These are my favourite songs that were released in 2010. Well they are at the moment anyway. I notice they’re mostly very downbeat and mostly sung by female vocalists; hardly a surprise. I do listen to lots of upbeat music with male vocalists, honestly. Not that you could tell that from this selection. Ah well, I’ll probably change my mind in a week anyway.
10. Alison Eales: Land and Sea.
A lovely song from someone I only heard late in the year. It was released free last month by the fabulous EardrumsPop net label. You can download the EP here. All three songs are lovely. Alison’s website is here.
She said about these songs that
I recorded these tracks in my pyjamas, sitting on the floor of a small cupboard, with a cotton bag over my head as a makeshift pop-shield. It was only after I’d finished that I realised I could have put the bag over the microphone.
Listen to Land and Sea by clicking play below.
9. Papercranes: Blue Jean
This is a little miracle. It transforms what I consider to be one of Bowie’s worst songs into a slow, warm, folky-bluegrass-y ballad with a tune that’ll stick in your head. It features in ‘We Were So Turned On’ the War-Child Bowie tribute album from Manimal Vinyl.
Don’t let the fact that an actor (Rain Pheonix) is the singer of Papercranes. On the evidence of this, it’s far from another vanity project.
I know these get criticised for being twee or for quoting from other songs. I don’t care. I enjoyed last year’s ‘Dear Stephen Hawking’ and I’ve enjoyed this year’s album. It’s not going to change the world, but it is great fun.
7. Broken Bells: Citizen
My brother gave me the Broken Bells album as a birthday present. One of only two new CDs I’ve owned this year (everything else has been either digital or vinyl) I knew nothing about it beforehand and still don’t know much. I like it very much though, particularly this one. I can’t seem to upload any version of it though so if you want to listen to it, try here.
6. Midlake: Bring Down
One of Mrs M’s favourite bands, Midlake keep changing the way they sound, but they’re consistently interesting. ‘The Courage of Others’ was another departure, adding influences like Richard Thompson to the mix. All the songs are marvellous; this is one of the best. Click play below for a live version.
5. Marthas and Arthurs: Sally Started it All
Another one that EardrumsPop pointed me towards. Great harmonies and a great tune. It’s in my head most of the time.
You can download the ep for free here or just listen to the song by clicking play below.
4. Warpaint: Undertow
I heard Warpaint’s fantastic Billie Holiday on 6 Music earlier this year and bought their mini-LP Exquisite Corpse on vinyl and really enjoyed it. So I was looking forward to their first full album, the Fool which didn’t disappoint. I have to confess it’s not a million miles away from Cocteau Twins, but although I generally see that as a crime (because only the Cocteaus should sound that way), this is wonderful.
They’re also on Manimal Vinyl.
I don’t much like videos, but this is a really good one. (You probably have to go to YouTube to watch it)
3. The Joy Formidable: I Don’t Want to See You Like This
Seeing these twice this year was a treat. An unlikely support act at Paul McCartney’s Millennium Stadium show, they blew the vast stadium away in their allotted half an hour. In Cardiff’s Millennium Music Hall they were blistering. My ears rang for days. What is there not to like? Big tunes, big noise and three people who are clearly enjoying themselves. I can’t wait to hear the new album when it’s released next year.
2. Beach House: Silver Soul
With the deep-voiced Victoria Legrand on vocals singing like a more tuneful Nico, Beach House produced an album, Teen Dream, which was a wonderful collection of stately, moody and epic songs that I’ve enjoyed most of the year. I found it next to impossible to choose one.
1. Arcade Fire: Sprawl II
This is the very best song from an album packed with wonderful tunes (apart from the horrible ‘Month of May’ but the rest are so good that I forgive them for that). ‘Rococo’ was nearly top of this list. Actually so were ‘City with No Children’ and ‘Empty Room.’ I was overjoyed that Arcade Fire didn’t disappoint this year. Seeing them live in Cardiff was a real highlight.