Music 2010 Halfway Point

I can’t believe it is already halfway through the year. This means that I have to do my halfway point rankings. Sorry about being so quiet lately. I don’t expect the blog to pick up much in the near future, but I’ll try to do some more math in the next week or so. I think the best math blogging recently has been Charles Siegel at Rigorous Trivialities. It is rare that math blogging actually gets me to read a whole post in all its detail, but it has been fun to review a lot of the basics that have been posted there.

On to the music. This year has blown last year away so far. So I’ll be a little more detailed with my ranking categories than my usual 3 or 4. No particular order other than alphabetical under each category.

Stuff that is better than the best of last year:
Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis
Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
The Whiskers – War of Currents

About as good as the best of last year:
The National – High Violet
Owen Pallett – Heartland
Xiu Xiu – Dear God, I Hate Myself

Quite good:
Four Tet – There is Love in You
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt
Moonface – Dreamland EP

Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
Spoon – Transference

Bad/Undecided because I haven’t actually made myself listen the five requisite times through to make a valid judgement:
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
The Knife – Tomorrow, In a Year

That’s all. Some comments I guess are that Band of Horses surprised me. I thought it would be great. I love their last album. I like when bands go in a new direction, but if you throw out all of your strengths and don’t replace them with anything, then you are left with nothing. That’s really how I feel about this.

See last post for biggest surprise so far: The Whiskers. Spoon is just immature as a band. They’ve made too many albums to be putting out stuff that is this cliche and childish. The lyrics are whiny at best and the songs are predictable pop. The few good songs use highly unoriginal ideas and so leave a bad after taste as to why it is actually good.

Dillinger Escape Plan managed to overcome the negative receiving of their last album. They seemed to take the criticism to heart and returned to something that sounds more like their first album, but with the maturity of a band that’s been around awhile. Excellent work!

I think maybe my biggest surprise was how much I ended up liking The Tallest Man on Earth. The first few times through I thought it was your standard folk Dylan-wannabe. These songs really grew on me. I absolutely love them and keep returning. Very well-developed songs packed with emotion at a low-fi stripped down sound. I guess a very raw sound for today’s age of digital mastering. I do find it hard to rank above “quite good,” though, with the quality of the higher up stuff.

I hope people find this list enjoyable.