Adventures In 2010: What's Your Last Minute 2010 Discovery?

Monday, December 20, 2010

As I'm prepping the--drumroll please-- Adventures In 2010: Top 30 Albums & Songs series of post, I've come across the fruit at the bottom of this year's yogurt cup. It's not a big deal to many to be concerned over missed music listening opportunities, but for someone like me who writes about and loves music, you'd think I should know every single thing that hits the music scene this year. Yet, I don't.

Still, that's what the "adventure" of music is all about---finding new or rediscovering sounds of old every single day at your own speed. Music finding is not a marathon, but it is true that there are just so many albums and singles out in a year's time that it's hard to consume them Pac-Man style. So usually when the bushel of end of the year lists come rolling in I sort of do head to the desk thing and go "Oh, wow, I missed that!?". This is a chance for you, and for me, to sort of shine a little light on those last minute 2010 discoveries while we rustle up our 'Best Of' lists to close out the year. I have provided five of my own "late hall passes" of the year after the cut, and you can offer yours in the comments.

Adriana Evans and Walking With The Night
As much of a fan I say I am of Adriana Evans, missing the opportunity to talk about her fourth album, Walking With The Night, was just an embarrassing faux pas. The Samba-Jazz chanteuse hadn't released a thing since 2007's wonderful El Camino, and she re-released her 2004 album, Nomad with a small promotional backing. Yet, I didn't take notice that Evans was indeed releasing new material this year and it was released back in February. Look at your life, look at your choices, Audio Diva...Walking With The Night is once again another warm cup of hot soul and jazz that really outshines what we were preoccupied with back in February *cough* Sade's Solider Of Love *cough* It's exactly what the Bay Area singer is noted for, laid-back grooves with a touch of stylish house jazz. I've been grooving to "Midnight" since I heard it, and if it keeps playing nice with me, it might make it to my Top 30 songs of 2010. 

Gorillaz + Little Dragon and "Empire Of Ants"
I blame "Stylo". A song that consumed my 2010, and that made me have blinders to really everything else on the Gorillaz's Plastic Beach. Bias feelings got the best of me as I missed the little gem of "Empire Of Ants" that features none other than Little Dragon. I adore Little Dragon, mainly for lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano, because she's quite expressive in a understated sort of way. You can see what I mean with the performance they did on David Letterman sometime back in October. In fact, now I would like to see the Gorillaz and Little Dragon join forces again, mainly because they are a match in atmospheric icy soul heaven. 

James Blake and all of his EP's
Everyone (including some blogger pals and readers) have been raving about James Blake for some time now, and I had to Nancy Drew it up.  I hipped myself to his cover of Feist's "Limit To Your Love"  Then I thought, okay, you did a Feist cover pretty well, so what else you got? He's got a bunch of EP's, that's what, and is prepping for his debut album come in February of 2011. Lots of choppy beats, rhythms and splices of vocals sort of greeted my ears. It not for those who don't like a minimalistic and electronic approach, but Blake is sort of like if you toned down what Mr Hudson did on his Straight No Chaser album. Very clean and creepy. It's the sterile soul that I like, so of course I'm looking forward to what Blake brings in album form next year.

Asa's Beautiful Imperfections
I don't think too many people know about Asa, but they should, especially after the wonderful display that was "Jailer" back in 2008. The French singer/guitarist released Beautiful Imperfections, her second album, this year in October, and it was yet another pleasant surprise blend of acoustic soul and Reggae beats. Just this time she went a little more VV Brown, as there's a bit more pep in her step with more sunshine grooves than you can count on one finger. It's just a shame that I'm listening to this in the dead of winter now, and not when I could have frolicked in the fallen leaves as if I was in a Macy's commercial.

Aloe Blacc has many 'good things' to share
Like James Blake, Aloe Blacc was nestled in my radar and I was told many "good things" about him, but you know, I just didn't take the initiative until the clock twelve and I lost my glass slipper. Well, my slipper has been returned, and now I'm hearing what everyone is hearing. Even though Blacc has been around since 2006 with his debut, Shining Through, "I Need A Dollar" off of Good Things started things off with folks getting into his method. I sort of like his lounge chair drawl of a vocal, and how he switches from that into a rapper's mode. Usually we say we don't want rappers singing, or vice versa (see Brandy), but for Blacc it works with his Philly Soul vaccination of an album. Personally, I like his cover of The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" the best, it sort of gives the somber rock piece a slight warm-up. Very welcomed.


  1. Adriana placed at #5 on my records of 2010 list. She is epic on that disc, very pretty and lush.-QH

  2. I'm late to this post but I'm loving not only the 30 best....but also this late pass. I agree - Adriana Evans and Asa are both great artists who released great albums. Some others I've recently gotten to know (forgive me if any turn up on the best of list) is
    a-Stac - Turn That Light Out
    b-The Liberation of - Ladi6
    c-Cilla K - Fine Line
    d-Joya Mooi - Hard Melk (or atleast all the songs where she is the main vocalist:)
    e- Jamie Woon - especially his latest single "Night Air" (fantastic song and great simple but powerful, moody video).

    In general thanks for the great recommendations - I found out about Nabiha and Zarif here and love them both!

  3. QH: Adriana sure really stuck her foot in this project. The more I listen to it the more I like it better than 'El Camino'...didn't think that was possible!

    Gracie: I love you're picks as well! need to check out The Liberation of and Joya Mooi, sounds interesting! I actually got wind of both Stac and Cilla K, but sadly, haven't really sat down with them. I know I'll be making another late pass post so they show up then, probably, lol!

    Glad I turned you onto Nabiha and Zarif, they had some great stuff didn't they?


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