The best local discs of '10

Mix it up
By CHRIS CONTI  |  December 22, 2010

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'Twas an incredible (and incredibly diverse) year for Rhody-based musical acts, and formulating a Top 10 of 2010 was no easy task as we plunged into the archives and dug up some of our favorite LPs from the past 12 months. And while 2010 may have been a particularly shitty year for some of us, the vibrant music community here kept us on our toes each and every week. It continues to defy the odds as a red-hot melting pot of quality artists cranking out top shelf product in just about every conceivable genre.

Three of our nationally-recognized, critically-acclaimed bands get a deserved shout here: The Body released All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood to much acclaim (an 8.5 from Pitchfork), with cordial hosts Lee and Chip serving up the industrial strength doom-metal soundtrack just in time for the forthcoming zombie feast of 2012. Of course, we're still soaking up some tracks from Deer Tick's summer release, The Black Dirt Sessions, with John McCauley in fine form howling out bittersweet, whiskey-soaked tales behind the piano on "Goodbye, Dear Friend" and a revamped version of "Christ Jesus" (from the DT debut). And file "Piece by Piece and Frame by Frame" under one of the best songs McCauley ever penned. Resident metalhead quartet Howl set speakers ablaze with Full of Hell, an aural assault rife with truly monstrous riffs, like Mastodon marinating in battery acid.

We heard quality releases from Jeff Byrd and Eric French to rappers Romen Rok and Big Rush. Warren-based imprint 75orLess Records continued its onslaught of must-hear discs, including new stuff from the Jesse Minute and highly-anticipated debuts from Girl Haggard and Skinny Millionaires in 2010 (Sleeping Dogs Lie dropped just last week), as well as an EP of theremin-infused rawk from Pawtucket's Ming Toro. Other notable EPs on the local radar included the return of the Rice Cakes, Tallahassee, and She Rides, to newcomers the Tower & the Fool and PVD hardcore dudes Lifers. We could go on and on here (don't forget the Brother Kite, A Troop of Echoes, the Benedictions, and Mary Bee!), but let's roll the 10 favorite locally-harvested albums of 2010:

ALLYSEN CALLERY | HOBGOBLIN'S HAT (@ iTunes + cdbaby.com)

Callery's finger-picking acoustic skills are trumped only by her gorgeous voice, and her poetic sophomore release (the follow-up to her '07 debut Hopey) is equal parts entrancing and beautiful. The first three songs ("Tiny Armageddon," "Jack Jumps Back" and the title track) lure the listener in, surefire lullabies to paralyze. If you still reach for the Mazzy Star disc once in a while, run out and grab Hobgoblin's Hat right now.

THE COBRA-MATICS | PLAY THE NOTES (@ iTunes + thecobramatics.com)

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Capt. Al Nagle and (former Amazing Crowns guitarist) Johnny "The Colonel" Maguire lead the charge on the Cobra-Matics' second disc. From the rocking rumble of "Gangway for 'Gansett!" to the precious closing number "Short and Sweet" (seriously, how can this one not be spun at every wedding reception?), Play the Notes is a first-class mash of rockabilly, swing, and greaser sock hop soundtrack.

COMA COMA | CHATEAU REX (@ 75orlessrecords.com)

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