by / December 14th, 2010 /

Best of Lists: Top Story: State’s Albums of 2010 – 40 to 31

Day two of our round-up (voted for by our wonderful team of writers and photographers) and it’s the usual eclectic mix. Encouragingly, there are a lot of new names on show plus a couple of old standbys and the sound of two young Americans losing the plot….

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


40. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

Despite its relatively conventional tones, Have One On Me is a difficult, expansive journey. Yet, as ever, when Joanna Newsom flirts with risk she reaps the most delightful of rewards. No fewer than 124 minutes pass by from the precious opening melody of ‘Easy’ through to the immensely cathartic finale ‘Does Not Suffice’, and almost every one is striking in its own right; it’s a remarkable and enchanting experience. (Shaun Russell)


39. Panthu Du Prince – Black Noise

Black Noise has gradually worked its way into a very specific corner of the minds of those who have come upon it. It seeps in, quietly, unannounced. It fills the listener with a slow sense of peace and heightened awareness. The world is talking, you are finally listening. Whether using minimal techno, ambient gestures or acousmatic texture, Pantha Du Prince takes the listener into a unique world of idiosyncratic beauty. It’s stunning and sensuous at times but it never shies away from the edgier, more dangerous ends of the worlds it explores. Synthetic and utterly natural, Black Noise is a 70 minute lesson in the appreciation of sound. (Ian Maleney)


38. The Coral – Butterfly House

Butterfly House doesn’t attempt to break new ground but with traces of The Byrds, Love and Buffalo Springfield clearly visible between the grooves of these 13 songs, this is an album steeped in the sounds of 60’s West Coast psych-folk. By writing unfussy, uncomplicated songs, The Coral have produced their best record yet. (Shane Galvin)


37. The Redneck Manifesto – Friendship

2010 is sure to go down as a vintage year for domestic music, so it was fitting that one of the most influential and long-in-the-tooth Irish bands would make a triumphant return. Tracks like ‘Black Apple’, ‘Smile More’ and ‘Rubber Up’ showcased a dazzling host of intricate riffs, tempo changes and danceable grooves, while the excellent ‘Tomb Of The Dudes’ and ‘Hex’ added atmospheric electronic textures to the mix. A multi-layered instrumental masterpiece. (Daniel Harrison)


36. Baths – Ceruelean

Emerging from the vibrant L.A. (‘beathead’) hip hop scene that already produced the likes of Flying Lotus, Baths’ Cereluean proved to be one of the year’s most emotional electronic releases. The album, created by 21-year-old prodigy Will Wiesenfeld, explored affairs of the human heart through a thick syrup of hypnagogic melodies and sturdy, shifting, fresh-as-a-daisy beats. While the aural backdrops on this album could have stood alone as excellent instrumental hip hop, it was Wiesenfeld’s disarming and affecting vocals that made the entire package so special. A talent to watch. (Darragh McCausland)


35. Benoit Pioulard – Lasted

Does it get more beautiful than this? Young Oregon musician Benoit Pioulard (AKA Thomas Meluch) releases his third full-length on the esteemed Kranky label and once more proves that his blend of field recordings, mellifluous vocals and layers of blissful noise is a winning formula. His tracks can be understated but never fail to leave an impact, with his latest work as good as his stunning debut album, Précis. (Aoife Barry)


34. Solar Bears – She Was Coloured In

“The album format is incredibly important to us…you get so much from daydreaming to a full record”, John Kowlaski told FACT in September. The debut album from Solar Bears (Kowalski and Rian Trench) lived up to those ideals, and how. Coming from a duo who cited Morricone, Tarkovsky and Kubrick as key influences, She Was Coloured In sounded every bit as filmic and evocative as you’d expect: a sprawling sonic journey that ranged from pastoral ambience to kraut rhythms to kaleidoscopic sci-fi synthscapes. (Daniel Harrison)


33. Sufjan Stevens – The Age Of Adz

He never did get around to finishing the 50 states album project – but no matter, because Sufjan Stevens’ mind is full of even more crazy ideas that needed to be put down on record. The work of outsider artist Royal Robertson provided inspiration for this album, which melds Stevens’ trademark soft melodies and melodramatic choruses with futuristic synths, bleeps and other robotic noises. It’s a trip of psychedelic proportions, with the final, 25-minute long, track proving that no one does epic like Sufjan Stevens. (Aoife Barry)


32. MGMT – Congratulations

An album apparently devoid of singles sounds like a trip straight to beard-stroking, no fun hell. Thankfully MGMT eschewed this dramatic notion by offering up a bizarre collection of psych-pop treats. Rather than being an ironic death notice Congratulations is in fact a celebration of a band finally having the courage to embrace the sound their debut was peppered with. A sound that seeped through Syd Barrett’s floor boards and soaked into the Zombies afternoon tea, one that can create the euphoric ‘It’s Working’ and the startling ‘Flash Delirium’. Career suicide never sounded so good. (Jennifer Gannon)


31. The Chemical Brothers – Further

In danger of becoming a sonically enhanced Status Quo – chugging around the globe playing their singles collection to those who remember the glory days and sending the crowd to the jacks during the new stuff – this was a glorious reminder of what the Chemical Brothers are capable of. Further hits immense heights on ‘Swoon’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Dissolve’ while on the magnificent ‘Escape Velocity’ the realisation that a band we all loved once still kicks all sorts of arse made for one of the most beautiful moments of the summer. (John Joe Worrall)


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