10. El-P – Weareallgonnaburninhellmegamixxx3 [Gold Dust]
Not just a startlingly brilliant MC, El-P once again proves his production chops too. Typified by his truculent beats, El-P’s epic production is like the soundtrack to a zombie apocalypse. Foreboding, awesome.
9. Anjunadeep Vol 2 – Mixed by Jaytech & James Grant [Sony]
Smooth, deep, emotional… and co-pioneered by Canberra’s very own James “Jaytech” Cayzer! Jaytech & James Grant’s gorgeous Moth begins a beautiful two-disc journey. Vertiginous 4-4 electronica.
8. The Ruby Suns – Fight Softly [Sub Pop]
Ever wondered what would happen if Animal Collective and Discovery had a love child? Well a) aren’t you a weirdy then, and b) probably this. Check out Closet Astrologer; one of the year’s loveliest tracks.
7. Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers [Hot Flush]
No Boards of Canada release this year, but ol’ MK came to the fore with a downtempo electronic number equally fascinating, forward-thinking and mesmeric. Weird and wonderful.
6. The Roots – How I Got Over [Def Jam]
The Roots are the sober, soothing yin to Kanye West’s raging grandiose yang, once again sliding in with a seemingly effortless piece of measured cool; if the group had more heart, they’d be a cardiac unit. Unsurprisingly surprising.
5. Noisia – Split The Atom [Vision]
Those three freaky-deaky Dutchmen once again prove their musical pioneer status, turning a gym into a recording studio (capturing gunshots, flying karate kicks etc) and meticulously constructing nuclear-grade tunes. The cover art tells you all you need to know.
4. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy [Roc-A-Fella]
I mean shit, you try to dislike the man, then he comes up with something like this. Yeezy uses his money, fame and connects to pull out a pompous, overblown and utterly brilliant piece of maximalist hip-hop. If you can call it hip-hop. “Let’s have a toast to the douchebags” indeed.
3. Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner [Rough Trade]
“It’s the old meets new, East meets West… one of 2010’s most intriguing, beautiful and enchanting albums. Lucky Shiner is largely undefinable. One listen to the roborant Same Dream China will have you mesmerised.” Well said, me
2. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach [EMI]
We knew it was going to be a bubbling melting pot of styles. We knew it would have inspired collaborations. We knew it was going to be fantastic. And it was. On all counts. Damn you bastards for touring just as we’re having our first kid!
1. Steve Mason – Boys Outside [Domino]
Where so many albums this year had four or five great songs then a bunch of filler, Beta Band ex-pat Mr Mason whipped up ten of the most emotionally honest and melodically beautiful tracks of the year. Simply brilliant.