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My Best Albums of 2010

Including albums from Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, The Golden Filter, Our Broken Garden, 6 Day Riot and Peggy Sue. All delightfully illustrated too.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Best Albums of 2010 by LJG Art & Illustration
Best Albums of 2010 by LJG Art & Illustration.

Last year I discovered a whole slew of marvellous new albums. So I thought I would round them up before we got too far into 2011 – some I have already reviewed, and some I meant to review but didn’t get around to it, thereby giving me the perfect opportunity to do so now. Without further ado here are my picks of 2010.

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou by Abigail Nottingham
Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou by Abigail Nottingham.

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou – England
Loose Music
We’ve been championing this duo in various musical guises over the years… and their current husband and wife incarnation perfectly suits the harmonic beauty of their unique song-writing. England is a beautiful folk album that brings a modern flavour to age old tales of “peas, mash and pie” and “the catch of the day.” They have been working on a new album over the past few months and they start their extensive Tin Tabernacle tour soon, full listing here. Last summer they blew me away when they played an impromptu gig with Danny and the Champions of the World at our Climate Camp stage at Glastonbury. Make sure you catch up with them.

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I Like Trains – He Who Saw The Deep
I first fell in love with the historical tales of iliketrains many years ago when I featured them in the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. Since then they have become I Like Trains (small but crucial difference), parted with their label and lost cornet player Ashley Dean – who has since created a fab video for Our Broken Garden which you can read about here. The crowd funded new album He Who Saw The Deep retains the gravelly baritone voice of lead singer David Martin but ditches the historical references in favour of a stirring elegy to the perils of an uncertain future “as Europe slips into the sea”. They go on tour at the start of February. Full listing info here.

the golden filter by daria h
The Golden Filter by Daria Hlazatova.

The Golden Filter – Voluspa
Brille Records
This album didn’t register on my radar until I saw The Golden Filter play live at Secret Garden Party in 2010. But here lies a clear case of an impressive live performance translating equally well into a recorded version – thereafter I’ve listened to Voluspa on a regular basis. It is impossible to find any information about The Golden Filter on the internet because they have done their best to maintain an aura of mystery around them akin to the swirling atmosphere that surrounds singer Penelope Trappes during their live performances. Other reviews have not been so kind about the hazy noodlings of the album experience but I love listening to it as a whole.

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The Pipettes – Earth Vs The Pipettes
Fortuna Pop
In 2010 The Pipettes staged a come back with a very different flavour to their last studio album, (read our interview with them here). This time the line up features sisters Gwenno and Ani, and they’ve taken a distinctly dancey turn away from their 50′s doo-wap inspired songs… whilst still retaining their deliciously girly harmonies. This should be a good year for this truly independent pop band, starting with their DJing spot for their irresistibly bouncy tunes at my launch party for ACOFI at the end of January. After which they will be guesting on the new Does it Offend You Yeah? album. You wouldn’t find the Sugababes doing that now would you?

Our Broken Garden by Faye West
Our Broken Garden by Faye West.

Our Broken Garden – Golden Sea
Bella Union
Bella Union rarely puts a foot wrong, and Golden Sea by Our Broken Garden is no exception… an absolutely stunning album that I have listened to over and over and over again. If you get a chance to see Anna Bronsted perform live TAKE IT immediately. Her gig at St. Giles-in-the-Fields was one of the most magical performances I have ever seen. You can read my review here.

6 Day Riot by Jenny Lloyd
6 Day Riot by Jenny Lloyd.

6 Day Riot – On This Island
Self released on their own label, 6 Day Riot are a prime example of an uber talented band doing it for themselves. As singer Tamara candidly writes on their blog it’s hard work to get yourself heard when you are up against the promotional purchasing powers of the major labels, a fact which as an independent publisher I know only too well. On This Island is an incredibly rich and rewarding album and 6 Day Riot are just as much fun live. I can’t wait for them to play at my launch party for Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Motorifik secret things

Motorifik – Secret Things
Despite a pretty terrible name – calling to mind, perhaps, Jeremy Clarkson loving rockers – Anglo-french twosome Motorifik won me over towards the end of 2010 with their 90s influenced shoegaze crossed with dance beats. Well worth checking out if you like your indie music lushly melodic.

Peggy Sue - Fossils and Other Phantoms
Wichita Recordings
Combining indie, folk, doo-wop and blues, this was my stand out favourite album at the start of 2010. The two girls in this three piece line up take turns on lead vocals, singing of complex love lives with heart rending passion. You can read my review here.

Napoleon IIIrd by illustratin grain
Napoleon IIIrd by Kiran Patel at Illustrating Rain

Napoleon IIIrd – Christiania
Brainlove Records
Starting with an intense splash of impassioned vocals yelped against a backdrop of reverberating beats, Christiania means business from the get go. Previous album In Debt To gained Napoleon IIIrd a coveted profile in the printed version of Amelia’s Magazine and this latest release does not disappoint, taking on board influences from genres as diverse as balearic beats, woozy cosmic pop and big bands. It comes out on the Brainlove label, home of all things eclectic and wonderful. Excitingly you can see both Napoleon IIIrd and I Like Trains together when they go on tour this February.

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Malachai – Ugly Side of Love
Flying the flag for totally out there psychedelia is Bristol based Malachai. Ugly Side of Love is a wonderful stoner concoction recently given the blessing of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. Malachai mash up stomping rock riffs, crashing moogs and sampled loops – it’s totally mental and I bloody love it. You can read our review here.

Laura Marling by Yelena Bryksenkova
Laura Marling by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Other albums that I loved probably need no further promoting as they will have done well on more mainstream “best of” lists but I will give them a brief mention here. Following a storming tour of the festival circuit Villagers‘ Becoming a Jackal did incredibly well and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Read my review here. Perhaps inevitably Laura Marling‘s I Speak Because I Can has also done brilliantly…. because it is brilliant. What can I say? Laura is amazing. And of course you could read about her many years ago in Amelia’s Magazine, which ran one of her first interviews in print. Read our review here. The Irrepressibles finally released their incredible album Mirror Mirror, which I was lucky enough to discover several years ago when I put them in the print issue of the magazine. Read our review here.

Sea of Bees by Gemma Birss
Sea of Bees by Gemma Birss.

Helen Martin has already mentioned Mountain Man, Sea of Bees (tour listing here) and This Is The Kit albums in her excellent round up… and I loved them all too. She has great taste so I’m sure her other nominations are fabulous too, but I must confess that I haven’t heard them all for myself. Which is just as well because it left me space for this little round up.

I do hope you’ll support these incredibly talented musicians by splashing out on one or two of these releases, most of which have come out on tiny labels for the love of music. As for what to look out for in the coming year? I’ll be giving you my low down shortly… watch this space.


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