The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please!

This is the weekly installment where we recap what we’ve been spinning at The Synthesizer Book headquarters during the week. If it’s on this list, it got played more than once!

This week we recap recordings that were released in 2010. Some of these LP’s received significant airplay during the year.

I’d like to dedicate this 2010 (year end) The Weekly LP & Singles Platter, Please! to the memory of George M. Steinbrenner and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson. They are 2 very different, but important figures that passed away this year. They will be missed. Thank you for everything you meant to me.

Surfer Blood-Astro Coast
I first saw Surfer Blood on KEXP.org. From then on I was a fan. I got to see them perform live 2 times this year and even got to hang out with John Paul Pitts, while The Drums played their opening set…and yes, The Drums do attract all the girls! Surfer Blood are a really wonderful young band. They don’t use many synthesizers, but that doesn’t matter. Listen to this album, it’s worth the price of admission.

I remember the first show had a female sound tech. I’m going to put this on record and say that the sound that night was, by far, the best I’ve heard at the Biltmore Cabaret….And, to the reviewer from the Georgia Straight who said it was the worst sound ever in his review the next day…you are an idiot! Lots of muddy low end and decibel piercing frequencies are not the only secrets to a good live sound.

Massive Attack-Heligoland
I was so excited to purchase this LP. I couldn’t wait for its release. I remember going to HMV the day it was released and really happy it was a return to form for them. After the massive disappointment that was 100th Window, this was just what we needed to believe in Massive Attack again. It’s a more stripped down and minimal sound. There are still some of those signature sounds, but as a package, this album works so well. My son absolutely loved this too. I won 2 tickets from Live Nation for this. I couldn’t believe my luck. They performed at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. It rained for their entire performance, but the visuals, political imagery and the music worked so well for this concert in the park series. Thanks to my darling wife, in her galoshes, for toughing out the rain…it was an amazing concert in amazing company!

Daft Punk-Tron Legacy
See last week’s Weekly Platter too.

I really enjoyed this movie in 3D. I saw it 2 times(second with my son) and thought that this soundtrack was a perfect fit. The new score kept some of the original themes developed by Wendy Carlos in Tron and provided some new motifs. A great sound track and incredibly awesome movie. I liked the original movie, but absolutely loved Legacy.

Arcade Fire-The Suburbs
This was the soundtrack to a Las Vegas trip a few months back. A good friend of mine was playing it in his car. He was really fond of it. So, naturally it grew on me. In that great desert heat, this album was just a nice background. I felt a bit knackered though. I didn’t know why at first, and then just as soon as I got on the plane home, it was apparent to me that I had a flu. Although being sick wasn’t good, it was better than thinking I’d become a little boring. I got razzed by my friends for being so mellow! I hung out with my dad this trip too. He was playing single guy that week!

I saw Arcade Fire a few years back at Deer Lake. I was very impressed with this Montreal based band. It was a great show and I like their sound quite a bit.

LCD Soundsystem-This Is Happening
I like LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy, DFA and most everything that organization releases. Someone Great from Sound Of Silver is one of my favorite songs to play during the Summer. I’ve taken many trips were I must’ve played this track at least a half dozen times every time.

This album was another purchase I made while in Las Vegas this year. I was there 2 times! I had this on the whole time in all those 2010 Camaro rentals. I would go through 3 Camaros that trip. All I have to say about that, is get the full coverage insurance package! I think this trip was back in April, and that month I would see 3 great shows at the Malkin Bowl. LCD Soundsystem with opening band-Beach House, was one of the bands I saw there and they were simply incredible. I remember this show well. Luckily it took place right after that massive rainfall that day.

Chris & Cosey-Heartbeat & amp; Trance
These are not new releases. They are remastered releases. I purchased them both on vinyl and reading the liner-notes/press clippings was heartwarming and brought back some great memories of years past. Chris Carter and the rest of the TG clan have been an immense influence on me this year. I want to thank Chris Carter in particular, for his kind words to me this past year.

Broken Bells-Broken Bells
I picked this up at Sawbucks aka Starbucks. However, it was a previous NPR.org segment that peaked my curiosity. I like Danger Mouse and James Mercer (The Shins). I thought it was an interesting collaboration. I liked the performances I saw on MySpace, etc. I think I saturated the airplay on this. Not by choice, really! It’s just that the catchy melodies, guitars and synthesizer riffs really appeal to the young….Yeah, my son requested this for a month straight. Everyday, every trip,…all the time. Still, I really liked it and so did he. Missed their live performance when they came to town. Too bad. Encore?

Bonobo-Black Sands
Check out the review on the show earlier this month in the iPhone Photo Chronicles section. A great mix of synthetic, organic instruments and of course, those vocals. Simon Green has always been of interest to me and this album was a great listen. His live show was impressive. Still remember that great horn section.

Tracey Thorn-Love and Its Opposite
When Tracey Thorn sings, I listen. Her voice is so beautiful. She fills me with love and gets me thinking about all the beautiful things that surround my life. When I purchased this, a friend of mine was just starting to go through a bitter divorce. At times I felt his troubles were a bit draining to hear. He was really hurting. He did make me realize that what I had, I should really be grateful for. This LP sort of became relevant to his cause, as songs like Oh, The Divorces and Singles Bar just seemed to be fitting to some of our conversations. I didn’t really share this with him, but it was a very poignant recording, I felt, at the time.

I stacked up all the CD’s I purchased this year for this. It was so difficult to choose just 10. Impossible really! So, this is not a top 10 per-sae. These are just some 2010 releases that I enjoyed, and stood out for me, this year, for some reason or another.

Honorable Mentions:

Goldfrapp-Headfirst…Dreamy vocals and synthpop goodness
Chris Carter-The Space Between…no words, really!
Beach House-Teen Dream…Blissfully good tracks
How To Destroy Angels EP…raw analog goodness
The Chemical Brothers-Further…It’s the The Chems!?!
Washed Out-Life of Leisure EP-Chillwave?!?! Loved this EP, but why’d you cut off those tracks at the end, Dude?!
Rosebruit & Franck Smith-Lemon juice & chloroform EP-Very nice noisey beats and blips.
The Drums-The Drums…Catchy tunes, lots of girls at show!
Vampire Weekend-Contra…a fantastic performance at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl
School of Seven Bells-Disconnect From Desire…I love this band.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti-Before Today…retro sounding, but still has some chic and appeal. It works for me.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who showed interest, read these posts, and gave words of encouragement. Without you, all of this would’ve been a lot harder to accomplish. Looking forward to finishing the book and seeing where 2011 will take us. Let us hope it will have just a little less scandal and less abuse of our planet.

Happy New Year!

Richard
(The Synthesizer Book)

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