Dana West here, the new kid on the Nasty Little Man block and recent transplant to the thrilling world of publicity!
It’s Year-End Best of list time again and we wanted to remind you about all the best stuff that came out in 2010 a/k/a the nasty roster. And with a roster like this, who wouldn’t want to move across the country and work with these fantastic artists?
Looking forward to working with and getting to know all of you next year!
Here’s the nasty 2010 recap in chronological order:
THE HOTRATS: Turn Ons (Fat Possum) – Gaz and Danny formerly of Supergrass (RIP) ripping trip down memory lane. Gaz wearing a dress for a Letterman performance of Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right” alone should earn this a spot on your list.
SPOON: Transference (Merge) – 2010 was a banner year for Spoon, starting with their highest ever chart debut and Metacritic pronouncing them the most critically acclaimed artist of the 2000-2009 decade. Things continued apace with a tour highlighted by a sold out Radio City headline, main stage Coachella, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits performances and more. Now it’s Top 10 time.
ALKALINE TRIO: This Addiction (Heart & Skull/Epitaph) – This return to form and return to the indie world with a new joint venture label helmed by the band resulted in the Alkaline Trio’s biggest first week to date.
JAGUAR LOVE: Hologram Jams (Fat Possum) – Former Blood Brothers Johnny and Cody brought the electro-punk mayhem on their first full length for Fat Possum.
BROKEN BELLS (Columbia) – In its 34th week in the Top 200 and fast approaching 300,000 sales, the self-titled debut from the band formed by Brian Danger Mouse Burton and James Mercer of The Shins has had album of the year written all over it from day one. Anointed by Rolling Stone upon its release as “the year’s coolest left field pop disc” in a 4-star lead review, Broken Bells has spurred huge critical raves, amazing live shows the world over, stellar videos for “The High Road” and “The Ghost Inside” (featuring Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks), a slew of amazing TV appearances starting with a week of release Letterman bow and mostly recently Ellen, and even a stint at # on iTunes.
GORILLAZ: Plastic Beach (Virgin) – Already named #1 album of 2010 in NPR Music’s listeners poll, Plastic Beach is the third consecutive all-star global smash from Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated crew. This time around Murdoc, 2-D, Noodle and Russel have been joined on record by Bobby Womack, Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed and more, while the “Stylo” video broke YouTube premiere viewership records and featured a Bruce Willis cameo. Meanwhile, the Gorillaz live band featuring The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, Little Dragon, De La Soul and others continues the amazing Escape To Plastic Beach world tour.
COHEED & CAMBRIA: Year of the Black Rainbow (Columbia) – The Amory Wars saga was wrapped up on this prequel, hailed Coheed & Cambria’s most concise and focused effort to date, on which Time Out New York said “the band wisely refines a winning formula, sounding properly bombastic.” Year of the Black Rainbow was supported by Coheed & Cambria’s biggest headline tour to date, featuring a sold out Central Park Summerstage and a main stage Coachella performance replete with a cameo from the USC Marching Band.
TAYLOR HAWKINS & THE COATTAIL RIDERS: Red Light Fever (Shanabelle/RCA) – The Foo Fighters drum god got by with a little help from his friends—some of whom just happened to be Brian May of Queen, Elliot Easton of the Cars and fellow Foo Fighter Dave Grohl. Hawkins likened Red Light Fever to a trip through his record collection, one that was as much fun to listen to as it was to make.
BAND OF HORSES: Infinite Arms (Brown/Fat Possum/Columbia) – The songs on Infinite Arms project the essence of the different locales across America that became the setting for the recording and songwriting process behind the album. The rich musical heritage of Muscle Shoals, AL, the sublime beauty of Asheville’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the Hollywood Hills and the Mojave desert all influenced the group’s most focused and dynamic recordings to date. Infinite Arms also marks the first time the long time touring lineup of Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds have recorded together on a Band of Horses record. As founder Bridwell himself concedes, “in many ways, this is the first Band of Horses record.” Fresh off a triumphant tour that culminated with an Austin City Limits mainstage slot just in front of the Eagles and a homecoming bash at Atlanta’s Fox Theater—not to mention their brand new cover of Cee-Lo’s “Georgia”–Band of Horses and Infinite Arms should be at the forefront of anyone’s year end top 10 thoughts.
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM: This Is Happening (DFA/Virgin) – LCD Soundsystem’s third and very likely final album was possibly the single most anticipated release of 2010. Released in May 2010 and preceded by the viral video sensation “Drunk Girls,” directed by James Murphy of LCD and Spike Jonze, This Is Happening was heralded by a 5-page New Yorker feature, a 4-star lead Rolling Stone review, 9.2. from Pitchfork, an A from Entertainment Weekly and more, while the band’s live profile has exploded: A still-ongoing world tour commenced this spring with a penultimate main stage slot at this year’s Coachella festival and a slew of sold out headline dates the world over, included show-stealing sets at V, Pitchfork, Bonnaroo , Fuji Rock in Japan, 02 Wireless in the UK and more, and recently saw more than 13,000 fans dance for 90-plus minutes at LCD’s first ever headline show at the Hollywood Bowl. LCD will wind out 2010 with the Nov. 9 release of the London Sessions, further international headline touring and appearances in all of your best of 2010 lists.
TOKYO POLICE CLUB: Champ (mom+pop) – Newmarket Ontario’s finest grow up in style on this sophomore full length, featuring the irresistible “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” as performed on The Late Show with David Letterman.
MATES OF STATE: Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) (MOS) – Truth in advertising department: Jason and Kori pay tribute to favorites ranging from Daniel Johnston to Tom Waits to the Mars Volta on this loving multi-artist tribute.
22-20s: Shake/Shiver/Moan (tbd) – Rolling Stone called this album’s “Ocean” “the best Byrds tune Oasis never wrote,” but don’t take their word for it: Go back and listen repeatedly to the reunited Sleaford, Lincolnshire quartet’s masterwork.
HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS (Null) – The debut collaborative effort from Mariqueen Maandig, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross featuring the haunting “The Space In Between” and “A Drowning.” The merest hint of things to come.
DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL (Capitol) – Finally, the long-awaited official release of the landmark collaboration between Danger Mouse, David Lynch and the late lamented Mark Linkous a/k/a Sparklehorse. Dark Night Of The Soul featured Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse joined by a remarkable roll call of guests including Lynch himself, the Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys, Jason Lytle, Julian Casablancas, Black Francis, Iggy Pop, James Mercer, Nina Persson, Suzanne Vega and the late Vic Chesnutt, in whose memory the record is also dedicated. DNOTS’s official release was commemorated by an exhibit at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York City consisting of 50 original images created by Lynch specifically to be displayed with DNOTS as musical accompaniment. While this beautiful, haunting record being made widely and legitimately available was undoubtedly cause for celebration, the news was shadowed by sadness following the recent passing of Mark Linkous. Dark Night Of The Soul now stands as a de facto tribute to this well-loved, stunningly talented yet often-overlooked artist and has received the blessing of his family who issued the following statement: “Mark felt that it was an honor to be able to collaborate with so many of the artists on this record. His time and dedication to this project was immense and his hopes for its release are finally being realized. We are glad that people will now be able to hear these songs and know the beautiful gift that Mark shared with all of us through his music.”
ARCADE FIRE: The Suburbs (Merge) – Any year where an Arcade Fire record can enter the Billboard chart at #1 is a good year. When that Arcade Fire record is The Suburbs, well so much the better. Written, arranged, performed and produced by the Arcade Fire and co-produced by Markus Dravs, The Suburbs was recorded around Montreal and New York over the past two years. Its August 3 release week was celebrated with two shows at Madison Square Garden, the aforementioned #1 debut, an Unstaged live webcast directed by Terry Gilliam, a rare musical appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the most rapturous critical response of the year to date—many of which cited the record as perfect accompaniment for road trips. Makes sense, as The Suburbs, like its namesake, revels in open space, reflections on long drives, the contemplation of possibilities, and features arguably more breadth and beauty than captured on any previous Arcade Fire recording: sparse pop (“Modern Man”), icy new wave epics (“No Celebration”), anthemic punk (“Month of May”), hypnotic refrains (“Rococo”) and lush balladry (“Suburban War”)–yet sacrificing none of the familiar hunger, still present on hard-driving tracks like “Empty Room” and “Ready to Start.” This one’s destined for the the top of the list, especially if you’re writing it in your car.
RA RA RIOT: The Orchard (Barsuk) – “Well poised to become the soundtrack of your life” per NEW YORK magazine and hailed by NPR as “an epic album with soaring strings and fat bass lines,” Ra Ra Riot’s sophomore effort crashed into the Billboard chart at #36, some 70+ spots higher than their universally acclaimed 2008 debut The Rhumb Line. Featuring “Boy” and “Too Dramatic,” The Orchard was produced by Ra Ra Riot and Andrew Maury and mixed by Chris Walla (with the exception of “Do You Remember,” which was mixed by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij), and marks the first time Ra Ra Riot vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, violinist Rebecca Zeller and cellist Alexandra Lawn have been joined in the studio by drummer Gabriel Duquette, who has toured with the band since the release of The Rhumb Line. Ra Ra Riot is currently on tour through mid-December, where they’ll take a break after wrapping up the tour Mexico.
PHILIP SELWAY: Familial (Nonesuch) – They say still waters run deep, and no other release in 2010 backed up this old adage like Familial, the solo debut from Radiohead drummer Philip Selway. Recorded with Courtyard Studios’ resident engineer and producer Ian Davenport and featuring Lisa Germano, Sebastian Steinberg, and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Patrick Sansone, Familial is a collection of sublimely fragile, haunting and heartfelt songs. Selway and these varied and accomplished creative voices craft a subtly complex and completely hypnotic atmosphere. Curiously, traditional drumming is virtually absent from the record, which favors underlying textures and loops for percussion. At times Familial’s beats and instrumental colours are so subtle, it seems as if the acoustic air in the room is setting the mood, leaving space for the lyrics, which clearly come from the most intimate of places. Familial surprised many—and not solely because these beautifully understated performances are coming from a drummer. Familial is so persuasively good as to make a case for Selway as a natural born singer-songwriter.
PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS: Band On The Run Reissue (Concord) – For your Best Reissue lists: Last week saw the re-release of Paul McCartney & Wings’ iconic Band on the Run. Heralded as one of the greatest albums of all time, the GRAMMY winning, smash # 1 album – originally released December of 1973 – yielded the immortal title track and world-wide hit “Jet” becoming Wings’ most successful and celebrated album ever. Paul McCartney personally supervised all aspects of the Band on the Run reissue. The remastering work was done at Abbey Road using the same team who recently remastered the complete Beatles’ catalog. The Band on the Run 3 disc (2CD, 1 DVD) special edition features nine bonus audio tracks (including the top 10 smash “Helen Wheels”), rare footage of the McCartneys in Lagos and behind-the-scenes at the famous album cover shoot, original Band on the Run promotional video clips, the One Hand Clapping television special (highlighted by studio performances filmed at Abbey Road in 1974) all with beautifully enhanced packaging. Collectors have been especially thrilled by the 4 disc (3CD, 1 DVD) deluxe edition which adds an extraordinary 120-page hard bound book containing many unseen and unpublished photos by Linda McCartney and Clive Arrowsmith, album and single artwork, downloadable hi-res audio versions of the remastered album and bonus audio tracks, a full history of the album complete with a new interview with Paul and expanded track by track information for all four discs.
The musical achievement of Band on the Run is nearly matched by the amazing story behind its creation. Intrigued with recording abroad in the summer of 1973, McCartney searched for a list of studios around the world. Spotting one in the remote location of Lagos, Nigeria, he became enthralled with the idea of recording in Africa. Days before departure, lead guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell quit the band leaving the entire project to the three core members, Paul, his wife Linda McCartney and band-member Denny Laine (along with recording engineer Geoff Emerick). Recorded in August and September of 1973 (with further work done at AIR Studios in London in October 1973), they persevered through a tumultuous, yet creatively invigorating 2 month recording process battling difficult studio conditions, oppressive heat and a dangerous mugging at knife point. The thieves made off with the demo tapes (among other valuables), forcing the band to record the entire album from memory.
Band on the Run triumphed both critically and commercially. The album topped the US album chart 3 separate times, won a Grammy and went on to sell more than 7 million copies. Upon the release of Band on the Run, then Rolling Stone reviewer Jon Landau famously gushed, “The finest record yet released by any of the four musicians who were once called The Beatles.”
Band on the Run marks the first release from the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, an ambitious reissue program that encompasses 40 years of cherished, classic material from the most successful songwriter and recording artist in music history. It’s also the initial physical release of the recently announced agreement between McCartney’s MPL and Concord Music Group to globally market and distribute McCartney’s venerated solo and Wings catalog.