Though its name has become synonymous with portentously eccentric beauty, Sigur Rós has taken steps to find its quirky, joyful side in recent years. But it took a side project called Jonsi — technically a band led by singer Jon Thor Birgisson, who prefers not to be addressed as “Jonsi” — to dump out an endlessly surprising toy-box of exhilarating ideas. Go showcases plenty of atmospheric grace to balance out relentlessly ingratiating thrillers like “Go Do” and “Boy Lilikoi,” but the net result is the year’s most life-affirmingly sweet, unexpectedly sunny gem. (Stephen Thompson)

Here’s our interview with Jonsi from October.

Also, openly gay Owen Pallet and his album ‘Heartland’ are featured:

After four years of looking the other way, the videogame company Square Enix finally confronted Toronto composer and violinist Owen Pallett last December about his use of the moniker Final Fantasy. It was a blessing in disguise: It forced Pallett to stick his own name on (what I think is) 2010’s greatest album, the fantastical song cycle Heartland. In the works since 2006, the record is a seamless hybrid of classical and electronic orchestration unlike anything I’ve heard. Pallett composed and arranged the pieces, then enlisted the Czech Philharmonic to bring them to life. Combined with Pallett’s surprising tenor, the production is so transportive that Heartland’s narrative — a metaphysical adventure starring a farmer named Lewis — feels almost incidental. (Otis Hart)

Several gay faves also made the list, including Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Robyn, Sleigh Bells, Sufjan Stevens and Kanye West.

See the full list here.

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