To be honest, I wasn't sure there was any point putting together a mix-tape of 'current' music this year. 2010 has been decidedly 'meh' musically for me so I feel any compilation would be perfunctory rather than genuinely inspired. Know what I'm sayin'?
Also, I read the Pitchfork Top 50 Singles of the year and realised my music awareness is so far from 'current' that I wonder if I ever left 2004. I knew approximately 8 of the bands and of those bands had heard maybe 3 of the songs. It looked like a joke list. The words made no sense to me.
That said, here are some of the songs I loved this year (even if they originated from earlier).
Song: Anyone's Ghost
Artist: The National (High Violet, 2010)
I was at this gig.
Anyhoo. My favourite song on the album would be Conversation 16 apart from the fact that every time I hear the chorus I think "Ugh! Why, National, why??". And that's what's stopped it from making The List this year. Anyone's Ghost is a terrifically poppy song with dark undertones (my favourite genre). Note esp. the cello that comes in to harmonise mid-way through. Unfortunately, at the Bell House gig there was no cellist and so you can't hear it in the above clip. What you can hear in the clip though, is how awesome Dessner #1's guitar is. The camera operator is right in front of him and must be capturing the foldback because it rises above the rest of the mix and lets you hear just how skillful he is (I, for one, won't be tackling that on Guitar Hero anytime soon*.)
Didn't want to be your ghost
Didn't want to be anyone's ghost
But I don't want anybody else
Song: Baby We'll be Fine
Artist: The National (Alligator, 2005)
I know there's no clip here but the only live performance I could find wasn't awesome and didn't do the song justice. After nearly 2 years rejecting Alligator, something clicked a few months ago and now I love it. This song is the standout. A diddy for anyone who has even been on the brink of f*cking something up royally.
Song: I Won't be Found
Artist: The Tallest Man on Earth (Shallow Grave, 2008)
First song on the first album. Wow, Katie, you've really explored this artist thoroughly. Typically, this album is his earlier one, Shallow Grave. I do have his 2010 album (The Wild Hunt) and am slowly getting to know it but keep getting drawn back to Shallow Grave. Sometimes you just want to listen to one man and one guitar (or banjo). A raw voice, compared to Bob Dylan for obvious reasons. This album is finger-pickin' gorgeous.
Song: You Must be Out of Your Mind
Artist: The Magnetic Fields (Realism, 2010)
Again, no clip (but a cello!) There's no point putting a song here if you can't hear it properly right? It was tough narrowing down with Mag Fields song to choose. They really have been THE band of the past couple of years. But this is my favourite from their 2010 album. The album is, to be honest, not their strongest but an experiment in acoustic music, a direct and deliberate inverse to their previous Distortion album. (The album on highest rotation on Podley would be I. So many great tracks on this album I want to download it and share it with the world).
Song: Stumble Then Rise on Some Awkward Morning
Artist: A Silver Mt Zion (He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Still Sometimes Grace the Corners of Our Rooms, 2008)
As if some post-rock wasn't going to slip into this list. This song is probably a tied favourite with Sit in the Middle of Three Galloping Dogs but then I saw this clip and it is so mesmerising I wanted to show it to you. This is from their 2008 album so I am not too far behind. Again, strings reign supreme with this band. Tragic, epic and beautiful. This band (and album) really are exquisite. This band is an offshoot of Godspeed You! Black Emperor who, after an 8 year hiatus have now reappeared in both my itunes playlist and, more significantly, on stages around Europe and America.
Artist: Yeasayer (Odd Blood, 2010)
And finally, some pure pop goodness. I can't embed their official clip for this song but that's okay. Sometimes I forget this is a Gen Y band and their clips are such silly odes to the 80s (a period time - and fashion - should hurry up and forget already) that I immediately felt sheepish for digging these guys. But this song has been on high rotation in our house this year (both on itunes and on vinyl) and a LOT of 80s dancing has ensued as a result. And for that, these guys make The List.
*Or indeed any song after last night's Guitar Hero disaster at Jon's place. Much harder than it looks, people