Slowcoustic’s favourite albums of 2010

On 9 December, 2010 by slowcoustic

Here we are with my favourite albums of 2010, and again I’m Canadian so I am too polite to put ‘best’ like I did last year for fear of it upsetting someone!  I am just a guy with a music blog telling you what he thinks is good music.  And it is good music (possibly the best…wait, I said it…).  None the less, below is a list of fantastic albums for whatever reason I have given each in my head (there is just no “explaining” the internal ranking system).  Endlessly thinking and trying to decide on each album’s importance to me specifically, the songs themselves, the overall feel of the album, did I sing along to it, do I select these albums to play without even thinking, did they change the way I listen to music (in any way)…

Well let’s just do this;

‘Just sooo close to being official’ list

(for whatever reason, but they need to be recognized)

Sharon Van Etten – “Epic”

Why? – This album almost felt like an EP for some reason, there are really great tracks like A Crime and Love More and Don’t Do it but unfortunately DsharpG didn’t work (for me), one more track and this was listed!  Sharon is what I think of when I think of Brooklyn/New York singer songwriters, Sharon is the future folks.
Listen: “Love More”

~

Conrad Plymouth – S/T

Why? – If this EP was an LP, it would be top 3 for sure.  This gut wrenching debut is indie folk rock at its best and bodes well for the upcoming full length (there is a full length coming…right??)
Listen: “Metamora”

~

Horse Feathers – “Thistled Spring”

Why? – The album while freakin good, didn’t grab me quite as much as their earlier albums, but still such a great sound from this band.  I will always be a fan of Ringle & Co. for making me enjoy the banjo as much as I do.
Listen: “Thistled Spring”

~~

Slowcoustic’s Favourite Albums of 2010


#13  The Savings and Loan – Today I Need Light


Why? – It is crazy mellow, almost a drunken beauty – things are a bit hazy, vocals are deep and rich and you just want to close your eyes and drink it in.  The album just recently came out (December!) but I have been listening intently for a few extra weeks.  I almost didn’t include it because it is too new, but it is standing up to almost anything my friends.  It would probably be even higher if I had it a couple more weeks that I have!
Listen: “Swallows”

#12  Nathaniel Rateliff – In Memory of Loss


Why? – Beyond just being acoustically catchy, it has phenomenal songs and it was a grower for me, the full album blossomed together as a whole.  Songs like Oil & Lavender just slices me open each time I listen.
Listen: “Early Spring Till”

#11  Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions

Why? – I almost put this album on just for the fact that the reworked version of “Christ Jesus” is so frickin’ awesome.  I just liked it, McCauley’s voice is just growing on me more and more.  And it is a bit sad, angry and AM radio.  Nice.
Listen: “Twenty Miles”

#10  The National – High Violet


Why? – Arguably the most “friendly” album on the list, it is still a great listen.  It is solid and found its way to be played on a regular basis and I always started humming and playing air drums.  Yes, I gave into the hype, but in all honesty its a pretty decent album through and through.  It is a more “rock” version of The Savings and Loan above if I had to say…
Listen: “Bloodbuzz Ohio”

#9  Postdata – S/T

Why? – Just a great album from up north (Canadians, Yeah!).   This album feels naked, stark and reminds me of another Hand Drawn Dracula release in Brian Borcherdt’s amazing “Coyotes” album.  Sounds real good live too.
Listen: “Tobias Grey”

#8  Damien Jurado – Saint Bartlett

Why? – Damien Jurado puts out consistently great albums.  This album like some others of his recent albums spans his traditional solo acoustic material with a bit of something else…is it “soul” maybe?  I feel it is Richard Swift’s influence in his sound – it is growing from “guy with an acoustic guitar” to something larger with still retaining the quiet when needed.
Listen: “Arkansas”

#7  Elephant Micah – Echoer’s Intent

Why? – He is a true “unknown legend” and his acoustic back catalog speaks for itself.  This is a pseudo concept album of the beauty of nature, it is just plain beautiful sounding.
Joe O’Connell is the real deal.
Listen: “Loon Call”

#6  Hoquiam – S/T


All covers are unique, above image used as stock image for release

Why? – This album was something I was looking forward to for a while and I was not disappointed.  An epic release of family (both Damien and Drake Jurado) about family, home and the hardships of life.  In one word it is raw, and it tastes good.
Listen: ” Zombies of the Sea”

#5  White Pines – The Falls

Why? – Okay, with the fact that I released this album on our record label out of the way, I simply can’t ignore it in my blogger life – its too damn good.  So putting the nepotism aside this album is literally a journey and it is dark, about being lost, finding yourself and just getting home.  There is soft moments, loud moments and all combined by Joseph Scott’s great vocals…this is one that I sing along to…definitely.
Listen: “Woods”

#4  Sam Quinn – The Fake that Sunk a Thousand Ships

Why? – This is one kick ass laid back album.  Quinn’s vocals in his almost signature nasal-esque delivery alongside the lazy guitar, viola and accents of electric just mesh so well.  Songs like Hello, Fanboy, Help Me – almost every track is right out of the box good.
Listen: “Hello”

#3  J. Tillman – Singing Ax

Why? – I am forever in this man’s debt in bringing me into what is “Slowcoustic” and Singing Ax has moments of brilliance that shows me this once again.  Some want more from him, I just listen and enjoy every last morsel of the hushed performance.
Listen: “Three Sisters”

#2  The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

Why? – This man is doing everything right.  This album has one of my favourite songs of the year in “Kids On The Run” and his sound once described as Dylan is now simply his, and I like it that way.  His cover of Graceland was pretty sweet to which I always connect to this album due to the single.
Win – Win.
Listen: “King of Spain”

#1  Strand of Oaks – Pope Killdragon

Why? – This one is #1 because it had to be.  Easily, very easily my most listened to album this year.  This is the future of the indie singer songwriter-folk artist.  There are layers you don’t even hear on the first 5 listens.  The stories told are bizarre, believable and become the truth once you find yourself singing along with Tim Showalter.  Always been a fan, but this one moves my man-crush that much further – great album, listen to it and fall inside it – it won’t matter if you ever find your way out of it.
Best of 2010.
Listen: “Bonfire”

~~~

There you go, take it as you will.  All are stellar albums and are worth owning in your library, and if you read this blog, you should have them in your library already.

~Smansmith

12 Responses to “Slowcoustic’s favourite albums of 2010”

  • Ben

    hot damn. print it, frame it, and throw it up on the wall!

  • definitely one of my favorite lists to snag from. i always trust your opinion. except Horse Feathers…they should be higher ;)

  • Daniel

    Hello,
    This is the my 1st time for Strand of Oaks, and i need to listen to over and over again. But i start to realize you are right.
    Thank you. It’s pure gold.
    Daniel Oliveira

  • RavingLunatic

    Excellent stuff as usual. This reminds me that I need to listen to Hoquiam, Postdata, and the White Pines. In addition to the above-mentioned albums, I still need to Savings & Loan, Jeffrey Foucault, and a few others.

    Here’s my still incomplete list. (They’re all Slowcoustic-style music unless noted in brackets.)

    1. Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt
    2. Elephant Micah – Mayor of Rocky Ripple EP/Spinning on Air EP/Paradise Losers EP
    3. Tallest Man On Earth – Sometimes the Blues Is Just A Passing Bird EP
    4. Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring
    5. Elephant Micah – Sings the Songs of Bible Birds
    6. Martha Tilston – Lucy & the Wolves
    7. Centro-matic – Eyas EP
    8. Four Tet – There Is Love In You [electronic]
    9. J. Tillman – Singing Ax
    10. Elephant Micah – Echoer’s Intent
    11. Dylan Sneed – Texodus
    12. Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises
    13. James Vincent McMorrow – Early in the Morning
    14. Joe Pug – Messenger
    15. Emma Pollock – The Law of Large Numbers
    16. White Buffalo – Prepare for Black & Blue EP
    17. National – High Violet
    18. Veell – Birdsland [electronic]
    19. Bonobo – Black Sands [electronic]
    20. Burns Unit – Side Show
    21. Brad Senne – Aerial Views
    22. Damien Jurado – Saint Bartlett
    23. Patrick Park – Come What Will

    I’d especially recommend that Dylan Sneed album for all Slowcoustic lovers, as it seems to be utterly unknown, yet I can’t imagine anyone who likes alt-country or folk music not loving it. You can download it for preview purposes at http://musicalcoma.vlsweb.net.br/?p=7691

  • slowcoustic

    Thanks Raving Lunatic! Nice list there yourself, I am downloading that Dylan Sneed right now.

    I had thought about the Brad Senne, Joe Pug and JVM and they might have been included had I made it to my top 20…

    Cheers

  • Annie Palmer

    YES! What a list!!!! gonna check out the half of these I ain’t heard yet!

  • Wow… strand of oaks is great!

  • Liam

    Great List!

    What about Mirepoix and Smoke by Ben Weaver? I’m sure most slowcoustic readers would love it.

  • Assaf

    Hi slow,

    just bumped into your blog and this list got me to subscribe you to my reader.
    welcome man.

    I would add to the list July Flame from Laura Veirs. it’s a masterpiece.
    and phosphorescent.

    thanks for the ones I didn’t know. goin’ to check’em out.

    happy new year..

  • thanx for a list. very nice to discover something new and really good. Tallest Man on Earth is very good!

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