After a particularly weak offering in 2009, 2010 has been an exceptional year for new music. I had a very difficult time cutting the list down to 10 with the likes of Titus Andronicus, Delta Spirit, Miike Snow, Minus the Bear, Ra Ra Riot, and Tokyo Police Club just barely missing the cut. Also not on the list are Gorillaz, Yeasayer, BRMC, and LCD Soundsystem. All of those albums would have likely made last year’s Top 10. One final word about 2009’s list: Although it was released in 2009 and therefore disqualified here, I probably listened to K’naan’s Troubador as much as any other album this year and it deserves a mention.
10. Lissie – Catching a Tiger With super catchy cuts like When I’m Alone and In Sleep, I found myself playing Lissie’s awesome debut album over and over again.
9. Menomena – Mines Portland band Menomena’s follow up to 2007’s Friend & Foe was even more impressive and goes down as yet another strong album released by Barsuk.
8. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks Scottish rockers and NPR faves Frightened Rabbit dropped this very solid album that too many people missed.
7. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More It seems Mumford & Sons have found a home in steady rotation on commercial radio and therefore are disqualified from most people’s top 10 lists. I love this album – but hey, I’m the same idiot who gave The Killers my top spot two years ago.
6. Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives Sick beats, illmatic flows, the reggae vibe, and a real message make this a must have album.
5. Hot Chip – One Life Stand While Hot Chip has been on my radar for a while, I’ve never dug one of their albums the way I totally dig One Life Stand. You can’t help but tap your foot to this one. Hell, just get up and dance.
4. Arcade Fire – Suburbs A week after this album came out I was sure it would be in the number one spot come late December. Unfortunately, it just didn’t stand up quite as well as I’d hoped after repeat listening. That being said, it is one hell of an incredible album and well worth its number four spot.
3. The Black Keys – Brothers The best straight up rock and roll album in years, this one was pretty tough for me to bump down to third. We’ll see if Jack White lets them keep that crown for long.
2. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor This indie-tastic album straight outta my hood held top spot in my rotation from about February to July. I can’t wait to hear what they offer up next.
1. Broken Bells It is too easy to joke about how many artists Danger Mouse has worked with, but he continues to crank out hits. This time teamed with The Shins’ James Mercer, Broken Bells is one of those albums that perfectly defines the year 2010 – yet will have a spot in my heavy rotation for years and years to come.
What a terrific year for music! I’m sure there will be some disagreements with these picks. What do YOU think?