goin’ up to eleven for twenty ten

This is the music that powered the year for me:

  • Bertrand Belin — Hypernuit: 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 Paul — Colleen and Paul: happy, sunny, folky, lovely. Enjoy it before it becomes car ads.
  • Dum Dum Girls — I 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 Braindead — Roadkill: Julia did a banjo album! It’s great — and free!
  • Frightened Rabbit — The Winter of Mixed Drinks: juddery Scottish gloriousness with full miserability ahead.
  • Jónsi — Go: this album’s so sunny it farts marigolds.
  • Peter Stampfel & Baby Gramps — Outertainment: 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 Suns — Fight Softly: don’t you dare call them Animal Collective Lite. They can dance better, for one thing.
  • Stereo Total — Baby 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 Stevens — The 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 Dennen — Brett Dennen (2005): he’s got a weird little voice in his first album, but Don’t Forget is as catchy as anything.
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg — IRM (2009): it’s a Beck album! Not sung by Beck!!
  • Kyle Creed — Liberty (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 Machine — Major 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 Scott — Soothing 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 Turtles — The 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]

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