31 December 2010

2010:: Favorite Albums of 2010

Finally getting back on track here. These are my favorite albums from 2010. Not the best and certainly not your favorites. Didn't get to listen to everything and these opinions are all subject to change as early as later today. As usual, I'm putting these in alphabetical groups of 10, because that's the way I like to do it! If your favorite isn't on there, I probably just didn't listen to it, so feel free to drop a rec in the comments.

The Top Ten (alphabetical)

The Bad Plus -- Never Stop
Another year, another album, another spot on Neddy's top 10 list. Impossibly the compositions are getting stronger and stronger with too many highlight tracks to bother mentioning. This album is unique in its lack of any sign of the vintage TBP covers... and is all the better for it.

The Black Keys -- Brothers
Fueled by Danger Mouse's production, the Keys are in a serious groove right now. This album is rock and roll, 2010 in its essence. Somehow it sounds both like the raw guitar-drums-and-voice stripped down Black Keys and a more grandiose, detailed subtle pop masterpiece, that just happens to make your hair stand on end.

Broken Social Scene -- Forgiveness Rock Record
Finally a worthy successor to "You Forgot It In People" that shows a leap in maturity and breadth and yet retains that BSS thing that makes it so much different and awe-inspiring than just about every other music being made out there. Amazing to think that this is the same band that will give you a drunken, raucous, ragged live show night in and out. This one is still growing on me. Also seek out their EP "Lo-Fi for the Dividing Nights" which is a perfect bedtime companion to this one.

The Dreamers -- Ipos Masada Book 2
John Zorn's power ensemble. Frankly, any time Ribot, Dunn, Baron, Saft, & Wolleson are playing together, I want to be a part of it. This album has them playing Masada selections, but it's less about what they play than how they're doing it and once again they are possibly the most talented band in the universe pushing each other to be better. This music has no genre.

El Ten Eleven -- It's Still Like a Secret
If you haven't heard El Ten Eleven yet, this is the time to start. Layered, architectural electropop instrumental music made by two guys on bass and drums. This album captures the balance of move-your-mind/move-your-body well without having to stare at them on stage and say "how they do that??" Check 'em out, you won't regret it.

Jason Collett -- Rat A Tat Tat

This is probably the biggest "how'd this get on here?" of my top 10, but this is the album that probably spent the most time in my car CD player this year. It just didn't want to come out! Great songwriting from Collett backed by the band Zeus for a spongy sound that's perfect for lazy mornings, long commutes or impressing your friends with something they haven't heard yet.

Midlake -- The Courage of Others
The perfect follow-up to one of my favorites from a couple years ago (Van Occupanther), this back country baroque sounds fantastic, transporting you to another world. I don't know how to describe the Midlake sound, and it's probably something you have to "get" but there is a subtle richness in this album that's worth a little patience.

Janelle Monae -- Archandroid
Wow! Just... wow! Epic vision, perfectly executed. Looking over this list, many of these favorites seem to be not just cross-cutting styles and genre, but almost newly invented styles and genres in their own right. Monae is a musical entity unto herself -- yes, you will hear Sun Ra, Outkast, Kanye West, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix and who knows what else in there, but blown together in some supersonic quasar. Probably my album of the year if forced to pick.

Spoon - Transference
I don't know if I'm even a huge Spoon fan, but good lord they put out some sweet albums. Some bands just shit out great music and Spoon is one of them, if I was a rock musician, I'd be jealous as heck.

Vampire Weekend -- Contra
I feel like I don't want to put this here for some reason, but the early year hype surrounding these guys and their sophomore effort is warranted, this is a fantastic record. I didn't think these guys would amount to more than a flash in a pan, but there is growth in sound and songs here that tells me they might be around for a while. Pick a track, listen to it and most likely you'll have it stuck in your head all day. Not many albums can do that, but Vampire Weekend can.

11-20 (alphabetical)

Clem Snide -- The Meat of Life
Cornershop -- Lucy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast
Dawes -- North Hills
Local Natives -- Gorilla Manor

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band -- Where the Messengers Meet
Of Montreal -- False Priest

Portugal. The Man -- American Ghetto
Wolf Parade -- Expo86

John Zorn (Burger/Dunn/Emmanuel/Perowsky/Ribot/Wolleson) -- The Godess
Kanye West -- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

21-30 (alphabetical)

Broken Bells -- s/t
Dr Rubberfunk -- Hot Stone
Cochemea Gastelum -- The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow
Horse Feathers -- Thistled Spring

Jenny & Johnny -- I'm Having Fun Now
Preservation Hall Jazz Band -- An Album to Benefit...
Ratatat -- LP4

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros -- s/t

The Roots -- How I Got Over
Zeus -- Say Us

31-40 (alphabetical)

Ryan Adams & the Cardinals III/IV
Clothesline Revival -- They Came From Somewhere
Dr. Dog -- Shame, Shame
LCD Soundsystem -- This Is Happening

Anders Osborne -- American Patchwork

Phantogram -- Eyelid Movies
Sufjan Stevens -- The Age of Adz

Laura Veirs -- July Flame

The Tallest Man on Earth -- The Wild Hunt

41-50 (alphabetical)

Arcade Fire -- The Suburbs
The Books -- The Way Out
Ben Goldberg Quartet -- Baal Masada Book 2

Javelin -- No Mas

Konono No1 -- Assume Crash Position
The National -- High Violet
Nels Cline Singers -- Initiate

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals -- s/t
Ra Ra Riot -- The Orchard
She & Him -- Vol. 2
John Zorn (Blumenkranz/Burger/Cohen/Perowsky/Wolleson) -- In Search of the Miraculous

51-60 (alphabetical)

Band of Horses -- Infinite Arms
David Byrne -- Here Lies Love
Caribou -- Swim

Delta Spirit -- History From Below
Justin Townes Earle -- Harlem River Blues

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings -- I Learned the Hard Way
Onra -- Long Distance
John Vanderslice -- Green Grow the Rushes

John Zorn -- Filmworks XXIV
Various -- Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows

61-70 (alphabetical)

!!! -- Strange Weather, Isn't It?
Blitzen Trapper -- Destroyer of the Void
The Clientele -- Minotaur
The Gaslight Anthem -- American Slang
The Hold Steady -- Heaven is Whenever
Menomena -- Mines

Mop Mop -- Ritual Of the Savage

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Stars -- The Five Ghosts

Various -- Dear New Orleans

70-75 (alphabetical)

Roky Erickson with Okkervil River -- True Love Cast Out All Evil
Blonde Redhead -- Penny Sparkle
Crystal Castles -- II
Girl Talk -- All Day

Jamie Lidell -- Compass

If you're still reading down here, some fantastic EP's worth seeking out:
Broken Social Scene -- Lo-Fi For the Dividing Nights
White Denim -- last day of summer
Junip -- Rope and Summit
Various -- Twistable, Turnable Man


Ava said...

These are great tees! I love T-Shirts. The first one on the list seems like it works only with a specific look but very creative anyway.I love all of them, I laughed quite a bit reading them.

cool sweatshirts

Trans-Americas Journey said...

Neddy, I believe Judy was busy sucking a lemon for breakfast,I'm not sure what Lucy ate. I believe she also originally did this in '09 on vinyl, but CD was released in '10