Posts Tagged ‘Best of 2010’

Top 50 albums of 2010

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Yes, yes … I already listed my 40 favorite albums of the year in The Bulletin. But they weren’t ranked! And you couldn’t find them all in one place on the Internet! Plus that list published on Dec. 17; what about the stuff I’ve heard since then?

So indulge me, please, and check out my 50 — yes, it’s expanded — favorite albums of 2010, in order, and all in one place. And then go download Near/Far, our free, legal compilation of 36 of 2010’s best songs.

50. Sun Kil Moon, “Admiral Fell Promises” (Caldo Verde)
49. Gorillaz, “Plastic Beach” (Virgin)
48. Moon Duo, “Escape” (Woodsist)
47. Reading Rainbow, “Prism Eyes” (Hozac)
46. Glossary, “Feral Fire” (Rebel Group)
45. Small Black, “New Chain” (Jagjaguwar)
44. Title Tracks, “It Was Easy” (Ernest Jenning)
43. School of Seven Bells, “Disconnect From Desire” (Vagrant)
42. Jack Rose, “Luck In the Valley” (Thrill Jockey)
41. Poison Control Center, “Sad Sour Future” (Afternoon)

40. Surfer Blood, “Astro Coast” (Kanine)
39. Deerhunter, “Halcyon Digest” (4AD)
38. Demdike Stare, “Liberation Through Hearing” (Modern Love)
37. Quasi, “American Gong” (Kill Rock Stars)
36. Male Bonding, “Nothing Hurts” (Subpop)
35. Freeway + Jake One, “The Stimulus Package” (Rhymesayers)
34. White Denim, “Last Day of Summer” (self-released)
33. The Soft Pack, “The Soft Pack” (Kemado)
32. The National, “High Violet” (4AD)
31. Wavves, “King of the Beach” (Fat Possum)

30. James Blackshaw, “All is Falling” (Young God)
29. Various artists, “Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010″ (Matador)
28. Maserati, “Pyramid of the Sun” (Temporary Residence Limited)
27. Laura Veirs, “July Flame” (Raven Marching Band)
26. Sun Araw, “On Patrol” (Not Not Fun)

And … the Top 25 … for today, at least:


Near/Far 2010: The “Bonus Disc”

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

For the uninitiated: Near/Far is The Bulletin’s totally free, totally legal, two-disc compilation of some of the best songs of the year. The 2010 version — all 36 tracks of it, including Superchunk, Laura Veirs, Freeway, Das Racist, Black Mountain, Larry and His Flask, Mosley Wotta, Sara Jackson-Holman and more — can be downloaded by clicking here.

We’ve been doing Near/Far annually for the past four years, and you can still grab 2007 and 2008 here and 2009 here. That’s 138 awesome songs, for free. FOR FREE.

But that’s not enough for me. Each year, there are inevitably tracks I can’t use on the official Near/Far, either because I run out of space, or I can’t get permission to use them. So this year, I decided to take advantage of YouTube’s playlist function and put together a “bonus disc” of great songs that didn’t make it onto the 2010 version of Near/Far.

Click here to listen. (Please note that some tracks may include coarse language.)

Here are the artists in this mix: Kanye West, Big Boi, Band of Horses, Mumford & Sons, Deerhunter, Weezer, Surfer Blood, Fang Island, My Chemical Romance, Purling Hiss, Tame Impala, Peter Wolf, Junip, Janelle Monae, Sun Araw, School of Seven Bells, Jonsi and Cee Lo Green. (I had to cut “Bed Intruder Song” at the last minute, sadly.)

Also, sorry if you run into an advertisement.

Baker’s Dozen: The 13 best concerts of 2010 in Central Oregon

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I’ve gone on and on about my favorite recordings of 2010, but live music is the backbone of any good scene. Here is a look back my 13 favorite shows of the past 12 months in chronological order, with excerpts from reviews already published in The Bulletin or on Frequency.

The White Buffalo, Jan. 26, Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom

(Jake) Smith’s talents are many, but his voice is obviously his most distinctive quality. It’s a show-stopper. A jaw-dropper. It’s canyon deep and sequoia strong, with a natural resonance that 99 percent of singers would kill to have.

The closest comparison I can come up with is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, though when he’s at his best, Smith makes Vedder sound like Bobby Brady going through puberty.

He’s just that great of a singer.

Smith showcased that voice on barnburners like “The Madman” and “Carnage,” with their ultra-low notes, as well as meandering, pretty numbers such as “Sleepy Little Town” and “Where Dirt and Water Collide.” And he let it soar during two of his best songs, “Love Song #1” and “Damned.” The ascendant pre-chorus of the former and the roller-coaster verses of the latter were perfect examples of Smith’s skill for writing melodies that are both unconventional and memorable.


Free music. Sweet!

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Welcome, music lover! You’ve found your way to the Frequency blog and Near/Far, The Bulletin’s online hub for coverage of 2010′s best sounds.

Here, we’ve collected three dozen of the finest songs of the past 12 months from both local and national acts and created a two-disc compilation of free, legal MP3s for your downloading pleasure, complete with some fun doughnut-themed artwork for all you sweet-tooths. Here are the goods:

Download “Far” by clicking here
Includes 18 songs by some of the coolest national acts of the year, including Superchunk, Dr. Dog, Das Racist, Laura Veirs, Wavves, Freeway & Jake One, Beach House, Midlake, Black Mountain, Sharon Van Etten, Aloe Blacc, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and more. See the entire “Far” tracklist here.

Download “Near” by clicking here
Includes 18 songs by some of Central Oregon’s best artists, including Larry and His Flask, Sara Jackson-Holman, Mosley Wotta, Mindscape, A.M. Interstate, Tuck And Roll, Elliot, Dennis McGregor, The Autonomics, Michelle Van Handel, Tim Coffey, KouseFly and more. See the entire “Near” tracklist here.

(Please be aware that a few of these tracks might contain some coarse language.)

In today’s issue of Frequency’s big print brother, GO! Magazine, we’ve got several pages dedicated to reviewing music in 2010. For example:

–My 50 favorite albums of the year.

–My 10 favorite local albums of the year and a round-up of some other notable local releases.

–The best musical moments of the year through the eyes of those closest to the scene, presented in handy Top 5 list format.

–My short overview of the Central Oregon music scene in 2009. (Hint: Several Central Oregon bands are starting to find success outside the region.)

Here are some bonus things that are only on the blog:
–My favorite concerts of the year in Central Oregon.

More Top 5 lists from locals close to the music scene. (We got a ton of these, and ran out of room in print.)

–A “bonus disc” of great songs from 2010 that didn’t make it onto Near/Far. (It’s not really a disc. It’s an easily streamed YouTube playlist that includes tracks by Big Boi, Band of Horses, My Chemical Romance, Kanye West, Mumford & Sons, Deerhunter, Weezer, Sun Araw, Cee Lo Green, Purling Hiss, Tame Impala, Peter Wolf, Janelle Monae and more.)

And finally, we still have the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Near/Far compilations available for free download. That’s 102 great songs, including The Shins, Arcade Fire, Jamie Lidell, The Avett Brothers, Brendan Benson, Atmosphere, Band of Horses, Aesop Rock, Fleet Foxes and more. Just click here to grab them.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me e-mail. I love feedback, and am always looking to improve Frequency.

What others thought of the year in music (addendum)

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Tomorrow morning in GO! Magazine, the music section will be dedicated to the best music of 2010, with four whole pages dedicated to the favorite things — albums, concerts, instruments, whatever — of those closest to Central Oregon’s music scene.

A couple weeks ago, I sent out a call to everyone I know asking them for their top five musical moments of the year. I’ve done this for four years in a row, and always received more lists than I could fit in the paper.

This year, however, there were even more lists than usual, and they were longer and more substantive than ever before. I ended up with way more material than I could use in print. Lucky for all of us, the internet is infinite! So I’ve taken all the overflow and placed it right here. Scroll down to see what a whole bunch of local folks were into in 2010.

Larry And His Flask
roots-punk road warriors
1. Best out of town shows: Austin, Texas at the Hole In The Wall with Possessed by Paul James and Tom Vandenavond. Playing at the House of Blues in Boston on Saint Patrick’s Day with Sick of it All and the Dropkick Murphys. Playing with Matt Hensley of Flogging Molly at Matt’s bar in Carlsbad. Playing acoustic at the House of Blues in Hollywood, Calif., in Jimmy Kimmel’s personal VIP section at the Mighty Mighty Bosstones show.

2. Most listened to albums of 2010: Possessed by Paul James, “Feed the Family.” Punch Brothers, “Anitfogmatic.” Noman, “Broadcast.” Murder by Death, “Good Morning, Magpie.” The Tallest Man on Earth, “Shallow Grave.”

3. Best hometown shows: Playing with The Devil Makes Three and the Dela Project at the Domino Room. Super rowdy show! Also, watching The Aggrolites at the Domino Room.

4. Best singer-songwriter of the century: Willy Tea of Oakdale, Calif.

5. Best party in Florida: The Fest, Halloween weekend. We played two shows that were awesome, then snuck onto the fourth floor of the Holliday Inn. Played on the fourth floor only to get kicked out by security and then to play again in the lobby with the manager’s permission at 4 a.m.


Great songs on albums that will not make my best-of-2010 list: Frightened Rabbit

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

My look back at the year in music (both local and beyond) will publish in GO! Magazine on Dec. 17 (that’s this Friday!), and our annual MP3 compilation of 2010’s best songs, “Near/Far,” will pop on Frequency that day, too. Until then, I’m posting some of my favorite songs of the year that appeared on albums I didn’t love.

Frightened Rabbit‘s 2010 release, “The Winter of Mixed Drinks,” is almost certainly getting short shrift from me in my assessment of 2010’s best albums. The two songs below are killer, as is “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.” The rest of the album is pretty good, too. But it has the unfortunate task of trying to follow one of my favorite albums ever, 2008’s “The Midnight Organ Fight” (also by these handsome Scots, in case that wasn’t obvious). So perhaps “Winter” didn’t impact me like I hoped it would because I subconsciously compared it to its predecessor, which is totally unfair to the band and the album. Facts are facts, however: Three of its songs floored me, but I struggled to love the ones that surrounded them.

I am totally prepared to be wrong in two, five or 10 years. When that happens, I hope Scott Hutchison will show up at my house, draw a beard on my face with marker, slap it off me, and then write a song about it. In the meantime:

Great songs on albums that will not make my best-of-2010 list: Best Coast

Monday, December 13th, 2010

My look back at the year in music (both local and beyond) will publish in GO! Magazine on Dec. 17, and our annual MP3 compilation of 2010’s best songs, “Near/Far,” will pop on Frequency that day, too. Until then, I’m posting some of my favorite songs of the year that appeared on albums I didn’t love.

It seemed like folks either loved or hated Best Coast‘s “Crazy For You” this year. One side of the debate — certainly the most important debate going on in our country these days — is annoyed by Bethany Cosentino’s simple songs, her lovelorn teen-diary lyrics, her “everything’s totally chill” persona, including (but not limited to) a Twitter feed focused almost exclusively on weed and cats. The other side appreciates Cosentino’s knack for catchy, sun-bronzed melodies, her syrupy sweet stories about boys (and liking boys), and her “everything’s totally chill” persona, including … oh, never mind. I liked Best Coast, but in small doses. Like “When I’m With You,” a three-minute, reverb-drenched nugget of perfect, girl-group surf-pop music.

Great songs on albums that will not make my best-of-2010 list: Weezer

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

My look back at the year in music (both local and beyond) will publish in GO! Magazine on Dec. 17, and our annual MP3 compilation of 2010’s best songs, “Near/Far,” will pop on Frequency that day, too. Until then, I’m posting some of my favorite songs of the year that appeared on albums I didn’t love.

I read lots of reviews of Weezer‘s “Hurley” that declared the band’s eighth album a return to form of sorts. Or at least more in line with the Weezer’s classic first two albums than their other recent output. This is really not true. As with every Weezer album since “Maladroit” (I like the green self-titled one a lot more than most folks), there are a few great moments on “Hurley,” but there are also far too many clunkers for it to be mentioned in the same breath as the debut and “Pinkerton.” All that said, the second track, “Ruling Me,” actually does remind me of band’s good ol’ days. The lovelorn-geek perspective, the chug-chug-chug guitars, the gloriously catchy chorus … I played this song, like, 10 times in a row in the car one day. And then I stopped.

Great songs on albums that will not make my best-of-2010 list: Sade

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Frequency’s calendar says it’s December, which means it’s time to start looking back at the year in music. Our annual “best of 2010″ issue of GO! Magazine will publish on Dec. 17, as will our free, legal, downloadable two-disc compilation of the year’s best songs. (Three previous versions — 102 free, awesome MP3s! — are here.)

In the meantime, let’s take a look at some great songs that came out this year on albums I didn’t love. First up, the martial, moody first single (and title track) from Sade‘s comeback album, “Soldier of Love.” Lots of people love the album, but I thought it was a bit sleepy. This song, however, is irresistible.