“LA Water” - Helmet
Helmet was the East Coast reply to grunge in the 90s. They were grittier, harder, lacked even the slightest bit of hippyness, and they had short hair (a revolutionary thing for a metal band at the time). Their latest album features this gem of a song deriding their current West Coast lives. This song would have been the perfect theme for the show Californication, which depicts a hard-partying writer from New York forced against his will to live in Los Angeles. He inexplicably favors wuss-rock and Kurt Cobain. He should be listening to this.
“Carry Me Away” - Cypress Hill
This album, as a whole, got a lot of attention this year, but most of the attention was paid to the Tom Morello songs and the radio hit “Armada Latina” (a great song as well). “Carry Me Away” was a lesser known track on the album featuring Linkin Park’s guitar player Mike Shinoda, but it had more heart.
“Il Cielo In Una Stanza” - Mondo Cane
While the eyes of the rock world were focused on the Faith No More reunion tour as one of the most notable stories of the year, Mike Patton wasn’t taking a break on his half dozen not-so-side projects. The latest of these projects was Mondo Cane, featuring Patton’s interpretation of Italian pop songs of the 50s and 60s, with the backing of an orchestra, of course. As usual, anything Patton touches is at least interesting and, in this case, brilliant.
“Sextape” - Deftones
iTunes called the new Deftones album, Diamond Eyes, the best rock album of 2010 and I agree completely. Every song is endlessly interesting, original and unique. Every month, I change which song I’m obsessed with. This one’s just the latest. Next month it’ll probably be “You’ve Seen the Butcher.” As usual, it’s not their most radio-friendly songs that have videos made (maybe that’s why they remain underrated), but that’s all the more reason to buy the album. I’m just getting around to appreciating these videos after months of listening to masterpieces like “Cmnd/Ctrl,” Risk” and “976-Evil.”