My favourite albums of 2010 have been documented in print with FFWD, and also with CJSW. I had a few extra write-ups for the FFWD list, but due to space, they were cut. Figured I might as well post 'em here...
1. Mi Ami - Steal Your Face (Thrill Jockey)
Steal Your Face grabbed me immediately upon its April release, and has yet to let go. A three-piece from San Francisco, Mi Ami features Daniel Martin-McCormick and, until recently, Jacob Long, both formerly of the downright visionary D.C.-based post-punk group Black Eyes. Mi Ami takes some of the no-wave and post-punk elements that Black Eyes used, but merges them with elements of dub and neo-psychedelia to create one infectious smattering of deeply grooved noise-rock.
Martin-McCormick’s treble-shearing guitar-playing often recalls Arto Lindsay’s work with no-wave pioneers DNA, but in a new context appropriate for 2010. As for Martin-McCormick’s vocals, I’ve heard him described as a “shrieking chainsaw lady,” which seems accurate enough, aside from the “lady” part. Over Steal Your Face’s six songs, Mi Ami operates as an unstoppable kinetic force, sounding fresh, vital and downright exciting. “Latin Lover” should destroy any dance floor, “Harmonics (Genius of Love)” should destroy your speakers, and “Slow” will ride that avant-funk backbeat into the ground, leaving a moment of silence before tasteful guitar feedback melts what’s left. Utterly thrilling, and I hope their new lineup as a duo remains just as interesting — Dolphins, their next EP, comes out in March.
2. Broken Water - Whet (Night People)
Broken Water is a trio from Olympia, and their album Whet grew on me continually this year. My girlfriend and I drove down to Missoula to see them live, and they were fantastic. Very indebted to late-‘80s Sonic Youth/Live Skull—their male vocalist somehow sounds like a cross of Thurston Moore and J Mascis. Expect to hear more about this trio in 2011, as they’ve started coming into their own sound nicely. Also: Broken Water's "Normal Never Happened" 7" single on Fandeath, also released this year, is excellent.
3. Stalwart Sons - Burn Daylights Like Torches
Stalwart Sons’ Burn Daylights Like Torches is the exact sort of album I’ve always wanted to come out of Calgary, or even the prairies in general: sounding somewhere between Fugazi and the Constantines, with enough bent guitar strings and passionately poetic references to frozen ground to make any angry young prairie-dweller proud. Frontman Kevin Stebner just published his first book of poetry, even! (Revolution Winter)
For more information on my other favourites, just check out the list on CJSW.