Back when I first started blogging, there were only a tiny handful of other local music bloggers, and there was definitely no sense of community between us. But in the four years since I launched this site, a second wave of ATL bloggers popped up, made up of many talented and interesting voices. So I was very excited when Denton from Little Advances proposed that we all join forces to put together one giant end-of-year blogathon. First, here are the other bloggers involved in this roundtable in case you aren’t familiar with them:
Our roundtable basically addressed a series of topics, including:
1. General discussion of the “Best of” music for the year, nationally and locally
2. Best live shows of 2010
3. Predictions of breakout artists in 2011
4. Lightning Round: one response from each blogger to a series of poll-like questions.
We are releasing the discussion in pieces among our different blogs for the rest of the week. Here is the schedule:
Monday 12/20 – Wholly Roller and Ohmpark
Tuesday 12/21 – Latest Disgrace and Atlanta’s A-List
Wednesday 12/22 – Little Advances and I’m a Bear! Etc
Thursday 12/23 – Dead Journalist and The Moon and Pluto
This morning Wholly Roller released the first part of the discussion, so before continuing along, please jump over there and read that first.
The year got off to really promising start with Beach House’s Teen Dream and Local Natives’ Gorilla Manor. I completely fell in love with these albums the second I listened to them. Throughout the summer awesome releases from Free Energy, Titus Andronicus, Suckers, The Love Language, and Phantogram really proved themselves on the record player and in the venues. In fact, most of my favorite albums coincide with a tour that passed through Atlanta once or twice or in Free Energy’s case, four times. Repeatability and the live show have everything to do with how I feel about an album.
The surprise EP from Girls and the new releases from Reading Rainbow, Sun Airway, and Eternal Summers have really taken over my ears the last couple of weeks. This year just won’t give up.
Also, I can’t forget about the local lovelies that continue to make me swoon, which includes, but isn’t limited to Oryx and Crake, Roman Photos, Mermaids, Venice is Sinking, and Deerhunter. Speaking of Deerhunter, more specifically Bradford Cox, can we just take a moment to reflect on those four incredible demo albums he released on his blog? I’m pretty sure my Last.fm play count for Atlas Sound was through the roof that week. I can’t get enough. And what’s really insane is that some of those tracks were recorded and released the very next day. I’m going to have to agree with Tim, Bradford Cox for Atlanta music MVP. We are really lucky to have these amazing artists representing Atlanta. I feel like sometimes Atlanta’s hardworking rockers are overlooked. For those that say the scene here isn’t defined should definitely take a closer look.
I’d also like to mention the aid the internet has had in finding new and interesting music. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with Bandcamp and underground blogs that highlight those bedroom, garage rockers. Some gems I’ve found include Gauntlet Hair, Weed, Mutual Benefit, Waskerly Way, Hilly Eye, and Teen Daze. And that’s the short list.
This year has been insane. Absolutely insane, and very gracious. It’s overwhelming. And making sense of it all has been difficult, but very exciting.
As it turns out, 2010 was a good year for music. Not great, not a game-changer, but a year filled with as many pockets of greatness as it had forgettable fads. Although I enjoyed moments of Washed Out and Small Black, I generally avoided the chillwave hysteria that consumed much of the blogosphere. And while I don’t harbor the bilious distaste that some critics have shown for Wavves and Best Coast, I can’t say that either record did anything for me. They just weren’t my thing.
As for the standout efforts, some of those have already been mentioned—Titus Andronicus, the National, Phantogram, Beach House—a list to which I have to add Future Islands, Arcade Fire and Les Savy Fav.
But for me, 2010 was also the year I got excited about labels again. Not the obvious players—Sub Pop, Merge, Matador, Fat Possum, etc.—but smaller imprints who are building their reputations one artist at a time and helping to foster a real sense of community. Just look at the year Sargent House had with a slew of terrific forward-thinking releases from Fang Island, Zach Hill, Native, Tera Melos, and Red Sparowes. Or how about Temporary Residence Limited delivering choice joints from the Books, Maserati, Coliseum and the Black Heart Procession? Heavy music also got a much needed jolt of inventive energy from the always reliable Hydra Head who churned out two of the year’s best records from Daughters and the Austerity Program, not to mention can’t-miss cuts from Torche and Athens sludge hounds, Harvey Milk.
And while we’re at it, can we give it up for some of indie rock’s elder statesmen? 2010 might have been a banner year for young, up-and-comers looking to shake things up, but we were also handed great— in some cases, groundbreaking—efforts from Grinderman, Killing Joke, and, especially, Swans. My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is a thing of devastating beauty.
Locally, it was a solid year. I’m still looking and hoping for that one record that slaps me across the face and makes me think “Goddamn, I can’t wait to hear what this band is going to do next.” The Qurious LP and the Oryx and Crake debut came the closest, which is probably why we all seized upon it with such gusto. But there was also some good work from the likes of Hawks, Abby Go Go, Sealions, and Roman Photos. Maybe most surprising was the amount of quality rock output we received from Stickfigure and its offshoot, the Gospel of Rhythm Recordings, who gave us boisterous punk-fueled releases from All Night Drug Prowling Wolves and Authors Apology, as well as the blistering, complex instrumental jams of Sorry No Ferrari.
Looking forward, 2011 looks like it could catch fire quick with early releases expected from Whores and the reunited the Letters Organize. One thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to hear what happens.
I rang in the New Year of 2010 at the Band of Horses concert at The Tabernacle. That was an awesome night of music, and I feel like the year has followed suit with some great music from artists across the globe. Check Canada out! Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Wolf Parade, Owen Pallett, Women, Tegan and Sara, Crystal Castles and The New Pornographers have all put out some quality music this year. There’s always so much great music to come out of the UK. This year has been no different, with bands like XX, Foals, and Mumford and Sons making waves with new releases, and Florence and The Machine gaining a worldwide audience since her album came out last year. The band to start
the “British Invasion” has even made their entire catalog available through ITunes this year! And Icelandic genius, Jonsi, released a phenomenal album, the first of his efforts since Sigur Ros went on hiatus.
The players on home turf have also been outstanding this year. To avoid redundancy, I’ll agree with the artist choices of the previous bloggers (especially Fang Island and The National) and add a few: Yeasayer, The Henry Clay People, Of Montreal, Sleigh Bells, Sufjan Stevens, Ray LaMontagne, The Love Language, School of Seven Bells, Menomena, She & Him, and Interpol. MGMT’s newest has had a lot of mixed reviews, but I think it should be mentioned in the round up, because the album is a work of creative art, regardless of a reviewer’s bias.
But, the magic for me is at the local level. Atlanta has had such an active music community this year! The collective efforts of PurgeAtl, Hijacking Music, Nophi, and ISP have all gained so much momentum through their endurance supporting the local musicians and artists. The sheer number of music festivals this year; NoPhest, Earball, Barroco Festival, Other Sound, AC3 Hip Hop Festival, Strange Daze, Hijacking Music Festival, Edgewood Electronic Festival, the Nameless Goat Farm Festival, is an indication that the Atlanta music scene is thriving within every genre! The awesome art/music regular events, like Laserbeam Kitty, Rock Science Revival, and the art galleries such
as Picaflor, Mint, Beep Beep, Relapse, and Archive, have fostered artistic cooperation, as well as showcasing a variety of local musical talent. Of course, the non-profits, Eyedrum and Wonderoot also continue to encourage creative distinction. The fact that we’re engaged in this Year-End Blog-a-Thon together is yet another example of the music community unifying and strengthening in Atlanta.
2010 saw some impressive new releases from Atlanta artists, such as Sealions, Jungol, Oryx & Crake, Charges, Attention System, Sonen, Nomen Novum, Nerdkween, Blair Crimmins and The Hookers, Abby Go Go, Carnivores, Dropsonic, Sorry No Ferrari, Efren, Cassavetes, and A Fight to the Death. The Nophi Compilation 4 is another stand out achievement. Moe touched on the hometown labels, and I’ll add that Stickfigure and Double Phantom are representing Atlanta well. If this is how the new decade has begun, I can’t wait to see what’s in store in the coming years.
Wow, I get the last word. That would be kind of cool but everybody else has covered so much ground, I don’t know what I can add. I will say I think that the possibility of a bloggers forum, this email string, and the willingness of all these passionate music listeners to collaborate, share, and discuss is the highlight of 2010 for me. If I could have dreamt an objective for the “A-List” (y’all know that’s a joke, right?), this would have been it. Denton, you did it!
What do I think of 2010? I think it was far better than last year. I think many records that did not even get considered for my top ten this year, might have cracked last year’s list. I also found myself paying so much attention to new “must hear” sounds that I neglected stalwarts like Wolf Parade and Ted Leo who came out with fine albums. Gosh, that Blitzen Trapper record is worth another listen too.
The local scene continues to turn out quality as well, even if it’s not always what the rest of the world gets to see and hear. Don’t get me wrong. I love Janelle and Cee-Lo and yes, Deerhunter certainly has become something to brag about, but there is so much more to share when old pals come to Dogwood City. More people outside of Georgia need to hear Sealions, Oryx & Crake, Ben Trickey, and Attention System. Four great examples of the diversity and quality of Atlanta’s music scene – that are not hip-hop or garage bands.
Some personal highlights of the year include being involved with the Oryx and Crake Decatur CD in-store, attending David Bazan’s house show and then listening to Andy Hull and Alex Brenner debate the state of the modern music biz in the hall afterwards, finally seeing Titus Andronicus at the EARL after they missed the 529 show due to van trouble, Pavement, and eating late night chili dogs at Manuel’s.
It’s been a great year and again, I’m delighted just to be along for the ride with this group. I look forward to the next question and will do my best to reply more quickly.
Look for part 3 at Latest Disgrace tomorrow.
Go ahead and jump over to Day 2, Part 3 at Latest Disgrace.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm