Just Music That I Like’s Twenty Five Favourite Albums of 2010 - Part Two

Just Music That I Like’s Twenty Five Favourite Abums of 2010 aka The Best 25 Albums of the Year Part Two

Direct Links to Albums: 25 - 21 // 20 - 16 // 15 - 11 // 10 - 6 // 5 - 1

20. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can

Order // Lyrically 'I Speak Because I Can' is much darker than Laura Marling's debut, her writing plays out of raw emotion, often melancholy and bleak but never boring.

Yet still only 20, this is a much more mature offering than her debut, she has grown in confidence both on and off stage. Her writing is more sophisicated, the ten tracks here show immense intelligence, portraying an incredibly talented and poetic lyricist with an unbelievably honest and beautiful voice.

There are some shimmering and wonderful arrangements here, the title track, "Rambling Man", "Blackberry Stone", you could go on. The lead single "Devil's Spoke" is perhaps the most 'nu-folk' track on the album. There is an almost Joni Mitchell quality to this, the insecurites of 'Alas I Cannot Swim' have been replaced with a strong, defiant tone. 

The second Laura Marling LP of 2010 never materialised, however I'm sure 2011 could well be another success for Miss Marling. If she so chooses to make it so, the world is hers.


19. Anika - Anika

Order // Geoff Barrow of Portishead / Beak> produced Berlin/ Bristol/ London based artist Anika's self-title debut LP released at the end of last November through Stones Throw Records. The resulting collaboration is an raw, unsettling journey into a trippy world of early 80's post-punk, dub and 60's girl pop. Yet quite bizarrely this unique mash-up creates an overall cohesive sound and intense experience.

The opening, a dark, synthesised version of 60's girl group Twinkle's track "Terry" sets the tone perfectly, it's disconcerting, menacing and yet manages to retain the sound of a dubbed down pop song. The lyrics fit the overriding tone perfectly. "He rode into the night // accelerated his motorbike // I cried to him in fright // don't do it, don't do it, don't do it."

The Skeeter Davis classic "End of the World" has well and truly become the soundtrack of a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, this followed by sirens and a stuttering funk-lade bass in Yoko Ono' cover "Yang Yang" which make it sound like something lifted directly from 'Kill Bill'.

"Masters of War" (Bob Dylan) has the feeling of 'Unknown Pleasures' off-cut, a vague deeply threatening ambience with Anika's vocals sung with a nonchalant and unconcerned voice which makes it all the more sinister and creates a colossal sense of paranoia with a pulsating electronic throb overriding throughout.

'Anika' doesn't sounds like it was released in 2010, it's got all the hallmarks of an unearthed classic from the early 80's post-punk era, the original compositions especially the reggae infused "No One's There" stand side by side with some fantastically selected choice of classics, you'll never hear a Ray Davies song sound so haunting ever again. Highly recommended if you like your music dark, sinister and damn right unsettling.


18. I Like Trains – He Who Saw the Deep


Order // The album released through the bands pledge campaign shows a wonderful maturity and progression in the sound of the band from their debut. It's not quite as bleak nor dark as previous outings yet still in touch with their melancholy post-rock roots. Arguably the best song is the new, longer version of late 2009 single "Sea of Regrets" which ironically is one that fits more with the earlier work, it's a slow burning majesty, full of sorrow that is probably the most affecting song on the entire I Like Trains catalogue.

"A Father's Son" shows the new streamlined iLT's in fine form, Simon Fogal's drumming comes through as a highlight pulling the song together, the same can be said for "Sirens" another of my favourites. For me though, it's Dave Martin's vocal which is the benchmark of Trains, his unique baritone voice is one of the best in the business, even if it's more hushed at times during this record than previously. As "Sea of Regrets" comes to it's momentous orchestral peak during with his repeated cries of "we're out of our depth here..." you can find yourself close to tears. It is that moving, that sublime.

Even though title track 'He Who Saw The Deep' shows more optimism and light than we've previously seen from the Trains boys, the album won't be for everyone, it's still not an entirely cheerful affair, but for anyone who a passing liking for British rock music, its an essential listen

Previously: Plenty to excite any I like Trains fan with numerous recordings here.


17. Warpaint – The Fool

Order // I think it was a brave move for Warpaint not to include any any of the material off the brilliant 'Exquisite Corpses' EP on their debut album 'The Fool'. With songs such as "Billie Holiday", "Elephants" and "Beetles" in their arsenal the girls could easily have padded out an album with some chart friendly hits. "Undertow" aside, 'The Fool' is not as immediate, there are no other obvious singles here.

Instead the album highlights a much more sensual sound. The hypnotic, seductive sound of that characterises the Warpaint sound, for me, they've managed to faithfully recreate a feeling much akin to their mesmerising live shows.

'The Fool' has moments where it is sublime. The majestic (pardon the pun) "Majesty" is a six minute slow burner full of protruding electronic warps and a bass for heaven. "Composure" is all over the place, never maintaining a set rhythm and it works wonderfully, Theresa and Emily's vocal interplays are are a set theme of Warpaint and the playful dynamic is one of the bands main assets. "Set Your Arms Down" and "Warpaint" allow the girls time for some more experimental jams, these funky instrumental sections are really where Warpaint win you over.

Previously: Some wonderful videos, sessions and a couple of recordings in the archive.


16. Mountain Man – Made the Harbor

Order // The debut release by Mountain Man is the polar opposite of what their name suggests. Those mental images of gruff, bearded men should be replaced by that of three fine young ladies, who with the aid of a solitary acoustic guitar produce some of the most simplistic yet at the same time, breathtaking music you’ll hear this year. Their harmonies are gorgeous, their songs flutter between hymnal and traditional in nature and the sparse instrumentation allows you to vividly create mental images of the mainly nature themed lyrics. At times you almost feel like you are out in the American wilderness with them.

The album flows cohesively and you are swept away by the beauty of the record, “Buffalo”, “Animal Tracks” star the record off on a high with simple yet and it maintains it right through to the end of “Babylon” and “River”. At times they come close to recreating the sound of wild birds their lyrics sing of with their harmonious oohs and ahs. Breathtaking.

The music of Mountain Man is that of transcending spiritual beauty. Let these three ladies into your life and you will fall in love.

Previously: Mountain Man archive. Highly recommended, a couple of wonderful recordings, sessions and videos to watch.


STATE INTERVENTION #5 - Mountain Man from Bandwidth on Vimeo.

Direct Links to Albums: 25 - 21 // 20 - 16 // 15 - 11 // 10 - 6 // 5 - 1