Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, in which Riley Breckenridge, the drummer of Orange County's favorite alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.
I've been writing and publishing "Best/Favorite Of..." lists for music sites and/or blogs for several years, and while it's never all that easy, I found this year to be particularly tough. And posting this year's list in three installments has made it even tougher.
I mentioned a few records last week that could very well have made my year-end list depending on when I'd been asked to compile it, and in the week that's passed, I've found a few others that slipped my mind. Arcade Fire'sSuburbs is probably the most glaring omission. It was in heavy rotation when it was released in August, got buried by Cloudkicker's Beacons (#4 from last week's list) in September, and it wasn't until last week--as the lady had it on repeat in the house--that I realized how solid a record it is.
It probably would have been a part of Vol. 1, if I'd put this list together today.
Two others that might have cracked the back end of my list were Dillinger Escape Plan's Option Paralysis (my favorite record of theirs since 1999's Calculating Infinity) and Red Sparrowes' The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer (which popped up on shuffle last week to remind me just how good a record it is.
As I read other folks' year-end lists, I've also realized how much I haven't heard yet (65+% of Pitchfork's list), and how much I've heard but apparently "missed something" about. Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is at the No. 1 spot on so many lists that it's making me feel like I either need to spend more time with it, or listen to more hip-hop. I'd love for you guys to share your lists in the comments so I can what else I'm missing out on.
Thanks for bearing with me as I rolled out this list in such a plodding fashion. (It's 3hree Things, not 9ine Things, after all.) Let's put an end to this thing--here are my 3 favorite records of 2010, in an order that I will probably wish I could change immediately after I submit this.
3) Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
Favorite Track: "Wide Eyes"
These gents are no stranger to the pages of "Heard Mentality", and I know Gorilla Manor was originally released in 2009 (in the UK), but this is my list, with my criteria, and since I hadn't heard a note from these guys (since they were called Cavil At Rest) until the album was released in February of 2010, I'm putting them firmly at the No.3 spot on this year's list. Back in June, I wrote a little bit about how captivated I'd been by the album, and that holds true six months later. It's a beautifully addicting record. Everything, from the harmonies to melodies to the percussion is memorable--and it will, without a doubt, be a record I listen to for years and years to come. It's a brilliant debut from one of So Cal's best bands.
In August, I devoted a full column to Colour Revolt and their outstanding album, The Cradle. If you've read the piece (or will), I'm not sure there's much I could say right here, right now, that would sound anything other than redundant. I meant everything I said back in August. If I were to rewrite that column today, I guess I would just type the exact same sentiments, just more emphatically (which contrary to popular practice, is not accomplished by mashing keys like and angry typer.) The proof is in the playlists. According to my last.fm numbers, which are accurate but not infallible--I've listened to no band more than I've listened to Colour Revolt over the past six months. It's stunning to me how many people that would probably love their soulful, southern-influenced Fugazi-inspired rock, and are still sleeping on this band. If you're one of them, I'd encourage you to change that.
I called it in back August. After a weekend bender (read: listening to Menomena's Mines 43 times) that should have burned me out on it three times over, I knew it was my favorite album of the year. I saw them live at The El Rey in September, and walked out of the venue with my jaw on the floor. I've listened to the record several times from front to back over the past few weeks just to double check that No. 1 is where they're supposed to be on my list, and it couldn't be clearer. Mines is my favorite record of 2010.
Going back to that August 3hree Things; I still can't pick a favorite track, but I made myself do it anyway. (As indicated above, it's "Tithe" today, but on the drive home from my folks place last night it was "Intil"). I still think the production is flawless, and maybe even more so as I pick up on subtleties with each listen. And I still think the fact that they made such a cohesive sounding record while having little cohesion as bandmates (writing individually, piecing ideas together using Deeler, and not getting along particularly well) is pretty amazing. Like most of my favorite albums over the years, Mines is an album that gets better with every listen. It's an album that can't really be pigeonholed into one specific genre and it feels timeless. I can picture myself sitting down to listen to it in its entirety (regardless of where my head is at). I honestly can't say that about many albums.