It’s never easy to put this list together, but it’s always alot of fun. I give to you my favorite albums of 2010.
20. Deerhunter – Halocyn Digest
Not as immediate as Microcastle and lacking a standout song don’t keep Deerhunter from making our list again this year. ‘Halocyn’ proves that Deerhunter can make pretty amazing albums in their sleep, and we feel like the best is still upcoming.
19. Surf City – Kudos
The most underrated lo-fi rock band around snuck this release in at the end of November, keeping it off of most lists sadly. But the texture of the album is as good as peers like Sleigh Bells and Wavvves. Don’t miss out on this one.
18. Ratatat - LP4
Ratatat is totally hit or miss for me, but LP4 was a hit. It helped soundtrack part of my summer and in my opinion is only bested in their catalog by Classics, their 2006 effort.
17. School Of Seven Bells – Disconnect From Desire
I have to admit, I kinda had School Of Seven Bells pegged for a sophomore slump after their excellent debut album Alpinisms. Boy, was I glad to be wrong about that, the new album sees them more focused and dedicated to songwriting and continuing to make the sounds that made me fall for them in the first place.
16. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Probably the best collection of musical talent make up Broken Social Scene, so it should be no surprise that they knock another one out of the park with Forgiveness Rock Record. The band seems to be hitting mid-career stride despite what could be distractions in the form of several successful solo careers and spin off bands. But apparently, when they get together, they gel like nothing ever changed.
15. J Roddy Walston & The Business – S/T
I nearly left this album off, but readers of ENS know how much I love J Roddy and his band. Their “official” debut on Vagrant was nothing short of amazing, rock n’ roll at its finest.
14. The Black Keys – Brothers
After two dud albums in a row, I was close to writing off the Akron boys before I got ahold of this gem. Brothers sounds like early Black Keys but with a big dose of focus and maturity that help make it as good as the early records.
13. Sleigh Bells – Treats
The hype was going strong for Sleigh Bells after we got ahold of their EP last year, and for once, it was lived up to. An album I tried to dismiss as gimmicky and even lazy turned into one of my most listened to records of the year. The distortion, fuzz and overall dirty sound is nothing short of addicting.
12. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt
I love folk music, so as long as The Tallest Man wants to keep putting out great folk albums, I will probably keep finding a place for them on these lists. Not my favorite Tallest Man disc, but the bare bones folk still hits my sweet spot every time.
11. The Megaphonic Thrift – Decay Decoy
In your face rock and roll straight from Bergen, Norway warmed up my winter early this year. Seeing this band live in their home country made me an instant fan, and then hearing this album made me a bigger fan. If you haven’t heard this band yet, what are you waiting for?
10. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way
2010 was a year when I really dove headfirst into older soul and funk music. So naturally, I mixed in some of the new stuff as well. This album from Sharon Jones could have been a huge hit in the 1960′s 1970′s and should be the same this year. Quite simply, the best soul album of the year.
9. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
It’s hard to know where to start with a triple album. And I have to admit, if not for the immediacy of a few songs, “Good Intentions Paving Co.” for example, I might not be writing about this right now. But the songs I liked right away were a gateway to the rest of the album, and if you have the patience for it, I think you will agree.
8. Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love
I’ve always been a Belle & Sebastian fan, but nowhere near a superfan who waits patiently for each release. This album really took me over though. Write About Love might not go down as the favorite B&S record for diehards, but for me, it might be the best.
7. Spoon – Transference
Spoon has become the hallmark for album consistency. Every time out now, Britt Daniel and the boys make a succinct, tight and in this case, great album. This might turn some people off who want their music constantly morphing and evolving but for me, it just helps Spoon shine. I think years from now we might be calling Spoon one of the best bands of our generation.
6. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
It seems like the ‘cool’ thing to do lately is to take shots at Arcade Fire. Especially since they got the Grammy nomination. But I gotta say, the first half of this album was as good if not better than any first half of any album I heard this year. The second half of the record is good as well, but it drops off enough for me not to put it any higher. Watch out indie kids, Arcade Fire are firmly entrenched in the mainstream now.
5. The Besnard Lakes – Are The Roaring Night
On this amazing release, husband-and-wife duo Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas weave a intricate web of sounds that borrows from their previous releases, but catapults them to a new place overall. Are The Roaring Night features another of my favorite songs of the year in “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent.” I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
4. Beach House – Teen Dream
Beach House seemed like they could be a forgettable buzz band after their debut release. There were a couple excellent songs there, but the full picture was disappointing. Teen Dream made me forget all of that very quickly though, eclipsing everything from the debut and setting it’s own course as one of the best albums of the year.
3. These United States – What Lasts
One of my favorite bands released their best album to date this year, although I’m not sure many people realized it. These United States are a touring machine and also continue to churn out quality releases almost every year, but What Lasts really stands out. Jesse Elliot has never had a problem penning a good song, but the selections for this album are more personal and more memorable. Something I had no problem calling up in almost any situation this year.
2. The Radio Dept. – Clinging To A Scheme
I think someone once described The Radio Dept. accurately as “dream pop sounds through an electronic haze.” That description alone should sway some of you, but Clinging To A Scheme is much more than that. The album is short but sweet, and makes the four year wait since the last Radio Dept. long player worth it.
1. The National – High Violet
At the end of a year with High Violet, I’m ready to say it’s the best National album yet. That’s high praise coming from a big fan who adores Alligator, Boxer and well, almost everything they have released. But High Violet is as good start to finish as anything the former Cincinnati boys have thrown our way, and I expect it to stand the test of time. My only fear is that it might be the top of the ladder for The National, lets hope they continue to rise.
Albums I really liked, but didn’t crack this list.
Freelance Whales – Weathervanes
Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle
Pomegranates – One Of Us
Pop Empire – Rainy Child EP
Menomona – Mines
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