Saturday, January 1, 2011

Aaron's Favorites, 2010: Always Never Not Giving A Fuck

With apologies to Let's Wrestle, who's fantastic In The Court Of Wrestling Let's has been deemed ineligible, Aaron's 10 favorite releases of 2010:

1. Beach House, Teen Dream
A diffuse, gorgeous sound world. Listening to Alex Scally's guitar unfold over Victoria Legrand's vocal and keyboard melodies is the most enveloping, elegant narcotic on the market.

2. Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty
Big Boi just wanted to make an album. Label trouble delayed it for years and kept Andre 3000 away. Whenever it was released, Sir Lucious Left Foot's virtuosic mic acrobatics were never really in doubt. But who could have predicted an album this joyous, this gleeful about the possibilities of funk?

3. Crime In Stereo, I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone
On their swan song, the Long Island group construct a violent, fractured punk. This is "melodic hardcore," but there's little melody here. I hear only fury--in the controlled explosions of the tempo, in the anguished dual vocals, and in the eviscerating guitar textures.

4. Caetano Veloso, zii e zie
The Brazilian master, now 68, cracks open his skull and lets us take a peek inside. The contents--languid, martian jams, which Veloso has termed transambas--are no surprise, and yet he makes each moment sound like a revelation.

5. The-Dream, Love King
The synthesizer symphonies of Love King are a letdown after last year's genius Love Vs. Money, but only just. Dream's music remains the platonic ideal of contemporary R&B--effortless, immediate music, with quirks and charms still revealing themselves months later.

6. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
A fascinating and uneasy mix of West's egocentric philosophizing and terrible humor with the collective ennui of the group vocals, always popping up to comment on the action, as in Greek tragedy. The production is, of course, next level--dizzying, colorful collages of sound that pulse and thump with tenacity.

7. Das Racist, Sit Down, Man
Overheard on Sit Down, Man: "We just like rap, we don't even need rap." Maybe so, but rap needs Himanshu Suri and Victor Vazquez, at once laconic and whip smart, and surely the first hip-hop group to make eating nachos and reading critical theory sound ill as hell.

8. Grinderman, Grinderman 2
This unholy alliance of Nick Cave and a trio of the baddest seeds don't yet rival their day job band, but damn if they're not coming close. The Grinderguys pound out a strain demonic blues-scuzz you thought they didn't make any more.

9. No Age, Everything In Between
All indie-rock should sound like this: flurries of fuzz and hooks. The album gets stuck in an ambient ditch for a few tracks, but No Age can shred and transcend at will, and even sneak in a couple mid-tempo stunners.

10. Tame Impala, Innerspeaker
A big, groove-oriented psychedelic record in a year when even Dungen disappointed. The reverberations and acid-tinged flow of Innerspeaker aren't just retro signifiers though, they're the building blocks of 2010's most immersive sound.


  1. Nice. Your musical preferences continue to mystify me, in the best possible way.

    Isn't that line even followed with the words "rap needs me"? I think my favorite parts on "Sit Down, Man" are when they just list names of foods.

  2. You're right about the lyric, according to this site

    I think my favorite part is when victor (i think) raps the word "money" like 50 times in a row on "Commercial" (another song on the mixtape that mentions burgers).