Favorite edition 2010: Quarter third

A few third quarter releases and some straggling second quarter discoveries finally rounded out the favorite edition list for 2010.

I’ll admit I’m not entirely passionate about the second half of the list as I am the first half, but I’m glad I’ve encountered enough new releases to stave off the avalanche of catalog that’s been dominating my playlist.

While Tokyo Jihen has a strangehold on the top spot, I would like to mention my pick for single of the year: "Nirai Kanai" by Cocco. That mix of Okinawan chanting with her classic hard rock sound just pushes all the right buttons for me.

I’m not seeing anything spectacular on the release calendar for the rest of the year, so this list might be it.

  1. Tokyo Jihen, Sports
  2. LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, ABBOT KINNEY
  3. Res, Black.Girls.Rock!
  4. Cocco, Emerald Compared to the rest of Cocco’s discography, Emerald doesn’t hold much of a candle next to, say, Sangrose. Compared to everything else released this year, Emerald shows a willingness to experiment that makes it interesting bordering on fascinating. Thankfully, the songs hold up to the whiplash between bright dance beats and grunge-y guitars.
  5. Renée Fleming, Dark Hope Purists will scoff at the adult contemporary arrangements of the indie rock program on this album. Then again, Dark Hope isn’t really aimed for them. The music does lose a bit in translation, but the real feature is Fleming’s singing, which she adjusted to suit the material. She doesn’t sound stiff, and her lower range has a warmth that really ought to be explored much, much more.
  6. Friday Night Lights: Original Television Soundtrack, Vol. 2 I can’t vouch for whether people who have never watched Friday Night Lights would enjoy this soundtrack. The mostly alt-country track list practically screams, "Texas forever!" and under normal circumstances, I would roll my eyes. But the rustic sound of the tracks are simultaneously young with energy and old with weariness — much like the show itself. In other words, it’s a great mix tape, capped by one of the best imitations of Explosions in the Sky.
  7. Royal Wood, The Waiting I’ll admit — I downloaded The Lost and Found EP because I thought Royal Wood looked hot wearing a suit. Then it turns out he’s a really excellent singer. On The Waiting, Wood brings back Dean Doullaird and welcomes Pierre Marchand as producers. Wood’s self-produced albums felt incomplete, but this time, Doullaird and Marchand fill in the holes. As publicist types are wont to say, this album takes Wood to the next level.
  8. lostage, LOSTAGE
  9. Natalie Merchant, Leave Your Sleep
  10. Jónsi, Go

And the runners up …

  • Sade, Soldier of Love
  • bloodthirsty butchers, NO ALBUM Mudai
  • STRAIGHTENER, CREATURES
  • UA, KABA
  • Tracey Thorn, Love and Its Opposite
  • Rufus Wainwright, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu
  • SuiseiNoboAz, SuiseiNoboAz

Comments

  • Kyle says:

    Ling Tosite Sigure’s ‘still a Sigure virgin?’ instantly became my favorite record of the year when it came out last month. The butchers, Luminous Orange, Nothing’s Carved In Stone, Mirror, and Mass of the Fermenting Dregs all put out worthwhile stuff as well.

  • NemesisVex says:

    For some reason, I read “Sigure” as “Sigur Rós”. Then I listened to “still a Sigure virgin?” and thought, “This guy kind of sounds like Jónsi.”

  • Kyle says:

    Hah, now THERE’S a connection I never would have made!

  • Id says:

    I don’t know about you, but I’m really digging Kimonos’ debut album. It sounds exactly like what you might expect it to sound like – a fusion of Mukai and Leo’s sounds with a strong presence of Eastern melodies. Think IV though, none of the wankery of III. A Soundtrack to Murder, Yureru, Miss, and Tokyo Lights are my favorite tracks.

  • Id says:

    You know what? Scratch Tokyo Lights cause Sports Men is infectious as all hell.

  • NemesisVex says:

    I finally got around to getting Kimonos from the Evil Sharing Networks, and I have to agree — it’s ZAZEN BOYS 4 filtered through FIX NEON. It’s kind of unsettling to hear Mukai actually sing and not sing-scream. I do like that cover of Tokyo Lights, though. Made me wish the original was that rocking.

  • Kevin says:

    I’m at the other end of the spectrum – I like the sound Kimonos have, but I hate Mukai’s voice. I found his singing acceptable only on “Yureru”; the rest, especially his garbled Engrish diction in “Sports Men”, were just a torture to sit through.
    Leo’s voice, however, will forever be sex to my ears.