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2010 A Glass Half Full

What A Haul! WIN Nearly All Of Our Best 30 Albums Of 2010 So Far
The Quietus , July 9th, 2010 06:23

This competition is now closed

Last week, amidst much bickering, squabbling and take-away pizza, The Quietus decided on our definitive list of the 30 best albums of 2010 so far. There were arguments, of course - Quietus pilot Luke can still be heard muttering under his breath about how The Fall should have placed higher, while fellow site aeronaut and resident metal lover John's pleas to include the Dillinger Escape Plan fell on deaf ears - but we're pretty happy we produced a top notch list. You can read the finished article here.

One of the perks of producing what is - to us, at least - such an eclectic collection of records is the prospect of introducing our readers to a whole list of artists they've never heard before. With that in mind, we're going to give one of you lucky lot the bulk of those 30 records in our latest Quietus competition.

So far, we have been already promised copies of the records by Chrome Hoof, Gayngs, The Besnard Lakes, Cathedral, PanSonic, Mathew Sawyer, New Young Pony Club, Flying Lotus, Autechre, Pantha du Prince, Black Breath, Jane Weaver, The Fall, These New Puritans, White Hills, Gil Scott-Heron, The Shining, Liars, Future Islands, Tamikrest, Walls, Oneohtrix Point Never and the joint release by Gnod/White Hills. A mighty haul, we're sure you'll agree - and we still hope to add a few more to the bounty.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question:

Sisterworld by Liars is our number one album of the year so far. In an interview with The Quietus, which artist appearing on the Deluxe Remix Edition did Angus Andrew express reservations about getting into a lengthy email correspondence with?

No multiple choices today; send your answers to with 'Glass Half Full Competition' in the subject field. The competition is for UK residents only. To read The Quietus Competition Terms & Conditions, click here.

And to whet your appetite for the competition, we've assembled a handy guide to each album complete with some of their choicest cuts. We hope you enjoy.

30. Celeste - '(S)' from Morte(s) Nee(s)

"Their third album Morte(s) Nee(s)... matches unrelenting brutality with distressing angry lyrical protest against the ill-treatment of women in modern life."

John Doran

29. Autechre - 'known(1)' from Oversteps

"And in line with a sense of economy the duo seem to have developed in recent years, everything’s more concise, more pinned down; gone is the protracted, ultra-compressed percussive barrage of, say, Confield (their 2001 ‘difficult album’), replaced with layer after luscious layer of detail and daubs of bright, synthetic colour."

Angus Finyalson

28. Konono No.1 'Fula Fula' from Assume Crash Position

"Assume Crash Position wiles out the sound of Konono's first, their long-spanning rhythms honed into eight tracks of hip-shaking whistle-making fanfare, relentless riffs and the kind of African rhythms now once again appropriated by contemporary avant-rock music."

Hannah Gregory

27. Chrome Hoof 'Crystaline' from Crush Depth

Click here to listen to 'Crystalline'.

"They [Chrome Hoof] construct something that is immensely sexual, funky, gripping, dramatic, frightening (if you’ve had the right sort of drugs anyway), imagination-fuelling, dance inspiring, spiritual and hilarious, however."

John Doran

26. Black Breath 'Children Of The Horn' from Heavy Breathing

Click here to listen to 'Children Of The Horn'.

"Every once in a while, a band comes along that re-affirms exactly why it is that I love metal, and right now that band is Black Breath."

Toby Cook

25. Future Islands 'An Apology' from In Evening Air

/AN APOLOGY/ from 521studies on Vimeo.

"Highlights here are so plentiful it would be quicker to comment on the dull parts, but standout moments are the New Order pulse of opener 'Walking Through That Door', the catchy 'Tin Man', the slow-motion 'Inch Of Dust' and album closer 'As I Fall', with its looped, angelic choirs and droning string outro."

Michael Dix

24. High On Fire 'Snakes For The Divine' from Snakes For The Divine

"Ignore the fact that Snakes For The Divine is largely influenced by the work of Grandstand anchor turned new age conspiracy theorist David Icke, because it kicks ass, plain and simple."

Toby Cook

23. Flying Lotus '' from Cosmogramma

Click here to listen to a Flying Lotus playlist from Warp Records.

"Cosmogramma is a sprawling, post-Web 2.0 cacophony. It's like hurtling through the digital darkness of Spotify with everything blaring at once. At some points it's perplexing, at others it's thrilling."

Colin McKean

22. Lonelady 'Nerve Up' from Nerve Up

"The way Campbell uses her remarkable voice – not like Stipe’s mumble at all, but a bold, stark thing all of its own – sets her apart. It’s like Kristin Hersh’s voice more than anyone else’s, simultaneously fierce and vulnerable, shaky and strong, but also carrying shades of Kim Deal’s lovable raggedness (possibly accentuated by producer Guy Fixsen, who has worked with both The Breeders and Pixies)."

Jude Rogers

21. Janelle Monáe 'Tightrope' from The Archandroid


Laura Snapes

20. Mathew Sawyer And The Ghosts - 'The Bully Died' from How Snakes Eat

"In Mathew Sawyer's world, love is important, but seems less important than the circumstances and details of itself. Just because Mathew Sawyer's voice is odd, doesn't mean he'll fall back lazy on sung melodies. Originality squared is something infinite. Mathew Sawyer says and does things that feel right at the time."

Kev Kharas

19. Blood Of The Black Owl - 'The Statement Of Will' from A Banishing Ritual

"Chet W. Scott, who looks remarkably like Obelix, Asterix’s tubby and exceedingly mighty, plait-wearing friend, has outdone himself again. His third - designed to act (literally) as a latter day cleansing ritual – is so thoroughly abrasive and cathartic, you can’t help but wonder what exactly it is that he thinks we’ve done wrong."

John Doran in Metal Hammer magazine

18. Gil Scott-Heron - 'Me And The Devil' from I'm New Here

"This is a artist who deals in the 'real'. On that point, you can be truly assured. Unworldly and beautiful, even when he sings about pulling on his socks."

Mick Middles

17. White Hills - 'Dead' from White Hills (sharing 17th place with GNOD & White Hills GNOD Drop Out With White Hills II)

Listen to 'Dead' by White Hills here.

"It's grown cold and dark and the wind is picking up. And then, the thunder breaks, AND THE SKY IS FULL OF WHIRLING SCREAMING THINGS WITH MILLIONS OF EYES..."

Ben Graham

16. Jane Weaver - 'The Fallen By Watchbird' from _The Fallen By Watchbird

"Perhaps most intriguing of all…this is - that old beast - a concept album. Imbued with a mystical thread that sits closer to The French Lieutenant's Woman than it might to a Kate Bush album."

Mick Middles

15. The Shining - 'The Madness And The Damage Done' from Black Jazz

"Blackjazz is an exhilarating, exhausting experience – the heaviest, most tumultuous moments of Grindstone were only mild foreshadowing of this dark future."

Matt Evans

14. Pansonic - 'Corona' from Gravitoni

"On Gravitoni Pansonic use track titles as a GPS to their imaginative landscape, gifting their followers an unprecedented insight into their modus operandi. Gravitoni is the Italian plural for graviton - a non-proven quantum particle related to the force of gravity and the definition of spacetime."

Nix Lowery

13. Tamikrest - "Aratane N'adagh" from Adagh

"You could argue that there's some of Marley¹s spirit in much of Adagh. Tracks like 'Aicha' possess a dub-like groove, while in 'Amidini' you can see why they've been named 'sons of Tinariwen'. Yet despite the glorious feel of 'Tamiditin', with its yelps and handclaps, or the woozy 'Tidite Tille', Mossa says that Tamikrest's music is directed towards one serious end."

Luke Turner

12. Pantha Du Prince - 'Stick To My Side' from Black Noise

"As taxonomy goes, though, minimal techno is the wrong term to use when attempting to describe Black Noise. Weber's bio offers the phrase, 'Sonic House.' The world may not need another sub-genre of electronic music, but in this instance, it works. Black Noise is, minus a few stumbles, a solid piece of sonic architecture."

Charles Ubaghs

11. Oneohtrix Point Never - 'Pelham Island Road' from Returnal

Review coming soon

10. Cathedral - 'Painting In The Dark' from The Guessing Game

"Despite The Guessing Game's unprecedented level of indulgence, you could make a decent case for it being an ideal starting point to ease a Cathedral ignoramus into the band's self-contained world. Especially if they're not a metal diehard."

Noel Gardner

9. The Fall - 'Bury' Your Future Our Clutter

"Truth is, and I am typing this under the hypnotic spell of the concluding track, 'Weather Report 2', I had wanted to escape the clutches of Mr Smith. Would have liked to but, as he chants, 'You gave me the best years of my life' I am simply drawn back. Not by weary nostalgia either, but by the sheer blinding brilliance of every second here."

Mick Middles

8. Walls - 'Gaberdine' from Walls

"[Walls] is a combination of Alessio Natalizia's buzzing, serrated, treated guitars counterpointed with Sam Willis's synths, in which malevolent backbeats and warmer electronic climes combine. As such they are very much on the outer edges of the Kompakt empire but a very fine addition to it, not least since most of Kompakt's roster are on its outer edges."

David Stubbs

7. These New Puritans - 'We Want War' from Hidden

"Taut, militaristic and obtuse, 'We Want War' sets the tone for much of what follows, particularly 'Three Thousand' and 'Drum Courts - Where Corals Lie', each of which is powered by a relentless whirlwind of brutalising beats. Elsewhere, the album's obsession with the elements is established by the lilting 'Hologram' - which gleefully and topically imagines the world disappearing under blankets of snow - and deepened further by the scattergun 'Fire-Power'."

Niall O'Keefe

6. The Besnard Lakes - 'Albatross' from The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

"Like those great Canadian artists who have gone before them the Besnards deserve to break free from the constrains of the northern territories that they evoke. They certainly have the tools, the craft and indeed the know-how, American or otherwise. This album is a blinding listen, interesting, deep and indeed beautiful to behold."

AP Childs

5. New Young Pony Club - 'We Want To' from The Optimist

"While Fantastic Playroom often seemed to be stuck in an early 80s time loop, permanently rooted in a New Wave disco, The Optimist encompasses a broader, brighter musical spectrum... The playful instant gratification of 'Ice Cream', for example, is eschewed for tastier morsels, such as the irresistible allure of 'We Want To' or the bewitching adrenaline of 'Dolls'. Both are every bit as delectable, but with a darker, more persistent flavour."

Ben Hewitt

4. Lindstrøm & Christabelle - 'Baby Can't Stop' from Real Life Is No Cool

"Lindstrøm's still one of the best exemplars of refinement replacing revolution on the dancefloor: one of his signature tricks is to take an indelible moment from a classic dance track and work it into a new, authentic world of its own."

Lee Arizuno

3. UFOmammut - 'Eve' from Eve

"Italy’s best-kept worst-kept secret, the criminally underappreciated UFOMammut, reach album number five with Eve, a single piece separated into five distinct movements and dedicated to the first woman to ever walk the Earth."

Toby Cook

2. Gayngs - 'Cry' from Relayted

"Relayted is an epic procession that hoves in and hoves out like a heavenly weatherfront, morphing from one track to another, never falling silent, never touching down, never deviating from around the 69 bpm mark."

David Stubbs

1. Liars - 'Scarecrows On A Killer Slant' from Sisterworld

"[Sisterworld's] twisted melodies are constantly shadowed by the paranoia-laced threat of possible violence; a violence that periodically comes crashing through the album's warped orchestration with the chaotic blasts of ear-splintering aggression heard on highlight 'Scarecrows on a Killer Slant'. The song's jagged guitar attack and industrial drums are answered by [Angus] Andrew's screams of 'Stand them on the street with the gun AND THEN KILL THEM ALL', his throat-shredding wailing racking up the tension, bathing the subdued opening bars of follower 'I Still Can See An Outside World' in a harsh, post-traumatic light."

Charles Ubaghs