The year is about to come to a close, and all the respectable review sites/magazines are putting up their their “Best of 2010” lists. Although we don’t fit in that category, some of us here at aDeadKid are posting ours anyway. Brian led the pack with a list of some of his favorites, and I am going to follow suit. In fact, I’m just going to rip him off and present my picks in the same format.
Even though 2010 was a fairly weak year for music releases, I have managed to scrounge up ten albums that I enjoyed this year. I can’t say they are perfect, and I can’t say they would have made it onto a list like this if they were released in 2009, but I can say they stood out from the overall garbage dropped in the ’10.
Presented in order of favorite:
01. Salem: King Night
This album is getting a lot of press lately, even from some mainstream publications. On the one hand I find it a little surprising, but on the other hand I can understand why. Salem released an album that really shook things up. The poster children for a “genre” full of identification issues, this witch-house/drag ensemble made almost everyone take notice by mixing up types of music that would normally seem to contradict one another. However, Salem made it work, and they managed to create an extremely interesting release that oozes emotion throughout the abrasive noise.
Salem – “King Night”
02. Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles (II)
Crystal Castles shot up to the status of indie darling a few years ago, and some began to wonder if they would ever be able to release something of the same caliber as the first self-titled full length that got them there. The second Crystal Castles has made sure people will wonder no more. This album has solidified the duo’s placement among some of the best acts out there. Everything about this release is epic in one form or another, and it’s even managed to draw considerable attention from both the indiesphere and mainstream audiences. (Whether that’s good or bad is up to you to decide.)
Crystal Castles – “Celestica”
03. Mice Parade: What It Means to be Left-Handed
In my original review of this album, I said it was good but not great. I stand by that assertion to a point. In relation to other Mice Parade albums, I still feel it falls a little short, but I will admit that this release grew on me, and I began to notice it was receiving a hell of a lot of playtime on my Zune. The fact is, some of these songs may miss the mark, but the songs that are on target are simply fantastic.
Mice Parade – “In Between Times”
04. Dark Sky: Frames EP
Bass music has seen a resurgence over the past year or two, and unfortunately that makes for a lot of crappy releases by people trying to jump on the bandwagon. I mean, just look what happened to dubstep. Luckily, there are still some people out there that know what they’re doing. Dark Sky’s Frames EP has everything you could ever want to get your booty moving, and although many artists on the Night Slugs label are releasing exceptional room-shaking tracks, Dark Sky’s EP is solid all the way through the four songs, so it made the list.
Dark Sky – “Night Light”
05. Frontier(s): There Will Be No Miracles Here
Elliott’s disbandment was one of the worst days in history, but fans have been saved by Frontier(s). Chris Higdon’s new project pulls elements from both his defunct bands (Elliott and Falling Forward) and splices them with straight-ahead rock, creating a sound reminiscent of second-wave emo’s heyday in the early 90’s. Remember how you felt when you first heard Sunny Day’s Diary? This album will give you those feelings, but with a more contemporary, less jangly feel.
Frontier(s) – “Abul Abbas”
06. Early Graves: Goner
2010 brought the release of Early Grave’s Goner, an absolutely punishing album that proves life still exists in the heavy music scene. Fast, loud, and angry, this album actually made me want to head out to hardcore shows again. Unfortunately, 2010 was also the year the band’s lead singer tragically died in a van accident while on tour, so we can only wonder what will happen from this point on.
Early Graves – “Goner”
07. The Sadies: Darker Circles
A mixture of single coil pickup twang and dark overtones fuels the latest release by Toronto’s alt-country heroes. All you need is a beer to cry in, and you’re all set. But in all honesty, this albums rocks when it needs to, and evokes a broken heart the rest of the time. Great from start to finish.
The Sadies – “Cut Corners”
08. White Ring: Black Earth that Made Me
Two drag albums on one list?! It’s true, but let me explain myself. While some of this album keeps in line with the “Salem sound,” there are other tracks that are pretty astounding. Take a look at “Roses,” for example. If White Ring expands their sound a bit like on the aforementioned track, they could be a force in the near future, and even if a lot of this album fits into the whole witch-house layout, it still got a lot of airplay from me.
White Ring – “Roses” (Obviously not official)
09. Electric Wizard: Black Masses
Black Masses has Electric Wizard speeding things up a bit on a few songs in relation to their normal doom-laden sludge, but the band didn’t lose any of the heaviness listeners have come to expect, and they return to form for most of the record. Fuzzed out to the max, Electric Wizard trudges through the usual world of Satan and drugs, but come on, that’s why I love them.
Electric Wizard – “Venus in Furs”
10. Calabrese: They Call Us Death
Calabrese never fails to produce some of the best horror punk available, and 2010’s They Call Us Death didn’t disappoint. While I don’t think it could beat out 2005’s 13 Halloweens, it still gives the strongest dose of ghouls and ghosts available in punk rock format. I’m positive I will never tire of the doo-wop style vocals, even if they do blatantly reach back to The Misfits style. They make good music and dress the way I wish I could. Damn you, Calabrese.
Calabrese – “They Call Us Death”