So that was 2010. What does Webcuts remember most about it? It’s hard to say, really. The landscapes shift, the memories flickr and 365 days blur into one long unending soundtrack. Webcuts lived vicariously through 2010, almost surprisingly so for a bunch of mid-30’s burn-outs, but hey, from Brisbane to London to Barcelona to Gothenburg to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, we were there, chasing those who chased their rock n’ roll dream.
The selection of tracks chosen appeared like one night stands that lingered a little longer than usual, almost all of them attached to a singular memory of the song being performed, either from a distance or elbows resting on the stage in mute admiration, or maybe just there emanating from a speaker aimed direct into our inner consciousness, refusing to budge. Tracks 20 to 11 are discussed here, and the countdown reaches its thrilling conclusion (envelope, please) below.
10. Arcade Fire – “Ready To Start” from The Suburbs
The song a reawakened Arcade Fire would open their 2010 shows, “Ready To Start” rolled into town like a dazzling carnival, drumming up intent (“Businessmen drink my blood/like the kids in art school said they would”) and setting the scene to follow. For a band only three albums into their career, it would be unkind to call The Suburbs their ‘comeback album’, but it dipped into a shared nostalgia of adolescence and ideals, succeeding in their goal where Neon Bible had failed. The Suburbs was an album to be proud of with far too many highlights to choose, so we went with one Arcade Fire chose too. (CS)
9. MGMT – “Siberian Breaks” from Congratulations
Fans’ poor reception and misunderstanding of MGMT’s new album lead a lot of people to simply ignore it altogether, which was a shame, because it boasted some gorgeous art rock. “Siberian Breaks” was the eleven minute middle of the record and nicely summed up the album’s penchant for musical journeying. From the melancholy acoustic open to the angular dreamy transitions and the mechanical spewing of the ending, MGMT’s weird ambitions shattered the indie pop ceiling of their debut. (JL)
8. The Morning Benders – “All Day Day Light” from Big Echo
One of the stand out tracks from The Morning Benders sophomore release Big Echo. “All Day, Day Light” crackled with electricity and smacked of effortless cool. As hand-claps slapped against the stab of guitar chords, vocalist Christopher Chu handed out alliteratively perfect lines like “someone somewhere sails the ocean/someone somewhere selling the seas”. The Morning Benders appeared out of nowhere with this near-perfect album, unburdened by pre-release hype and fanfare, hitting their marks as surely as a needle hits its groove. (CS)
7. Les Savy Fav – “Sleepless in Silverlake” from Root To Ruin
Over fifteen years Les Savy Fav have been steadily forging a career based on angular art-rock ala The Fall/Pavement blended with post-hardcore topped with a pop sensibility. Root to Ruin showed age hadn’t mellowed their musical assault or dulled Tim Harrington’s acerbic tongue. Predominately a balls out mix of upbeat rock, covering sex, rebellion and, well more sex, Root to Ruin reaped the most rewards when the pace was slowed, painting the hip LA neighbourhood of Silverlake as a nightmarish place of vicious youths tied to mobile phones with tanned breasts and bleached teeth set over shimmering guitars and a bottom end as solid as Harrington’s own. (CR)
6. Deerhunter – “Desire Lines” from Halcyon Digest
It was impossible to expect Deerhunter to topple 2008’s flawless Microcastle, but there were many moments in Halcyon Digest for fans to thrill to, and none as more perfectly crafted as guitarist Lockett Pundt’s contributions. His “Desire Lines”, strengthened the ‘pop core’ of Halcyon Digest with a meditation on age and disenchantment and a descending guitar line that gently pushed the song into 6 minutes plus of sighing serenity. (CS)
5. Maximum Balloon – “Groove Me” from Maximum Balloon
“Groove Me” was good enough to be another TV on the Radio song rather than a side project. The thumping bassline and stray hip-hop elements lent itself nicely to the new wave skeleton and disco guitars. It’s a huge plus whenever a well-constructed song is also infinitely catchy, and this had it in spades. Despite the Maximum Balloon album’s inconsistencies, when it was on, it was ON, and Sitek shined outside of his usual TVOTR role and provided some outstanding, funky diversions. (JL)
4. We//Are//Animal – “1268” from Idolise
“1268” was undoubtedly one of the more aggressively danceable and musically intriguing debut singles released in 2010. North Wale’s We//Are//Animal blew in from outer nowhere (apologies to the Welsh), sounding like a feral Super Furry Animals. Little was known about them until “1268” arrived on our desk addressing the band as some kind of outdoor recording purists. What drives We//Are//Animal to make the music they do is still a mystery, but goddamn it‘s a good one. Their Blair With Project video in the Welsh countryside had us sold in seconds. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the summer. (CS)
3. LCD Soundsystem – “Home” from This Is Happening
Whether their swansong or merely a bookend This Is Happening was LCD Soundsystem’s most realised vision to date. A fusion of vintage synths, complex percussion and ‘70s guitar riffs complemented with wry, bitter lyrics, which could only be written by a 40 year old who’d been through the music business, and life, blender and come out a little wiser and a little damaged. James Murphy knows damn well that after the party there is the inevitable comedown and after the sex the loneliness when you return home, alone. (CR)
2. Twin Sister – “All Around And Away We Go” from Color Your Life EP
The luminous disco swoon of Twin Sister‘s “All Around And Away We Go” would’ve found a perfect home in Studio 54, but instead had to make do as a regular staple on the Webcuts turntable. Pulled in by the part-breathy, part-kooky vocals of Andrea Estella, “All Around And Away We Go” glided in on a hypnotic rush that would’ve sounded incredible, coming up or coming down. The video clip for the song was just as off the wall, complete with a dance routine, a splash of psychedelia and some sweet stop-motion animation. Taken from the paired release of two EPs from earlier this year, we can‘t wait to hear a full album from them in 2011. (CS)
1. Wild Nothing – “Live In Dreams” from Gemini
It’s almost embarrassing to admit that Wild Nothing’s debut album Gemini went largely unnoticed until months after it came out, and thus was never reviewed by Webcuts. Inexcusable and regrettable, but hey, shit happens. Word of mouth would drift from different corners of the globe and it became obvious that many people were beginning to take Jack Tatum’s music to heart. It wrestled with a kind of distant melancholia and of a pining for love, happiness, etc that always seemed never closer than an arms length away. “Live in Dreams” encapsulated such a mood perfectly and had two of the best opening lines of 2010 — “Sitting on the cigarette butt front porch/I could ask you “are you dead like me?“. Listening to Gemini was like standing in a roomful of diamonds, each track glistened and shone, the dreamiest of dream-pop gems. It seemed only fitting that it would sneak up on you and then refuse to leave. (CS)
Chosen by senior Webcuts contributors, Craig Smith (CS), Caleb Rudd (CR), and Jonathan Langer (JL).