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The Best Music of 2010 [Introduction]

2010 is in the books. Let’s look back on a year of truly great music, shall we?

I enjoyed so many new releases this year that I felt it was only fitting to commemorate 2010 with a series of posts delineating the best of the best.

However, since my arrogance is (just barely) bounded by the realization that my taste is not the be-all end-all, I invited numerous friends of the blog to weigh in on their favorite music of the year as well.

ROTI’s all-star panel of musical judges included yours truly, along with C. Dave, Nils Coq au Vin, Serious Nihilism, Bill Waters, J.J. Behoy, DJ Walls of Sound, Goodbye Sage, Izzie B, Mikey Jones, and CVD. They are all heroes, and I thank them for their patriotism and good taste.

We begin our survey with some interesting topics expounded on by our panel…


NILS COQ au VIN on the MASHUPS THAT SHAPED 2010

When it comes to mashups, I have to defer to my frequent conspirator NCaV. He’s an expert on the topic and here’s his take on the most awesome efforts from the past year.

1. Girl Talk – All Day

“There is none higher. Greg Gillis sets the bar, a veritable Bob Vila of pop, gutting classics to expose their lovely bones and renovating them into glorious aural mansions.”

2. Wu Tang vs. The Beatles – Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers

“Greatest rock band meets greatest rap collective: the results are uncanny and catchy synergy.”

3. Wait What – The Notorious XX

“Big’s bars take on an unexpected, beautiful melancholy when backed by the sparse, haunting XX tracks.”

4. The White Panda

“Mashing pop into house into rap into classic rock, the White Panda is what the kids are listening to…and while it can be a bit saccharine at times, you can’t deny the pop power.”

No specific recommendation, but check out this link.

5. The Hood Internet

“Specializing in pairing the hottest acts in hip hop with the most pretentious of indie hipster fare, thehoodinternet churns out a prodigious body of work that allows you to actually enjoy the bands you should know about if you were cool.”

ABX – Virginia is for Cameras (Clipse vs Matt and Kim)


SERIOUS NIHILISM reports from the PROVIDENCE SCENE

“I’m at work,” says our esteemed judge, “so I’d obviously much rather be talking music.  I’ve been pretty out of touch these past few years, so my two picks are local to Providence, RI (though they have national distribution and have made a name for themselves outside of PVD).”

The Brother Kite – Isolation

“It’s sort of lazy to describe bands via “Band-X-meets-Band-Y-in-a-smoky-bar” or what have you, but it’s hard not to draw some immediate comparisons here — the vocal stylings and harmonies that evoke the Beach Boys, washy-wall-of-guitars reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, minor-key riffs and peppy tempos that remind you of the Cure’s greatest singles, and so on.  However, praising The Brother Kite by way of comparisons seems to sell them short; the unfair connotation is that they haven’t discovered or developed their own sound, which simply isn’t the case.  The Brother Kite has managed songs that are sometimes joyous, sometimes lonely, but always uniformly gorgeous and uniquely their own.”

The Body – All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood

“If you think you have an idea of what constitutes heavy or angry music, you should listen to The Body, because you are probably wrong.  The Body, a notoriously loud duo from Providence, teamed up with the Assembly of Light Choir to bring one of the most devastatingly haunting releases this year.  It’s seriously the soundtrack to the world ending.  Not for the faint of heart.”

BILL WATERS on THE BEST SOUNDTRACK OF THE YEAR

Our man in Hollywood, Bill Waters, weighed in on the finest soundtrack album of 2010. Here’s his verdict:

“All you can ask of a soundtrack is to adequately complement the tone and emotion of a film, to provide a current of music that informs the story without distraction. In the best cases, it may even match the material so perfectly that it evokes a specific mood as well as the visuals and story do. The Social Network score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross suits the film superbly, but with its electronic base and synth textures, it’s a uniquely enjoyable album on its own as well.

“I’ve found that it’s a great companion for road trips and works with the wind turbine farm in California’s San Gorgonio Pass as if it were conceived expressly for it. Marvel at 3,218 turbines delivering 615 megawatts of electricity to Southern California while cruising down the 10 and blasting “Pieces Form the Whole” and you will know why Trent’s oeuvre is described as ‘industrial.'”

He gives an honorable mention to Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy, and I would also like to give some props to Carter Burwell’s sneaky-good work on The Kids Are All Right.

NEXT POST: Honorable Mentions

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About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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