The Key’s Best Of Local Music 2010: Guest blogger edition
Earlier this month, while planning out our Best-Of coverage, we reached out to a handful of local scene folks for their input on the best albums to come out of Philly in 2010. Here’s what a couple of them had to say:
Kevin Kennedy,The Swollen Fox
Favorite Album of 2010:Strand Of Oaks‘ Pope Killdragon
When recording the follow-up to 2008’s lovely Leave Ruin, Timothy Showatler, the man behind the moniker Strand Of Oaks, made a conscious effort to steer away from the suffering-singer-songwriter (think Bon Iver) image that Leave Ruin gave him. That concerted effort resulted in Pope Killdragon, one of the most beautiful and imaginative albums of the year. With songs about hanging out with JFK, a giant who’s mother was killed by a bowling ball, and Dan Akroyd’s depression following John Belushi’s death, it’s certainly not short on imagination.
It wasn’t just a lyrical change Showalter sought though, he also gave Killdragon a more electric, full-band sound. The one constant is his amazing voice, which was the first thing to jump out at me and the main thing that keeps me listening so obsessively. What all of these elements (the imaginative lyrics, the new sound, and Showalter’s voice) gives us is a collection of devastatingly beautiful songs that will tear your heart out one moment and have you rocking out the next (I’m looking at you, “Sterling”). It also gives us one of the best albums of 2010.
Emily Simpson, Assistant Production Manager at Kung Fu Necktie
Favorite Album of 2010:Prowler‘s Wooly Mammoth
When I first sat down to write a blurb about the best local album of 2010, I thought it was going to be next to impossible considering the amount of insanely good tunes being crafted in Philly this year—but then I remembered that hiding somewhere in my collection was Prowler’s most recent release, Wooly Mammoth. Game over. Amongst all of the noise rock, shoegaze, lo-fi, crusty punk, sludge metal, and indie pop that we tend to be overly familiar with, Prowler stands out as being a little weird, but inherently and aggressively unique.
Wooly Mammoth’s longest tune clocks in at a mere three minutes and twenty-six seconds, keeping with the band’s dedication to producing quick, in-your-face dance jams that give you enough time to get into the groove but never wear out their welcome. Percussion throughout the album, courtesy of Tyler Griswald, is consistently innovative and worthy of the dance moves it’ll have you busting in your seat during “Saturnalian.” Ryan Kerrigan’s funky guitar riffs and Mike Stazseski’s bass lines are, as per usual, flawless and perfectly complemented on tracks like “Automagically.” Kat Paffett puts her keyboard skills to use like never before to add that extra bit of boogie, and with a vocalist as captivating and energetic as Keith Greiman, Prowler is almost unstoppably good.
And even so, it gets better. Reef The Lost Cauze and Plastic Little both make appearances on the album in a love-letter-to-Philly kind of way. Colossal, spaced-out, booty-shaking, sassy, and soulful, Wooly Mammoth is the best kind of reflection for the Philadelphia music scene to have in the year 2010.