Monday, December 20, 2010

It's a Pop Girl's Life : 2010 Favorites - part 1

I did not buy/obtain/download enough music to put together a "best of". Although I listen to a lot of music, sometimes I'm just plain lazy. But I thought I would highlight some of my favorite discoveries of the year.

In no particular order :

I first heard of Lawrence Arabia (musical alterego of New Zealander, James Milne) early this year. One listen of the album track "Apple Pie Bed" and I was hooked. Once I heard the rest of the "Chant Darling" release, I was smitten. I'm a sucker for lush harmonies and witty, sometimes offbeat lyrics. When I learned that he and his band were opening for Crowded House on their U.S. tour, I think I nearly exploded with delight.

One of the bands who helped indulge my affection for all things 60s mod and British invasion is The Len Price 3 (no one is named Len Price in the band but there are 3 members). Take one part Who, one part Kinks, one part Beatles and stir in other musical bits and bobs, you've got The Len Price 3. I don't care that they're not reinventing the wheel. You can't resist their exuberance and unabashed love for their influences. Their 2010 release, Pictures, is 31 minutes of jangly, crunchy goodness.

Their record was released in other parts of the world before this year but fortunately U.S. fans have not been left out. Let's Wrestle released "In The Court of the Wrestling Let's" on Merge Records in 2010. These 3 young men write about everything from their daily schedule to insects as well as tanks and the late Princess Diana's hair. It's sloppy garage punk on the surface but with the heart of a well -written 3 minute pop song beating strongly behind it. Go listen to "I Won't Lie To You" and you'll understand.

It's possible that The Futureheads have one of the best album introductions for 2010 with the title track for "The Chaos" as they shout out "5 4 3 2 1.....LET'S GO !" This British quartet from Sunderland deftly combines punk energy and tight songwriting and to keep your on your toes, beautiful acapella harmonies. You can't help singing and dancing along and maybe even pumping your fist. Amazing band who truly know how to rock  -- so glad I was able to see them when they stopped in Austin back in September.

This year also featured another excellent release from Sunderland : "Measure" by Field Music. Field Music is the songwriting team of brothers, Peter and David Brewis. It's a double album/2 CD release so it takes a little patience to fully explore and enjoy their eclectic influences and styles. Their flawless brotherly harmonies tie it all together.

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