by / December 16th, 2010 /

Best of Lists: Top Story: State’s Albums of 2010 – 20 to 11

And so we’re nearly at the business end of our countdown of State’s favourite albums of 2010. The top ten will be with you this time tomorrow but first here are the albums that came so close. There’s a heavy American presence certainly but we’re also delighted to see the Irish cause being supported by one of our most treasured new bands of the year….

Albums of 2010:
75-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

20. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

While paying tribute to the influences of his great-aunt Alice Coltrane, grieving for his mother and showcasing his jazz, IDM and hip-hop chops, Steven Ellison blew a lot of minds with Cosmogramma this year. An audacious third LP, FlyLo’s vision of how his music should and could sound manifested itself in a hypnotic, absorbing, layered brain-trip that furnished his already pristine glitchtronica with a loud, if at times irregular, heartbeat. (Adam Lacey)

19. Yeasayer – Odd Blood

A trip through psychedelic electro-rock, the second LP from the Brooklynites takes swirling trips through falsetto choruses, cowbells and a pick-n-mix of layered sounds but always lands on a bedrock of beautifully constructed songs – some definitely odder than others. The electronic sounds they layer across everything are as warm as anything analogue and the songs are often packed with a thoughtfulness and a nice turn of phrase – from the melancholy of ‘Madder Red’ to the floor-filling come-all-ye of ‘O.N.E.’ which, when it swoops into the Bee Gee-esque bridge four-and-a-half minutes in, could have even the most introverted listener dancing in a yellow boiler suit, the heights of New York Clubbing crystallised in their mind. (Simon Roche)

18. Caribou – Swim

Dr Dan Snaith (yes, he has a PhD in maths) struck out further into the psychedelic hinterlands he explored in Andorra with the slightly darker Swim, an album that galvanized him as one of the foremost experimentalists at work in indie-rock. Echoes and shreds of microhouse and minimal techno powered a concise set of songs that communicated vague feelings of loneliness – beauty saved from what sounded like the emotional entropy of a relationship on the wane. Swim was a stirring, deep achievement that was something of a capstone on Snaith’s mercurial career so far. As testament to the man’s innate understanding of mechanics of dance, the later part of the year saw the release of a remix CD which was very nearly the album’s equal. (Darragh McCausland)

17. Sleigh Bells – Treats

Combining speaker-straining in-the-red production with irresistible pop hooks, Treats brought new meaning to the phrase ‘noise pop’. Go! Team-like cheerleader chants, blaring riffs and even a nod to Funkadelic (on the infectious ‘Rill Rill’): Sleigh Bells cranked up the volume and went straight for the jugular. Infinity guitars, go ‘head. (Daniel Harrison)

16. The Black Keys – Brothers

The sixth album from The Black Keys saw the Ohioan duo continue their progression from that a riff-laden garage band to one of the finest, rawest and most musically rewarding rock bands on the planet. Brothers swaggers with verve and intensity, while still leaving room for intricacy, minimalism and, of course, good old-fashioned blues. It took a while, but this is the album fans of theirs always knew they were capable of. (John Balfe)

15. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

From artwork to film, music, literature and the people that have inspired them, Halcyon Digest is a love letter to the past. It’s a searing, triumphant distillation of not only their prodigious, bewitching sound but their emotionally powerful philosophy. The familiar Deerhunter themes of isolation, fear, childhood, yearning and loneliness are still woven through it but now writ large on the silver screen that plays across the mind. Witness the bitter punch of ‘Helicopter’, Cox’s plaintive repetitive cry of ‘Now they are through with me’ is so profoundly moving it rattles deep inside the soul. Unforgettable. (Jennifer Gannon)

14. Warpaint – The Fool

Warpaint have been described as everything from psychedelic to shoegaze, from prog to ’80s indie. And while all these influences are discernible in their sound, Warpaint sound like no-one but themselves. The Fool is drenched in reverbed harmonies which compete with zig-zagging guitars, while the rhythm section ensure your head nods and your feet tap. Beautiful from start to finish, The Fool is an album to cosy up to on these wintry nights. (Shane Galvin)

13. The Cast of Cheers – Chariot

The Cast Of Cheers have been one of the most surprising of surprise packages this year. Chariot was the first indication that the band even existed, releasing the widely-praised album as a free download before unleashing themselves on a live audience. It’s choc-full of riffy goodness, with hooky lyrics and bass lines added for good measure, creating a sound that’s most definitely their own and which begs the listener to play at full volume. (Patrick Conboy)

12. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Although nobody dares believe it, This Is Happening is LCD Soundsystem’s last studio album. A suitable swansong for the project, over the course of three albums James Murphy has helped redefine electronic music – a reputation cemented on this May release. As singles ‘Drunk Girls’ & ‘I Can Change’ suggested, the record trades in unmatchable pop hooks, tongue-in-cheek delivery and meticulous studio wizardy. Over the course of its 65 minutes, Murphy creates a self-contained world of thrilling soundscapes and self-deprecation the likes of which only he can beat. If this really is the end of LCD Soundsystem, then it’s as fitting a farewell as anyone could imagine. (Danny Carroll)

11. Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can

As Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons push their weedy brand of quirky, folky pop closer to the mainstream, their old pal Laura Marling demonstrates an altogether more impressive maturity on her second solo album I Speak Because I Can. Never cloyingly twee, it is a record which has echoes of the great singer-songwriter LPs from history; Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Laura Nyro’s New York Tendaberry, it’s THAT good – an amazing feat for one so youthful. While Marling’s quivering voice details romantic relationships in the most intimate detail, the music around her sets the hairs on end. Songs like ‘Alpha Shallows’ and ‘Devil’s Spoke’ suggest Laura Marling has the mettle to produce great work for years to come. Music for weeds has never sounded so robust.

Albums of 2010:
75-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1