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2010: Daniel Martin-McCormick

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Dusted Features

Dusted contributor Daniel Martin-McCormick selects his favorite bands, albums and singles of 2010.

2010: Daniel Martin-McCormick

Label: No Label | Release Date: May 3

For the few in the know, Light Asylum proved to be the band of the year in 2010. Pulling together all the best parts of the indie-verse’s attempts at dance music (lush soundscapes, 80s fetishization) and cutting out the worst (shit vocals, limp production), they threw down a mighty gauntlet with their super-earnest, super-intense and super-beautiful jams. Their live show was one of the best I have seen in a very long time; I felt like I was in high school all over again, as in when you saw your favorite band for the first time and you realized that you’ve been waiting for them for years and didn’t even know it.

Detroit’s techno prodigy released some music this year, but none quite on the level of his breakout “I <3 Dr. Girlfriend.” No matter, cuz his dj set slayed. It’s entertaining enough to see a barefoot 19-year-old with braces dancing like a total goofball behind the decks, but when he’s mixing a mind-bending combo of piano house, druggy techno, disco, dubstep and whatever else, it bumps the experience up a few notches. You know this is no mean feat if you’ve ever tried it on your own, and he had people going nuts, screaming and punching the ceiling. I pray that Hall is only at the beginning of a long career, cuz if this is what he’s doing at 19, I definitely want to catch what comes next.

Why aren’t more bands like this? Culture Kids pretty much sound like Bad Brains, super convincingly, with some Suicidal Tendencies and Circle Jerks thrown in. They rage live, they are all super young, they have one 7” out that you cannot buy because they forgot to assemble the covers, and, as I said before, they rage live. Punk is alive and well, living in San Francisco and getting stoned on 24th street. Fuck yes.

Label: Editions Mego | Release Date: June 21

Sad new age seems like kind of a “no duh” after this record, but honestly I didn’t really think too hard about it before. I’m sure there’s lots of it out there, but something in Oneohtrix’s masterpiece seemed to click in a way that a lot of post-drone bands didn’t. Returnal is pure imagery, a melting, desolate future whose only relevant point of comparison might be Tarkovski’s Stalker. Tragically heavy, not at all macho, sickening and beautiful at the same time.

• Read the Dusted Review

Label: FXHE | Release Date: December 14, 2009

Omar just keeps getting better and better. What can you say about the man? Druggy Detroit vibe to the max, raw and heavy. Except that here, he channels his inner Mr Fingers, using Diviniti’s soft, jazzy vocals to awesome effect. In an era of fussy boutique electronica, Omar remains a guiding light of punk, albeit in techno form. If “Psychotic Photosynthesis” marked a moment of fruition in his career, the three years since have been one slam dunk after another. Is this his best yet? Not exactly, but it’s the shit and that’s just fine.

Label: Dug Out | Reissue Date: June 22

Midnight reggae spirituality for the after-hours mate and weed crowd, or anyone looking for spacious, solemn vibes. The perfect reissue to file next to your Congos and Count Ossie albums, Peace and Love delivers the righteous vibes 100%. Some listeners shrugged their shoulders, but where else can you find such a pure combo of slow-burn Nyabinghi drum circles and masterful dub techniques. If you’ve gone through all the Wackies reissues and need something new to get into, put this at the top of your to-do list.

Label: The Social Registry | Release Date: May 1

I don’t really listen to much noise music these days, although god knows I spend years trying. Something about it just doesn’t really do it for me on record, what can I say? There are a few rare exceptions, though, and Zs soared to the top of that list this year with New Slaves. Brutal beauty, thankfully never pretty but always striking. High-minded music nerds say “fuck it” and go for broke, already so far ahead of the pack that they can stop and check out the scenery wherever they see fit. Impressively ambitious and yet also super loose, at least compared to their earlier “math-ier” material. So sick.

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Label: Academy | Release Date: March 16

The first African disco comp to actually deliver on that promise, Lagos Disco Inferno circumvented the horn-heavy funk that is the bane of my existence and went straight for the sweet, sweet disco. If you don’t like disco, then this won’t change your mind, international pedigree aside. It may be Nigerian, but it’s definitely still disco. Which is great, because disco, having wrapped up about 25 years ago, has been pretty well catalogued on this side of the pond, and yet the ravenous hordes of record nerds will never be satisfied. More, please.

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Label: Rush Hour | Release Date: January 26

A long-overdue career retrospective from one of Detroit’s finest. Thank you, Rush Hour, for introducing me to Shake’s spiraling, swimming techno. I don’t know how everybody didn’t already know, but now that we do we promise we won’t make the same mistake twice. “Arise” alone is worth the price of admission.

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Label: Slow to Speak | Reissue Date: March 2

This barely counts, but it ended up being my favorite song of the year. A lot of people seemed to get into house this year… UK funky or NYC piano house or whatever, just as long as it had a little swing, some cheese and some deep vibes. This isn’t really a lost classic, but I was boosted see it get the Slow to Speak treatment. “Reach out a hand, touch each and every one.”

By Daniel Martin-McCormick

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