Here we go with part one of four (wrapped around Christmas Day) chronicling a round hundred of the best tracks to have been passed our way this year, ruthlessly filtered down from a list of almost too much quality to talk about (personal apologies to Ace Bushy Striptease here), with only artists represented in the album top fifty left out (SPOILERS). See this broad sweep of what 2010 variously had to offer:
A Classic Education - I Lost Time [YouTube] [Spotify]
The uncrowned kings of Bologna finally got round to releasing a new EP, expansively structured while remaining driven by the personal like a happier Modest Mouse. Given this is a song bemoaning the passing of opportunity, not all that happier, but the point stands.
Abe Vigoda - Throwing Shade [YouTube] [Spotify]
Former Afro-punk rollercoaster turn darkwave. Here, they land right between the two and make themselves dizzy.
Adam Donen - It's Over Now [YouTube]
Few brood like Donen, best described on this year's Immortality as Mike Scott taking after a secular Josh T Pearson, quiet anger at modernity his way.
Admiral Radley - I Heart California [YouTube] [Spotify]
Jason Lytle and some of Earlimart perhaps not entirely straightfaced. Can't properly pronounce Leicestershire.
The Attery Squash - Devo Was Right About Everything (Robert & Gerald Casale remix) [YouTube] [Spotify]
Because the idea of getting a caustic song about Devo remixed by Devo is cheering. Some may know this in its briefly viral Charlie Brooker Is Right About Everything form.
Best Coast - Boyfriend [YouTube] [Spotify]
Come on, everyone, there's one good song on Crazy For You! Luckily it's a really good one.
Blonde Redhead - Not Getting There [YouTube] [Spotify]
Man alive, Penny Sparkle is one disappointing album. That's but for this slab of dystopian electro darkness like a modern dreampop Propaganda.
British Sea Power - Zeus [YouTube] [Spotify]
"Rick Stein, pleased to meet you, I did not mean to be so rude". Now that's an opening line.
Broken Social Scene - Texico Bitches [YouTube (live)] [Spotify]
Only allegorical curates can enjoy BSS albums these days, and clearly nothing on Forgiveness Rock Record was a Cause=Time. Hell, there's not even an Anthem For A Seventeen Year Old Girl. But this one rides along bumpily.
Calories - FFWD [YouTube] [Spotify]
Abrasive like a Kinsella band, raging like art-hardcore, as exciting as the best noise-pop.
The Cast Of Cheers - Tigerfox [free Bandcamp]
The Irish Foals, they say. More math-shouty-intricate, we say.
Chapel Club — Five Trees [YouTube] [Spotify]
Poor man's Editors, of course, but nearly every band deserves to get it right once and their turn this year came with their borrowing guitar noises from Kevin Shields and a wind tunnel of a chorus from the Bunnymen.
Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM [YouTube] [Spotify]
For once not getting material based on who her dad was, Beck did his best production work in years weaving together a breakbeat, an MRI scan sample and Gainsbourg's detached vocal style and ending up as industrialised pop.
The Chapman Family - All Fall [YouTube] [Spotify]
Still sound like Maximo Park being incinerated.
Chapter 24 - Gregory [YouTube] [Soundcloud]
The Raincoats' unsteady art-post-punk as a jump-off point, flavoured with surf and hi-life, then spun around violently until you wonder how it sounds so comfortably kept together.
Club 8 - Western Hospitality [YouTube] [Spotify]
The People's Record may be the best thing the mightily prolific Johan Angergård has ever been involved with, in all its Afropop swagger.
Cold Seeds - King [Spotify]
Interesting that on a record featuring members of Meursault and King Creosote it's Animal Magic Tricks that get top billing on the standout track, a longing folk mesmer.
Coltrane Motion - Please Call It A Comeback [download]
Still a source of annoyance that we can't count Coltrane Motion albums for the big list as they've never come out in the UK. This baroque droning dreampop turning to clattering insistence should hopefully make you feel the same as us.
Cults - Go Outside [download] [YouTube]
Now what's going on here? New York duo sample Jim Jones, then launch into Swedish indiepop-style harmonic loungey pop with glockenspiel. It is released on a leading blog's label. A few months later, they sign to Columbia. This could be one of 2011's more fascinating subplots.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Vocal Chords [Myspace] [Spotify]
Poor name, good stuff, finding the summer prettiness in Vampire Weekend-nodding harmonic pop with electronic undertow.
Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern - Drive Too Fast [YouTube] [Spotify]
Best thing from a frustratingly inconsistent album, a tender song about a self-inflicted car crash victim, also known (to us) as the "lesbian from Brookside" song.
The Death Notes - In The Spider's Web [Myspace] [Bandcamp]
Banshees menace - that's Banshees when they had John McGeogh - brought into the post-punk revival a little late for most people but little affected for that.
The Declining Winter - Official World Cup Theme 2010 [Soundcloud] [Spotify]
Yearning strings, Go-Betweens warmly nostalgic acoustic songwriting... John Barnes in the Maracana sample at the end aside it has about as much to do with World Cup themes as Colourbox's Official World Cup Theme in 1986, which seems to be the point.
Dog Is Dead - Glockenspiel Song [Soundcloud] [Spotify]
Two towering singles of Mystery Jets pop-warp, skittish riffs and close harmony from the Nottingham teenage "skate kids and thespians" this year. Their debut features both a sax solo and a children's choir, and yet it's magnificent. They're going to be doing this on the next series of Skins, which is less so.
Emma Pollock - Red Orange Green [YouTube] [Spotify]
The Law Of Large Numbers was another of the year's disappointments, its highlight being this metronomic tale of increased nerviness.
Esben And The Witch - Marching Song [YouTube] [Spotify]
Some whispers beginning around a goth revival, hopefully more relevant than that late 90s New Grave thing which included Mansun. E&TW aren't strictly goth but the swirling sonics and stentorian drama of Rachel Davies' voice sets it late at night in a misty graveyard.
Evans The Death - Sleeping Song [Myspace] [download via A New Band A Day]
Said in some quarters to be 2011's best hope for continuation of 2010's great UK indiepop form, they kicked off with a great jangling rush, half-Pavement, half-C86.