Thanks again to all for the participation in the annual Brainwashed Readers Poll. Everyone helped nominate and everyone voted. Here's the results, with some comments from the staff. All the Best for 2011!
Album of the Year
- Swans, "My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky"
I hope songs like "No Words / No Thoughts" and "You Fucking People Make Me Sick" are sign posts for where Swans might go on the next album. Seeing the band live was much more exciting to me than listening to the album, mostly because the album felt a little predictable and the live show was stupendous, exhausting, and volatile. In fact, Swans at the Middle East Club was easily the best concert in Boston all year long. The bonus disc is the direction I think Gira will eventually head, and I look forward to hearing him apply his talents to longer songs and more abstract ideas. - Lucas SchleicherThis threatened to be a let down, hugely influential band coming back at a time when everyone seems to be scrabbling for a cut of the reunion market. However, all fears were unfounded as Michael Gira and comrades made an album every bit as classic as any other Swans album. - John Kealy
If it weren't for Swans, 2010 may have been the year that music turned narcoleptic. Gira sounds just as angry and vital as ever. - Matt Spencer
While not a perfect album by any means, and not my favorite in their discography, the simple fact that Gira resurrected Swans with same intensity he finished it off with over a decade ago makes it my favorite of the year. While some of the songs sound more like they'd fit better on an Angels of Light album, the intensity of "No Words/No Thoughts" and "Eden Prison" are clearly Swans, and bode well for the next album. - Creaig DuntonI can't say that I was especially blown away by this album, or that I am entirely on-board with Michael Gira's "apocalyptic bluesman" vocals, but hearing these songs live damn near caved my head in. Gira remains a primal and vital creative force. -Anthony D'Amico
- Current 93, "Baalstorm, Sing Omega"
Each new album from Current 93 is like an epistle received from a good friend who has been on a long voyage. David Tibet visits places most people feign away from, which is the vocation of a true poet, and is what makes his lyrics remarkable. I'm quite thankful for his frequent updates on conditions in the spiritual realms he spends his time in. - Justin Patrick
The final part of David Tibet's Aleph trilogy is all kinds of awesome. I couldn't pick a favorite out of the three albums but this has definitely finished off this chapter of his back catalog in style. - John Kealy
- Yellow Swans , "Going Places "
Goodbye Yellow Swans, we hardly knew you. - John Kealy
I've had the good fortune of hearing the Yellow Swans since the very beginning and I can't think of another noise group who has remained so consistently engaging. "Going Places" is the best possible finale. - Matt Spencer
I ignored this until the very end of the year. With close to 30 full-length albums released in the last eight years and another 15 or so EPs, knowing when Yellow Swans were making great music and when they were spewing forgettable noise was almost impossible. "Going Places" is awesome, but blogs must have done a lot for its popularity. - Lucas Schleicher
- Grinderman, "Grinderman 2"
The beauty of Nick Cave's twisted fantasia lies in his recklessness. Grinderman is a project based solely in wild fits of rock and Cave's dirty crew delivered a second helping as sweaty and uncontrollable as the first. There was a time when fearless bar bands would be the cause of strung out patrons dropping hard cash to pour poison down their throat--now Grinderman allows excessive consumption flourish within the privacy of your own home. - Justin Spicer
Like Chicken Soup for the Scum Rock Soul, Nick Cave and friends serves up another album of sleaze and innuendo, and very little subtlety, but I don't think any of us would have wanted him to do it any other way. Nothing new, nothing groundbreaking, but a lot of fun nonetheless. - Creaig Dunton
While the Bad Seeds have become a Las Vegas cabaret caricature of themselves, Grinderman has been more successful at taking Nick Cave's tongue-in-cheek ideas and making them work. This is not as good as the debut but there were some great moments on it for sure. - John Kealy
- Oneohtrix Point Never, "Returnal"
This is the year Daniel Lopatin shed his underground tatters from some regal clothing thanks to a bevy of mainstream supporters and vocal online fans. Returnal is not the apex of Lopatin's work as 0PN but it does find him doing what all experiment-driven musicians must do to remain relevant: grow. - Justin Spicer
Daniel Lopatin manages to stand out in a field crowded by imitators and trend-hoppers. His music evokes a very real sense of futuristic ruin. - Matt Spencer
There was a crazily disproportionate amount of excitement surrounding this, but it definitely seems like the most consistently good album that Lopatin has released to date. -Anthony D'Amico
- Brian McBride, "The Effective Disconnect (Music Composed for the Documentary Vanishing of the Bees)"
To expect anything less than stunning from McBride would be foolish and this certainly met my expectations. Absolutely wonderful music from a thought-provoking documentary. Show you care, hug a hive. - John Kealy
- Autechre, "Move of Ten"
I've bought every Autechre album at its release since Chiastic Slide back in '97, and none have measured up to that disc in my eyes. Yes, I know, LP5 is the shit, but it's still not my favorite. I'd been largely underwhelmed since then, but I found both of the albums they put out this year engaging. Of the two, this is my favorite one, mostly because it seemed like they delved back in to fractured '80s techno beats more than they had in quite awhile, and actually crafted a few songs that can get stuck in one's head. The two albums are definitely siblings, but this is the better one. - Creaig Dunton
People still like Autechre? Wow. Do they sound different now or something? -Anthony D'Amico
- The Legendary Pink Dots, "Seconds Late for the Brighton Line"
Another strong album from a group who is now entering their fourth decade. - Jon Whitney
This album rekindled my interest in Edward Ka-Spel's career.
- Philip Jeck, "An Ark For The Listener"
I've always felt this warm, inviting haze of noise on Jeck's records, but on here it's engulfing a multitude of hidden melodies and tones that make it the most compelling of his work that I have yet to hear. The use of turntables and other people's records is done in a way that is completely different than any other artist, and the album sounds like no one else at all. - Creaig Dunton
Nice, but a little disappointing after his last album, which was a defining moment for Jeck in my ears. This continues on from it, but doesn't push my buttons as hard. - John Kealy
- Sun City Girls, "Funeral Mariachi"
A surprisingly simple and hummable final release by Sun City Girls with a decidedly spaghetti Eastern flavor. My favorite record of the year by miles. - Duncan Edwards
The passing of Charles Gocher left a celestial-sized hole in SCG but the group's last effort not only pays its highest respects to the memory of Gocher, it is an open armed bearhug to longtime fans and new converts alike. Blending the melancholic black of a funeral procession with the festive celebration of life in death akin to the Dia De Los Muertos, Funeral Mariachi makes us weepy that SCG is no more, but ecstatic that a lengthy catalog of triumphs awaits those who continue to discover SCG's immeasurable contributions to modern music. - Justin Spicer
I wish they'd been this focused and melodic when Gocher was still alive. Impressive end to a very strange and compelling career. -Anthony D'Amico
- Pan Sonic, "Gravitoni"
- Emeralds , "Does It Look Like I'm Here?"
An amorphous blob of a record; difficult to describe but pretty and accessible - Duncan Edwards
The Cleveland threesome not only won fans over with a vast expansion of their textured sounds, their first big tour only lent credence to the idea that the band has yet to fully realize their potential. Bringing warmth and creativity to their compositions live only makes one wonder what lies next for Hauschildt, Elliott, and McGuire but Does It Look Like I'm Here? serves as a readymade testament to the band's potential. - Justin Spicer
Another brilliant album from a brilliant band. - John Kealy
I finally accept that Emeralds is a pretty great band. -Anthony D'Amico
- James Blackshaw, "All Is Falling"
- Cyclobe, "Wounded Galaxies Tap at The Window"
Genius. Perfect. Manic. - John Kealy
This was completely worth the wait- definitely one of my favorites of the year. -Anthony D'Amico
- Michael Gira, "I Am Not Insane"
A fantastic introduction to what was to come from Swans, the DVD on this is particularly great as I had always wondered how Gira cut his grass. - John Kealy
Funding for the next Swans album should come from reissues of out-of-print Swans records. Acoustic Gira is cool, but great Swans records are better. - Lucas Schleicher
I would have tried harder to track one of these down if I had known that it addresses Gira's lawn maintenance ritual. -Anthony D'Amico
- Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, "Kollaps Tradixionales"
Album of the year for me. I still get shivers listening to "I Built Myself a Metal Bird...", serious violin playing! - John Kealy
- Barn Owl, "Ancestral Star"
This album has more almost-good songs than probably anything else released this year. Exasperating. -Anthony D'Amico
- Flying Lotus, "Cosmogramma"
Overrated in the extreme. I still can't fathom how Warp got this uninteresting. - Lucas Schleicher
- JG Thirlwell, "Manorexia: The Mesopelagic Waters"
Best Manorexia album yet. Great memories of seeing Jim Thirlwell and his ensemble play some of this at Brainwaves 2008. - John Kealy
As visceral and disquieting as classical music can get. - Anthony D'Amico
- Current 93, "Haunted Waves, Moving Graves"
A good companion to Baalstorm but not sure this will have the long-term interest as a standalone album. - John Kealy
- Demdike Stare, "Liberation Through Hearing"
- Demdike Stare , "Voices Of Dust "
- Keith Fullerton Whitman, "Disingenuity/Disingenuousness"
Keith is always great, but this is stupendous stuff. It's electro-acoustic/analog craziness filtered through new age Emeralds shine and the 2001 soundtrack. Just wish it was easier to keep up with him! - Lucas Schleicher
- The Fall, "Your Future, Our Clutter"
As always: uniquely poetic, crabby, and humorous. - Duncan Edwards
My issue with the Fall is that I have such love for their debut through Perverted By Language that any new albums seem to not measure up. I must say that of their mid/late '00s output, this one has been the most memorable, which has to account for something. Best album this year by a 50 year old alcoholic with a band young enough to be his children, that's for sure. - Creaig Dunton
- Eleh , "Location Momentum"
Eleh is clearly among the top of the "new school" of minimalism, creating vast landscapes of tone that are very sparse and arid, but never dull. While so many artists try their hand at this sort of thing, the results are usually an abject failure of sixty minutes of sine waves that no one, including their mothers, want to listen to. Here it is the most subtle of variations and structure that elevate it towards greatness. I still think having a bit of vinyl surface noise is an extra treat for us, but even on a pure digital format, it's brilliant. - Creaig Dunton
Gorgeous, the true definition of dream music. - John Kealy
- Jefre Cantu-Ledesma , "Love is a Stream"
Even though devoting an album to the idea of love makes me cringe a little, this was in pretty heavy rotation at my place for many weeks. Isolating the blurred guitars from shoegaze and discarding all the less-awesome stuff seems like such an obvious idea in retrospect that I am surprised no else thought of it (except for maybe Lovesliescrushing). -Anthony D'Amico
- Caribou, "Swim"
Dan Snaith's best album to date: a brilliant pop masterpiece. I'm thankful some people can still write catchy songs. - Jon Whitney
- Actress, "Splazsh"
This would have been massive if it had come out in 2002, as it reminds me of all the best Mille Plateau stuff from that era. I'm glad someone is still kicking sick old-school minimal electronic dub jams. -Anthony D'Amico
- Deerhunter, "Halcyon Digest"
Deerhunter have always had a knack for pop-rock songwriting, but this was the album that brought that talent out. A great reminder that artistic vision and popular music don't have to stand on opposite poles. - Matt Spencer
Kurt Vile was playing the other day on the radio and I thought it was Deerhunter. There's too many bands who sound exactly the same right now and this album was completely unremarkable. I can see why Kranky dropped them. - Jon Whitney
- Loscil, "Endless Falls"
Yup, Scott Morgan is still quietly putting out great albums. -Anthony D'Amico
- Liars, "Sisterworld"
- Foetus, "Hide"
Another classic from Jim Thirlwell. I don't know who he's sold his soul to but it's paying off. - John Kealy
- Four Tet, "There Is Love in You"
- Autechre, "Oversteps"
Starts off strong but meanders into beige territories. What happened, Autechre? - John Kealy
The brooding, gothy older brother to Move of Ten's electro love, I wasn't quite as enthralled with this one at first listen, but its layers of pseudo harpsichord and analog synth sounds stand well on their own, and lacks the "lets hit random buttons and call it a track" feel that a lot of later period Autechre is based on. - Creaig Dunton
Autechre again? What the hell? - Anthony D'Amico
- Benoît Pioulard, "Lasted"
- Gil Scott-Heron, "I'm New Here"
Only 28 minutes long but these defiant and loving fragments mixed with four well-chosen covers add up to a powerful emotional statement on mortality from a legend. - Duncan Edwards
Such a weird, fractured record. I'm not surprised it showed up on this list, but it feels incomplete and haphazard. I'd love to hear him do even more spoken word stuff with a different producer and other musicians. - Lucas Schleicher
- Stereolab, "Not Music"
Not interesting. - Jon Whitney
- Wooden Shjips, "Vol. 2"
- Master Musicians Of Bukkake, "Totem 2"
- Max Richter, "Infra"
- Sun Araw, "On Patrol"
Turd-wave. - Matt Spencer
- Keith Fullerton Whitman, "Generator"
- Dead C, "Patience"
Still gnarled and ugly, still awesome. -Anthony D'Amico
- LCD Soundsystem, "This Is Happening"
WTF? Only about half of this album is listenable. - Jon Whitney
There wasn't anything here that was nearly as awesome as "All My Friends," but there were a handful of pretty killer singles anyway. I had to immediately delete "Drunk Girls" from my iPod before I could enjoy them though. -Anthony D'Amico
- Baby Dee, "Book of Songs for Anne Marie"
The original EP was good but this is by far and away a major improvement. The songs have truly come alive with the new arrangements and recordings. Seeing Dee play these songs on tour afterwards was also a real treat. - John Kealy
- Mark McGuire, "Living With Yourself"
The proliferation of McGuire's solo material should leave him barren at this point but Emeralds' venerable guitarist continues to mine the stringed instrument for all its worth. Living With Yourself is a culmination of a few years work, playing as the final act of the current McGuire while serving as an invitation to view the future McGuire. - Justin Spicer
Fuzzy, warm and inviting, this is a fantastic album. How he has the time to put out so many good solo albums on top of Emeralds is beyond me. - John Kealy
Am I the only one who thinks he looks like he could be Thirlwell's lost son? - Jon Whitney
- Mogwai, "Special Moves"
- The National, "High Violet"
I do not understand why people like this band so much. - Anthony D'Amico
- Wovenhand, "The Thrashing Floor"
- Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO, "In 0 To Infinity"
- The Fun Years, "God Was Like, No"
Kind of like a warmer, friendlier Philip Jeck. I'm not entirely sure that particular niche needed to be filled, but I dug this anyway. -Anthony D'Amico
- Antony & the Johnsons, "Swanlights"
Even Bjork's gurgles and burps couldn't vault this album into the top 50. - Jon Whitney
- Boduf Songs, "This Alone Above All Else In Spite Of Everything"
The darkest yet strangely most accessible thing Boduf Songs have done, this was a real surprise. I love what Mathew Sweet has done with his music and can't wait to see where he goes from here. - John Kealy
- Demdike Stare, "Forest Of Evi"
- Jana Winderen, "Energy Field"
- Pantha du Prince, "Black Noise"
- TwinSisterMoon, "...Then Fell the Ashes"
This was my favorite album of the year by a landslide- best thing to come out of the Natural Snow Buildings camp yet. -Anthony D'Amico
This monumental record makes me quiver. I'm ashamed the Brainwashed readership hasn't rated this much, much higher. - Jon Whitney
- Xela, "The Divine"
- Anbb (Alva Noto & Blixa Bargeld), "Mimikry"
- Nurse With Wound & Larsen , "Erroneous: A Selection Of Errors"
- Oval, "O"
I liked this album and was quite pleased about Markus Popp's return, but it made almost no impact on me at all. I imagine it is pretty hard to consistently redefine music though. -Anthony D'Amico
- BJ Nilsen, "The Invisible City"
I usually don't care for music this austere, but Nilsen is in a class by himself as a sound architect. -Anthony D'Amico
- Burzum, "Belus"
I liked him more when he was burning churches. -Anthony D'Amico
- The Black Angels, "Phosphene Dream"
- The North Sea, "Bloodlines"
- Xela, "The Sublime"
- Charlemagne Palestine, "Strumming Music For Piano Harpsichord And Strings Ensemble"
- Rene Hell, "Porcelain Opera"
- Robedoor, "Burners"
- Ufomammut, "Eve"
- Fennesz - Daniel - Buck, "Knoxville"
- Killing Joke, "Absolute Dissent"
- Rhys Chatham, "A Crimson Grail"
- Bardo Pond, "Bardo Pond"
- BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa, "Space Finale"
While I felt it was a bit overlong at around 90 minutes, the strong points of this collaboration definitely made up for its shortcomings. - Creaig Dunton
- Ceremony, "Rocket Fire"
Why this album didn't get love from all around the world mystifies me. The perfect encapsulation of noise rock, and especially the best moments of the Jesus and Mary Chain, it was chock full of distortion, feedback and rigid drum machine beats, which makes anything a winner in my book. - Creaig Dunton
- Jack Rose, "Luck in the Valley"
- Jon Mueller, "The Whole"
- Koen Holtkamp, "Gravity/Bees"
- Nicholas Szczepanik, "Dear Dad"
- Altar Eagle, "Mechanical Gardens"
I am the target demographic for lazily melodic electro-pop. This was a thoroughly charming album. -Anthony D'Amico
- Little Annie & Paul Wallfisch, "Genderful"
Fun and instantly likable. Annie is one step closer to becoming the world's reigning chanteuse. -Anthony D'Amico
- Locrian, "The Crystal World"
After a few years of eps and splits, chicagos Locrian focused on two albums that were their most consistent yet. While Territories was more "rock" focused with a slew of guest vocalists, The Crystal World was a bleaker, darker set of tracks that emphasized their ability to create taut, dramatic menace. - Creaig Dunton
- Magic Lantern, "Platoon"
- Natural Snow Buildings, "The Centauri Agent"
- Rangda, "False Flag"
Pretty decent album, but not nearly as great as it should have been. -Anthony D'Amico
- These New Puritans, "Hidden"
- Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, "Before Today"
- Beach House, "Teen Dream"
Nothing new but high-quality dreamy psych-pop with the accent on beauty: mainly female voice and lovely electric guitar tones. - Duncan Edwards
- Eleh, "Radiant Intervals"
- Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, "The Road soundtrack"
- Warpaint, "The Fool"
- Black Keys, "Brothers"
- Eluvium, "Similes"
- High On Fire, "Snakes For The Devine"
- Joanna Newsom, "Have One on Me"
- Organum, "Sorrow"
- Svarte Greiner, "Penpals Forever And Ever"
- Taylor Deupree, "Shoals"
- The Knife In Collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock, "Tomorrow In a Year"
Single of the year
- Zola Jesus, "Stridulum" (& Stridulum II)
Bold and epic, this EP (which ended up as an LP before the year ran out) has made a believer out of me. - Jon Whitney
Sounds like Pat Benatar fronting an '80s goth band in the best possible way. -Anthony D'Amico
- Zola Jesus, "Valusia"
- Forest Swords, "Dagger Paths"
I think Forest Swords have a great idea going, but I want to hear it executed better. The songs were often beautiful, but over-long and sometimes tedious. Their next album could be great if they just shaved off some fat. - Lucas Schleicher
- Grouper, "Hold/Sick"
Liz Harris' talent of covering music in a heavy veil of frost continues to expand over the course of her latest 7-inch. What's to be said that hasn't about Harris' work other than she's an original whose best attribute lies in subtle change. - Justin Spicer
- LA Vampires meets Zola Jesus, "s/t"
I like Zola Jesus as much as the next guy, but this was instantly forgettable. White people dabbling in dub almost always ends badly. -Anthony D'Amico
- Oval, "Oh"
ORLY? - Jon Whitney
- Keith Fullerton Whitman, "Variations for Oud and Synthesizer"
Whitman's 2010 was monumental as he shook his noised funk for concise musical movements and renewed vigor. Amidst the pile of his worthy releases to be praised, the 7-inch that found Whitman combining an ancient Persian instrument with a tricked out synthesizer not only was daring in concept but in execution. The two instruments, rather than providing a night-and-day paradox, married well and provided the Western world with a renewed sense musical history. Whitman had a praiseworthy 2010 and Variations may well be his statuette commemorating his Achievement in the Arts & Sciences. - Justin Spicer
- Sun Araw, "Off Duty"
- Grinderman, "Worm Tamer"
- Moon Duo, "Escape"
- Nurse With Wound, "Rushkoff Coercion"
- Flying Lotus, "Pattern+Grid World"
- Antony / Fennesz, "Returnal"
- Ceremony, "Leave Alone/Walk Away"
- Cyclobe, "The Eclipser"
I am startled that anyone even managed to hear this- I don't think I have ever seen a record sell out as fast as this one. -Anthony D'Amico
- Grails, "Black Tar Prophecies, Vol. 4"
- Andrew Liles, "Where The Long Shadows Fall"
- Ceremony, "Someday"
Loud waves of sweet guitar noise and euphorically miserable vocals. - Duncan Edwards
- Seefeel, "Faults"
- Fovea Hex, "Hail Hope!"
- Jack Rose & D. Charles Speer and the Helix, "Ragged and Right"
Loose and raucous fun. Also, I am a sucker for Merle Haggard covers. - Anthony D'Amico
- James Blake, "Klavierwerke"
- Bill Orcutt, "Way Down South"
- Four Tet, "Angel Echoes"
- The Bug, "Infected"
- Einstürzende Neubauten, "Strategies Against Architecture IV"
A vivid recap of a prodigious decade for Neubauten, listen to this and weep at what you have missed (unless you've had the sense to get the dozens of releases it draws from while you could). - John Kealy
I'm not arguing that the music on this album isn't awesome, but I'm highly suspect if any of the people who voted for this actually own it. - Jon Whitney
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "Tender Prey"
I honestly have only been a sporadic Nick Cave listener over the years and I just recently heard this album for the first time, but I can see why it gets so much love. I get a little bored at the overindulgence in the blues and Americana sounds, so the more singular "The Mercy Seat" and "Deanna" go a long way with me. - Creaig Dunton
- Slowdive, "Pygmalion"
I think I still have the price sticker on the original version I bought that was so hated the US label refused to put it out, Creation dropped them, and the band split up. It's still better than any Mojave 3 release, however. - Jon Whitney
"Blue Skied an' Clear" is quite possibly the greatest song ever. -Anthony D'Amico
- Emeralds, "Emeralds"
It's puzzling why these tracks were considered out-takes but I'm glad Hanson took pains to rescue this from limited-edition purgatory. - Matt Spencer
- Galaxie 500, "On Fire"
- Thomas Köner, "Teimo"
I tried extremely hard to get into this year's Thomas Köner reissues, but I cannot escape the fact that early '90s dark ambient does not age particularly well. -Anthony D'Amico
- Thomas Köner, "Permafrost"
- Kevin Drumm, "Sheer Hellish Miasma"
- Thomas Köner, "Nunatak"
- Nurse With Wound, "Automating Volume 3"
- Jesu, "Heart Ache & Dethroned"
Can Jesu's Heart Ache and Dethroned be seen as anything other than a signal that Godflesh is coming back? Nearly all of Jesu's slow-burning beauty was replaced by bleak riffing. - Matthew Jeanes
Essentially documenting Justin Broadrick's earliest and most recent output as Jesu, one can hear his progression from sprawling improvisations into concise, pop-focused songs. Considering Godflesh is all but officially resurrected and Pale Sketcher is there for the electronic tracks, I hope this stays as the Jesu "sound". - Creaig Dunton
- Tim Hecker, "Haunt Me Haunt Me Do It Again"
- Wire, "Send Ultimate"
Reissuing the band's full length debut after a long period of silence in 2002, the supplimental disc wisely includes the otherwise forgotten tracks from the first two Read & Burn EPs, the long out of print Twelve Times You 7" and a few unreleased tracks and demos fleshes out this return to form, which became an odd bit of aggression followed by the very pop Object 47 a few years later. How this fits into the new Red Barked Tree is something I'm quite curious to hear. - Creaig Dunton
- Earth, "A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction"
- Alva Noto, "For 2"
Even though it's a compilation of commissioned pieces, this still feels like a thematically unified album. It has that distinctive Noto sound, but even here it sounds like Nicolai went out of his comfort zone and tried new approaches to tracks, and manages to succeed at every turn. - Creaig Dunton
- Hildur Gudnadottir, "Mount A"
Hildur is pretty great and all, but this album was way too monochromatically bleak for me. -Anthony D'Amico
- Les Rallizés Dénudés, "Heavier Than A Death In The Family"
One of the best album titles ever for some of the most psychedelic and troubling rock music committed to tape. - John Kealy
Takashi Mizutani is an absolute supernova of a guitarist. I don't know why he even bothered having a backing band. -Anthony D'Amico
- Robert Wyatt, "Rock Bottom"
One of the best and most poignant examples of very English whimsy; with added Ivor Cutler and Mike Oldfield. - Duncan Edwards
- Godflesh, "Streetcleaner Redux"
I love this album now, but when I bought it as a teenage metal head, I thought the guitar playing was absolutely horrible and could not understand how this could possibly appeal to anybody. -Anthony D'Amico
- Crass, "Stations of the Crass (Crassical Collection)"
This was a massive album for me, but I still can't figure out if Penny Rimbaud's drumming is utterly ridiculous or totally brilliant. -Anthony D'Amico
- Mark McGuire, "Tidings/Amethyst Waves"
I don't think Mark McGuire can go a single day without recording something worth hearing. -Anthony D'Amico
- Master Musicians Of Bukkake, "Visible Signs Of The Invisible"
- Neurosis, "Enemy of the Sun"
- King Crimson, "Lizard"
- Les Rallizés Dénudés, "Blind Baby Has It's Mothers Eyes"
This one's great too- now can someone please reissue December's Black Children and Flightless Bird? -Anthony D'Amico
Various Artist Compilation
- Deutsche Elektronische Musik Volume One: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1972-83 (Soul Jazz)
- Nigeria Special: Volume 2 Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6 (Soundway)
- Wierd Presents Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics Vol. 1 (Angular Recordings)
A wonderful curating job as it's an incredible selection, I'm anxiously awaiting more volumes. - Jon Whitney
- Fabric 55:Shackleton (Fabric)
- Missing Deadlines: Selected Remixes by Ulrich Schnauss (Rocket Girl)
- The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970's Nigeria (Soundway)
One of the most solid and varied Africa compilations that Soundway has ever released. -Anthony D'Amico
- Viva Negativa! A Tribute To The New Blockaders: Volume III: USA (Important Records)
- We Are All One In The Sun - Tribute To Robbie Basho (Important)
- Auteur Labels: Factory Records 1987 (LTM)
This has absolutely no business being on any "best of" list anywhere. 1987 was a terrible year for Factory Records. - Anthony D'Amico
- Fabric 52: Optimo (Fabric)
- In Search of Hawkwind (Critical Mass Records)
I am not sure we needed two Hawkwind tributes in one year. This one doesn't even have "Orgone Accumulator" on it! -Anthony D'Amico
- Les Filles du Crepescule (LTM)
This was such an eclectic assemblage of dissimilar artists, but it definitely turned me onto to some very cool bands. -Anthony D'Amico
- Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968-1974 (Sublime Frequencies)
I had absolutely no idea that Southeast Asia produced so much great music until this year. Bang Chan's "Nhurng Dóm Mat Hoa Châu" floored me. - Anthony D'Amico
- The Sound of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz and Molam in Thailand 1964-1975 (Soundway)
I will be forever indebted to Soundway for exposing me to Chaweewan Dumnern. And forever frustrated at how hard it is to find anything else by her. -Anthony D'Amico
- Angola Soundtrack (Analog Africa)
I always look forward to more tales of Samy Ben Redjeb's record-scavenging misadventures. -Anthony D'Amico
- Baby How Can It Be? (Songs of Love - Lust & Contempt from the 1920s & 30s) (Dust To Digital)
- Foundation Stones: The Stunned Box (Stunned Records)
- Kode9 DJ-Kicks (!K7)
- Martyn: Fabric 50 (Fabric)
- Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound In 1970's Nigeria (Soundway)
It was revelatory to discover that: 1.) there many other excellent Afrobeat artists besides Fela Kuti, and 2.) some of them actually wrote tight, structured songs that ended in under ten minutes. -Anthony D'Amico
- Of Spectres and Saints ii (elseproduct)
- Tradi-Mods Vs. Rockers - Alternative Takes on Congotronics (Crammed)
- Worth The Weight - Bristol Dubstep Classics (Punch Drunk)
- Jon Savage Presents Black Hole Californian Punk 1977-1980 (Domino)
- Bellyachers Listen: Songs From East Africa 1938-46 (Honest Jon's Records)
- Coil, "Colour Sound Oblivion"
Almost as good as being there. - John Kealy
- Current 93, "Current 93"
The most ridiculously expensive music purchase that I have ever made, but an absolutely beautiful object. I think I want to be buried with it. I just wish I loved early Current 93 as much as I love more recent Current 93. -Anthony D'Amico
- Neu!, "Vinyl Box Set"
Overpriced cash grab. I'm sticking with my CDs thanks. - John Kealy
- Current 93, "Like Swallowing Eclipses"
I am not the biggest fan of early Current 93, so the prospect of Andrew Liles reworking it all was a very appealing one for me. His feats of alchemy were not as spectacular as I had hoped they'd be, but this was certainly enjoyable and crazily ambitious. Maybe it will continue to grow on me, as I still don't feel like I have fully processed it all. -Anthony D'Amico
- Sun City Girls, "330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond the Rig Veda"
- Merzbow, "Merzbient"
- Robert Wyatt, "EPs"
- Kevin Drumm, "Necroacoustic"
- Sun City Girls, "Dante's Disneyland Inferno"
- Orange Juice, "Coals to Newcastle"
Blissful, shambling, literate, wry attempts to blend the sensibilities of Chic and Noel Coward. - Duncan Edwards
Artist of the Year
- Current 93
- Zola Jesus
- Keith Fullerton Whitman
- Sun City Girls
- Nurse With Wound
- Kevin Drumm
Again with the Autechre? I am in disbelief. - Anthony D'Amico
Label of the Year
- Ectopic Ents
- Thrill Jockey
- Young God
New Artist of the Year
I bet Jeffrey Witscher will be pretty surprised to learn that he is the best new artist this far into his career. It was certainly very cunning of him to strategically change his moniker in a year with so few exciting debuts though. -Anthony D'Amico
Lifetime Achievement Recognition
Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson
It is impossible for any reader of brainwashed to have not encountered an album cover he photographed, watched a music video he directed, listened to a recording he participated in, or a musician he influenced. In all aspects of the term "lifetime achievement" he has defined. - Jon Whitney
Very few musicians influenced my musical sensibilities as much as Peter Christopherson did. First, he turned me off with Throbbing Gristle and all the obtuse, weird noise he made. I hated it, but I couldn't stop listening and thinking about it. Then, he and Jhonn blew me away with Coil. For years, I spent all my time searching their records out at the record stores in St. Louis. The seasonal EPs changed my life entirely, and hearing Horse Rotorvator and Love's Secret Domain for the first time were two of the most exciting musical experiences in my life. Along with just a couple other people, Peter opened the universe up for me and made it far more awesome than I thought it could be. That might sound corny, but I say it with absolute confidence. Through Coil and Peter, I found Current 93, Nurse with Wound, Foetus, Meat Beat Manifesto, Clive Barker, Derek Jarman, and many others. I finally got to meet him during Brainwaves '08. I don't know what I expected, but what I found in our brief interactions was a kind, funny, immensely humble person that obviously cared about music and the people around him. I feel very lucky to have met him, and even luckier to have found his music. - Lucas Schleicher
Peter Christopherson's role in Throbbing Gristle and Coil were unmeasurable, both groups eliciting transformative experiences at various stages of my life. His work in the visual spectrum of the arts whether it was commissioned videos for MTV or artwork for albums close to his heart were a cut above the rest. His final years showed a personal and creative edge that threatened to push beyond his more renowned works. He has left behind a rich body of work which will no doubt still be beautiful, challenging and upsetting for a lifetime to come. - John Kealy
Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson was an angel of electricity cast in human form. He retained his teenage lightning until the very end and will be dearly remembered for expanding the vocabulary of electronic music, for his magisterial photographs which are essays on the interplay of shadow and light, and his legacy of video work which captured soul in fluid motion. He was a gentleman who upheld the integrity of his artistic vision, which was fertile and prolific. He tantalized and delighted his fans not only with all that he managed to deliver in the span of time he spent here on Earth, but also with all the projects he had in mind. These remain as seeds left behind to inspire the living. The body of work Sleazy left behind is exemplary. - Justin Patrick
It is hard to think of another person that has had as much impact on my cultural development as Peter Christopherson, as Coil was my gateway to a whole new subterranean world of other aberrant musicians, artists, and writers. Equally important is the fact that Sleazy never stopped being relevant, a near impossible feat after more than 3 decades of music-making. I am heartbroken that there will never be another Threshold HouseBoys Choir album and that I will never get to hear X-TG. He will be missed. - Anthony D'Amico
- Vampire Weekend, "Contra"
- Smashing Pumpkins, "Teargarden By Kaleidyscope 1: Songs for a Sailor"
- Titus Andronicus, "The Monitor"
I like these guys, but I'm afraid that I am unable to overlook the fundamental ridiculousness of an indie rock Civil War concept album. -Anthony D'Amico
- Herbie Hancock, "The Imagine Project"
I am impressed at the spectacularly unfortunate assemblage of artists involved in this album. Also, it is amusing that celebrating peace seems to be the fastest and most effective way to elicit an avalanche of ill-will. -Anthony D'Amico
- Wolf Parade, "Expo 86"
- Hot Hot Heat, "Future Breeds"
- Liz Phair, "Funstyle"
- Squarepusher, "Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator"
- Dimitri From Paris, "Get Down With the Philly Sound"
- Dr. Dog, "Shame Shame"
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