This is not a “Best of” list. This isn’t a run-down of the Best Album, Best Song or Best Show of 2010. We'll leave other blogs, magazines and radio stations to lazily copy one another into a series of "Best of" lists that look and sound exactly the same (plus, wouldn't you just call us biased if we put the new Kanye album at #1?). Instead, we'll present you with a list of some of our personal music highlights of the year.
Dave A: I was checking out my last.fm charts (in PDF format) for the last year but nothing really stands out (aside from Lady Gaga at #3! Really?). I also created this Tumblr, but it's only tangentially related to music.
Courtney: My favorite album from 2010 is the EP from oOoOO. It is bewitching electronic combined with some fantastic hip-hop beats. Damn good.
Donte: Witch house: Every year I expect there to be something I can't stand that gets way too much attention and this unholy abomination of house and "screwed" (slowed and distorted) production techniques takes the cake for 2010. House music is happy music and this dreary monstrosity's producers just need to put down the cough syrup and find a dancefloor. Seriously, Fuck NoOoOO.
Bobby: If you aren't including a healthy dose of 2010 rap/hip-hop into your daily musical diet, you’re lacking. And if you thought that in any way that rap/hip-hop was “dead,” you’re dumb. It feels like the genre is starting to transition into its Bronze Era: more mature and inventive, shiny and yet still slightly grimey. Local Seattle groups like Mash Hall and The Physics are making strong music, and new releases from Ghostface, Big Boi and Curren$y deserve some play.
Shawn: Listening to music in the Substantial office...
Adam: Fellow Substantial human, Barton, and I were at a nearby used musical equipment store when I casually mentioned an idea I had for a tremolo pedal; an idea that I had never seen in any other tremolo pedal.
Two days later, Barton walked in to the office and set that very pedal, which he had hand-made, on my desk.
Barton: This year, Propellerhead has provided us with the tool for on-the-run composition with the iOS app ReBirth. The app recreates Roland's TB-303 bass sequencer and the legendary TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines, probably the three most influential devices in contemporary dance and hip-hop music. The interface is simple and intuitive enough to be highly usable, and the imitation of each device is surprisingly accurate given that they fit in your pocket. For less than 0.1% of the cost of the real thing, it ain't bad.
Jeremy: The return of the DJ. My reverence for DJs tends to wax a wane, but it reached an all time high in 2010. Mind blowing sets by Prins Thomas, Dixon, Omar S, Scuba, Justin V, and Pepe Braddock amongst others reminded me that the selector is just as badass an artist as any other.
Image from chona kasinger.