As 2010 draws to a close, Vue columnist Roland Pemberton presents his top 10 albums of the year.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Before Today
After eight albums of feedback, four-track beat boxing and AM radio schizophrenia, Ariel Pink delivered Before Today, an album that is sonically accessible but retains his predilection for bizarre songwriting. An indie classic.
Big Boi, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty
It's rare that a frequently delayed album with dated references and singles that have been individually available for years would still succeed when finally released, but Sir Luscious Left Foot is just that: a huge, glossy rap record where the intro is better than most other emcees's best songs.
Sean Nicholas Savage, Mutual Feelings of Respect and Admiration
Expanding his sonic palette to include lounge pop, disco and R&B, Montréal's Sean Nicholas Savage (with colourful production from David Carriere) continues to posit himself as the 21st century Canadian heir to Bowie.
Matthew Dear, Black City
Black City sounds as if it were written as an alternate soundtrack to Lost Highway. Sensual and occasionally unsettling, Matthew Dear harnesses icy machine funk, a grab bag of hooks and the requisite techno bass wizardry you'd expect from the man behind Audion.
When Swim first dropped, every musician I talked to had the same reaction: "He figured it out." Dan Snaith discovered the key to organically combining human and electronic instrumentation, embracing both sides with equal care and expert craftsmanship.
Toro y Moi, Causers Of This
Toro y Moi has proved himself to be more than a member of a specific sonic trend. By focusing on great songs over esthetics and production tricks this album of half-remembered takes on Stevie Wonder renders an entire subgenre (chillwave) redundant.
Toronto's Tonetta writes deceptively complex pop songs that capture comical depravity and a viral knack for melody. 777 is truly original, featuring theatrical lyrics and sketches of red-lined guitar seemingly created in a vacuum.
Gonjasufi, A Sufi and a Killer
Gonjasufi has an ancient voice but he makes futuristic music. A tender synthesis of '60s psychedelia, golden-era hip-hop production and contemporary electronic music, A Sufi and a Killer is conversely tough and fragile, an emotional rollercoaster by a stunningly versatile singer.
Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me
Again eschewing obvious singles for a cohesive album-oriented approach, as on her last album, Ys, Joanna Newsom continues to prove herself as a brilliant composer and a gifted lyricist.
Gil Scott-Heron, I'm New Here
A weary, harrowing journey into despair from one of the world's greatest living poets, I'm New Here is the hip-hop equivalent to Johnny Cash's last albums with Rick Rubin, updating Scott-Heron through covers and modern production to unveil his genius to a whole new generation.
Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
Curren$y, Pilot Talk/Pilot Talk II
Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest
Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part Two (Return Of The Ankh)
How To Dress Well, Love Remains
Jaded Hipster Choir, Pill Weekend
Twin Shadow, Forget
Waka Flocka Flame, Flockaveli V