(Editor's note:I wanted to lob in a couple of words on 2010 today, kind of put a punctuation mark at the end of the twelve month period (for my own sense of closure, if nothing else). 2010 was a fantastic year in my non-internet-blogging life, so I feel like I listened to less records than I have in years previous. With that caveat, there are still four records that I know I'll be listening to for a while; even in a year when I didn't plant that many seeds, there's still a reasonable crop for a best of the year list. A few words on each follow.)
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
There's not a hole on the record; sometimes that can wind up being damning with faint praise, a sort of code for "there isn't any filler, but there isn't anything amazing either." Not here. One first listen, you'd say that "Sun Hands" is the hit, but after you spin this thing a couple of times, that song sounds like less of a standout and more of a peer to songs like "Airplanes," "Wide Eyes," and "Who Knows, Who Cares." Tack on the fact that these dudes bring the raw shit live and this record should be a lock for everyone's year end list. (Note: you get the remix below and not the original. This is Lazy Saturday, remember?)
Suckers – Wild Smile
"It Gets Your Body Movin'" is the song of the year for me; perfectly executed in all facets and even better live. The rest of the album ranges from good to great (except for the last fifth, maybe, which drags a bit, but, such is life). Quite frankly, the rest of the record could have been white noise and this would still get run from me solely for the aforementioned song of the year and "Roman Candles" (which is the best Gordon Gano impersonation ever, I'd wager). (Note: You get a video here. See the comment above.)
Menomena – Mines
I'm in the minority in Cleveland, but I thought this band was mediocre live. Can't take away from the quality of the record though. "BOTE" is a revelation, quite frankly. Usually, I'm the guy who says that you have to be able to make it happen live for me to continue to love it. Turns out that if you're as good in the studio as Menomena is, you can sleepwalk through the live show and still keep my attention.
Megafaun – Heretofore
Am I ever going to make a best of the year list and leave off Megafaun? Probably not, especially given that these dudes are putting out a record in the spring. "Comprovisation for Connor Pass" is a fine distillation of the sort of mind-bending toe-tapping that Megafaun tends to push out. "Volunteers'" is beautiful. "Eagle" is the funnest song they've put to tape. Per usual, I am looking forward to what these fellows are doing next year.
We do have some good stuff to share with you outside of my best of list today. First, we have a semi-major announcement for you on the horizon, but it's not quite cooked to the middle yet. Look for something exciting from us (and something to do next weekend) by Monday. For today, we'll give you a bit of a hint. Listen to this song by Fletcher Kaufman. Enjoy it because it is interesting and well wrought. If you like what you hear and you want to start guessing about out major announcement, read the words and get the rest here.
Last up today is music from a band that self-labels as "sedative-wave." It's like Washed Out on Quaaludes. Suffice it to say that I love it.