30. LaFaro – LaFaro
I saw these guys supporting And So I Watch You From Afar at Fibbers in York earlier in the year and they really tore the place up! Hailing from Belfast, they have similarities to The Jesus Lizard with their chugging riffs and mangled vocals. On the track “The Ballad of Burnt Dave” with Jonny Black sounding as if he’s been gargling nails and the song’s upbeat tempo, they have elements of early Motorhead.
29. Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut
It’s going to be difficult to fit into a few words what this UK outfit’s third album is like! Mixing funk, blues, rock and psychedelia into an acid-fried collection of fun! The scuzzy funk of tracks such as “Sharks Tooth” lying side by side with more gentle fare such as “Hunt You Down”, all I can say is check it out and make up your own mind.
28. Red Sparowes – The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer
Los Angeles post-rockers release their third album, on this one they have got rid of the ludicrously long track names of the first two albums (for which my iTunes thank them!) but retain their grandeur and scope. Beautiful instrumentals to soundtrack the end of the world!
27. Zola Jesus – Stridulum II
Following on a few months from her EP “Stridulum”, this album basically just adds three tracks to bring it up to, a still brief, thirty four minutes. A tad frustrating as I’d bought the EP off eMusic but on further investigation I’ve found out that the EP wasn’t physically released in Europe and Stridulum II is this European release but with the three extra tracks. Nika Roza Danilova’s classically trained voice plus the echoes and tons of reverb give this little album a great gothy night-time atmosphere. (By the way, the cover was done by pouring a bucket of chocolate sauce over her head apparently)
Listen, Look, Buy
26. The New Pornographers – Together
Canadian eight piece release fifth album of toe-tapping indie-pop. Nothing to challenge the listening muscles just an album of 12 melodic sing-along pop songs with added rock here and there! Like a popcorn blockbuster movie, it may not challenge the grey matter but it’s damn good fun.
25. Sleigh Bells – Treats
See my review from last week regarding this noisy little gem!
24. The Sword – Warp Riders
With artwork looking like a 1970s sci-fi paperback you can get a pretty good idea where this Texan metal band are headed musically! Instrumental opener “Acheron/Unearthing The Orb” leads into single “Tres Brujas” (Three Witches, video below) and sets the scene for the rest of this sci-fi concept album! If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of that, try and give it a go cos it rawks!
23. These New Puritans – Hidden
Probably the most original and different album I have heard this year. Using a whole orchestra of instruments, but largely ignoring the guitar, adding a full choir here and there, Jack Barnett and co craft an album of songs that almost all require repeated listens to fully get your head around. Not an “easy” album but one that rewards with every re-listen. Pretentious? Possibly, but well worth investigating.
22. Underworld – Barking
I must admit I didn’t realise these guys were still around, I kind of lost interest after “100 Days Off” and “Oblivion With Bells” completely passed me by. So it’s good to be able to say that, to these ears, “Barking” is a joyous return to form! Although not sounding as unique as they once did they can still get the feet moving and the fists pumping with tracks like the slightly Pendulum sounding single “Scribble” and the grin-inducing “Always Loved A Film”.
21. The Besnard Lakes – …Are The Roaring Night
Third album from this Canadian man and wife helmed band. Sedate but powerful, Jace Lasek’s falsetto vocals marrying (excuse the pun) well with Olga Goreas’s huskier delivery. I’ve caught them live twice this year and on both occasions they gave a tremendously confident, powerful show that would have entranced a crowd at least twice the size of the ones they got!
20. Holy Fuck – Latin
With a name like that they would never have got on Top of the Pops! Their energetic brand of instrumental dance/electro would probably have gone down well with the studio crowd as well! Just ignore the silly name and boogie! 😀
19. Karma To Burn – Appalachian Incantation
Monster instrumental (barring the odd track or two) stoner-rock riffs are the mainstay of this West Virginian band. I was introduced to them when they supported Monster Magnet on their UK tour in 2009 and loved their infectious melodies.
18. of Montreal – False Priest
Far less disjointed than previous album “Skeletal Lamping”, there are some great pop tunes on here. Funky Prince-esque stylings with guest vocalists Janelle Monáe on two tracks and Beyonce’s sister Solange Knowles on track “Sex Karma” make this a far more straightforward pop record (relatively, this is of Montreal after all!)
17. God Is An Astronaut – Age of the Fifth Sun
Sixth album from my favourite post-rock band! The Kinsella brothers from Co. Wicklow produce more soaring, building, instrumental loveliness that just manages to press all the right buttons for me, sure, some might say they’re not doing anything different here than they have before, but as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Seen them every year for the past four (twice this year) and while they continue to do stuff like this will keep doing so, yes I am a fanboy!
Listen, Look, Buy
16. I Like Trains – He Who Saw The Deep
Previously reviewed here.
15. Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy
The seventh album from Doug Martsch and crew is a good example of sticking to a working formula, churning out catchy guitar hooks to go with Doug’s trademark vocal delivery. Like most BTS albums it took a couple of listens before it fully bedded in, but once it had another great BTS album was revealed!
Listen (previous album), Look, Buy
14. Monster Magnet – Mastermind
Previously reviewed here.
13. Oceansize – Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up
Manchester band Oceansize release their fourth album. The 6 song EP “Home and Minor” they released last year really didn’t do it for me, their later stuff has always required a few listens before ‘clicking’ but it never did. I was therefore concerned before checking this out. I needn’t have worried, this is more on a par with previous album “Frames”, intricate, involving and in places really heavy.
12. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis
Wow, this is one beast of a record! From the first minute of this album you’re going to be hanging on for grim death as it races through genres like a speed crazed ram-raider! From Greg Puciato’s vocal chord-shredding screams and shouts and lightning fast, mathcore riffs down to Sinatra-esque crooning and back again in the space of one track! A lot of casual/first time listeners could be put off by the first few seconds of opener “Farewell Mona Lisa”, but my advice would be to stick with it as there is so much to explore here.
Listen, Look, Buy
11. Lone Wolf – The Devil & I
Leeds singer/songwriter Paul Marshall got himself a band and a new moniker and released this excellent collection of songs on the Bella Union label (Fleet Foxes among others), mostly dark in tone revolving as they do around murder and death, but then these subjects tend to make the best songs, who wants to hear about sunny days, love and fluffiness all the time?! He has gained deserved attention for his Peter Gabriel homaging video for “Keep Your Eyes On The Road” (below). Highly recommended, check him out!
Listen, Look, Buy
Nearly there! The Top Ten will appear in the next couple of days!
#1 by alcairns on December 1, 2010 - 7:42 pm
Working my way through your top 50, some very interesting stuff here. There are few that really stand out, but in particular Lone Wolf. Paul Marshall’s vocals are outstanding and work very well with the melodic acoustic guitar numbers. Thanks for introducing him (and others) to me!