Best Albums of 2010
Well, another year down; a year in which some amazing music has been produced. Here is a list of some of the best:
A Weather – Everyday Balloons
A Weather hails from Portland, and Everyday Balloons marks their second full-length album. The album is whispery and calm; the sort of music that you play on a lazy Saturday morning or when watching the snow fall. Everyday Balloons represents definite progression for A Weather, and this time around their songs are even more introspective and meaningful. CLICK HERE for a full album review, and CLICK HERE to purchase it.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Arcade Fire’s Funeral was proclaimed the best album of 2006 by pretty much the entire internet, and ever since it seems that Arcade Fire has tried to live up to Funeral‘s praise. The Suburbs, however, gets pretty close to the band’s past brilliance. While many of the songs are a little more toned down, the energy and angst which defines the band still provides a foundation to every song. And perhaps it is dependability that makes this album so fantastic; every single track represents progression for the band and indie music in general. Buy the Suburbs from Arcade Fire’s website. Click Here for a full album review.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
Band of Horses has obtained international acclaim over the course of their first two albums, and Infinite Arms, their third effort, proves that this Seattle band isn’t going anywhere. This album blends rock n’ roll with deep emotion, and the result is an album that makes you ponder your feelings at the same time that you are tapping your foot. Check out Infinite Arms on the Band of Horses’ website.
Broken Bells – Broken Bells
Broken Bells is James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton of Danger Mouse. With these two fantastic musicians working together, it doesn’t take a genius to deduce the wonder of this album; it’s easily one of the years best. Upbeat electronics combine with Mercer’s perfect vocals to create something utterly unique, yet never isolating. Do not miss this pop music masterpiece. Broken Bells’ website. Full Broken Bells album review.
Cotton Jones – Tall Hours In The Glowstream
Cotton Jones was once Page France, an indie twee band with a long list of positive reviews and dedicated fans. Their transformation to hazy 60’s style Cotton Jones brought reluctance from many, but Tall Hours In The Glowstream serves as Cotton Jone’s best album to date. It mixes that which was great about Page France with the uniqueness of Cotton Jones, and the finished product is definitely worth giving a listen. Check out Tall Hours In The Glowstream on iTunes.
Electric President – The Violent Blue
Electric President’s first album was widely accepted as fantastic; songs from it were even used on the hit television show The O.C. Following that success, however, the band faded into the background. While The Violent Blue has not received the popularity of the first album, it still represents the same fantastic song writing, and definitely deserves much more exposure. Check out Violent Blue on Amazon.
First Aid Kit – The Big Black and The Blue
The Big Black and The Blue is First Aid Kit’s first album, and it is ridiculously wonderful. These two sisters from Sweden are only 20 and 17 years old, which is incredible because their songwriting is anything but inexperienced. Fans of Fleet Foxes will immediately love this duo, as will anyone who enjoys beautiful folk music and enchanting harmonies. Right now, on their website, they are currently offering a free recording of a live set they played in Australia! First Aid Kit’s website.
Girl Talk – All Day
Girl Talk is Greg Gillis, a Pittsburg native who creates incredible music by mashing-up all kinds of songs. All Day is a free download, and makes use of more samples than I can even count. Perhaps most enjoyable about Greg’s creations is that he often juxtaposes currently popular tunes with classics from the sixties or seventies; the result in a wonderful album that will get your feet moving like crazy. Download All Day here.
Jenny And Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now
Jenny and Johnny consist of Jenny Lewis (yes, THAT Jenny Lewis) and her boyfriend Jonathan Rice. I’m Having Fun Now delivers some of the fantastic tunes that have made Rilo Kiley so big, while at the same time also taking on the sound which Jenny Lewis has developed over her two solo albums. The result is a wonderful summery album, which at times creates an interesting dichotomy between breezy music and emotionally charged lyrics. Go the Jenny and Johnny’s website to download a song for free.
Kite Flying Society – The Aviary
Kite Flying Society came out of nowhere in 2006 to release one the years best pop albums (Where is the Glow?) and then they did nothing. After several years of unfortunate stagnation, they released The Aviary early this year, and I couldn’t have been more excited. Kite Flying Society creates fantastic summery pop music, and is not worth missing. And if you buy The Aviary from the Kite Flying Society Bandcamp Page then you receive a free download of the remastered version of Where is the Glow? Two incredible indie-pop albums for the price that you choose? Holy smokes!
Laura Veirs – July Flame
Hailed by The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy as the best album of 2010, July Flame is the latest album in a long list of fantastically written Laura Veirs’ records. With solid lyrics, beautiful guitar work, and haunting vocals, this album just might inspire you to move to a cabin in the wilderness; or at least ponder the trivial details in life around you. Get two free tracks from July Flame HERE.
Mates of State – Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)
Any music that husband and wife duo Mates of State produces is worth checking out, and their latest offering is a covers album. I know, cover albums usually aren’t worth their weight in apricots, but this one is different. Crushes explores many of the songs which have been significant for the band, are there is not a song on the record that fails to do justice to the original recording. Crushes covers bands like Death Cab and Belle and Sebastian, so chances are high that many of the tunes on this record will be familiar. And at a $5 price tag, it’s an absolute no-brainer. Buy it at Mates of State’s website.
Rogue Wave – Permalight
Permalight is Rogue Wave’s fourth full length album, and at this point the band has already established itself as one of the greatest indie-pop bands currently producing music. In celebration of conquering many of the band’s personal trials, Permalight is much more of a dance album than their previous efforts. Although this may disappoint some fans, it’s impossible to deny that the album represents some of the most finely crafted pop songs of the year. Check out Permalight on Rogue Wave’s website. CLICK HERE for a full album review.
She & Him – Volume Two
She and Him released one of the most acclaimed albums of 2007 (Volume One), and their 2010 follow up does not disappoint. Their throw-back sound continues on this album, and the strength of each track proves that Volume One was anything but a fluke. Zooey Deschanel’s vocals and M. Ward’s guitar stylings combine once again for another hit record. Buy the record from She and Him’s website. Check out the full album review here.
Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
Sufjan Stevens, the sleeping giant of indie music, awoke this past fall and released some of the best music of the year. First releasing an 8 song EP (All Delighted People), America’s insatiable Sufjan appetite again became wet. Just a few weeks afterward, Sufjan released Age of Adz, an electronic journey into the lands of science fiction and self doubt. While many have criticized Sufjan’s abandonment of banjo in favor of a synth, there is no denying that Age of Adz pushes the songwriting envelope to a level possibly unmet by any other 2010 release. It’s just that good. Download Age of Adz on Sufjan’s Bandcamp page for only $8. Check out an Age of Adz album review here.