Best Albums of 2010 :: Part 2!
Erika did a great job with her Best Albums of 2010 list! If you haven't already seen it you can check that out here. Instead of repeating a bunch of the albums she posted (which many are my favorites of 2010 as well), I thought I'd add some I liked that she didn't include instead. Here they are, enjoy!
My favorite album of 2010 is Brooklyn band The National's exquisite 'High Violet'. Along with Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" they were my two favorite/most listened to albums in 2010. They are a tie in my book. I would go from listening to one album non-stop then switch over to the other, but if pressed I think I would choose 'High Violet'. It wasn't an album that I played out so much as the tracks are pretty dark, introspective and downtempo for a club, but it got the most plays at home and in my car. A friend on Facebook described the album as "dark, desperate and stripped to the bone" I couldn't have said it better myself. Matt's voice is achingly beautiful and it's the best record they've put out so far (which is saying a lot, because 'Alligator' and 'Boxer' are stellar as well!). Track number #2 "Sorrow" with the opening lyrics 'sorrow found me when I was young, sorrow waited, sorrow won' is heart breaking and beautiful as he let's you into his world. You can feel his pain. One of my favorite tracks on the album, but really it's an album that's best heard in it's entirety. My only regret is not seeing them perform live in 2010. The one Florida show they did was in Orlando on the same night that LCD Soundsystem played in Miami and since LCD said it would be their last album/tour I kinda went with that one (which was amazing also), I only wish I could've cloned my myself that one night, sigh. Anyways hopefully these guys stick around for a long, long time. If not we got this classic to keep us warm for all time.
MP3: Sorrow - The National
A great example of why it's not such a good idea to release an album so early in the year as it tends to be forgotten by the time the Best Of lists come along in December is Hot Chip's 'One Life Stand'. Although not their best album (I still think 'The Warning' wins that), it's still a solid record that I listened to/played out a bunch in the beginning of the year, particularly first single "One Life Stand", which is Hot Chip at their dancey best.
MP3: One Life Stand - Hot Chip
Although I could have done without some of the noisier tracks on Crytal Castles second album like "Doe Deer", when they got melodic like on tracks "Celestica", "Vietnam" and "Baptism" they are at their prime. A fine dance record! Getting Robert Smith to re-do the vocal parts of "Not in Love" was pure genious and produced one of the finest singles of 2010. They could've come up with a better title than just self titled like their first record though. Leaves us calling this Crystal Castles #2?
MP3: Celestica - Crystal Castles
Although apparently released in 09' it was re-released and made a splash in 10' so I have to include this happy surf rock/pop debut by NYC's The Drums on here. They made a pretty big buzz this year and were a big part of the whole surfer rock resurgence we saw this year. "Best Friend" and "Let's Go Surfing" were two of my favorites. I posted "Let's Go Surfing" on the Best Singles list so here's "Best Friend". Good to have the lead singer from Elkland back. I loved that record 'Golden' they released back in 05'.
MP3: Best Friend - The Drums
Australia's Bag Raiders made a splash in 08' with their big electro-pop hit "Shooting Stars" then they took their time before putting out their self titled debut record this year and it was worth it! A great mix of electro-pop with some nu-funk thrown in there as well. A fine record that I really enjoy listening to. "Way Back Home" was one of my favorite singles that I posted on my top 50, so here is "So Demanding" another lovely, funky mid-tempo dance groove for the cool cats to strut their stuff.
MP3: So Demanding - Bag Raiders
The way release dates are nowadays I'm not sure if French Horn Rebellion's album 'The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion' is out yet or where, but it's a great record that I got into at the end of 2010 so I'm gonna include it on here. It kinda feels like a mixtape because of the way the tracks blend into each other and how they incorporate a bunch of different styles, but in the end it's a great pop record! They have a great ear for catchy/poppy hooks and even though their live show leaves a lot to be desired (I hope they've gotten better at that). It's obvious they know what their doing in the recording studio. Here's "Last Summer" track #10 from the album which almost feels like two different tracks when the change comes in around the 2 min mark and will give you a good idea what they do. A very solid second half on this record were many others fade.
MP3: Last Summer - French Horn Rebellion
I wasn't really into Yeasayer until I saw them perform live earlier this year. Then I became a huge fan. Their live performance is better than their live recordings which as most of us concert goers know is not a common thing at all, in fact most bands don't sound as good live as in their recordings, let alone better. "Ambling Alp" and "Madder Red" are superb singles and they do their own thing the way they do it and that's the way I like'em. 'Odd Blood' indeed.
MP3: Madder Red - Yeasayer
My beloved James came back this year with 'The Morning After The Night Before' which is basically two EP's put together into one album and it's some of the best stuff they've done in years! So good! This and 2007's 'Hey Ma' shows they're not missing a step. Saw them perform for the first time earlier this year in their kickoff show for their first U.S. tour in years for a small audience in Ft Lauderdale were Tim said upon gettting to the stage and a little surprised by the size of the crowd 'Welcome to an intimate night with James'. For the next hour and a half Tim Booth and the band blew me away! True artists in every sense of the word. These guys seem to only be getting better as the years go on in their 25+ yr career. Never re-treading the same ground, but yet still retaining the spirit that made me love them so in the first place. Here's "Tell Her I Said So" which Tim informed us at the show was mainly written by his mom waiting to die in a nursing home. Really changed my perspective of what I think of when I hear this track now.
MP3: Tell Her I Said So - James
One of the bands that I most played out this year in my DJ sets was Two Door Cinema Club. Their debut album 'Tourist History' is an excellent electro-pop dance record! So many catchy singles like "I Can Talk", "Undercover Martyn", "Something Good Can Work", plus they were one of the most remixed artists of the year. So chances are if you heard me spin this year I probably played at least one of their tracks/remixes in my sets. Here's "I Can Talk" one of the first tracks I heard from them that first caught my attention. Have a feeling these guys have a long future ahead of them and that's good news for us!
MP3: I Can Talk - Two Door Cinema Club
I can never get enough of the sultry voice of Blonde Redhead's lead singer. 'Penny Sparkle' sparkle's like a diamond. In particular opening track "Here Sometime's" is one of the most gorgeous tracks they've ever put out. Kicks off the album with a bang and never looks back. Great late night record to put on and enjoy with some wine or a spliff.
MP3: Here Sometimes - Blonde Redhead
Another album that may suffer from an early of the year release and may be forgotten in most Best Of's is The Golden Filter's 'Voluspa'. Came out way in the beginning of the year, but it's a solid electro-pop record and they were like the buzz band there for a minute or two. Watching them perform at WMC on a rooftop overlooking the Miami skyline at the W hotel filled with mostly suits who didn't even know who they were was a highlight of WMC for me. It was like a private concert for just a handful of us. Pretty bad ass!
MP3: Hide Me - The Golden Filter
One of the saddest things this year was the tragic death of lead singer for Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. Their debut record 'The Golden Year' is excellent! Made me real sad to hear of his death as their album showed so much potential. It's like he died right before they had a chance to make it. Maybe they will re-group and go on without him, but he will be difficult to replace. Either way we have this great record to remind us what could have been. You can read a nice little write up Erika did about the incident earlier in the year here.
MP3: Outside - Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
That's about it! I'm sure we missed some, but hey no matter how much we try it's hard to keep up with everything that's released. Although I've been checking out some lists and I like ours best ;) Cheers to all the good music of 2010 and all that's to come in 2011 and beyond! Thanks for being fans of Off the Radar and all the lovely messages of support you guys send us! We love ya all and hope to only get better in the years to come. Cheers!
Happy New Year!