Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2010 Recommended Mixes


It's here! McQ's 2010 Recommended Mix Collection!

Twelve mixes presenting choice cuts from many of the best rock, pop, rap, soul, experimental, folk, and alt-country releases of 2010 and late 2009, all filtered and arranged through my own silly, maniacal sensibility.

Just click on a title to get to each mix's home page.

As always, each mix is designed to be burned to a single 70mb CD at an 128 kbit sample rate.

Individual mix pages also include an Amazon widget for those who wish to download some/all of the tracks, links to my reviews of the albums from which the tracks were originally pulled, printable track listings, and if you click on individual song titles, links to corresponding youtube videos.

Over the next few months I'll also be adding printable album summaries for those who like to keep a little information close at hand, so keep checking back.

2010 was a wonderful music year.  I hope you have as much fun listening to these fine songs as I did in putting this collection together.


Volume 1 - Coachella Starters:
I decided to start humbly this year, promoting several of the new or less-well-known veteran acts that formed the fabulous undercard of the otherwise deservedly maligned 2010 Coachella Festival.  Includes selects, mostly 2009 releases, from Sleigh Bells, Yeasayer, Local Natives, The Gossip, and many more.

Volume 2 - Old School, Nu Skool, No School, Film School:
2010 was, to my ears, a watershed year in hip hop and soul.  Young white artists suddenly flocked to traditional soul in droves, while many African-American artists did the exact opposite, embracing a polyglot aesthetic that integrated all manner of world, stage, film, electronica and white art-rock influences.  It's all mashed together in this, my favorite mix of this year's collection...anchored by cuts from phenomenal, for-the-ages releases by Kanye West and newcomer Janelle Monae.

Volume 3 - Chimes & Grimes:
2010 shoegaze, noise-rock, and the ubiquitous, suddenly surf-obsessed no-fi punk movement all get their due here.  Includes cuts from Deerhunter, No Age, Women, Liars, Swans, Dum Dum Girls, Wavves, Best Coast, Wild Nothing, The Radio Dept. and many more.

Volume 4 - Indie Smackdown: Middleweight Division:
Listening to indie-rock in 2010 was much akin to watching your favorite sports team repeat as league champion...the quality of play was quite high, but everything was tinged with a touch of deja vu.  Despite the overall lack of novelty, throughout 2010, beloved indie veterans delivered the goods, refining their sounds and returning with albums nearly as strong as if not better than anything they'd done before.  Many, including Sigur Ros's Jonsi, Beach House, Wolf Parade, Sufjan Stevens, Vampire Weekend, Spoon, and The Black Keys are represented here. 

Volume 5 - Boss Lovers, Dylanites, and Bonophiles...Unite!:
A heartland feel permeates this loose collection of artists whose 2010/2009 efforts in some way struck me as influence by the work of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, or U2.  Some inclusions are a bit of a stretch, but regardless, this mix turned out to be another one of my favorites in the 2010 collection.  Includes cuts from The Arcade Fire, Titus Andronicus, The Hold Steady, The Tallest Man On Earth, John Grant, I Am Kloot, Broken Social Scene, The Gaslight Anthem, Frightened Rabbit, Deer Tick and The Walkmen.

Volume 6 - Tesla's Garden:
My first exclusively ambient/electronica/experimental mix, this very mellow collection is designed for the more adventurous listener, but I think even those with mainstream leaning tastes will find some of the tracks in here soothing and highly appealing.  Includes efforts from Four Tet, The Books, Emeralds, Matthew Dear, Caribou, Gonjasufi, Pantha Du Prince, Gold Panda, Baths, Eluvium, Brian Eno and Flying Lotus.

Volume 7 - Psychedelic Leanings:
After surf-obsessed no-fi punk, probably the most ubiquitous sonic flavor of 2010 was the psychedelic lean.  Whether it was the super-heavy, Stooges/Zep-styled jammy fuzz of acts like The Dead Weather, Grinderman, Tame Impala, or Band Of Skulls, the poppier, folkier day-glo splashes of acts like Avi Buffalo, Broken Bells, and MGMT, or the anything-goes, druggy sensibility of Ariel Pink's Before Today and Charlotte Gainsburg's Beck-produced IRM, psychedelic touches were everywhere.

Volume 8 - Mopeasaurus Rex:
Going in the exact opposite direction as Volume 7, this mix compiles some of the best tracks from my favorite moody, mopey, 80s-flavored releases of the year.  Anchored by cuts from The National's runner up to album of the year High Violet, it also includes fantastic tracks by the Foals, Future Islands, Menomena, The Drums, Twin Shadow, Glasser and the wildly experimental These New Puritans.

Volume 9 - Oh So Folksy:
Outside of Anais Mitchell's brilliant Hadestown, it wasn't an impressive year for alt-country or folk-rock...but there were still a number of fine individual tracks. Efforts from Blitzen Trapper, Phosphorescent, Joanna Newsom, Villagers, Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, The Unthanks, John Mellencamp, Robert Plant's Band of Joy, Cass McCombs, Patty Griffin, She & Him, Bowerbirds, and Sharon Van Etten are included here.

Volume 10 - Bop 'til You Drop!:
After six years, it had to happen eventually, and this year it first mix comprised entirely of repeat artists from previous years of the collection.  Still, there's great stuff in this, my annual Dance-Rock mix.  Includes tracks from LCD Soundsystem, Yeasayer, Robyn, The Gossip, !!!, The Apples In Stereo, Hot Chip, Miike Snow and Of Montreal.

Volume 11 - Nancy's Favorites:
Damn my beautiful wife, she did it again. Sitting back for eleven months without paying an ounce of attention, then swooping in at the last minute and stealing over a dozen of my very favorite tracks of 2010, forcing me to recalibrate everything.  But no matter, I actually love helping her put her CD together each year.  It always ends up being one of the top mixes in the collection, singles-oriented rather than theme-based, and a traditional fan favorite.

Volume 12 - I Know, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll:
I thought I'd try something new with this last disk, focusing not on this year, but years past, by profiling some of 2010's top greatest hit, retrospective, reissue, and comeback releases. Of all the albums represented here, only Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge Of Town archives release The Promise and the comeback efforts from Devo, Superchunk, and Roky Erickson (with Okkervil River) are in any way new to 2010...but what a fun look back at some all-time greats.  In addition to the aforementioned artists...also includes tracks by Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, The Method Actors, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Stooges, The Cure, Pavement and The Rolling Stones.

And that's it for this year, everyone, but I'd love to hear what you think.

How do the mixes flow?  Do the organizing themes in any way match your sense of 2010's trends. What did I egregiously fail to include? What tracks are you glad I did include?  How can I better design/present the individual mix pages in future years?

Whatever your thoughts, I want to know...and hopefully, in looking through these pages, you'll discover a some new favorites as well. 

In the end, that is the point of this whole silly process.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Just digging in to the feast Dave so I'll add more thoughts later but you have already sparked my interest in some groups I wouldn't likely have heard otherwise . . .Radio Dept, Frightened Rabbit, Anais Mitchell. Many thanks!!!