Northwest Artists Pick Their Best of 2010

Just like 2008 & 2009, I caught up with some of my favorite local bands and artists to find out what 2010 records had the most spins throughout their year. Thanks to everyone who contributed and I look forward to a new year of awesome local music!

photo by Brittany Bush Bollay

Feral Children picks:

  • The Books - The Way Out: “Sergey’s favorite non-Radiohead band.”
  • Growing - Pumps: “Josh has spent much ‘real’ time with this one. Underrated for sure.”
  • All compilations by/from Sublime Frequencies/Wall of Sound: “Support these mind blowing local businesses. Do it.”
  • Grinderman - Grinderman 2: “Nick Cave. Better than The Stones” - Jeff Keenan
  • Ratatat - LP4: “Two dudes going for it. What’s not to like?”
  • Beach House - Teen Dream: “Great anytime of day record. Jim’s #1.”
  • Dungen - Skit I Allt: “Totally beautiful Swedish psychedelic music about ahh ...  stuff in Swedish.”
  • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Before Today: “Exciting to see A.P.H.G. put out a great record and get more press attention that he deserves.”
  • Sun City Girls - Mariachi Funeral: “Seattle legend’s last output, like watching a sunset on a foreign coast.”
  • Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest: “Good tunes, good sounds, good record.”

photo by Jim Bennett

Truckasauras, Adam Swan’s picks:

“Here are the top 10 albums (two are songs) I was geeking out to that I bought on my phone this year.  Not necessarily in any order, and not necessarily released this year.”

  • Stereolab - Not Music: “Another solid record by one of my favorite bands ever.”
  • Autechre - Oversteps: “I am obsessed with the sounds these guys produce. With most electronic music, you can tell what gear they’re using. These guys create sounds I’ve never heard.”
  • Past Lives - Tapestry Of Webs: “These guys are the homies, but I also couldn’t stop listening to their record on repeat. Solid rock music.”
  • The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street Deluxe Edition: “Tyler got me on a Rolling Stones kick, and this album was re-released this year with outtakes and alternate versions of songs. The stripped down version of Loving Cup is off the hook.”
  • Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids: “I’ll pretty much buy anything Wu-Tang, and this album has some serious bangers on it.”
  • Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma: “This record is pretty darn good. Reminds me of the old Ninja Tune stuff. I’m not really buying in to the whole ‘he’s changed the face of music’ thing, but it’s a great record.”
  • The Flying Lizards - The Flying Lizards & The Secret Dub Life Of The Flying Lizards: “I get a major late pass on these records because they’ve been out forever, but I seriously could not stop listening to these records for the last couple of months. Old music, new to me in 2010.”
  • Ludacris - How Low Can You Go?: “I have no excuse for this one other than top 40 hip hop is a guilty pleasure.”
  • Dr. Dre - Kush: “Again, top 40. However, I actually really am blown away by Dre’s production on this one. So solid.”

photo by Hilary Harris


  • Damien Jurado - St. Bartlett: “One of his best yet! moody, dark but still hopeful ... plus the guy knows how to hold a light.”
  • The National - High Violet: “Violent, paranoiac and lush. Not as good as Boxer, but what is? ... some of the most tasteful, creative drumming in contemporary music.”
  • Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame: “Finally, the album that captures the Dog’s amazing live electricity. Tank top summer jamz!”
  • Drew Grow and the Pastor’s Wives - “Fell in love with the Portlanders in this band at Doe Bay ... when they released this self-titled vinyl and download-only album on their Amigo/Amiga label soon thereafter, it quickly became the soundtrack to the inevitable return of the PNW winter. Fitting.”
  • Arcade Fire - The Suburbs: “They did it again! This time, the overarching theme was this nostalgic consumerism-noir that flooded your brain with memories you didn’t realize you still had up there.”
  • Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More: “Earnest and heartening lyrics, powerful production. They conquered this year, with banjos strapped to their backs.”
  • Beach House - Teen Dream: “The duo’s Sub Pop debut! Sounds like they realized their IS a world outside of their bedroom. Songs that groove, songs that brood ... great vocals, great album.”
  • The Morning Benders - Big Echo: “Beautiful opener, ‘Excuses’, eases you into a record that has some of the best production of any this year. Lo-fi this is not ... all instruments and melodies shine.”
  • Vampire Weekend - Contra: “No sophomore slump here ... a definite growth from the sound they nailed on their debut. And lots of people will still hate them. And they still won’t care.”
  • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Beyond Today: “Got into this late but once the structures started to make sense, my mind was blown. Mixing so many different genres while recording to, what sounds like, a melting analog console ... makes you feel like you can do anything.”

photo by Caitlin Enwright

Noddy, Michael Buchert picks:

  • Robyn - Body Talk: “‘It’s been a long time since someone made my heart bleed, my ass dance, and my ears listen-listen. Robyn does it all, with seeming ease and hella fine outits. She was summer! Fall! Winter!”
  • Arcade Fire - The Suburbs: “To a man, this is my first foray into the fire, and it reminds me of riding the ferris wheel at a small town carnival, the last ride on a cool, dark Thursday night in August.”
  • Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid: “Evvverything.”
  • Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz: “Is he a priviledged little boy? Is he a monk? Is he a disciple? Is he some kind of weirdo? I don’t know, but there are moments, especially the 25-min long “Impossible Soul,” that make me want to hang with this clown.”
  • Rihanna - Loud
  • Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: “When she growls out lyrics, I feel so proud to be a strong black woman living in the 2000′s. Ma, ma-ma-ma-ma, Manning, Eli!”
  • The Radio Dept - Clinging to a Scheme: “Getting ready to go out, just when you begin to think all of that makeup and shit might not be worth it. Super-background-y, but smooth and click click click.”
  • Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite: “Is she human?”

photo by Morgen Schuler

Seapony, Ian picks:

  1. Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love
  2. Robyn Hitchcock – Propellor Time
  3. Ben Fold & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue
  4. Girls Broken Dreams Club
  5. The Eels – Tomorrow Morning
  6. Tom Petty – Mojo
  7. Neil Young – Le Noise
  8. Arcade Fire – Suburbs
  9. Best Coast – Crazy About You
  10. Midlake – The Courage of Others
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