1. Trap Them – Filth Rations
2. Valient Thorr – Stranger
3. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
4. United Nations – Never Mind The Bombings, Here’s Your Six Figures
5. Kaki King – Junior
6. The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
7. Cephalic Carnage – Misled By Certainty
8. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part II (Return of the Ankh)
9. Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin
10. Galactic – Ya-Ka-May
Trap Them – Filth Rations E.P. (Southern Lord Recordings) – Bulletproof release. Four of the most well executed songs in extreme music in 2010. If you think there was a better overall song offering elements of Swedish death metal with modern dbeat and a hardcore-punk veracity than “Degenerate Binds,” you’re in denial. It should come as no surprise that this gem was recorded at God City Studios with Kurt Ballou, who has been consistently recording and engineering the tastiest, most natural and huge sounding extreme albums of the decade. With a custom etching by artist Justin Bartlett, if you missed this Southern Lord vinyl exclusive, you’re slippin’. We caught up with Trap Them vocalist Ryan McKenney at God City a few months ago as the band recorded their forthcoming debut on Prosthetic Records set to hit streets this spring. Check out the exclusive BTS Trap Them interview.
Valient Thorr – Stranger (Volcom Entertainment)
Blistering riffs, poignant lyrics and a running theme that Valient Himself describes as being about a “fuckin’ modern Rambo” – this combination makes Stranger a serious contender for album of the year both here on Earth and on the planet Venus.
Pile on their unmatched supercharged live show with their infectious stage presence and you’ve got the elements for a true rock ‘n roll freakout.
LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening (DFA Records)
James Murphy is one of the best songwriters in indie pop/rock/disco/whatever-you-wanna-call-it.
Murphy finds ways to make being pretentious not so smarmy and instead writes clever hooks and beats to make it all mesh together into a fun dance party. If this is really their last record, they have set the bar quite high.
United Nations – Never Mind The Bombings, Here’s Your Six Figures (Deathwishinc) Shrouded in mystery and confusion, this latest four song offering from United Nations could have easily been the release of 2010. Combining elements of 90’s screamo with the explosive qualities of emotional punk and grind, here we have another offering from Kurt Ballou and God City Studios with a musical and drum presence that is beyond huge. Only confirmed member being Geoff Rickly of Thursday, with alleged members of Converge, Glassjaw, Acid Tiger, and more..the media blackout only adds to the aura of greatness with this beautifully executed, four-song, aural assault.
Kaki King – Junior (Rounder Records) First she was the queen of acoustic guitar. But she became a virtuoso at composition by writing some incredibly wonderful melodies and has turned herself into a master arranger as well.
She’s going to be a household name sooner or later, kids.
Might as well get to know her now, before she blows up into mega-stardom.
The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards (Third Man Records) Jack White further refines his dark Snidely Whiplash-like appearance, jumps behind the kit and dives to the deepest end of the talent pool to create this freaky Southern fuzz bomb. Comprised of The Kills’ Alison Mosshart, QOTSA’s Dean Fertita, fellow Raconteur Jack Lawrence and ringleader White – this is technically a supergroup, but all it takes is one listen to Mosshart’s smoky vocals or Fertita’s barn burning blues guitar to realize that this group is as real as they come.
This ain’t no Damn Yankees!
Cephalic Carnage – Misled By Certainty (Relapse Records) – Drawing influence from more sub-genres of extreme metal than most people know exists, Cephalic Carnage have executed a masterpiece. With riffs that rip through glimpses of death metal, grind, progressive, and even jazz in the blink of an eye, Misled by Certainty is an extreme music aficionado’s wet dream.
The bass playing on this record is monument worthy, offering licks that would see even Victor Wooten’s ears perk up.
Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part II (Return of the Ankh) (Universal Motown) – Hands down the most solid R&B/Hip-Hop/Soul release of 2010. Standout tracks “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long” and “Window Seat” have once again left Badu’s musical peers in the dust.
With an organic chemistry that is often imitated but never replicated, Badu has once again offered the Hip-Hop World an engaging, incredibly dense, musical offering with new jewels to be discovered with each listen, exposing layers of musical production genius.
Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin (FrenchKiss Records) “Let’s Get Out of Here” is one of the best pop songs of 2010.
It hits you in all the right places.
For being a dancy indie rock band, these guys write some pretty meaningful [and at times offensive-to-young-children] lyrics to boot.
There’s a reason bassist Syd Butler also owns Frenchkiss Records; not only does he find talented bands for his roster, but he sure as hell plays in a great one too.
Galactic – Ya-Ka-May (Anti-Records) The funky jazz quintet transforms into an army on Ya-Ka-May by reaching out to the New Orleans community to involve an array of artists with musical styles from across the spectrum.
This fuses traditional Big Easy sounds from the Rebirth Brass Band, Irma Thomas and Walter “Wolfman” Washington with rambunctious rhymes from Bounce artists such as Big Freedia and Cheeky Blakk.
Ya-Ka-May is one of the most unique, complex and danceable albums of 2010.
Congratulations to the winners and scores of other great bands and artists we featured throughout 2010!
Have a fun and safe New Year!
– Blow The Scene