Click & Dagger: Top 10 Albums of 2010

List submitted by: Jason Kinnard

I’ve been looking at and creating “Top 10” and “Best Of” Music lists for the better part of a decade (OK, it’s a little longer but damn that makes me feel surprisingly old…). I have something to admit after all these years; I’ve never been a huge fan of putting numbered rankings on albums (I’m looking at you Pitchfork). With music being so personal to each individual who listens to it, this exercise seems increasingly difficult every single year; 2010 in particular. I also understand it goes with the territory. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines here and you’ll always have a group of people who feel like they have to “out list” the other guy, to have more “obscure” bands on their list than the next; it’s the same drill every single year with the usual cast of characters. With literally thousands of new releases a month, it’s becoming increasingly important to know where to go and who to trust when it comes to finding new music.

Fortunately for you, there’s quite a few people out there with good ears who consume music on a monumental scale; people in the “musical trenches” if you will (I’d like to consider myself one of them…). From Vinyl to CD’s, MP3’s to Myspace, Soundcloud Drop Boxes to Cassette Tapes, there’s never been an easier time for musicians to get their music into your hands and in your ears. Everyone has their own “trusted sources” and I suppose I’m no different, but how will you know who to trust for your music? Well, that’s something you’ll just have to discover for yourself. Personally, I think you’re off to a pretty good start…

10. Wavves – King of the Beach

Comments: Say what you want about these stoner/slackers and their previous efforts, but I found myself playing this album quite a bit over the Summer and I know you did too. I love music that transforms you somewhere else, and this album immediately sailed me to the sun-drenched Malibu beaches I remember from my youth (the rest is a bit hazy…). Their live show only confirmed what I had already thought; good bands don’t have to try very hard…

9. Warpaint – The Fool

Comments: These girls from L.A. have produced one of the better (and arguably more-hyped) debut albums of recent memory. One listen to the song “undertow” and I immediately had to give this another listen. I’m certainly glad I did. Do you have “that friend” who always complains there aren’t any good new bands out anymore? Have them listen to this…

8. Beach House – Teen Dream

Comments: Wow. Talk about a band that transformed themselves over the span of 3 albums. Hands down, this has got to be one of the better (and sadder) “pop” albums of recent memory. Do I feel a little less “manly” liking this album so much? Maybe, but Victoria Legrand’s voice sure as hell didn’t hurt. More music that paints a distinct picture and does it well. I won’t go into where this one transported me…

7. No Age – Everything In Between

Comments: Another band that seems to have found their mark with the release of a great new album. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of this two-piece’s previous fuzzed-out work, but this sounds almost like a completely different band. Just as loud as before, only this time with much more calculated restraint. Broken bones and old age will do that to you…

6. The Drums – The Drums

Comments: This Brooklyn band might best be known for it’s mockery of the beach scene with their song “Let’s Go Surfing”, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a band successfully paving their own way. The more I read about the production and recording process of this album, the more impressed I am. C86 fans should give this a listen; it’s about time we gave the Brits a taste of their own medicine.

5. Caribou – Swim

Comments: Canadian and Instrumental. Not 2 things I would normally put together (much less listen to), but one spin of this on the turntable and I was blown away. Four Tet, Junior Boys, and Born Ruffians on the assist. Can we please give this guy another Polaris Prize?

4. Foals – Total Life Forever

Comments: 2010 is the year of “re-invention”… Another album that caught me by complete surprise. The sophomore release from this Oxford 3-piece is sure to raise few eyebrows and land on more than a few “Top 10” lists, most likely at #1. “Spanish Sahara” got in my craw early and never left. This is really brilliant stuff.

3. These New Puritans – Hidden

Comments: A daring and pure unrelenting sophomore release from this exciting UK band. Maybe a difficult entry point for some, but trust me when I say this is an unbelievably powerful album with plenty of little nuances to uncover. Give this a long critical listen on vinyl with some good speakers/headphones and get back to me. Groundbreaking stuff; the bar has been set very high with this one.

2. Tame ImpalaInnerspeaker

Comments: The next kick-ass band from Australia.  I had these guys on an old discovery list of mine and I’m floored by this release. 60’s Psych with a refreshingly modern twist. I almost hate mentioning more as this album is something you really need to listen to without any pre-conceptions. There’s a reason this album won the coveted J Award in Australia for Album of the Year. Why do I love this album so much? Hmm, well I do have every single Byrds album on vinyl. I cannot wait to see this band live next week!

1. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Comments: This probably wasn’t the best year for James Murphy and company to unleash such an epic album, but damned if they didn’t go ahead and do it anyway. What does Disco-Rock sound like?  I guess this is it. And for people who think they’re still from England? No, they’re not…

*2010 Honorable Mentions: Deerhunter Halcyon Digest, The National High Violet, Best Coast Crazy For You, Arcade FireSuburbs, WeekendSports, Ra Ra Riot The Orchard, Sleigh BellsTreat, Twin ShadowForget, Forest Swords – Dagger Paths


~ by clickdagger on December 5, 2010.

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