Here are our top ten albums of 2010 in no particular order…
Wild Nothing – Gemini
The sprawling shoegaze of Wild Nothing and the man behind the moniker, Jack Tatum, emerged from anonymity with this wonderful debut LP full of great melodies and summer vibes. Listening to Gemini stupid words like “gauzy”, “breezy” and “billowing” come to mind, which usually means its about as perfect as indie-pop gets.
Wild Nothing – Chinatown by LukeSlater
Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers
Mount Kimbie exist in that zeitgeisty, post-dubstep continuum where programmed beats and bass loops collide with pops, clicks and dusty sound collages. That sounds like Wank City, but truthfully it’s hard to put their music into words without getting esoteric like that. Their phenomenal debut Crooks and Lovers is futuristic and pastoral at once – aching vocal melodies, echo-laden field recordings and stuttering rhythms. One of the most beautiful surprise releases of 2010.
Mount Kimbie – Carbonated by subraw
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
It is weird that only three years ago Kanye West was opening his album (
CongratulationsGraduation) with a stoked exclamation of “good morning!” and the songs were all about Flashing Lights, the Good Life, The Glory, etc. Cut to 2010 and a lot of shit has gone down with the guy: Taylorgate, stripper girlfriends, unhinged twitter soliloquies, Louis Vuitton internships, long ass music videos, awards, life, blah blah blah. Despite all the incessant white noise surrounding this guy, no matter how irritating, inappropriate or fucking stupid he acted, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy rose above it all and ruled. Crazy beats, guest appearances from everyone, epic orchestral production, a million amazing producers, oh-no-you-didn’t hooks, and the most intimate, self-conscious and candid lyrics. A behemothic beast of a record and a hiphop masterpiece. Believe the hype (williams).
Beach House – Teen Dream
This collection of dusky, wistful pop tunes by Beach House’s Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally is goddamn gorgeous. It’s rare for a record to get released so early in the year (January 26) and not fade from consciousness, but this hypnotic piece of ’70s California nostalgia never really left our heads or our stereos. Hands down the best album of the year for either romancing or waltzing.
Beach House – Zebra (UK Radio Edit) by subpop
Foals – Total Life Forever
With this beautiful sophomore effort, Oxford quintet Foals looked beyond the dancefloor and the ‘math rock’ tag that had plagued them and injected some emotional depth and interesting sonic dynamics to win us over. Besides being the best album-name of the year, Total Life Forever threw up kraut-y funk rhythms, ’80s shoegaze, angular post-punk guitars, shades of folk, electronics, sick drumming and “Spanish Sahara” and made it all work. ‘Total life forever’ should be everyone’s motto.
Spanish Sahara by subpop
LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening
This Is Happening made us remember the reason why LCD Soundsystem are the Shangri-La of party bands. It’s because time after time James Murphy and his cohorts have brought the party with every record and have done so in an exemplary way that no other band has mastered. Like all great parties the album is made up of highs and lows: prepping with a spritzer (“Dance Yrself Clean”), owning the dancefloor (“Drunk Girls”), the quiet moments of intimacy (“You Wanted A Hit”), substance-induced melancholy (“All I Want”), black-out looseness (“One Touch”), and the long walk home (“Home”). LCD Soundsystem has provided the soundtrack to the party since 2002 and ‘This Is Happening’ proved it’s not time to hang up the cowbell just yet.
LCD Soundsystem – Dance Yrself Clean by desborachos
How To Dress Well – Love Remains
If someone pitched the glitchy lo-fi R&B trip hop of How To Dress Well AKA Tom Krell a lot of people would stay silent and slowly back away. Luckily for us we didn’t. Spooky, haunting, ambient, weird, euphoric and glorious – kind of like R. Kelly and Sigur Ros playing simultaneously on the stereo at half speed? You hear me.
How To Dress Well – Ready For The World by speedglueandmusic_aw
Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
Her voice, you other love it or you hate it, but it sounds the strongest and clearest it’s sounded in a while on Have One On Me. And, while Joanna Newsom is consistently amazing, sometimes her music veers heavily into ‘expressionist’ territory and it’s just hard to listen to. Not so this record: it has to be her more accessible album to date, in terms of – well everything really. Clearer/less vague lyrics, familiar pop structures, and a greater layer of instruments to create a sound that is warm and inviting. Plus it’s a triple album. That’s three albums in one and you gotta love that.
[Note: track below is not off the album but is awesome.]
The Roots feat. Joanna Newsom- Right On by delaneyamach
Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils
There were so many beach-themed bands around this year. Beach Fossils’ mastermind Dustin Payseur hails from noted non-beach zone Brooklyn but we think his self-titled bedroom debut captures the authentic coastal vibe better than a lot of the others. It’s full of fuzzy, jangly guitar pop and echoing shoegaze vibes and is a beautiful trip from start to finish.
Beach Fossils – Youth by Hypetrak
Fang Island – Fang Island
Chillwave overload getting you down? Need a bit of balls-out guitar wailing to feel the hair on your chest? Enter Fang Island. Two things to note: (1) Fang Island has three guitarists; (2) fist-pumps are mandatory. This self-titled record is pure fucking fun: a blur of grandiose, wildly uplifting arena rock, part Queen and part Meatloaf, with laser beams and arcade game sounds thrown in for extra effect. Sounds kinda shit but it’s actually epic.
Daisy by Fang Island
Hot Chip – One Life Stand
For every 30 new bands/artists you discover each year there’s usually a tried and true stalwart that pulls out the goods to remind you why they’re around. Hot Chip was that band this year. They make dance music with a soul, and this their fourth studio album is arguably their best: fragile, euphoric, sophisticated and emotional all at once.
Hot Chip – I Feel Better by HOTCHIP
Pantha du Prince – Black Noise
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt
Yeasayer – Odd Blood
Arcade Fire – Suburbs
Delorean – Subiza
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
No Monster Club – Young Guys Champion
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
No Age – Everything In Between
Baths – Cerulean
Liars – Sisterworld