Things That Made Me Enjoy 2010, Part 1: Music

2010 was – without doubt – my favourite year of my life thus far, strangely it was probably also the year that I have paid the least attention to pop cultural releases. I’m not drawing any lines between the two, but it’s given me something to think about.

Anyway, without further procrastination, here are my favourite musical things about 2010:

Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

No surprises here, it’s no secret how much I adore these dudes. It’s a solid record from beginning to end, and I loved it from the get-go. This being said, I haven’t really listened to it since another “seeing them live and walking them out midway through” incident this October. The Levi’s sponsorship still leaves a curious taste in my mouth. Anyway, all of this aside it’s still a fantastic record, and Orphans is my stand out track.

Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now

It’s odd to think my love affair with Miss Caitlin Rose only began this year when I fell hard for her Dead Flowers EP, followed by what may well have been my favourite show ever, upstairs at the Old Queens Head earlier this year. I literally counted don the weeks for her to release her full length, so that I could once again hear the song “New York” which was every bit as good as I remembered it. If you don’t know and love her already, check her out and pay no attention to the “handed on a plate” haters, she’s awesome, as a second show this year at the Slaughtered Lamb with a full band proved.

Mixtapes  – Maps/Thoughts About Growing Up

Maps came from nowhere at the end of January and made my life an altogether better place to be. Every track on the album makes me grin like a maniac. Somehow striking a perfect balance between pop punk and indie rock with boy-girl vocals they rapidly became my favourite new band of the year. The release of “Thoughts About Growing Up” cemented this belief and they just about blew my mind with the release of the Halloween themed split with other new faves Direct Hit! Get it, learn it and love it throughout the whole of 2011

Direct Hit!  – Anthology/Mixtapes Split

Direct Hit had been floating around on mixtapes since earlier this year but I only really started to pay attention when Snickers or Reeses (Pick Up The Pieces) found its way onto one of my go to playlists. They’re basically everything I ever loved about pop punk, and with a heady amount of songs about monsters  (which ALWAYS makes me swoon) They had a cassette version of the anthology up for grabs this November, if you didn’t manage to snag one worry not! The debut studio full length should be out early next year.

Red City Radio – Spinning In Circles is a Gateway Drug

On first listen this seems a little bit “gruff punk by the numbers” but you soon realise it’s waaaaay bigger than that. It’s a perfect posi/gruff/pop punk single. Listen to it and try and feel bad I dare you. This shit makes me happier than Latterman. They sorta sound like a heady blend of the Riot Before and Broadway Calls, sorta.

Iron Chic – Not Like This

To be honest, I’d have fallen for this record based on song titles, it being freakin’ rad was a big plus. It’s poppier and more refined than Shitty Rambo and the demo and it’s awesome for it. It makes every day feel like mid July when you were 19, dig? I’m all about the first track  – Every Town Has an Elm Street.

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans – The Falcon Lake Incident

This year was lacking a proper Weakerthans record, but this (and the John K Samson EP) more than made up for it. Ottawa native Jim Bryson teamed up with the Winnipeg legends to produce this slice of magic. A perfect record for the transition from Fall to Winter, full of big, layered sounds and softly softly vocals as melody stylings. Lives in that happy land between country and indie rock. “Metal Girls” is a great poppy introduction.

John K Samson -Provincial Road 222

Lets face it, John K Samson can do no wrong. Any year without a Weakerthans record could have been made exponentially better with the release of one, but this 3 song EP makes all that yearning go away. When he sings “I know I’m just your little ampersand” in “The Last And” I defy your heart to not melt, at least a little. And I don’t know anyone else that could make a song about broken code and unclosed tags seem ethereal, but he does. New Weakerthans next year please.

Justin Townes Earle –  Harlem River Blues

This is going to be the release that makes your Mum love Justin T, but who cares – it’s awesome. I thought about not including this after that whole postponing the UK tour and going into rehab thing but with the imminent rescheduled date I forgave him. This record is just a tiny bit better than Midnight at the Movies and melancholic in an altogether more upbeat way. I’m kind of in love with “Christchurch Woman”

forgetters EP

As if I wasn’t going to include Blake on this list. After the break up of Thorns of Life I was more than slightly sad, and then forgetters (no capital F) made everything all okay again. Although this EP is more Jawbreaker than Jets and I’m old and it’s winter I love love love this record. I love “Vampire Lessons” the most even though it’s not the best song on the EP. (Blake Schwarzenbach with vague vampiric leanings? JESUS)

Anyway, that was it, my favourite records of this year. I’m going to try and add books and TV later this week, but I have a tax return to complete so we’ll see how that goes. I’m also going to try and upload my best of 2010 mixtape later on, but I’ll let you know.

Edit – I uploaded the mix to 8tracks because today I am a fan of legality. Here you are – go crazy!

Kim

Books and bands and movies and TV and booze, mostly.

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