Yesterday, I revealed my Top 10 favorite albums of 2010. But I don't do this alone, people, and it wouldn't do this blog justice if I didn't also present our readers with the top picks from some of the music aficionados who make up my fabulous team of contributors. Here they are, with some audio for your listening pleasure...
Savannah, Georgias Kylesa manage to pack more melody and raw chaos into the follow-up to their 2009 breakthrough, Static Tensions. The ethereally gloomy sludge is great headphone album material with its dual drumming and spacey guitars.
9) Arctic Monkeys, Humbug
Its a common story in the digital music age an over-hyped debut followed by inevitable backlash. But evolution and maturity suit Arctic Monkeys well on their third album, and its the haters that miss out on melodies these Brits pair with their trademark cheeky humor.
8) High On Fire, Snakes For The Divine
Multiple recommendations led to my gamble on stoner metal I once found monotonous. High On Fires latest is more like Mastodon without the prog. Matt Pikes froggy croak is definitely an acquired taste, but crushing, grinding riffs and wild solos should be universally appreciated.
Concept albums often suffer from bloat, and thats a malady even Arcade Fire cant escape. But a half-good Arcade Fire album is still better than most. The piano-driven title-track evokes a parade of houses from classic sitcoms in keeping with the discs theme; and Month Of May is a raw, fuzzy garage rocker.
6) Marksmen, The Blue And Grey EP
Ive never listed a local act among my top releases of the year before, though Ive come close. Marksmen and their lush, emotive rock featuring jangly guitars, propulsive drums, and the singers unique voice dont leave me a choice.
5) Wolf Parade, Expo 86
I cross my fingers hoping Wolf Parades third and best album yet wont be their last. Expo 86 finds their quirky post-punk somewhere between Talking Heads and Bauhaus.
4) Sleigh Bells, Treats
Production choices make this eardrum party the most polarizing album of 2010. Either you can cut through the noise for the unabashed catchiness and melodies beneath, or you cant. Trade your earbuds for a windows-down drive on the highway when pumping Treats.
The London quartet peppers their debut full-length with rootsy mountain music, rapid banjo-picking, soaring choruses, and piano melodies plucked from a 19th-century saloon. Brilliantly performed and impeccably produced for maximum emotional impact, but repeated listens expose a bit of redundancy.
2) Against Me!, White Crosses
Floridas greatest band continues to top itself with each new release. White Crosses represents Tom Gabels coming of age. Punk scene and record industry gripes have been traded entirely for personal fare and engaging storytelling.
1) Male Bonding, Nothing Hurts
The only flaw to their relentless, noisy psych-pop filtered through a wall-of-sound, 1960s garage band approach at less than half an hour Nothing Hurts ends way too soon.
1. The National, High Violet
2. Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz
3. Local Natives, Gorilla Manor
4. Wolf Parade, Expo '86
5. The Black Keys, Brothers
6. Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest
7. Tobacco, Maniac Meat
8. The Octopus Project, Hexadecagon
9. The Roots, How I Got Over
10. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
2. Priestess, Prior to the Fire
3. Sweet Apple, Love and Desperation
4. Elliott Smith, Roman Candle (remastered)
5. Melvins, The Bride Screamed Murder
6. Torche, Songs for Singles
7. Soundgarden, Telephantasm
8. Grandaddy, The Sophtware Slump; Sumday; Under the Western Freeway (reissues)
9. John Lennon, ?Plastic Ono Band (reissue)
10. Infant Sorrow, Live At The Greek Theater
I don't like calling myself a critic. I'm just a college-aged guy who listens to music. My college-radio-esque favorites reflect this. These are the albums I enjoyed the most in 2010. The first five were released in 2010. The second five I simply listened to in 2010. It's heavy on alternative rock and ambient music, with a bossa nova album and an electronica record thrown in for good measure.
1. Weezer, Hurley
3. Margot & The Nuclear So and So's, Buzzard
4. Four Tet, There Is Love In You
5. Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record
6. The Magnetic Fields, Holiday (1994)
7. Stan Getz/João Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto (1964)
8. Weezer, Pinkerton (1996)
9. Broken Social Scene, Feel Good Lost (2001)
10. Amiina, Kurr (2007)
2) Tim Barry, 28th & Stonewall
3) Look Mexico, To Bed To Battle
4) Off With Their Heada, In Desolation
5) Forgetters, Forgetters (2 x 7")
6) Frank Turner, Take To The Road and Rock & Roll
7) Fake Problems, Real Ghosts Caught On Tape
8) Guiltmaker, The Emerald Coast
9) Coffee Project, Moved On
10) Jon Snodgrass & Frank Turner, Buddies
2. Woods, Acoustic Family Creeps
3. Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin, Reverse Shark Attack
4. Shannon & The Clams, I Want To Go Home
5. Woodsman, Collages
6. Magick Markers/Sic Alps, Tour Split 12
7. Grass Widow, Grass Widow
8. The Amazing, The Amazing
2. Capn Jazz, Analphabetapolothology
3. Out of Focus, Four Letter Monday Afternoon
4. Silver Apples, Contact
5. Braid, Frankie Welfare
6. R. Stevie Moore, Phonography
7. Brainticket, Cottonwoodhill
8. Oh Sees, Grave Blockers EP
9. Pixies, Purple Tape
10. Ariel Pink, Fast Forward
2. The Books, The Way Out
3. A Silver Mt. Zion, Kollaps Tradixionales
4. Sylvester Anfang 2, Commune Cassetten
5. Prince Rama, Shadow Temple
6. Birthmark, Shaking Hands
7. Ty Segall, Melted
8. Woods, At Echo Lake
9. Grass Widow, Past Time
10. Owen Pallett, Heartland
11. NoBunny, Live
2. Local Natives, Gorilla Manor
3. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
4. Titus Andronicus, The Monitor
5. The Thermals, Personal Life
6. Spoon, Transference
7. Here We Go Magic, Pigeons
8. Aloe Blacc, Good Things
9. Menomena, Mines
10. Broken Bells, Broken Bells