Perfect Sound Forever

PSF's 2010 Writers' Poll
Our favorite things

Left to right: The Eels, Gil Scott-Heron, Kemialliset Ystavat, Janelle Monae, Guitar Shorty

Can it already be another year and another poll of our PSF writers? Guess so and that means that our crew lets loose with 20 of their favorite albums (or less if they like). Also note that some of the lists are kind of unconventional (which we approve of, needless to say). As usual, we don't tally up the results to find out whoever's most popular here. Instead, we hope you can take the time to wade through the selections and find some undiscovered gems or records you just didn't know came out this year. Or maybe you'll find some comfort that one of your faves is here or get mad that some albums you hated made the list. In any case, let the musical conversations and arguments flow. Enjoy!

Colin Buttimer

Anders Bylund

Jorge Luis Fernandez

Michael Freerix

Bestenliste 2010

Not a lot of music from germany on my list. At least I bought the first NEU!-Record on vinyl as reissue, but it sort of sucks to put them on the best of 2010-list. There was much more very good music on my turntable this year. I'd rather mention a very good film: Un prophet by Jacques Audiard, nominated for an oscar, which it deserved, but didn't get. Life is unkind.

Gary Gomes

A few of my releases are from 2009. I started a doctoral program in 2009; I missed some things.

Punk seems to gain more ascendancy as the economy winds down. I am one of those people who lived through punk and can see "little redeeming social value" in it, its antecedents, or its successors. Weirder or more experimental forms enjoy greater popularity when the economy is better, proving Thorstein Veblen's theory of conspicuous consumption. Beefheart, Willem Breuker, and (a personal loss for me) Enrique Jardines, friend, bass player and composer of Absolute Zero. I am paying more attention to people like Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Peter Brotzmann, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. I hope they all live as long as Elliot Carter.

Soft Machine, Vanilla Fudge (better than you remembered), Sonny Rollins, Captain Beefheart, Cecil Taylor (with the Art Ensemble of Chicago), early Genesis (better than you knew), and even recent Magic Band (without Beefheart) videos are now available on You Tube , as well as Carl Ruggles's Sun Treader; and talking cats and sock monkeys. Good times!

I enter 2011 with guarded optimism, that the economy will recover well and we will have many new weird things to enjoy!

Jason Gross

A full list of all of my faves of the year are on my Ye Wei blog

Richard Haslop

Rather than necessarily my favourites of the year, I thought I’d list, alphabetically, 20 albums, including a couple from South Africa, worth seeking out that might otherwise have been missed unless one was paying fairly close attention.

Billy Hell

Left to right: Naked on the Vague, Carlo Mombelli, Barn Owl

Domenic Maltempi

James Nadal

Jack Partain

Randy Patterson

Marc Philips

Diane Roka

Top 5 Concerts for Drawings in 2010

Ethan Stanislawski

Marko Vukusic

Kurt Wildermuth

This year, artists I like--Los Lobos, Spoon, Laura Veirs, Rufus Wainwright--put out decent, occasionally great efforts that don't measure up to their best work. Live music meant a lot more to me than new recordings:

  • Fireworks Ensemble: Performing Ulrich Krieger's transcription of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, Miller Theater @ Columbia University, 2/5 - Convinced me that interesting stuff is going on in the mayhem.

  • Hallogallo 2010: Performing the music of Michael Rother and Neu!, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, 8/6 - Rother and friends' motoric grooves were repetitious by nature, hypnotic in a druggy way, unsatisfying only in that there were no encores.

  • Anne-Sophie Mutter and the New York Philharmonic: Performing mainly Mozart's "Violin Concertos" Nos. 1, 3, and 5 @ Lincoln Center, 11/18 - Extraordinarily precise, expressive, and evocative.

  • Spiritualized: Performing Ladies and Gentleman, We Are Floating in Space @ Radio City Music Hall, 7/30: A strong case for the CD as a tone poem or something like that.

  • Edgard Varese: International Contemporary Ensemble, So Percussion, the New York Philharmonic, and others performing (R)evolution [complete works], 7/19-20 - An education and a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

  • Roger Waters: Performing The Wall at Madison Square Garden, 10/6 - A brilliant showman, Waters did justice to his masterpiece.

  • The Wedding Present: Performing selected songs and Bizarro in its entirety at South Street Seaport, 8/13 - Dave Gedge's rhythm guitar is a force of nature.

    Mike Wood

    • Moon Pearl Pearl Jams
    • Neil Young Le Noise
    • Earth A Bureaucratic Desire For Extra Capsular Extraction (Southern Lord reissue)
    • Terry Ohms what-do-you-mean-what-do-I-mean
    • Nels Cline Dirty Baby
    • The Sailplanes Mild Peril
    • Tindersticks Falling Down the Mountain
    • Black River Black N Roll
    • Various Artists Wonder Wheel Presents
    • Henry Grimes/Rashid Ali Spirits Aloft

    Left to right: Gonjasufi, Lo Pro, Killing Joke, Frazey Ford, Turbo Negro

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