2010’s been a good year for me, and I think that’s been thus far reflected in the music that I’ll forever associate it with; here are a few of this year’s best releases so far. Also, I just wanted to say I can’t believe we’re at the 2010 mid-point. Unreal.
Laura Marling — I Speak Because I Can – Ethan John’s handy work never goes to waste; it seems he collaborates with people he can really glean from and the partnerships are always stunning. Ms. Marling’s newest record is no exception; with the subtle live-recording touch accompanied with her voice, a miriad of sad, moaning husky perfection, is absolute magic – gem after gem. Marling is truly wise beyond her years, as reflected in another complete, touching relseae.
Band of Horses — Infinite Arms – This record has blue-eyed soul, a charming country road reverb, and some of the prettiest lines and sleighbell vocals you’ll ever hear. It’s poetry laid out on a lake shore. Each song functions as a musty antiquity, a fine skeleton of a fully-realized past on the verge of total emotional exploration.
Josh Ritter — So Runs the World Away – While some artists (especially those who are touted as “New Dylans”) reach their peak of epicness in the first two record and then gradually tapre off into mediocrity; while I wouldn’t say Josh Ritter gets better with age (his best record is still by FAR the legendary “The Animal Years” — a magical barrage of humble, whimsy-infused Americana mini novellas – but I digress), he continually builds upon what God-given talents and experiences he’s been given in order to continue creating complex story songs (like So Runs’ “The Curse”, the star of this star-studded album). I’m always excited to see what Ritter will do, how he will grow, what more he could possibly give to his music. On ‘Hello Starling’, he proclaims “I’m singing for the love it, have mercy on the man who sings to be adored” — fast forward a few years; Josh, how does it feel to do both?
Kate Nash — “My Best Friend is You” – Kate can’t really play the piano. But the Sex Pistols couldn’t play instruments either, and look where they are now in the realm of public opinion and pop-cult status? I’m certain not comparing Ms. Nash with the Sex Pistols – however, never underestimate the heart behind a musician who can’t play music. Never. Proof? Listen to “Mansion Song”, a punk/riot grrrl masterpiece by a very young chirpy British songstress who otherwise writes quirky, sweet little ditties with infectious choral melodies. There are a lot of newly uncovered layers to Nash on her sophomore. What will she be when the third record comes out?
Blitzen Trapper — Destroyer of the Void – Some bands are better left un-fixed if they’re not broken. While Blitzen Trapper delivers the same straight-up poetic folk/pop songs on all of their records, the warm relateable sound and empassioned delivery never gets annoyingly tired; more worn out like a nice pair of vintage dungarees. I want to go vintage shopping now.