Scratched Into Our Souls

Best of 2010: Rock

December 27, 2010
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Guitars. Drums. Bass. Vocalists. Keyboards. Some combination of the above. Still going strong, whether it’s punk, indie, alternative, psychedelic, art rock, or whatever. It’s rock. Rock on.

Dedicated to Aimee Wade.

10. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

9. Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring

8. Ida Maria – Katla

7. Blood Red Shoes – Fire Like This

6. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

5. Grinderman – Grinderman 2

4. The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever

3. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

2. These New Puritans – Hidden

1. The National – High Violet

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Best of 2010: Hip Hop

December 26, 2010
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Good ass job, Kanye.

10. Waka Flocka Flame – Flockaveli

9. The Roots – How I Got Over

8. Eminem – Recovery

7. Kno – Death Is Silent

6. Drake – Thank Me Later

5. Curren$y – Pilot Talk (I & II)

4. Das Racist – Sit Down, Man

3. Shad – TSOL

2. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty

1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

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Best of 2010: Electronic

December 26, 2010
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Beep boop music!

10. Various Artists – Soul Jazz Records Presents: Future Bass

9. Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise

8. Various Artists – Night Slugs All Stars Vol. 1

7. Booka Shade – More!

6. Guido – Anidea

5. Scuba – Triangulation

4. James Blake – The Bells Sketch/CMYK/Klavierwerke

3. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network Original Soundtrack

2. Four Tet – There Is Love In You

1. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

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Best of 2010: Folk/Country/Americana/Singer-Songwriter

December 25, 2010
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Dedicated to Wyatt Stone.

10. Strand of Oaks – Pope Killdragon

9. Sam Amidon – I See The Sign

8. Punch Brothers – Antifogmatic

7. Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues

6. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

5. Jamey Johnson – Guitar Song

4. Anais Mitchell – Hadestown

3. Sharon Van Etten – Epic

2. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt/Sometimes The Blues Is A Passing Bird EP

1. Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can

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Best of 2010: Experimental

December 25, 2010
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Weird music! Yay!

10. World’s End Girlfriend – Seven Idiots

9. Sightings – City of Straw

8. Mark McGuire – Living With Yourself

7. Laurie Anderson – Homeland

6. Rene Hell – Porcelain Opera

5. Yellow Swans – Going Places

4. Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer

3. The Books – The Way Out

2. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?

1. The Knife – Tomorrow, In A Year

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Best of 2010: (Indie) Dance/Pop

December 24, 2010
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I should probably clarify the title of “(indie) dance/pop.” Basically, I stuck pop and dance together since I’ve always defined pop music as music that tries to reach the widest possible audience through easy-to-understand musical mechanisms and often very upbeat and memorable melodies. Surprisingly, most popular songs end up being very danceable. But, not all dance music is pop, and not all pop music is dance. The lines get blurred, but the connection is often strong. Some of these albums are clearly more dance and less pop, some are more pop and less dance, and some are just twee indie pop. Most importantly, I think all of these albums are fun.

10. 65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway

9. The Radio Dept. – Clinging To A Scheme

8. Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’

7. School of Seven Bells – Disconnect From Desire

6. Matthew Dear – Black City

5. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II

4. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

3. M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\

2. Robyn – Body Talk

1. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

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Best of 2010: R&B/Soul

December 24, 2010
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These 10 albums brought sexy back in 2010.

10. R. Kelly – Love Letter










9. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid (Suites II & III)










8. Trey Songz – Passion, Pain, and Pleasure










7. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way










6. Aloe Blacc – Good Things










5. Sade – Soldier of Love










4. Bilal – Airtight’s Revenge










3. The-Dream – Love King










2. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh










1. Cee-Lo – The Lady Killer











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Best of 2010: Jazz

December 23, 2010
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Here follows my 10 favorite jazz records of 2010. Pretentiousness levels at maximum, Captain.

10. Bill Frisell – Beautiful Dreamers











9. Jaga Jazzist – One Armed Bandit











8. Elephant9 – Walk The Nile










7. Mary Halvorson Quintet – Saturn Sings











6. Supersilent – Ten










5. Jason Moran – 10










4. John Zorn – The Goddess: Music For The Ancient of Days











3. Caro Emerald – Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor











2. Christian Scott – Yesterday You Said Tomorrow











1. The Souljazz Orchestra – Rising Sun










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Best of 2010: Metal

December 23, 2010
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Here follows my 10 favorite albums that can loosely fit into the genre “metal” from 2010.

10. Harvey Milk – A Human Kindness












9. The Body – And All The Waters Of Earth Shall Turn To Blood












8. Electric Wizard – Black Masses












7. Ihsahn – After












6. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini












5. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Part 2












4. Kill The Client – Set For Extinction













3. Alcest – Ecailles De Lune












2. Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis












1. Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit

More lists to follow soon, so check back!

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Sufjan Stevens – “Impossible Soul”

October 3, 2010

It’s not every artist that dares to write a song longer than seven minutes, and you often have to look towards experimental music, instrumental ambience, or progressive rock to find most good examples. Especially since repetition seems unnecessary with the “back” button so easily accessible on any computer or iPod, songs that extend past the seven minute mark often feel lost and unfocused when they aren’t full of prog-rock wankery or the electronic equivalent of elevator music.

But then there’s Sufjan Stevens, a very homely artist that really made his name with the now preposterous 50 States Project, of which he managed to complete two – the under-appreciated Michigan and the larger-than-life Illinois. Those albums were defined by their beautiful song suites, often merging traditional folk stylings with the lush orchestrations that have become a staple of big-name indie acts since Arcade Fire’s Funeral.

It’s been five years since Stevens’ last album topped almost every year-end list, and things have changed quite a bit. The 50 States Project has been abandoned, and with it Sufjan’s status as an indie-folk singer-songwriter seems to have vanished as well. His newest album, The Age of Adz, is punctuated by electronic glitchiness. There is not a banjo to be found, and in their place we find synths and plenty of reverb. The album isn’t fully electronic, however. Stevens brilliant move is that he’s taken electronic music and blended it seamlessly with what sounds like a Wagnerian orchestra. The Age of Adz is simply huge.

There’s probably nothing more striking about the album on the surface than its epic closing number, “Impossible Soul.” The song length stretches nearly to 26 minutes, and yet somehow it stands as a highlight of not just The Age of Adz, but maybe even Sufjan’s career – hell, maybe even 2010 in music. The track is something like five songs in one, with through-composed transitions that blend everything together for a very purposeful flow of songs that is not only reminiscent of the Abbey Road suite, but even rivals it in quality. And just to nail the coffin shut on the music of Old Sufjan, there’s the most divisive thing Sufjan could have ever done to challenge his fans: using autotune. The giddy and danceable orchestral sing-along that follows is probably the most life-affirming and uplifting track I’ve heard in years. In a year marked by some absolutely fantastic music, Sufjan Stevens has somehow manage to top everybody, even with the odds stacked against him.

Listen: Sufjan Stevens – “Impossible Soul”

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    About Me: Chris Robinson

    A budding writer and avid music fan from Los Angeles, California, I am a recent graduate of Music History from UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music. I've written for the UCLA Daily Bruin, graduated valedictorian from high school, and enjoy many different types of music, from The Beatles to Beethoven, and everything in between. I wrote my senior thesis on lyrical misinterpretations in popular music, focusing on Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA."

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    All music posted on this blog is for sampling purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Go out and buy their music, attend their shows, and buy merchandise.

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