Guest lists 2010: Phoenix critics weigh in on the year in music

What consensus?
By PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  December 21, 2010


Michael Marotta
1. Class Actress, “Careful What You Say” (from Journal of Ardency)
2. Dom “Living In America,” (from Sun Bronzed Greek Gods
3. Crystal Castles & Robert Smith, “Not In Love” (digital single)
4. Class Actress, “Journal of Ardency” (from Journal of Ardency)
5. Robyn, “Dancing On My Own” (from Body Talk Pt. 1)  
6. The Hundred In The Hands, “Ghosts” (from This Desert EP) 
7. The Vandelles, “Lovely Weather” (from Del Black Aloha)
8. Surfer Blood, “Swim” (from Astro Coast)
9. The Soft Pack, “Answer To Yourself” (from The Soft Pack)
10. Die Antwoord, “Enter The Ninja” (from $O$)

On the national side of music, I suppose this was the year guitars roared back into my life. After last year’s list was peppered with electro-pop (Passion Pit, Gaga, Little Boots, La Roux), 2010 saw a more varied playlist, from the seductive synthpop purr of Brooklyn’s Class Actress and the Hundred In The Hands to the pounding guitar-fuzz of the Vandelles, the Soft Pack and Surfer Blood (the last band forever linked to SXSW 2k10). There was plenty in the ongoing shoegaze/ambient/garage revival that just missed the cut (Woven Bones, Depreciation Guild, the Sunshine Factory) and the Cure’s Robert Smith breathed new life into a generally suspect and short-shelf-life’d sophomore Crystal Castles album. Dom’s day-glo anthem held up over the final months, and “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes took over my weekend at Newport Folk (and six months after) despite being released almost a year earlier. But if I can sum up 2010 with one sentiment, it was the year the voice of Class Actress’ Elizabeth Harper took over my soul. If I compiled a Best Albums list, their Journal of Ardency EP would be at the top. So in the end, it appears dance music retains its grip.    

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