When narrowing down the 200 or so bands featured on ANBAD this year to the final few, I tried to consider the words I wrote about the bands at the time as much as how much I like them now.
This way the band has been reviewed twice: with fresh and familiar ears. I’m sure I’ve missed a number of brilliant bands who deserve to be listed. Please leave a comment if you feel that any poor souls have been unkindly overlooked.
The selection is entirely arbitrary, of course – just as it was at the time of writing. A good chunk of the bands I raved about 10 months ago seem less thrilling in retrospect. Such is life.
Rule #1 of ANBAD, of course, is, “There is no merit in consistency”, and it’s nice to have that fundamental belief verified by my own maddeningly haphazard choices. So, with that caveat, here’s the fifth, fourth, and third best bands of the year:
NUMBER 5 // Ducktails‘ song Hamilton Road was the golden nugget of lolloping pop beauty that ensured Ducktails’ inclusion in the Top 5. A lazier, more warmly arousing musical re-enactment of a slow day in dry, hot heat was not heard all year.
ANBAD said: “If any song was to be played whilst laying on your back, on a Californian beach, surf lapping around tired toes, then this is it. The song lollops happily, shifting its weight with the elation of someone who has stayed up all night having a good time, and is now enjoying the quickly warming sunrise on the way home.”
NUMBER 4 // Young British Artists’ Lived In Skin manages to sound more alive in the space of five minutes than most bands manage across a whole career (I’m looking at you, U2). This is a band that connect directly to your cerebral cortex by way of their knack of making their songs sound like they’re played just next door, just for you.
ANBAD said: “Young British Artists shoot pinholes of laser-light through the fug, and deliver songs more taut, more deliberately designed and more attack-minded than the majority of their contemporaries. Jolts of pleasure, life, and bright, white light.”
Young British Artists // Lived In Skin
An Exclusive (And Very Quick) Interview With YBAs:
How has 2010 been for you?
Highlights were probably playing live for Steve Lamacq on 6 music during In The City and having him call our 7” one of the best of the year. That and playing a bunch of killer shows.
How have the audiences reacted to you?
Best shows of the year have been one we played for Matt Horne at the Queen of Hoxton in London. We really went for it and were a good level of drunk to play well and play right. The crowd really got into it and we even had Matt Horne air-drumming to one of our songs.
Which bands have caught your eyes/ears this year?
We’re all really big fans of the band WOMEN and all really enjoyed their album this year. Generally we think they have a nice liveness to their music which really comes across on record. Plus Dutch Uncles have massively honed their sound this year. We’re exceptionally proud to be going on tour with them in 2011.
What have you learnt that you wish you’d known in January 2010?
Cables and power supplies break more often than you ever want them to, no matter what you do.
NUMBER 3 // Yuck‘s Georgia doesn’t so much hit the ground running as much as it thumps it happily, skipping, strutting and punching forward; a jumble of cloying fuzz, golden sunlight and cotton-soft melodies. A sweeter song hasn’t been heard this year.
ANBAD said: “This is a song that conjures visceral mental images. All the best songs do. And this song dredges up flashes of orange-hued summer days of sweltering heat, cooling dips in rivers, fun, love and happiness. And cider. But that last bit’s probably just me.”
POW! Only two more bands to go – check in tomorrow for the second placed band, and then on Wednesday for the grand fromage of 2010’s New Bands. The thrills!