CD Reviews Carolee's 11 picks for 2010

Carolee's 11 picks for 2010: Unranked, impermanent, and abridged, just 11 new or nearly new tracks I played on repeat at some point during this year.

School of Seven Bells : "Babelonia"
From the CD: Disconnect from Desire

SVIIB's second album is not as strange, and therefore not as interesting, as their initial release Alpinisms, but this is one of its best tracks and is a good example of the newer album's lighter weight. It is also less likely to spawn an earworm than "Windstorm," which was released as a single and also remixed by A Place to Bury Strangers.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow : "Ghost in the Graveyard" (Remix by Ulrich Schnauss)
From the CD: Missing Deadlines (selected remixes)

Ulrich Schnauss was a belated discovery this year. There's an ecstatic sense of movement and melting in almost every track I found, even though it sounds like he recycles some of his own work (the backbone of this mix sounds a lot like "Stars" -- still another incredible song).

Faith and the Muse : "She Waits by the Well"
From the CD: :ankoku butoh:

Most of this album (out in 2009, with the subsequent tour DVD :shoumei: in 2010) gave me the good chills, this song especially. Monica Richards' vocal and poetic powers keep growing stronger. Her next solo release is going to knock our socks off.

Wild Nothing : "The Witching Hour"
From the CD: Gemini

Tense and wakeful, a solitary midnight drive, I did play this a lot in the car at night. This is a band I hope to explore more this coming year, as I'm still warming up to the rest of the album.

Veil Veil Vanish : "Anthem for a Doomed Youth"
From the CD: Change in the Neon Light

VVV's deliberately jaded and anti-pop take suggests there's hope for young, 21st-century post-punk, if one can still use the word "hope" after 2010. This track bears the most obvious proof of the Cure's influence on VVV, but is also, with "Modern Lust," one of the most effective tracks on an overall intense album.

Tamaryn : "Sandstone"
From the CD: The Waves

Evocative, warm and dusky. This track parts some of the glowing haze that suffuses the album, revolving like polished wheels. This release couldn't have been created this year -- I think it just grew organically, like a succulent between beach rocks.

The Horrors : "Sea Within a Sea"
From the CD: Primary Colours

This song is cool. It would be too long, but in almost eight minutes, it goes through many changes and each has something interesting, even revelatory, happening.

Ceremony : "You Never Stay"
From the CD: Rocket Fire

The cask of Amontillado.. gloomy, doomy, dark and full of sediment. Then "Eurotrain" (from the same album) is what happens when you down it all.

Rome : "The Accidents of Gesture"
From the CD: Flowers from Exile

Lyrically powerful, with a slow build that elicits a free-falling emotional release. Atmosphere and passion elevates Rome from martial ranks, yet they seem bound by a certain code of integrity. This album was released in 2009; Rome's 2010 album was entitled Nos Chants Perdus.

A Place to Bury Strangers : "In Your Heart"
From the CD: A Place to Bury Strangers

It's too loud, it goes too fast; it can't see; blinded with disillusionment and desire, it's a flailing mess of heightened everything. There's something off here but who can tell what it is?

Weep : "When I'm Wrong"
From the CD: Worn Thin

Happily, Doc Hammer hasn't foregone music for the Venture Bros. This album was one of the year's surprise bests, unflinching, meticulous, flawed and vulnerable. Expect something more taut and wiry than Mors Syphilitica, including a tongue-in-cheek-but-played-straight cover of Rihanna's "Shut up and drive."

~Carolee Harrison