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FILTER’s Top 10 of 2010: The Boxer Rebellion

By Staff on December 14, 2010


FILTER’s Top 10 of 2010: The Boxer Rebellion

Ah, the end of yet another fantastic year in music. 2010 was good to us, no doubt about it, and once again we find ourselves on the other side, having made it through a near-endless array of albums—from Teen Dreams to Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasies—all the better for it. Now comes the time when we sit back, plug in and reflect on the musical months in reverse. And as much as we love to put together our own best-of lists, we consider the bands themselves a far more fascinating glimpse at the sounds of 2010. Reaching out to some of our favorites, here FILTER presents a series of artists’ best-ofs running throughout the month of December. We've put in our own two cents on the Top 10 Records of 2010, so be sure to check those out, but for now we’ll turn it over to some of the artists who continue to make every year a highlight.

You may know The Boxer Rebellion now, but not nearly as well as you will in 2011. Featuring the cutting vocal dynamics of Tennessee-born Nathan Nicholson, the London-based, Culture Collide-approved foursome spent its 2010 touring heavily, preparing for the follow-up to their self-released 2009 sophomore album Union. Though both its previous records have emerged to acclaim and hype by the public and media, it may be the upcoming Ethan Johns–produced (and fittingly titled) The Cold Still that finally reaches the lofty heights each record before it has aimed towards. To close out this year and open the door into the next, The Boxer Rebellion sent over their personal picks for top records of the year. 

Nathan Nicholson’s Picks

Laura Marling, I Speak Because I Can (VIRGIN)

We had the privilege to work on our upcoming album with this record's producer, Ethan Johns. The album really captures what he does best from a production standpoint. Each song has a great depth of clarity and warmth. A lot is talked about Laura Marling's age and how she is wise beyond her years, which comes undeniably through her lyrics and songwriting. I'm a big fan of the song “Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)”.

Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest (4AD)

I first heard this album while we were traveling on tour in the U.S. a few months back. I've had their previous albums but this really just made a bit more sense to me. Melodically, I think it's great and the lo-fi production adds charm. "Helicopter" is a wonderful song and, like the rest of the album, is something simple but sonically interesting.

Adam Harrison’s Picks

Buke and Gass, Riposte (BRASSLAND)

Very rarely does an album stand out as breaking new ground whilst retaining great hooks and brilliant arrangements. In making their own instruments and thinking out exactly how to approach writing huge songs as a duo, Buke and Gass have done exactly that. No mean feat.

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs (MERGE)

An album that has the qualities of many other classic albums in that it grows with every listen and subtly works its way into your subconscious. It's a real journey from start to finish that shows the maturity that comes with a touring band with years of experience. The guitar work and arrangements are seamless and the production is exactly right for what they do.

The National, High Violet (4AD)

Another album from The National filled with existential worry set to beautiful instrumentation. It connects with truths and feelings that many bands can't express. Tracks like "Afraid Of Everyone" give me goosebumps and it's wonderful to see a band with a long history of quality albums finally get the attention they deserve.

Zola Jesus, Stridulum II (SACRED BONES)

There is something unsettling about hearing a beautiful female voice over a dark soundscape of synths, but in the case of Zola Jesus (or Fever Ray) it's hard to turn off. She seems truly artistic in her melodies, somehow blending them with soundscapes that match up to create the kind of atmospheric music you want to listen to in the dark...even if it gives you bad dreams.

Yeasayer, Odd Blood (SECRETLY CANADIAN)

It's hard for me to like anything that could be described as “great music for a party.” This, however, is the exception and I think it's because of the effort that has gone into each and every instrument and its part on this album. To top that off, the vocal hooks in songs like "O.N.E." make it a stand out against bands who just have the beats. - Adam Harrison

Everything Everything, Man Alive (GEFFEN)

Quirky, but in a good way. I think this album has something very English about its eccentricity. To me, though, the musicianship pulls me in—very different to the standard indie. A great album to pick at.

Piers Hewitt’s Picks

Foals, Total Life Forever (SUB POP)

I'm always a fan of an album that takes you on a journey. I'm even more of a fan of songs themselves that take you on a journey. There's more than one song that does that on this record. Full of excellent grooves, and interesting (but not too intelligent) ideas taking you right across the spectrum. It's also refreshing to see a band not be afraid of making too many songs longer than 4:30. More please.

Of Montreal, False Priest (POLYVINYL)

A hodge-podge of an album, but in a good way. From the artwork right through to the last track, it's obvious the brainchild, Kevin Barnes, is quite a left-field guy, but obviously for the benefit of his music. Some elements of dance and funk are used to good effect here, in a similar way to Broken Social Scene, which is one of my favorite bands. Winner.


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