PRINT December 2010

Music: Best of 2010

Bjorn Copeland

1 Secret Project Robot: Art Experiment, New York This Brooklyn art gallery and performance space, run by founders Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski along with a troop of volunteers, has been hosting shows and events for the better part of a decade. But for some reason the quality and enthusiasm of this year’s program really stood out. Its exterior painted with murals and its entryway covered in flyers, the space stands out too, as a relic of Williamsburg past right next to some new, high-rent monstrosities.

2 Justin Pearson, From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry (Soft Skull) This is the first publication of writings by Justin Pearson, front man for SoCal sci-fi hardcore legends the Locust. J. P. provides firsthand accounts of and reflections on the less-than-glamorous life of a band that helped define the 1990s American underground.

3 Growing, US tour With the addition of a third member, and a new release on Vice, titled Pumps!, the band Growing broke new ground this year. The series of shows that followed this new album were some of the tightest, trippiest rave-ready sets all year, making them one of the best live bets of 2010.

4 Mat Brinkman, “Phantasmatgoria” (The Hole, New York) The opening for this major solo show offered a rare chance for a New York sighting of Forcefield cofounder Mat Brinkman. Mat’s visual imagery is the only appropriate complement to his unbelievable musical output (specifically under the guise of the amazing ZZ Pot).

5 Escho A small Danish label based in Copenhagen, Escho—run by Nis Bysted, Nis Sigurdsson, Anders Jørgen Mogensen, and Andreas Hauer-Jensen—specializes in beautifully designed, limited-run releases and serves as home base to some of Scandinavia’s most eclectic artists, such as Dane T. S. Hawk and Teppop, among others.

6 Wolf Eyes’ return to New York Apparently, it had been two years since the Michigan threepiece played the city. I’ve seen them play probably seventy-five times and they are still one of my biggest inspirations. Their show at Secret Project Robot this July proved that they only get better. They’re maybe one of the only real deals out there.

7 ODDSAC (Danny Perez and Animal Collective) At last, after five years or so, filmmaker Danny Perez’s psychoactive cinematic mash-up with Animal Collective finally saw the light of day, and legions of fucked-up kids rejoiced. This “visual album” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and is scored with all new AC songs.

8 Mcdonalds live This guitar, synth, and drum trio, fronted by an ex–caUSE co-MOTION! member, started playing live this year and serve as a reminder of how amazingly fun rock ’n’ roll can be. Their appearance at the Monster Island Block Party this September was the perfect cap to a summer that snuck by.

9 Todd P It’s been thirteen years since DIY promoter Todd P first booked Black Dice. That was in Portland, Oregon. I shudder to think what NY would be like without him. He helped save underground music.

10 Eric Copeland, Doo Doo Run and Strange Days (Post Present Medium) It’s true, Eric is my brother, but I swear this isn’t nepotism. The Doo Doo Run seven-inch and Strange Days LP are amazing, showcasing a new way of approaching pop music, from the gory inside out.

Bjorn Copeland is a Brooklyn-based visual artist and a founding member of the experimental music group Black Dice. Touring Europe this winter, the band will be playing All Tomorrow’s Parties’ “The Nightmare Before Christmas” festival on December 3.