20. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Before Today - Can’t Hear My Eyes (MP3)
Before Today is Ariel Pink’s most accessible recording yet - there’s far less noisy escapades than on previous efforts, this LP (number nine) choosing instead to delve into the depths of inner city soul and 80s synth-funk, albeit given a modern Animal Collectivist twist. Vocals are equally indicative of the era, ranging from a delicate Michael Jackson-esque touch to dark and confident post-punk deliveries - coloured without fail by Ariel Pink’s good-humoured and deliberately cheesy instrumentation. As I said in my album review in September, Before Today just ‘strangely, eerily works’.
19. Toro Y Moi - Causers Of This - Talamak (MP3)
There’s little scope for anyone to deny that even if Toro Y Moi wasn’t one of the main perpetrators of 2009/10’s ‘chillwave’ scene, he certainly emerged as one of the most engaging acts the genre had to boast by its relative demise, come 2011. His music is typically characterised by whirring soft synths, scattered drum machines and falsetto vocals almost entirely submerged within the mix, but is also closely linked to Michael Jackson, and particularly the retro 70s recording technique Chaz Bundick employs shows of an element of tribute as well as innovation. Causers Of This (read my original review) is filled with hyperactive and erratic 3-minute pop songs, samples, repeats and glitches all sewn together in a wonderfully attentive fashion, one shamelessly catchy and alluring enough of put Toro Y Moi’s debut album at number 19 on my list. Watch out for the follow-up ‘Underneath The Pine’, currently on schedule to drop exactly a year after its predecessor, on 22nd February 2011 - also on Carpark.
18. Johnny Flynn - Been Listening - Lost And Found (MP3)
Johnny Flynn’s second album, ‘Been Listening’ is filled with rootsy jams, Shakespearean lyricism and the kind of detached and pastoral finger-picking which Flynn, one of the London folk scene’s biggest names, has become known for over recent years. This second album retains every element of his slightly awkwardly resting charm and his poetic and earthy folk arrangements, but with a little added maturity, and soul-searching depth. Lost And Found is a slow and natural builder with a distinctively Johnny Flynn acoustic introduction - indicative both in style and in quality of the rest of the album.
17. Bombay Bicycle Club - Flaws - Dust On The Ground (MP3)
Bombay Bicycle Club’s Flaws is perhaps the album I expected least to be including in my best of 2010 list, if you’d asked me at the beginning of the year, that is. The follow up to the critically acclaimed but somewhat uninspiring debut ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’, the band re-invented their rather bland electric guitar sound in favour of something a little more acoustic for their undeniable success of a latest effort. ‘Flaws’ is a collection of Drake-inspired clean-tone woodsy folk songs with Jack Steadman’s careful and perfectly placed vocal delivery a feature suddenly, surprisingly, realised to its fullest extent. My review put my theory about the band far more eloquently:
“These bold moves however need to be measured by their intent; this is no ‘token’ acoustic album from a firmly established band, nor is it a cry for attention. “Flaws” essentially appears instead to be an exposition of Bombay Bicycle Club’s true colours, one deliberately timed early enough to prevent any premature evaluation of the band’s true sound from becoming ‘set in stone’”
16. Warpaint - The Fool - Baby (MP3)
Warpaint initially burst on to the scene in 2009, with their debut EP ‘Exquisite Corpse’ - six tracks of sprawling post-punk jams, sporadic percussion and spindly post-punk guitars cleverly intertwined with intermittent and elusive female harmonies. The recording was somewhat of a weak point, reminiscent somewhat of Women’s colourful dissonance, disappointing yet somewhat culturally appropriate; but ‘The Fool’ is rid of these hindrances. It is the acoustic tones and the reverberant whispers of the vocals which complement each other to the greatest extent this time around - the songs are longer and a little more delicate, a little more tailored to see the band’s expressionism filtering through. ‘Baby’ is attached - for its sheer beauty, simplicity and oppressive mood above its (lack of) stylistic alignment to the rest of ‘The Fool’.
The rest of the list will drop this week, and if you want to stay updated on its results then follow This Music Wins on Twitter,Tumblr, and Facebook and subscribe via email by putting yours in the box in the sidebar.. Tell me how much you disagree with me in the comment box below!
Read #25 - #21 here.
Read #15 - #11 here!