Ok, I know I’ve been super lazy, but it’s only because I’ve been super busy. Forgive me! Here’s part two of my end of the year thingamajig. Enjoy!
10) The Drums – The Drums
Yes, I know there are haters out there. I know the band uses the same beat and gimmick over and over. They just do it so well that I can’t help myself when this comes on. I think it comes down to the crooning. I’m a sucker for a crooner, from Sinatra to Morrissey to this guy. I don’t care who knows it…
9) LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
James Murphy is my electronic God. He is a poet pretending to be a great musician, but he’s just too good at it. He uses LCD Soundsystem to tell the world how he feels on a year-to-year basis. From what he thinks of women to how he approaches age and learns lessons are documented beautifully in his work. This Is Happening is his best record yet, and the approach to not making standout tracks works best for him. Every song is worth a listen, and they’re all so different that it’s impossible for everyone to have the same favorite. My favorite is “You Wanted a Hit,” whats yours?
8) Young the Giant – Young the Giant
Young the Giant is the most bombastically beautiful band of 2010. They have the harmonies, the beats, the reverb guitar, and the soul that makes a good band become great. Their songs are anthems, but they come straight from the feeling of a guy and a guitar. That’s what makes them special to me, and I hope you take the time to give them a listen. They deserve it.
7) Vampire Weekend – Contra
It’s a shame that this band gets so much backlash (re: “many backlashes” to my AutoCorrect, which kind of works too). I don’t see how somebody can hate this or any band for its style, upbringing, or simple pop sensibility. Can you not see that the most successful artists are the ones who are creative while staying within the world of being catchy, energetic, and fun? Vampire Weekend do that better than almost any other band I can think of. They have a welcoming sound that is meant to be liked, and only the most cynical of listeners hate them. It’s like hating the Beatles. Don’t be that guy/gal; nobody likes that person.
6) Wildlife – Strike Hard, Young Diamond
Why does nobody know about this album? This band is just as good as other loft rock pioneers like Local Natives and Suckers, and they take the fire of Funeral Party and make it slightly more appealing (by the way, Funeral Party is an HONORABLE MENTION). Their songs are just the right amount of diverse, but they stick together quite well. The best thing about Wildlife is that I remember their songs in a time when there is so much music that even great songs become lost on trained ears…
5) Free Energy – Stuck on Nothin’
Remember when music was fun? Thanks to Free Energy, you no longer have to. This is pure power pop rock, and it has no shame. It’s written with huge hooks and begs you to sing along to it. With an incredibly compelling frontman and a homage to the greats of the 70s, I consider Free Energy to be the ultimate bar band; except for the fact that they write their own great songs instead of covering Boston.
4) Twin Berlin – Youth Scenes (I have an album’s worth of material, so it counts.)
Twin Berlin is the best unknown band I’ve heard this year. They have a garage rock style that mixes the Strokes with a slightly more pop-oriented mentality, and they aren’t afraid to give it their all. By “give it their all,” I mean they aren’t afraid to quote unquote rock. Their songs have energy, catchiness, and balls. All of these were very scarce in 2010, what with the mellow direction independent music has taken in the last few years. I really am thankful for this band, and I’m sure they’ll get the fame they deserve soon enough. (Did I mention they’re super nice guys, too?)
3) Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
Local Natives put out an incredible album of reverb surf rock mixed with tribal drums and sing along harmonies. They are a prime example of what I’ve dubbed “Loft Rock” and their live show was one of the best I’ve seen this year. They are compelling in so many ways, making it easy to forget how beautiful their songs are by themselves.
2) Locksley – Be In Love
Locksley has at this point made its way into my top ten favorite bands of all time. I think that’s a good indicator of how talented I think they are. They sound like The Beatles updated to the modern day and imbued with the energy of the early 2000s garage rock revival. The band is hands down the best live show I’ve ever seen, including bands known for their shows (Dropkick Murphys, Reel Big Fish, Third Eye Blind).
1) Tokyo Police Club – Champ
I wrote all I could about this album here. I don’t know what else to say except that it’s still my favorite album of 2010. I seriously bonded with this band, and I didn’t even have to meet them. They are unique in the best possible way and the only thing that could have topped them in my eyes would have been the Strokes. It didn’t happen, and 2010 is their year in my book.
OK I did it! And I totally forgot about the Morning Benders, whose new album Big Echo is amazing. Arcade Fire would have been kicked off for sure. Here are what the blog robbers came for, so enjoy it!