Been a while since I wrote in here. And since it is nearing the end of 2010, I thought I would start doing a few of my annual lists of favorites. Let’s start with music. 2009 was pretty bare in terms of bands that I listen to releasing music. But 2010 saw a lot of my favorites releasing stuff. So, here are my favorite albums that I enjoyed this year. And since I don’t buy a lot of music, I can only give 7 selections.
7. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
I have heard of LCD Soundsystem for a while (“Get Innocuous!” was featured on the hipster radio station, Radio Broker, on GTA IV) but never really got into the music until I heard “All My Friends” on the trailer for the movie “Greenberg” this spring and got hooked on the song briefly. So when I saw the group’s latest album available on Amazon really cheap, I pounced. And while I haven’t given it a full-attention-listen-to, what I have heard on random shuffle on my iPod has been enjoyable. Not being a music critic, the closest I can come to describing their sound is “indie dance.” I also appreciate that most of the songs are on the longer side. The second-shortest track clocks in at 5:52.
Favorite songs: “Dance Yrself Clean” and “I Can Change”
6. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
I couldn’t put it any higher because I only bought it yesterday and have only listened to it once. But I love KOL. And it didn’t seem fair to put it at the very bottom of my list.
Favorite songs: “Radioactive” “The Immortals” “Birthday”
5. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
I really love their sound. Especially when they drop in a twinge of country twang into their songs, which is quite a surprising statement coming from me since I really can’t tolerate country music. But they definitely have a folksy, southern rock, alt country vibe that can rock on one track and then really mellow out on the next one. Great harmonies throughout.
Favorite songs: “Blue Beard” “On My Way Back Home” “For Annabelle” “Neighbor”
4. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
This might be a bit of a cheat on my part, as it was released in November of ’09 in the UK and then February of ’10 in the US. Irregardless, this British folk rock group makes great music. There’s quite a few good, earnest songs to enjoy here. Also, when the lead singer dips down into a near-growl, I think he sounds bit like Dave Matthews.
Favorite songs: “The Cave” “Winter Winds” “White Blank Page” “Little Lion Man”
3. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
This album was harder for me to get into than their previous two, but I think part of that may have been that I bought the mp3 album off of Amazon; whereas with the other two, I had the CDs and would pop them in and play them (the major drawback of always shuffling songs on my iPod is that I skip around too much). But when I actually listened to this album, Arcade Fire was still cranking out the consistently quality music that they had previously made. Athemic at times, and a definite theme of suburban sprawl throughout, it thankfully doesn’t wear out its welcome on repeated listening.
Favorite songs: “Ready To Start” “City With No Children” “Wasted Hours” “We Used To Wait” “The Sprawl II”
2. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong when you make a one-off duo of major players from The Shins and Gnarls Barkley. James Mercer’s voice laid down with the catchy beats of Danger Mouse? I did not need to be convinced of that combo, and I was not disappointed with it either. I don’t think I listened to a single album more than this one throughout the course of 2010.
Favorite songs: “The High Road” “Vaporize” “The Ghost Inside” “The Mall and Misery”
1. The Black Keys – Brothers
While I may have listened to Broken Bells more, nothing caught my ear more than this duo. Catchy hooks, bluesy guitars, and just a gritty, garage-band sound. With The White Stripes, Band of Skulls, and now The Black Keys, I have developed an affinity for a minimalist blues-rock that I didn’t have a few years ago.
Favorite songs: “Tighten Up” “Howlin’ For You” “The Only One” “Ten Cent Pistol” “Never Gonna Give You Up”