This was the year Portland came face-to-face with its blossoming, narrowly defined international reputation for "keeping it weird." Portland then slouched, dropped its head and let out a long sigh of defeat. We're not all underemployed artisan cheesemakers who moonlight in tall-bike polo leagues, but damn if everybody's not in a band. And while the local indie-rock world's prevailing winds aren't too far off the national average—with many of our fine local groups producing rock of the dreamy, spacey, electronic variety—many of Portland's metal and experimental artists are gaining national acclaim for making masterful music that resides right on the edge of accessibility.

My tastes, however, run a bit palatable. I hope you find something you like here, but if not—try turning the page. Oh, and happy new year.


 
 
(self-titled)
 
8. Nurses,
6. Typhoon,
After an extended hiatus, drum ’n’ laptops duo Deelay Ceelay returned to drop an album just as colorful and explosive as its multimedia productions.
The more time I spend with this gorgeous, whip-smart collection of puzzle songs from the vastly underrated Steve Hefter, the more I love it. “Long Distance Call,” in particular, is a generation-defining song.

Well, we put our heads together, and this is what we came up with. Not a complete list, to be sure, but a collection of our favorite local and national music of the year.

By EMILEE BOOHER, NATHAN CARSON, DEVAN COOK, JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG, ROBERT HAM, ARYA IMIG, REED JACKSON, CASEY JARMAN, AP KRYZA, MATTHEW P. SINGER, CHRIS STAMM, MARK STOCK, NIKKI VOLPICELLI.

Bryan John Appleby, Fire on the Vine

Atriarch,
Forever the End
Beastie Boys, The Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Check Your Head
James Blake,
James Blake
Blouse,
self-titled
Drive
BOAT,
Dress Like Your Idols
Rachel Taylor Brown,
World So Sweet
Danava,
Hemisphere of Shadows
Alela Diane,
Alela Diane & Wild Divine
Fucked Up, David Comes to Life
PJ Harvey,
Let England Shake
Nick Jaina,
The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here Are Gone
WW
Zola Jesus,
Conatus
Key Losers,
California Lite
Katy Davidson and company’s first full-length is alternately pretty, funny and so damn smooth. (CJ)
Log Across the Washer,
2009-2010 Collection
 

Luck-One,
True Theory
Other Lives,
Tamer Animals
A surrealist’s masterful portrait, set to bone-shaking orchestral sketches. Vast, cinematic and ruggedly sophisticated, this record haunts. (MS)
The Physics,
Love Is a Business
 
Pulse Emitter, Spiritual Vistas
 
Red Fang,
Murder the Mountains
Kelli Schaefer,
Ghost of the Beast
Paul Simon,
So Beautiful or So What
Something Fierce, Don’t Be So Cruel
Tycho,
Dive
Virus,
The Agent That Shapes the Desert
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