[Hype Hype Hooray] The Perfect Storm That Created Scattered Year-End Lists

Every [two weeks?] Jamie Hale takes a long, hard look at the music industry and the blog scene that feeds it. Here, he releases those findings and makes snarky, sarcastic remarks. Admittedly, both Jamie and Knox Road are a part of this scene. So sue us.

By now everybody (who MATTERS) has released […]

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Knox Road! I know I speak for all of us (Me, Jamie, Abby, Jesse, and Tom) when I say we’re thankful for your support this year and we plan on bringing great things in 2011. We’re always talking about ways we can improve the blog (not just at the turn […]

Knox Road’s Top Albums of 2010

If 2009 was the year for brilliant young rookies to make unique, interesting albums, 2010 is the year for the veteran sluggers. We saw releases from Sufjan Stevens, The Arcade Fire, Kanye West, The National, Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers, Belle & Sebastian, Wolf Parade, The Black Keys, Spoon, Robert Plant, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Gorillaz, Girl Talk, Big Boi and even Brian Eno. All this in addition to a host of young talented bands on their second or third albums and fresh new artists making their debut. So how do you choose?

Well, although it might be popular to eschew big names for small ones, one can’t critically ignore the heavy-hitting releases. As with any list, we’ll be ignoring a few of your favorites from 2010 but that’s just how it works. You can’t make a cake without cracking a few eggs, or something like that. What it comes down to is the fact that 2010 was a REALLY good year for music. With dozens and dozens of amazing albums to choose from, Lee and I break down which 25 are (in our very humble opinions) the absolute best.

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Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Siren

Cymbals Eat Guitars played the penultimate set at the Stillwell Stage (the stage that isn’t the main one, derp) on Saturday, so I was surprised that the turnout wasn’t terribly big until they were nearly done. But, on the other end, there was a couple who looked to be in their 50s with cell phone cameras in the photo pit, smiling paternally as they got close to take pictures. The band’s parents? ADORABLE.

The band started the set by playing a handful of new songs — one of them, apparently, “is so new” — that sounded pretty good. Not a far cry from the winding, twisted quiet-loud sung-yelled tracks the band is known for, but solid all the same.

However, at points during the set I had to really pay attention to figure out how to wrap my head around the song being played. The songs are so unpredictable that, unless you know exactly what’s coming next, it’s hard to latch on. So the performance was decent, and as energetic as it probably could have been, but maybe the crowd’s unfamiliarity with the music lead to the largely lukewarm response. Maybe the music just doesn’t translate terribly well to a live setting, especially a huge, outdoor live setting in 93 degree heat. Maybe I’m just insane and they completely brought down the house*.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Wind Phoenix” [MP3]

*They did not completely bring down any houses, to my knowledge.

More photos after the jump.

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Holy Fuck @ Siren

Holy Fuck didn’t turn heads at Siren, it threw them back in ecstasy. The experimental/psychedelic/dance band is known for their often-improvised instrumental jams, and they brought everything out in their festival-closing set Saturday that seemingly took the crowd by surprise. The thousands-deep slew of people moved like nobody was watching and like they themselves couldn’t stop themselves.

Frontman Brian Borcherdt spent a lot of the set playing with a metal contraption covered in cranks and levers that he ran a long spool of film through to create an eerie squeaking that punctuated each song. The rest of the band channeled the emotions as they kept the steady, rhythm-heavy songs pumping along.

Holy Fuck was one of the only bands at Siren to move the crowd to such a fervor, and they did it with the ease of any veteran act. Is this the return of the jam band? Or the evolution of what it means to jam?

Holy Fuck – “Latin America” [MP3]

More photos after the jump.

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Matt and Kim @ Siren

A lot of good things have been said about Matt and Kim‘s live show, and their performance at Siren isn’t going to change that. The pair’s main stage-ending set at 7:30 p.m. attracted a massive crowd, which packed the long, narrow street serving as general admission space as well as the fenced-off kiddie park stage left.

And for a band that consists entirely of keyboard and drums…holy shit. Matt kicked things off by launching into a hype man MC routine, which the crowd ate up. Their songs — a combination of originals and short vignettes of popular rap tunes — were delivered with an absurd amount of gusto, and the two performers could physically not be having more fun. Kim wore an endless grin while pounding away on her drumkit, as if smiling for every camera thrust into the air, and Matt regularly jumped around and pumped his fist when he wasn’t using both hands to play his instrument.

And, hey, they played surprisingly tightly too, for all their theatrics. It was a thrilling show, for both the physicality of it and the fact that neither Matt nor Kim seemed to play too sloppily. The fact that they were headlining a festival at a stage with its back to the ocean and famous boardwalk, mere minutes from where they’re from, just made all the music go down that much sweeter.

Matt and Kim – “Daylight” [MP3]

More photos after the jump.

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Matt and Kim announce North American tour dates

This duo is not one to be missed. Matt and Kim are innovative, artsty (as we saw last year with their strip-naked-in-NYC video), and just loads of fun on stage. Their blend of electro hooks and art pop has found them a dedicated and growing following.

Matt & Kim – “Daylight” [MP3] (from Grand)


Mates of State announces "Summer Crushes" tour dates

Mates of State, the charming husband and wife duo from Kansas, are teaming up with up-and-coming bands Free Energy and Suckers along with comedians Todd Barry and Nick Thune for their “Summer Crushes 2010 Tour” in support of their forthcoming covers album, Crushes. And guess what? They have dates all over the country, […]

SXSW announces initial showcasing artists

Picture 6SXSW just announced 230 showcasing artists for this year’s festival, and there are plenty more to come! Who knows, this could be the biggest year yet for SXSW, if that’s even possible. Take a peek at the full list after the jump, taken from SXSW’s website.

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