A long time ago in a magical little island across the Atlantic Sea, six or seven lads sat around a table in the local pub supping on pints of Guinness and discussing the highlights of the previous 12 months. After much banter and debate, one of them suggested that each person create a list of their favourite albums, songs, films and books of the year. Thus, the Crackin’ Countdown was born and the tradition still lives on today. So, I now give you my round-up of the best bits from 2010…
Barking // Underworld
One of my favourite bands returns to form with an album that features all the relevant ‘heads’ across the entire spectrum of Dance music, resulting in an eclectic collection of pimped-out tunes that keep them in pace with the best electronic music out there.
Before Today // Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
The lo-fi-ness in the recordings give the disc enormous amounts of charm and his broad influences like 10CC, David Bowie, The Cure, Hall & Oates, Human League, Husker Du, John Lennon and Roxy Music make the kooky, lo-fi, odd-ball, all-over-the-shop sounds work perfectly.
Come Around Sundown // Kings Of Leon
I’ve been a fan since Day 1 and I like that they are still trying to be different. Singing words that you can finally understand, they have even begun to display some of their roots and influences.
Contra // Vampire Weekend
These guys are the coolest band of Paul Simon-loving geeks that you will ever hear and every song they sing makes me think of summer time.
Crazy For You // Best Coast
This band is great. You only have to do the math to realize that. The Go-Go’s + buzzy, fuzzy, scuzzy guitars = Best Coast.
Plastic Beach // Gorillaz
Mr. Albarn with the help of more musicians than you can shake a stick at deliver an eclectic, no-two-tracks-are-alike album that may require a couple of plays to understand but never ceases to amaze and satisfy.
The Drums // The Drums
New York Post-Punk? Yes. Reminiscent of the early Cure? Definitely! One of the boppy-est, catchy-est, hooky-est bands you will ever hear? Absolutely!
The Noyelle Beat // Standard Fare
This Sheffield power trio recorded their debut album in only six days and have enough indie aesthetic, with equal parts of energy and melancholy, that I’m sure John Peel is listening and smiling from the great studio beyond…
This Is Happening // LCD Soundsystem
Mr. James and companies third, and apparently last, installment in the rebirth of Punk-Funk, No-Wave, Electro-Dance music that sounds like it was recorded in 1981.
Tourist History // Two Door Cinema Club
The undeniably Pop-sounding Northern Irish trio blast through the speakers with a wide variety of sounds and styles that have one thing in common – every song is short, sharp and sweet. Outstanding.
*The one that got away (so far)…
Allo Darlin’ // Allo Darlin’
I have been unable to track this album down yet but you can be sure that it will be added to my collection ASAP.
2010 was a year of old favourites and ‘classics’ with the standout book being ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac, which I read during our little road trip across the southern part of the States in January.
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Once A Runner – John L. Parker
The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger
The Old Man And The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Strange Case Of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
There is only one DVD added to my list this year – a collection of my favourite TV show paying homage to (taking the piss out of) my favourite films. Hopefully, I began a new tradition by watching all three episodes on Christmas Day.
Laugh It Up Fuzzball: The Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy
Alice In Wonderland
Get Him To The Greek
Iron Man 2
The Kids Are Alright
The Social Network
I’ll start by saying that I really miss the following things:
Anything cooked/prepared in Hotel Olive
Most of the food from Marks & Spencer
Going out to eat on a regular basis
However, I’ve managed to somewhat compensate those losses with the following:
Anything cooked/prepared by Zoe
Some of the food from Food Pantry
Staying in to eat on a regular basis, since a) staying in is supposedly the new going out and b) we don’t really have a choice
2010 has been a difficult year to say the least. Zoe and I are away from our families and friends, Hawaii has not turned out to be anything even remotely close to paradise, and we have struggled more financially than ever before. But there has also been a lot of good things and here are some of them:
Driving across the States with Zoe on the way to our new life in Hawaii
Getting married in the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas
Watching our first sunset in Waikiki
Running a sub-20 minute 5K
Helping Zoe obtain her American residency in record time
Finding out that Zoe was offered her first FT job in America
Getting an iPad for Christmas