goin’ up to eleven for twenty ten

This is the music that powered the year for me:

  • Bertrand BelinHypernuit: heard this on the radio. He has an awesome voice. Seeing as it’s all in French, I have no idea what it’s about, but that’s okay.
  • Calvin, don’t Jump!Under Bridges: Kirk Pleasant’s first major outing from his Canadian location. Combines E6 ambient and skronk with some thoughtful songwriting.
  • Colleen and PaulColleen and Paul: happy, sunny, folky, lovely. Enjoy it before it becomes car ads.
  • Dum Dum GirlsI Will Be: Motown meets The Jesus & Mary Chain, with screamy lofi fuzz. Like Strawberry Switchblade (DDG are big fans) with maximal noise.
  • Entertainment For The BraindeadRoadkill: Julia did a banjo album! It’s great — and free!
  • Frightened RabbitThe Winter of Mixed Drinks: juddery Scottish gloriousness with full miserability ahead.
  • JónsiGo: this album’s so sunny it farts marigolds.
  • Peter Stampfel & Baby GrampsOutertainment: dementedly demented, with demented bits gleefully stuck to it. Gramps sings like Popeye’s ancestor, and Peter’s got the caterwauling yawp down pat. They’re having so much fun making this, they don’t care what you think.
  • The Ruby SunsFight Softly: don’t you dare call them Animal Collective Lite. They can dance better, for one thing.
  • Stereo TotalBaby Ouh!: “irritating” is not usually a word one associates with a favourite album, but Stereo Total are completely annoying. I love them for it.
  • Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz: this is a hard album to like. I was about to completely give up on it when I played it on a long subway ride home. I’m sold. Charming, but difficult.

Here’s six not from 2010 that also helped make the year:

  • Brett DennenBrett Dennen (2005): he’s got a weird little voice in his first album, but Don’t Forget is as catchy as anything.
  • Charlotte GainsbourgIRM (2009): it’s a Beck album! Not sung by Beck!!
  • Kyle CreedLiberty (1977): this is the clawhammer album. Kyle played such a clean banjo; e-v-e-r-y note’s in the right place, the volume’s right, he doesn’t dominate (bluegrass pickers, take note). So brilliant, and finally available on something other than cassette.
  • Major Organ And The Adding MachineMajor Organ and the Adding Machine (re-release): squee! An expanded version of 2001’s mad outing complete with the movie. Spot all your favourite E6 musicians!
  • Raymond ScottSoothing Sounds For Baby (1963): The first volume (designated for one to six months) is about my level. I’d have been tripping spheroids if this had been playing near my crib.
  • The TurtlesThe Turtles Present The Battle of the Bands (1968): a delightful confection of phenomenal songwriting and playing making a very silly concept album. You’d hardly believe it was all done by one band.

Podcast: scruss-best_of_2010 [mp3]

2010 contenders

Dammit, is it really December? Anyway, this is what I listened to this year:

  • Albemarle Ramblers — Gentleman from Virginia
  • Amanda Palmer — Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele
  • The Apples in stereo — Travellers in Space and Time
  • Arcade Fire — The Suburbs
  • Bart Veerman — Some o’ Mine and Some I Like (2003)
  • Basia Bulat — Heart Of My Own
  • Belle & Sebastian — Write About Love
  • Ben Veneer — Ben Veneer
  • Bertrand Belin — Hypernuit
  • Bill Holt — Dreamies (1973)
  • Brett Dennen — Brett Dennen (2005)
  • Brian Wilson — Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin
  • Broken Social Scene — Forgiveness Rock Record
  • Calvin, Don’t Jump! — Under Bridges
  • Caribou — Swim
  • Carolina Chocolate Drops — Genuine Negro Jig
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg — IRM (2009)
  • Chris Coole & Ivan Rosenberg — Farewell Trion
  • Colleen and Paul — Colleen and Paul
  • The Corin Tucker Band — 1,000 Years
  • Dan Jones — Dan Jones and The Squids:Live 09
  • Dan Jones & Peter Wilde — My Name Is John Smith
  • The Delgados — The Great Eastern (2000)
  • Dum Dum Girls — I Will Be
  • Eels — End Times
  • Eels — Tomorrow Morning
  • Elf Power — Elf Power
  • Entertainment For The Braindead — Roadkill
  • Final Fantasy — Heartland
  • Forest City Lovers — Carriage
  • Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People — The Sacred Prune Of Remembrance
  • Frightened Rabbit — The Winter of Mixed Drinks
  • Frontier Ruckus — Deadmalls and Nightfalls
  • Germans — Elf Shot Lame Witch (2008)
  • Goldfrapp — Head First
  • Gonja Sufi — A Sufi And A Killer
  • The Good Right Arm Stringband — The Good Right Arm Stringband
  • High Places — High Places vs. Mankind
  • Hold Your Horses! — 70 Million
  • The Hungry Moment — Phantom 45
  • Hurray for the Riff Raff — Young Blood Blues
  • James Blackshaw — All Is Falling
  • Joanna Newsom — Have One On Me
  • Jónsi — Go
  • Kyle Creed — Liberty (1977)
  • Ladies of the Canyon — Haunted Woman
  • M.I.A. — Maya
  • Macy Gray — The Sellout
  • Major Organ And The Adding Machine — Major Organ and the Adding Machine (re-release)
  • MGMT — Congratulations
  • Miles Kurosky — The Desert of Shallow Effects
  • Mojave 3 — Ask Me Tomorrow (1995)
  • Nana Grizol — “Ruth”
  • Nesey Gallons — Southern Winter by Smouldering Porches
  • The New Pornographers — Together
  • of Montreal — False Priest
  • Old Man Luedecke — My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs
  • The Open Letters — Bicycle EP
  • Peter Stampfel & Baby Gramps — Outertainment
  • Peter Stampfel & Zöe Stampfel — Ass in the Air
  • Pocahaunted — Make It Real
  • Princess Pangolin — Princess Pangolin
  • Raymond Scott — Soothing Sounds For Baby (1963)
  • Robyn Hitchcock — Propellor Time
  • The Ruby Suns — Fight Softly
  • Smoosh — Withershins
  • Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin — Let It Sway
  • Stereo Total — Baby Ouh!
  • Suckers — Wild Smile
  • Sufjan Stevens — All Delighted People EP
  • Sufjan Stevens — The Age of Adz
  • Sunbear — Moonbath
  • The Superions — the Superions
  • The Tallest Man On Earth — The Wild Hunt
  • Tune-Yards — Bird-Brains (2009)
  • The Turtles — The Turtles Present The Battle of the Bands (1968)
  • Vampire Weekend — Contra

Must be getting old; two of the albums (Bertrand Belin and Brett Dennen) I bought because I heard tracks on the radio. Consequently, I predict Lawrence Welk in my best of 2011.