albums of the year. You’ll probably be disappointed by my exclusion of a lot of stuff, but my year was mostly spent reading books/articles on ridiculously specific topics, like Guatemalan Mayans, acculturation, and immigrants’ eating habits. I, apparently, didn’t have a second to spare for Kanye’s new album which still sits in my long “New Music” queue. Also, also, also, I liked the Arcade Fire’s new album for a total of about 5 minutes. I think it was during the first time I heard “Ready to Start”. Also, there are things I’m almost certain none of you will even believe I like or would put on this list, but what can you do? Nothing.

My list might not be as inclusive as many as y’all’s might be. I’m obviously no music journalist. I’m pretty much writing as a fan boi. Be gentle with me. Anyway, all of these things, I feel, are pretty established if we know each other personally. Ramblllllle.

Some that almost made the list were Beach House, The National, Ben Folds’ project with Nick Hornby, and Bob Nanna’s project Certain People I Know. I loved the EP, but will anything ever come out of it? Snowing‘s new album JUST came out. I’m sorta undecided (You should listen to that link regardless because they’re fucking amazing). Anyway. Here we go.

RVIVR – S/T – I’m really bad at explaining what music sounds like or what I liked about music without sounding like a complete moron. Despite this impediment, I’ll say that RVIVR is the punk band I always wanted to be in. They’re gritty, strong, and have a great sense of melody and arrangement. The musician’s personalities shine through their music. It’s something that a lot of people can’t pull off. This isn’t the reason you should listen to RVIVR. It’s just a good reason to root for them. You’ll find yourself singing these songs to and from work.

Circa Survive Blue Sky Noise – This was probably the most surprising album of 2010 for me. I was expecting a giant pile of shit to be completely honest. On Letting Go was nothing in comparison to Juturna, which is one of my favorite albums ever, and I thought the trend would continue. But, something happened. Something beautiful happened. This album seems to have put Circa back on track, and I’m loving it.

Das RacistShut Up, Dude – All I gotta say is, if you sample Billy Joel we can be besties.

Grown Ups More Songs – Probably one of my favorite bands in recent memory. 2010 was the year Grown Ups released their first LP after the promising Songs EP. Although being substantially more polished and missing some of the quirkiness from the EP, the album is a great example of what a great punk band is in 2010.

CastevetThe Echo & Light – The first I ever heard of Castevet was last year after the release of Summer Fences. Their first album was good effort, but it missed something. It missed a sort of cohesion that I feel they gained in The Echo & Light. Maybe it’s because Echo & the Light attacks more that we can hear how tight Castevet’s musicianship really is. I was really impressed.

Joie De VivreThe North End – I’m pretty sure Joie De Vivre got me through my Summer semester. It’s emo at its best. That’s definitely not a bad thing… well, maybe to some of you. They gingerly step through beautifully crafted soundscapes crafted through intricately layered arrangements. It’s really great schtuff, and awesome to read to.

The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events – A silly band with serious musicians, Danza is just fucking brutal. I can’t stress how much I love brutal shit. The more ridiculously bone-crushing and absurdly heavy, the better. Danza is out of control in concert and in the studio. You just have to listen to it.

Shapes Stars Make These Mountains Are Safe – Every time I show someone this band, they immediately mention Explosions in the Sky. I think it’s really unfair. These guys actually make an effort to make their music interesting. It shows too. Their second album is a fantastic study aid. :)

Dillinger Escape PlanOption Paralysis – After I saw Dillinger for the first time this year, I should have just gotten a shirt that said “I saw Dillinger Escape Plan, and then I fucking died.” The musicianship is just incomparable. Calculating Infinity will always be one of my favorite albums of all time, but this Dillinger Escape effort doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Alright, well, I hope you guys check some of this stuff out and enjoy all of it! :D Yes, even Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza. I would love to write more about what happened this year in music, but there just isn’t enough time.

Happy Holidays,

dago

Advertisements

#MM

La Dispute killing it at SXSW (Emo's Annex)

Instead of going on twitter and finding bands’ twitter accounts and letting y’all know that this is what I’ve been listening to, and that you should check it out, I’m going to do it here. :) If you guys need any direction on how to get any of this stuff, let me know. Yeah! Oh, and I’m not claiming that I “found” these bands or that they’re somehow new.  Some of these have been around for a while.

Since January, I’ve been listening to Snowing… a lot.  They’ve been described to me as derivative of indie bands of the late-90s and early 2000s.  I’m okay with that.  In fact, I’m very okay with that.

The next band is Grown Ups.  (I discovered both of these bands on http://www.ifyoumakeit.com. That place is pretty great.  Bands upload their EPs for free download.)  Now, Grown Ups does a wonderful job of mixing the energy of punk rock with some wonderfully catchy guitar lines and melodies.  It can seem a bit emotional to some, but the gang vocals and attack of the band give it an oomph that doesn’t make you feel like you’re being whined to .

Very recently, I’ve been listening to an English group named Itch.  They’re kinda wonky at times.  They change tempo and time signatures often, but again, like Grown Ups and Snowing, consistently provide anthemic lines to bring you back from a bit of musical exploration.  The changes are not as dramatic as say my favorite band Between the Buried and Me.  Actually, they’re not even on the same planet musically, but the frequency of Between the Buried and Me’s musical romps turns many away… ok enough about them.

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) is a band that I regretted missing during SXSW.  It was a shame.  I reallyyyy wanted to see them, but who can pass up pizza and hardcore? C’mon.  Anyway, these guys are wonderful. They sort of float through the air with their beautifully woven guitar-play and skillfully written songs.  It’s a wonderful CD to write to.  I was tired of writing with Jim Hall doodling away.

Alright, new stuff from some established dudes.  I really liked the new Circa Survive album.  I was really disappointed by On Letting Go when that mofo hit da streets.  But this one seems like they’re back to their old tricks.  Anthony Green sounds too legit on this album.  And the band are on point.  I had the privilege of seeing them with Coheed a couple of weeks back.  They killed it. Coheed‘s new album is fantastic as well.  It’s much better than I believed it would be.  Lots of proggy exploration, saga-themed choruses and schmetal to make yo’ momma scream.  Sidenote: Was anyone else disappointed by the new Ted Leo? I expected more.

Two midwestern bands Native and La Dispute, that seem attached at the hip, are both fucking amazing.  Native’s new album is 2L2Q.  But, the detriment of being a small band is that BN.com won’t even carry your album.  The only place to really get their stuff in Texas is to order through an indie store or get it online.  Wrestling Moves has got to be one of my favorite albums of the past 6 months.  When I try to describe Native I just say they’re Minus the Bear with balls.  Ballsy the Bear.

I am pretty sure La Dispute are dropping something this summer?  At least I hope they are.  Their 7″ wasn’t enough. (That’s what she said).  I need something more substantial (again).  Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair has become one of my favorite albums of all time.  They mix the emotion and power of mewithoutYou with the heavy attack of an early-Poison the Well.  They’re amazing.  I missed them when they were here with Alexisonfire last week.  Mea culpa.  Anyway, these guys do everything right.  They have great material, and it doesn’t seem like they’re performing to accomplish some sort of rock ‘n’ roll mission of grandeur, posturing and excess.  They’re there for the people that are there to see them perform their great music.  They create a wonderful atmosphere.  Muchos props, La Dispute.

Anyway, grad school has killed my ability to get into new music, but I need to get my hands on the new Murder By Death for sure.  Also, I can’t wait for the new Against Me! EP to get here.  I’ve also been cranking some good old Promise Ring lately.  TOO GOOD! :D  I’m really anticipating the new Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza album as well.

Finally, Tom Fun Orchestra is really interesting.  In my head, they sound like what Tom Waits should sound like–good.  They really are a sort of orchestra.  I can’t even count the number of random instruments you can catch in one track.  They’re great.

Anyway, this is my failed attempt at being a music critic.  I really suck at it, but this is all stuff I recommend you all check out.  You actually might like it.

For those of you with last.fm accounts, let’s be friends: http://www.last.fm/user/tehdago

-dago