January 08, 2011

Most excellent 2010

High Violet, The NationalCompared with 2009, I listened to less new music overall in 2010. There didn’t seem to be that many piping and drumming recordings released last year and, to be honest, stuff that comes in for review is often sent out to reviewers so quickly that I don’t get a chance to hear them. If the review is good, I’ll make sure that I purchase a copy.

But, to keep the annual streak going, here are my favourite tracks of 2010:

“Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” – from the CD High Violet by The National. This was my album of the year, and any one of several songs (e.g., “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “England”) could have made my list, but I like the simple 6/8 melody of this track. Brilliant musicality and a unique sound and semi-dark style.

“Dog Days Are Over” – from the CD Lungs by Florence + the Machine. I think this song may actually be from 2009, but it was re-released in 2010. I love the depth of Florence Welch’s voice – a cross between Cat Power and Grace Slick – and the reverb and rhythmical influences of Motown.

“Crash Years” – from the CD Together by The New Pornographers. This got a lot of rotations on my machine over the latter part of the year. Extremely listenable from the Vancouver collective.

“Desire Lines” – from the CD Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter. I didn’t much care for the rest of this CD, but this track stood out, and reminded me of “Nothing Ever Happened,” which made my 2008 list.

“Air & Concerto Ascenseur” – from the CD Live At The El Mocambo: Raw and Off the Floor by the Toronto Police Pipe Band. I heard this for the first time, live, at the band’s Toronto concert and it had an instantly favourable impression. It stands up on repeated listening, and also caught the ear of John Mulhearn in his pipes|drums review.

I could go on (Iain MacInnes, Kanye, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend . . .), but a brief list perhaps suits for 2010. I find out about non-piping and drumming music from friends (thanks, Lorna!), so always interested to hear what your favourites were from 2010.


  1. check out belfast piper john mcsherrys album “soma”. its top class. also an irish group called guidewires . very exciting indeed, with a new album due out in march i believe

  2. I’ve essentially been obsessed with Mumford and Sons. Found them after tracking down a song used on Stargate Universe (best of the franchise by far). Found out they’re pretty big. This has caused much inner struggle for me as they’re up against Neil Young for a Grammy. Can’t figure who to root for. Gonna go with Mumford as they are totally fresh and Neil will always be my friend.

    Also, Sufjan Stevens finally got around to recording some new CDs.



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