Published Dec 13, 2010As genre segregation slowly fades out and music fans continue to embrace different styles and genres, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of every good release that comes out. Though record sales are at an all-time low as a whole, the rise of boutique labels and homemade, high-quality music means there is so much output coming from all corners of the earth. Because of that, no one would blame you for missing some of the gems that 2010 produced. To start the discussion, we have compiled a few of our favourite lesser-known releases that you may have missed this year. Let us know what you think and make your own recommendations in the comments below.
Head to the next page to begin our 10 Great Albums You May Have Missed in 2010.
10. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Love Is a Stream
A member of Tarentel and the Alps, San Francisco musician Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is no stranger to heady, atmospheric soundscapes. Love Is a Stream, however, is arguably his strongest work yet, with timeless melodies buried under warm washes of droning sound. On its own, the album is worth getting lost in, but the full-length CD of extra tracks attached to the cover of the vinyl version is an excellent bonus incentive.
The Bottom of the City
Recent years have seen no shortage of excellent punk releases bubbling over from Vancouver's diverse underground, and 2010 was no different with a ton of excellent albums. One that fell just shy of the radar, however, was the Defektors' venomous long-player The Bottom of the City. Gritty and angular punk songs work together for a cohesive album that will stand the test of time for those who give it a listen. 8. Fist City
Alongside the Myelin Sheaths and the Moby Dicks, newcomers Fist City are helping to put Lethbridge, AB on the fuzzed-out punk rock map. While their peers explore garage rock, however, Fist City combine high-energy post-punk and melodic power pop for a blissfully busy attack of shouted vocals and buzzsaw guitars.
7. Gobble Gobble
(Royal Rhino Flying)
Originally released in late 2009 as a limited cassette via Bart Records, Edmonton's Gobble Gobble gave their Neon Graveyard album a proper vinyl release via Royal Rhino Flying. The album, which accompanied a comprehensive five-month North American tour, demonstrates Gobble leader Cecil Frena's ability to produce hyperactive electronic music with the stripped-down sobriety of a pop auteur. It's rave music for your bedroom. 6. Jim O'Rourke (and friends)
All Kinds of People ~ Love Burt Bacharach ~
Legendary production whiz Jim O'Rourke took us off-guard when he chose the music of Burt Bacharach as his latest muse. Compiling a guest list that included Thurston Moore, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, Boredoms' Yoshimi and YMO's Haruomi Hosono, however, the work of the 81-year-old lounge maestro was transformed into a distinctly O'Rourke-ian album well worth Japanese import price.
5. Kids & Explosions
Toronto-based computer nerd Josh Raskin released Shit Computer, his debut album as Kids & Explosions, through a pay-what-you-want model on his website. That paired with the fact that his music is entirely sample-based would naturally bring some heavy Girl Talk comparisons, but where Girl Talk draws on mainstream referencing and party-starting, Kids & Explosions crafted a cohesive, emotionally charged album that just happens to source the Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye West.
4. Knights of the New Crusade
Knight Vision: Hymns for the Invisible Church
These Bay Area garage rockers wear chain mail, wield swords and sing religious songs with laughably right-wing Christian messages. Their lyrical content is so over the top that six years after their debut album, no one knows if they're joking or not. Regardless, the Knights of the New Crusade have Jello Biafra's stamp of approval, and on their third full-length, they combine songs about the spiritual implications of LSD with a newfound psychedelic influence.
Forget all of the hardcore records you bought and loved this year, none of them was as menacing or blown-out as the self-titled debut from Japanese punk terrorists Kriegshög. Borrowing equally from thrash and noise, Kriegshög usher in the end of the world with blown out production and massive riffs. The back of the record reads "Play Loud and Die!" and in this case, that actually feels like a sincere warning.
2. Lil B
Rain in England
As a member of the Pack, Lil B helps pen some generic, stereotypical club rap, but as a solo artist, he's the second coming of DOOM. The Berkeley, CA-based rapper has dropped some incredibly strange mixtapes, but on his double LP Rain in England, he fucked with his formula beyond repair. There are no beats on the whole album. Instead, B drops borderline psychotic rhymes over top ambient spa music. After one listen, you will understand how a rap album fits on a noise label.
1. Dustin Wong
Dustin Wong cut his teeth crafting maniacal guitar licks for noise punk monsters Ponytail and the riff-heavy duo Ecstatic Sunshine. As a solo artist, however, Wong has transcended both of those groups for a sprawling double album and accompanying film. Infinite Love is Wong's first complete artistic statement as a solo artist, and it perfectly showcases his penchant for guitar compositions and shifting dynamics.