Gareth Price’s 2010 Top 10

This blog is rapidly turning into Hi-Fidelity which I guess is a hazard of this time year. It’s happening to other people, like Matt Withers too. In the wake of my top 10 and that of my younger brother’s, here’s another view of the best music from the last year. This list comes from Gareth Price, who’s the press officer for Consumer Focus Wales. This is what he says:
When I checked, lots of stuff I thought was from this year was 2009 (last Wilco album, Spencer McGarry Season vol1, for example). However, I managed a top 5 without really trying – and have fleshed it out with some other stand out tracks.
5. Method Acting/Cortez the Killer – Dave Rawlings Machine
Rawlings has long collaborated on much of Gillian Welch’s best work, but on the Friend of a Friend album they work together with his name in lights. Fantastic album, released at the tale end of 2009, but Mojo have put it in their best of 2010 – so I think I can too. I love railroad sing-a-long The Monkey and the Engineer and opening track Ruby too. But this double cover version (Conor Oberst/Neil Young) is just lovely.
4. You Can Have My Heart – Wynntown Marshalls
Opening track on the best Scottish album I heard this year – Westerner. Could have picked a number of others from it – Snowflake, the tale of an albino gorilla is particularly good –  but this one is proper growling Americana.
3. Sprawl II – Arcade Fire
The best track on a widely acclaimed album.
2. Belinda – Ben Folds (lyrics by Nick Hornby)
The best bit of a collaboration which only lives up to its incredible potential in a handful of the tracks. The story concerns an aging rocker who hates his only hit, because it reminds him of his great lost love. “What is he without her? A one hit wonder with no hits, that’s what he is.” Truly bewitching.
1. The Battle of Hampton Roads – Titus Andronicus.
More than a quarter hour of epic Civil War themed, noise. Lasts long enough for me to cycle to work – door to door – if I don’t get caught at the lights. Named for the first battle featuring iron ships, it also features a bag-pipe solo, raging vocals, name-checks Bruce Springsteen and it rocks and rocks and rocks. Insanely ambitious – and pulls it off.

Another 5 in no particular order

Acts of Man – Midlake
Another album opener. Bought on the strength of this track and the recommendation of Lance Armstrong (on Twitter), advice I shalln’t follow again. I find the rest of the album unlistenable – but this opening song is strangely moving.
Claire’s Ninth – Folds/Hornby
Classic Hornby story – young girl’s angst at her divorced parents discomfort on her ninth birthday. Beautifully told.
A More Perfect Union – Titus Andronicus
The opening track on The Monitor and a better introduction to the band than ‘Hampton Roads’ – some great guitar licks on this one.
Firework – Katy Perry
Just because it’s popular, doesn’t make it bad. Pure pop fun.
Empire State of Mind (Part2) – Alicia Keys
More for the memories of a great trip to the Big Apple, than the song. But isn’t great music, ultimately, always about the memories.

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