Sunday, January 30, 2011

Luke's Top Albums of 2010

Podcasts continually play a larger part in my listening life (only 1,107 songs auditioned in 2010 vs. 1,712 in 2009), but my tune time this year yielded some great biz. If you missed out on my 2009 picks, click here.

Albums I Missed From 2009

Ghostland Observatory - Papparazzi Lighting.
I caught these guys in concert a few weeks ago and that was the final push I needed to really appreciate this album. I like's description of them: "They are not a band, but an agreement between two friends to create something that not only heals their beat-driven hearts, but pleases their rock ‘n roll souls."

Pretty Lights - Filling Up The Skies, Vol. 2.
This DJ out of Denver is really popular among snowboarders and skiers around Aspen and rightfully so. Just check out "Finally Moving Remix" and I think you'll get it. Or better yet go shred Aspen Mountain on a snowboard while listening to this and you'll really get it.

Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line.
Nothing too deep to say here other than this is a compilation of very catch tunes. My fav is "Each Year."

With that, let's get to the meat of 2010 ordered into tiers of Untouchables, Must Haves, and Gold Plated Diapers

2010 Untouchables

If you don't have these albums, you're only hurting yourself. You're basically kicking yourself in the shin continuously until you own and listen to these albums.

The Tallest Man on Earth - Everything He's Ever Put Out.
That's not the name of an album, but really you should just go get everything that the man known as Kristian Matsson has put out. Some have compared him to Bob Dylan, but I don't think that's fair to TMoE at all after Dylan's Grammy performance. Oh and if you get a chance to see him live, it's a must see show. There are no options.

Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown.
My favorite band of the last 5 years puts out an album every 2 years it seems ... which contributes heavily to my ongoing like for the KoL. Some have ripped this album for being "stadium rock" and not as hard as their previous albums. Whatever the mood or the genre is ... here's my take. If KoL albums were mountain ranges, this album is a nice 10,000 foot plateau as opposed to a series of 14,000 foot jagged peaks. The whole album is great.

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor.
This LA band likes to sing "oh woah" a lot ... and it plays every time. Take the first track for instance ... As I said in a tweet earlier this year ... "The first 40 seconds of every song wishes it was as good as this one."

Must Haves

Get these too. Let's stop fooling around.

Bear Hands - Golden EP.
I saw these guys open for We Were Promised Jetpacks and, wow, these 4 dudes from Brooklyn lay it down. Fun fact: their lead singer hangs out stage right while their bass player (who doesn't do vocals) gets the front and center spot. It plays.

Ben Rector - Into The Morning.
Another discovery via opener. Ben opened for Mr. Dave Barnes and wouldn't ya know it he has some great singer/songwriter tunes. And he's hilarious. Here's video evidence captured via my Flip cam.

Dave Barnes - What We Want, What We Get.
Yaaaaaaay Barnes is back. Easily one of my favorite singer/songwriters of the last decade - his previous album kinda/sorta missed the mark with me ... but not this one. "Barnes killed it tonight."

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement.
The third "opener" on the list. I caught this guy open for John Mayer over NYE in Vegas and enjoyed myself a lot, but not nearly as much as when I saw them later at the Mile High Music Festival. He's a white guy that pretty much writes Motown songs ... and I welcome all of them.

Tokyo Police Club - Champ.
This album opens strong with 2 songs that start with the word "Favourite" and they even work in a 3rd unnecessary "ou" word with "Colour" on track 2. Rock. Indie. I'm not quite sure how to categorize these guys outside of really good.

Gold Plated Diapers

The best of the rest.

Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks.
Can you believe the list went this long without having a Scottish (correction) band? Well the wait's over. FR is back with another set of hits ... not as hitty as their previous album, but hitty nonetheless.

Mumford & Sons - Sign No More.
I initially thought this guy's voice sounded exactly like that of Mr. Dave Matthews ... and then I realized "hey, no matter who this guy sounds like, there is some great music being played behind/by him." And then the whole world realized the same thing ... well maybe not the Dave Matthews part.

The Silver Seas - High Society and Chateau Revenge!
Mr. Dave Barnes (previously mentioned in this blog) turned me onto these cats and these are 2 albums of catchy/poppy tunes. To answer the question posed in one of their best songs "What's The Drawback?" None. There is no drawback.

Sleigh Bells - Treats.
This band is pretty far off my usual genre radar, but something about super bassy beats mixed with girls singing about whether or not they forgot their sunglasses works.

Spoon - Transference.
Maybe the most indie predictable album on this list, but I can't leave it off. Slowly complicated building progressions of Who Makes Your Money and I Saw The Light need to be heard.


AndoUSC said...

No but seriously FR is from Scotland. Whole different island.

LJ said...

Good lookin' out. Corrected.

grant.ruby said...

That Ghostland album is actually from 2006. The other two "Missed in 2009" albums are from 2008.

It's no less a solid list.

LJ said...

My bad. Shoulda re-stated "the rules" that I've been playing with.

From my 2007 post: "Keep in mind this is not necessarily music that was released to the world in the previous year, but just music that was added to my library in the previous year"