Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AA's Top Ten of 2010

Let’s just get right into it. Here are my 10 favorite albums of 2010.

#10 Of Montreal – False Priest

The of Montreal gang is back and funkier than ever. They’ve infused their quirky sound with pure sex in a manner that only those arty rockers could do. I suppose hanging out with the Wondaland Arts Society and listening to a lot of Parliament was largely responsible for the new sound.

# 9 Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

While sticking to their experimental dreamy sound, Halcyon Digest is the clearest indication that Deerhunter has solidifed their own unique sound. Gone are the aimless clouds of noise that obscured some of their last album, and instead a coherent haze of noise has emerged. More aptly their unique style of coherent chaotic soundscapes has emerged, and it’s damn good.

#8 Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

I’m a bit shocked that this hasn’t been on more people’s lists this year. I’ve always been a tremendous fan of Broken Social Scene, so I suppose it comes as no surprise that their new album made my list. Their sound is always incredibly expansive, intricate, and elaborate, although that’s hardly surprising considering the bevy of talented musicians that are in the band. The album hangs together well, and their tendency to wander and compact a million different ideas into one song has been further refined as they string together a series of cohesive songs.

#7 Beach House – Teen Dream

While much more accessible than their previous albums, Teen Dream still has all the abstract and moody elements that made me fall in love with Beach House initially. The dark sensuous vocals, the dreamy organs, and the swirling guitars make for some pretty soothing yet melancholy music.

#6 The Pass – Burst

As I mentioned in a recent post, The Pass makes some of the most fun and danceable music that I’ve heard in a long time. Throwing this album on always makes a spontaneous dance party wherever you are.

#5 NYC UFO's – Newer Stations

Raw garage rock with a New York sound that sounds like The Strokes from a bunch of up and coming youngsters dropping their first album. ‘Nuff said.

#4 The Morning Benders - Big Echo

Their march to ever greater musical stardom continues on unimpeded. Who would have thought that the sleepy hills of Berkeley would produce such awesomely inspired music. Big Echo is an amazing follow up to their first album that establishes the Morning Benders’ own unique sound, shows their increasing maturity, and puts them on the path to ever greater heights.

#3 Shout Out Louds - Work

There’s just something about these Swedes that I love. They have this infectious sound that always puts a massive smile on my face. What better reason for liking an album a lot?

#2 The Black Keys – Brothers

Few good bands have that vintage pure rock and roll sound these days, but album after album The Black Keys have managed to keep their edge. In large part, it’s due to the fact that they understand that rock n’ roll evolved from the blues. So I suppose it’s no surprise that on Brothers, they take their explorations of the underpinnings of rock even further by delving into Mo-Town soul and doo wop to find an even more inspired sound.

#1 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

While Arcade Fire’s new album being at the top of lists is getting to become a cliché, the hype is deserved. This was the album that I most eagerly looked forward to all year, and the album actually lived up to their inflated reputation.

Thoughtful, mature, and hauntingly good, they continue to grapple with serious issues moving beyond youthful angst and rebellion to a quiet understanding of their new lives. Moreover, their anthemic rock is absurdly catchy and always emotionally raw. The crack in Win Butler’s voice is no longer as melancholy as it once was, but it’s still equally as powerful and earnest.

I mean seriously, it’s pretty damn hard not to like such a genuinely nice band.

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