2010 was a great year for music, one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Here is a short list of the albums SIMGE loved the most.
(NOTE: Is this Russia? No, this is not Russia. So, if I’ve omitted something, please, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about it. SIMGE is not a front for some sort of underground music Gestapo that’ll show up at your door if you disagree with what’s been posted…or is it?)
35) Crystal Castles self-titled sophomore release
Crystal Castles’ sophomore effort caught me by surprise because of how far this duo came sonically. The band’s 2008 debut was up there with The Beatles’ “Revolution 9” as one of the scariest things I’ve ever listened to. It sounded like someone made 16 different remixes of the Super Mario Brothers theme song, hired a demon to scream over it, recorded it to vinyl, and then warped the record in a microwave before cranking it to 11. Rather than nonsensical beeps and clicks, Crystal Castles II has songs with actual rhythm. Its a record you can listen too without fear of summoning Satan to your dance party. You know when you make the slow crawl to the apex of the roller coaster, that mix of fear and elation is the type of emotion you’ll feel when listening to this.
34) Sir Luciuos Left Foot The Son Of Chico Dusty by Big Boi
Big Boi’s production was the first studio release from either half of the Hotlanta Hip-Hop posse, Outkast, since the pair of ATLiens went on hiatus in 2006 after the group’s sub-par production, Idlewild. Four long years we waited with that sour sound in our ears for the next release out of the Outkast camp and Sir Lucious Left Foot Son Of Chico Dusty made it all worth it. With tracks like “Shutterbug” and “Daddy Fat Sax,” Big Boi, for now at least, has sufficed my hunger pains for new Outkast tracks. The better news, only Andre 3000’s impending solo record stands between the world and the rebirth of the dynamic duo.
(NOTE: I would have posted “Shutterbug” for you all to download but its owned by Def Jam and they said I can’t. And because I’m positive the dudes over Def Jam own pistols, I will have to comply. So here’s a video instead. Underneath the video is a link to a site that turns Youtube videos into rather high quality mp3s. Do what you will this information.)
The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, every generation has its “Heroin Music,” and Animal Collectives’s Avey Tare has bestowed ours upon us with his first solo-release, Down There. Those of you who know me understand my position on drugs, I don’t do them, and I still got a buzz off this record. Tare’s ability to intricately weave and layer sound will have you questioning your own sanity. Was that “bump” you just heard the pluck of a bass, or a trained crocodile sent by Tare to eat you alive? I was too scared to look but made it out alive…you may not be so lucky.
32) Everything Under The Sun by Jukebox The Ghost
I only found out about Jukebox The Ghost this year. I fell in love the bands’ 2008 debut Let Live & Let Ghosts and took the poppy Piano Rock trios’ 2010 sophomore effort in stride. In comparison, the band’s second effort is not as daring, not as feral as the debut, and such is expected as artists mature. However, that isn’t to say the album rocks out any less, in fact, on tracks like “Carrying” and “The Sun” there is a definite Queen vibe can be felt.
31) Real Ghosts Caught On Tape by Fake Problems
This Florida four-piece is a Punk-Rock band with a similar styling to that of The Gaslight Anthem in the sense that the music is more soulful than full of rage. Put it this way, instead of hopping like possessed gremlins around the burning skeleton frame of a building destroyed by a riot of anarchists, Fake Problems’ record is more like a mellow group of surfer dudes and chicks doing the tango around a seaside bonfire under a red hot moon. Take that description for what its worth.
30) Congratulations by MGMT
MGMT had very different intentions with Congratulations compared to the poppy psychedelia of the band’s breakthrough 2007 record Oracular Spectacular. After their debut caught on Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser became something they despised…pop stars, and the follow up was a response to everyone who viewed them as such. There were no singles released, no hits to be had in the bunch, just an impressive miniature epic that’s dosage of Surf-Rock influence was more concentrated than that of the LSD.
29) The Blackpool Letters by Scott Liss & The 66
It’s hard for a band to play both acoustic guitar laden Folk-Rock and crunching electrified Hard Rock. That’s why Bob Dylan never gave it the old college try, nor does KISS try to unplug. However, Asbury Park’s own Scott Liss & The 66 manage to do both on The Blackpool Letters. This trio draws you in close with low-key tracks like “Sweet Hearts Spin” and “Miles” only to blow out your ear drums with scorchers like “Shotgun” and “Lloyd Braun.”
28) Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Kill Joys by My Chemical Romance
It’s nice to know Eminem’s Recovery is an isolated incident. Gerard Way proved that it is possible to create an album worth listening to after dragging yourself up by the collar out of an intense depression and drug addiction. Not only is Danger Days worth listening to, it’s got replay-value with songs for multiple occasions. There’s the stadium anthem “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na),” the dance club rump-shaker “Planetary (GO!),” and the dive-bar, Punk-Rock, mosh-pit brawl starter “Vampire Money.” Critics have hailed this record for a number of reasons, because it’s a concept album (even though the band said its not), because in an era where where Vampires and Werewolves are “in” and a Black Parade would’ve fit nicely, but MCR decided to go in a different direction, just to name a couple. That’s all bullshit. This is a great album because in this age of production value, where bands will stay stuck in their ways if it sells, My Chemical Romance took a shot on themselves to create something meaningful to people and it worked out. Elitists can poke fun and call it Emo but the fact is this band helped a lot of people get through some tough times and when My Chemical Romance decided to stray from the grim path it had frequented for the better part of a decade it taught its fans something. And that is, that life can repeatedly kick you in the balls, people can be cold, friends can be fake, and your life can seem like it’s in a downward spiral, but its never too late to pull yourself out of the drowning pool. It’s a great album because it helped people.
27) Sugar by Dead Confederate
I love early ’90s music because, much like the revolution that’s taking place today, bands around the world had a problem with the way things were being run, they took matters into their own hands, and without fear of critics, or fan base backlash, made revolutionary, era defining records. This Atlanta based rock band is the embodiment of everything great about that period of music with a more modern influence. Dead confederate channels Smashing Pumpkins on “Father Figure,” Oasis on “In The Dark,” and any number of Grunge acts on “Quiet Kid,” and the cream of the crop comes in the form of “Run From The Gun,” a down-tempo tale of losing faith in mankind. This record is dark and brooding and takes me back to a time where Nirvana ruled the charts, not some chick that shoots whipped cream out of her tits…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
“Run From The Gun”
26) King Of The Beach by Wavves
With the release of King Of The Beach, Wavves, and front-man Nathan Williams, are rivaled only by Best Coast and front-woman, the Nancy to Williams’ Sid, Beth Cosentino in the fuzzy Pop-Rock department. The title track, an acidic, super charged, Surf-Rock anthem, is one of the best songs of the year, followed up by a collection savage tunes.