Saturday, October 16, 2010

My October Version of the Best Albums of the Year (so far)

My top 20 albums of 2010 (so far)

1. The National – High Violet. It's been my favorite for several months now. I doubt anything will come along (maybe Radiohead?) to dislodge it. 

2. Freelance Whales – Weathervanes: They came out of nowhere (for me at least) with a completely charming and fascinating album. A cross between The Postal Service and middle period Sufjan Stevens.

3. Broken Bells – Broken Bells: It started the year as my favorite album, but I'm not going back to listen to it much these days. It might fall further by the end of the year.

4. Damien Jurado – Saint Bartlett: I'm liking this more and more as the year goes on. It's going to overtake the number three spot any second.

5. Menomena – Mines: It took awhile for this to grow on me, and now I can't figure out why.

6. Eels – Tomorrow Morning: E's back! The last two were good but uneven. This one's also uneven, but it's great and uneven.

7. Phosphorescent – Here's to Taking it Easy

8. Wolf Parade – Expo 86: Simply a great rock record like I remember rock records from when I was a teenager.

9. Bobby Bare Jr. – A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head: Several of my favorite songs of the year, and a few real clunkers too. Bobby Bare Jr is unafraid of writing a really dumb song.

10. Mimicking Birds – Mimicking Birds: I was bored with this at first, and now I listen to it almost every night. That sounds like a sideways compliment, but it really is a great album to listen to at night. 

11. The Morning Benders – Big Echo: This one has bounced around between about number 20 and about number five. Today, it's at 11. Who knows where it'll be by the first of the year. 

12. Clem Snide – The Meat of Life: I wish this one were in my top ten.

13. Cowboy Junkies – Renmin Park: Strong weird album.

14. Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin: I've had this one on constant repeat for two days. It's dumb in all the right ways, with a sound that seems a mixture of Public Image LTD and Modest Mouse. Or something like that. I listened to it very loud while digging a grave for our cat that just died this morning. It helped. Post-punk always helps in such situations.

15. Autolux – Transit Transit: This one started out in my lower third, and has suddenly found itself in my upper third. Huh.

16. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night: This one was much higher on my list at one time.

17. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms: Like Autolux, this one started out in my lower third. Go figure. Maybe I'm just feeling more lush or something now. The soft-focus seems less bothersome.

18. Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame: When it first came out, I thought it was going to be the album of the year, but somethign about it doesn't hold up to these others in my upper third.

19. Azure Ray – Drawing Down the Moon: Simply the best voices on this list. I could listen to them sing the telephone book.

20. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record: Again, I thought this was going to be the album of the year when it first came out. Now it's dropping fast.

Other albums that are quite good, but have several tracks I’ve taken off my 2010 playlist:

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

Beach House – Teen Dream

Belle & Sebastian – Belle & Sebastian Write About Love

The Bird and the Bee – Interpreting the Maters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates

Breathe Owl Breathe – Magic Central

Carissa’s Weird – They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave (retrospective)

Eels – End Times

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Hawk

Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away

Laura Veirs – July Flame

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Neil Young – Le Noise

Sharon Van Etten – Epic

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt / Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird

Teenage Fanclub – Shadows

The Walkmen – Lisbon

The rest of the albums this year that caught my attention for a bit, but didn’t stick, though many have a song or two that is quite excellent (Teenage Fanclub, for instance. It’s a fairly weak album, but the song “Sometimes I Don’t Need to Believe in Anything” is one fo my favorites for the year.):

Adam Green – Minor Love
Altar Eagle – Mechanical Gardens
Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Avey Tare – Down There
Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo

Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils
Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore – Dear Companion
Best Coast – Crazy for You
Bill Callahan – Rough Travel for a Rare Thing
The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream
Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void
Blue Giant – Blue Giant
The Books – This Way Out

Caribou – Swim
The Clientele – Minotaur
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Crocodiles – Sleep Forever

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Horse Power EP
Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
The Drums – The Drums

Eddy Current Supression Ring – Rush to Relax
Elf Power – Elf Power
Everest – On Approach

The Flaming Lips – The Dark Side of the Moon
Foals – Total Life Forever

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
Goldfrapp – Head First

The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever
Holy Fuck – Latin

Interpol – Interpol

Jay Bennett – Kicking at the Perfumed Air
Jen Wood – Finds You in Love
Jesca Hoop – Hunting My Dress
Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me
John Lennon – Double Fantasy Stripped Down
Jónsi – Go
Junip – Fields / Rope and Summit EP

The Like – Release Me
The Living Sisters – Love to Live
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
Lucky Soul – A Coming of Age

Marching Band – Pop Cycle
Mates of State – Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)
MGMT – Congratulations
Miniature Tigers – FORTRESS
Mountain & The Trees – I Made This for You
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band – Where the Messengers Meet
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

The New Pornographers – Together

Of Montreal – False Priest
Owen Pallett – Heartland

Panda Bear – Tomboy
Philip Selway – Familial
Plants and Animals – La La Land
Portugal. The Man. – American Ghetto

Ra Ra Riot – The Orchard
The Radio Dept. – Clinging to a Scheme
Rogue Wave – Permalight

S. Carey – As We Grow
Sarah Jaffe – Suburban Nature
School of Seven Bells – Disconnect from Desire
She & Him – Volume Two
Shout Out Louds – Work
Sleigh Bells – Treats
Spoon – Transference
Strand of oaks – Pope Kildragon
Suckers – Wild Smile
Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz / All Delighted People
Suzanne Vega – Close-Up Vol 1, Love Songs

Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

The Vaselines – Sex with an X

Wavves – King of the Beach
We Are Trees – Boyfriend
Wild Nothing – Gemini
Woods – At Echo Lake
Wye Oak – My Neighbor/My Creator


At 10/18/2010 7:14 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

I am in awe of your listening capacity. Have you dj'd or written about music? I mean in addition to your notes here.

At 10/18/2010 8:22 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I have a lot more time to listen to music than I have to read, as I can listen to music all day long at work.

And between the NPR first listen series, hype machine, YouTube artist sets, and Pandora, I can find a lot of new things.

As well, there's the daily MP3 free song download and daily cheap album download.

This morning I downloaded the new album from Manchester Orchestra + Kevin Devine for $2.99. Together, thaty're calling themselves Bad Books.

They sound a bit like a cross between Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie, with a little Neutral Milk Hotel tossed in for garnish. The whole thing comes off as a sort of country cousin to the much slicker and better adjusted Monsters of Folk from last year. I like it. It'll probably not make my top 20, but it might.

At 10/18/2010 8:24 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

And I just heard a little Big Star back there in the song "Holding Down the Laughter." Or maybe it's Teenage Fanclub I'm hearing . . .


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home