Features Music Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2010)

Music: Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2010)


Welcome once again to Scene Point Blank's annual rundown of the best music of the past twelve months. This list is compiled for your viewing pleasure by a carefully-managed democratic process. SPB staff compile individual lists which are then painstakingly compiled into an overall site list. Draws and ties are decided on and eventually we arrive at the result spread out over the following pages. Read, discuss, and enjoy our opinion on 2010.

- the SPB team


25. Young Livers - Of Misery & Toil (No Idea Records)

With three years since their last full-length, Young Livers have returned in top form. Of Misery & Toil walks the thin line between packing a serious punch and being accessible. The gritty tones of interwoven dual guitars and wailing vocals are suitable for soothing any angst you might be feeling, while the impressive melodies might be just enough to convince Grandma this is good music. After you pick her up off the floor. Young Livers seem to have been asked if punk rock can be beautiful and despairing. They replied “yes” with Of Misery & Toil. One can only hope that this is not their swan song, even if it would be a perfect note to go out on. (Travis)

24. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (Warp Records)

Flying Lotus's Steven Ellison seems to have finally become comfortable in his genius. His sound is no longer comparable to others that came before him. His influences are less present on this album; rather, they sit in the distance, almost as far-away memories to remind us of how this beautiful musical plateau was reached. Ellison is doing more than just reaching into the cosmos here. He is grasping something and bringing it back to Earth for our listening pleasure. Cosmogramma is a giant leap for music. It is no doubt a snapshot of the future to come. (Travis)

23. Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit (Profound Lore)

Agalloch are sort of a band of hermits. When looking upon the Profound Lore release schedule earlier this year and seeing this listed i was surprised to say the least. Noted the band certainly has their share of releases but, over the past few years its been dvds and compilations not true albums. Well it happened, they came out with an album that they seemed predestine to. Every chord rings big enough to fill the forests that agalloch's songs seem to inhabit. The vocals could fill stadiums while never becoming trite sounding. this is an album in the truest sense each song fitting together rather than being a collection space. Maybe it took awhile but Agalloch has recaptured the magic of their early releases while building up the songs as well. (Jon E)

22. Jimmy Eat World - Invented (Interscope)

While the rest of my fellow writers at SPB didn’t rate it as such, I can’t call Jimmy Eat World’s latest full-length, Invented, anything short of the album of the year. The Arizona quartet has once again demonstrated why they’re at the top of the game when it come to writing dynamic pop-inspired rock songs. Even at seven albums and seventeen years into their time as a band, they’ve found new ways to breath life into their music and win over new fans, while still keeping their existing fan base satisfied. The group delivers a smattering of sounds throughout their latest effort, with rock-based cuts like “My Best Theory” and “Action Needs an Audience” and more delicate emo-leanings such as heard on “Higher Devotion.” However, the album showcase is the seven minute title-track which is highlighted by slowly building sparse instrumentation for the majority of the track before rising to its climax, both musically as well as lyrically, and slowly easing its way back down. From beginning to end, Invented is nothing short of perfection. (Michael)

21. Crucified - Coldest Winters; Darkest Reaches Of The Mind (Double Or Nothing)

Crucified came nearly out of nowhere this year. That is not to say they hadn't put in their time and released a couple things. But, Crucified exist far outside the hardcore hype machine. They are a band mixes in metallic parts without being metalcore. Everything just sounds like true anger nothing less. Each song is recorded precisely and without any filler in the writing. Not a single second is wasted the listener is treated to less than half an hour of some of the most well written metallic hardcore songs of the last decade. (Jon E)

20. Elliott Smith - An Introduction To... (Kill Rock Stars)

It is hard to understand the purpose of a release like An Introduction to Elliott Smith. Should it be seen as a retrospective look at one of the more revered artists to come out of America in the nineties or a record label sanctioned attempt at creating the type of mix-tape people used to make pre-internet when you wanted to introduce friends to one of your favourite bands. As the title suggests, this release falls firmly into the latter camp. And thankfully, it is a damn good one. Living up to its title, this is an excellent introduction to Elliott Smith. (Dan)

19. Sage Francis - Li(f)e (Anti)

Hip-hop music doesn’t have to suck. Hip-hop music doesn’t have to lack substance. It really doesn’t; this is 2010. Sage Francis proves that with his fourth solo release. Li(f)e is an album filled with ambitious storytelling - some of it made up, some autobiographical - set to the background of varying musical experiments anchored in both traditional hip-hop as well as dabbling along the line of indie rock. If there is one song that I feel would sway you to fall in love with this album, as I did, it would the closing cut, “The Best of Times.” The five and a half minute piece chronicles his growing up, and overcoming obstacles, acting as a eulogy to the life he’s lived. It’s quite an eye-opening listening experience, much like the entire album. (Michael)

18. Off With Their Heads - In Desolation (Epitaph)

Off With Their Heads have built a reasonable fanbase within the fest related punk scene. This is due to certain consistency in their style, without being all the same all the time. Gruff vocals, bass heavy songs, and depressing lyrics all have their place in this. So one had to expect a backlash of sorts when, after a series of releases on smaller labels, the band announced signing to Epitaph. Certain things are generally expected when bands sign to the big "E", bigger budgets, more advertising and cleaner production. Just like one would expect the new record fits with all of these expectations. (Jon E)

17. 108 - 18:61 (Deathwish Inc.)

18:61 is gripping and urgent sounding and every bit a worthy addition to the 108 discography; the album smokes from start to finish. Some of the songs on the record will definitely take their place high in 108’s oeuvre and would probably create some of the most insane reactions in a live environment (I would probably come out of “retirement” to walk on heads during “18:61”). I genuinely love this album and hope that I actually get to see the band play these live because they are wholly moving; 18:61 comes highly recommended and may be one of the better hardcore records to come out this year. (Bob)

16. Integrity - The Blackest Curse (Deathwish Inc.)

Finally, The Blackest Curse sees the light of day with all the power of a dark, ominous poison cloud alighting on the bland morass of what passes for hardcore punk these days. Integrity definitely pulls out all the stops on this record; in every facet The Blackest Curse proves that it stands up with some of the best records in the band’s oeuvre. The music is blisteringly tight and the attack is vicious sounding, save for the equally excellent slower, moodier moments of the record. In any case, this is a must own record for anyone into heavy music, hardcore, metal, what have you; surely, one of the great albums from Integrity. (Bob)

15. The Gamits - Parts (Paper + Plastick)

What do you get when you throw Jawbreaker and Alkaline Trio into a blender? One of the finest pop-punk albums of the year. The Gamits’ Parts takes a competent formula and uses it to keep the listener coming back for more. Parts is an album that wears its heart on its sleeve. These 11 tracks will keep you coming back for another listen. Occasionally, the chord progressions can seem recycled. However, you won’t skip a single track, and each time you’ll soak in some of the most well written, but despairing lyrics in pop-punk. (Aaron H)

14. Daughters - Daughters (Hydra Head)

Less frantic and chaotic than their previous material, Daughters' apparently final offering surprised fans this year. Some mid-tempo songs and avant-garde experimentation make this a brave record, alongside neurotic vocals and eerie drumbeats. We still get odd flares of double-bass drumming and fret-bending guitar work, but listeners looking for something slightly more accessible while still retaining Daughters' uniquely textured sound will appreciate this final outing.

13. Alkaline Trio - This Addiction (Heart & Skull)

While there is a certain sterility here, that doesn’t stop many of the songs firmly working their hooks into your head with devilish glee. The trio take a fair swing at instrumental experimentation with keyboard work on “Eating Me Alive” and some brass on “Lead Poisoning,” which makes for a refreshing variation on the Alk3 sound. And then there’s the title track and “The American Scream,” both of which race out of your speakers, dressed in black with huge grins on their faces. So what to take from all this? While this isn’t the pick of their catalog, it is certainly their best release for some years. It’s a return to form in style if not in substance, and for now that’s enough to keep me happy/sad/addicted/on fire. (Matt T)

12. Make Do and Mend - End Measured Mile (Paper + Plastick)

This is a perfect example of a debut album - the band shows improvement in their songwriting and attention to how the album should move along. This is all done without sacrificing the things that got them to this point. The band seems to have paid attention to every facet of this album - not only in regards to the songs but the presentations as well. This is a sign of a serious and mature band. Anyone that loves music should be able to enjoy and appreciate the effort and thought put into this release. (Jon E)

11. Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy)

With one overblown and hyperambitious debut Monáe has invigorated pop music, issuing the kind of challenge Prince, Madonna, Grace Kelly, Bowie and other greats once aimed at a turgid music industry. The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III, to give it its full title) is a bold and thrilling record. When the pop historians write up 2010, there’s no question Monáe’s name will figure. We can only hope for future generations’ sake her efforts will inspire other (more frequently hyped) artists to raise their game and subvert an often tired genre in the way that she undeniably has with The ArchAndroid. (Matt)

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Words by the SPB team on Jan. 4, 2011, 7:12 a.m.

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Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2010)

Posted on Jan. 4, 2011, 7:12 a.m.

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Pages in this feature:

  1. Albums of 2010: 10-1
  2. Individual Staff Lists
  3. Graphs & Statistics
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