Instead of a “Best Of” list, M|H is presenting you with a favorites list. There were too many purportedly great albums, songs, and shows we didn’t get around to hearing/seeing. The albums are listed chronologically, but other than that there’s no particular order to our selection. Please point out our glaring omissions.
Spoon – Transference – 01.19.10
-Essential Track: Written in Reverse
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More – 02.16.10
-Essential Tracks: White Blank Page, The Cave, Sigh No More
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor – 02.16.10
-Essential Tracks: Wide Eyes, Airplanes
Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring – 04.20.10
-Essential Track: Cascades
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs – 08.02.10
-Essential Tracks: Suburban War, We Used to Wait
The So So Glos – Low Back Chain Shift EP – 10.12.10
-Essential Track: Lindy Hop
Courtship – Ride
Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues
The Naked and Famous – Young Blood
Cults – Go Outside
The Love Language – Heart to Tell
Yeasayer – O.N.E.
Let’s Wrestle – We Are the Men You Will Grow to Love Soon
Broken Bells – The High Road
The Shout Out Louds – Fall Hard
Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore – Something, Somewhere, Sometime
Vampire Weekend – Run
The Black Keys – Tighten Up
The Soft Pack – Answer to Yourself
Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land
[ARTISTS WORTH PAYING TO SEE]
Matt & Kim
Great Lake Swimmers
Want a more in-depth analysis of some of 2010’s best? Keep an eye out for Jonk Music‘s Best Songs of 2010 list. Jon was kind enough to ask us to weigh in on some of year’s best songs.
Madison, Wisconsin’s High Noon Saloon played home for Portland, Oregon’s Horse Feathers on April 21, 2010. Playing a mix of familiar tunes and new material from Thistled Spring, the band drew in the crowd with their brand of Americana.
Leading the band was Ron Howard lookalike Justin Ringle (vocals, acoustic guitar) with his beautifully wounded voice. He was joined by cellist Catherine Odell, violin & saw player Nathan Crockett, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Cooper (banjo, mandolin, drums, keys, violin).
Playing close and quiet, the show was more like stumbling on something beautiful and private than a performance. The band opened with the soft joy of “Belly of June“, and later settled into the depths of the heart-wrenching “Cascades”. Set-closer “Rude to Rile” brought the highs and lows together by combining a sense of sadness with the welling of hope.
Check out the official Horse Feathers site.
For pictures from the show, click here.
On the final track of Horse Feathers’s third LP, Justin Ringle croons, “by winter’s end you may come back to life.” With the devastating warmth found on Thistled Spring, it’d be impossible to not.
The piano and strings on the opening, self-titled track are so beautiful you just sink into yourself, relaxed and happy despite the underlying sense of melancholy. Banjo, guitar, and cavernous drums complete the sound on the album, creating songs that are as welcome in the cab of an old Ford pickup on a deserted road as they are in a cowboy movie (“Vernonia Blues”). Hovering under the instrumentation is Ringle’s wounded tenor, spouting, pleading, asking such things as “stay awhile with me…hold a hand with no ring” so convincingly saying no is a near impossibility, even with the cold grip of death on your arm (“The Widower”).
Essentially, Thistled Spring makes me nostalgic for a life I never had – part Little House on the Prairie, part Carnivale – and a great love I have yet to lose. I realize that may make the album sound dated, unaccessible, and depressing, but it’s none of those things. Thistled Spring calls to mind the honesty of a first kiss, the spark that comes with the moment you realize it’s love, and the bite of realizing possibly forever has become the definite past. With no song falling solely in any of these particular stages, Horse Feathers gives us an album that floats somewhere in the space only found in those sun-drenched moments between wakefulness and sleep.
Thistled Spring drops 04.20.10.
Tour dates and more here.