Rather than having a semantic argument about whether 2009 or 2010 was the end of the last decade, Ca Va Cool yet again brings you its top albums of the year. Through our patented, painstaking, super-secret process, we have separated the wheat from the chaff to bring you twenty of this year’s finest albums (and Sufjan Stevens). Albums 20 to 11 come today, with the top ten being revealed on Friday. Without further ado, here is the bottom ten.

Released on Secret City Records

20. Diamond RingsSpecial Affections

The first of several one-man bands in our 2010 list, Diamond Rings is the brainchild of John O’Regan of the D’Urbervilles. In his Diamond Rings persona, Johnny O discards the post-punk mentality of his primary band with a spunkier, glam-rock approach. Special Affections strikes a fine balance of new wave pop with darker moments, distinctly glam but without the corniness that dogged the genre in the ’80s. The catchy hooks are never lost behind the synth, driven by punchy and endearingly DIY GarageBand drum beats. All of this punctuated by O’Regan’s direct and personal lyrics, emoted with his surprisingly throaty voice. In the end, Diamond Rings’ debut sounds like a less punky Pete Shelley, or a less cheesy Gary Numan, and ultimately a more fun John O’Regan. — Sabrina Diemert

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— , December 20, 2010    1 Comment

After my one year hiatus from this city, I returned to witness the fifth edition of the London Ontario Live Arts Festival, affectionately referred to as LOLA. Each September, the hipsters of the city descend on Victoria Park to witness four days of free music and art installations. While I missed out on seeing Yoko Ono’s billboard, I was focussed on the musical portion of the festival. What follows is a brief overview of this year’s LOLAfest.

Zeus

LOLA kicked off Thursday night with a double bill from Zeus and Jamie Lidell at Rum Runners. Although unlike the rest of the festival it was a pay event, it seemed to offer the most value. It’s a wonder more bands don’t play Rum Runners, aside from some poorly placed columns, it’s a fairly intimate venue, and the upper balcony offers an alternate perspective. During NXNE,  I saw Zeus perform at El Mocambo following the Golden Dogs as a secret act. I hadn’t listened to them at the time, so I didn’t feel terrible leaving midset, as I was tired and amped for Pavement the next day. Perhaps feeling remorse for the slight, I thought I would give them another shot. Zeus’ classic rock-inspired style was a bit odd considering the headliner, but I found I enjoyed them much more when not half-asleep. The band members frequently traded vocals as well as instruments, adding great variety and spontaneity to the set. Leaving the stage with shouts for an encore, the band could have easily been a headliner, as there were just as many people coming to see them as Jamie Lidell.

Zeus – Marching Through Your Head

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— , September 24, 2010    Comments Off on London Ontario Live Arts Festival 2010