For me, I think this year will be remembered by the large amounts of “surf” bands that exploded onto the scene – Beach House, Wavves, Surfer Blood, The Drums, Best Coast – the list goes on. From memory, last year when I nutted out my top ten I found it easier to pick ten great songs, but struggled for quality albums.
This year, not as hard.
So here are my faves from 2010 (in no order).
WAVVES KING OF THE BEACH
Auto-tune seems to be everywhere – even commercials these days. Great to hear some good ol’ lo-fi production at work. Throw in some distorted vocals and heavy pop beats for good measure. “King of the Beach”, “Green Eyes” and “Post Acid” should all make you feel warm.
SURFER BLOOD ASTRO COAST
The band hails from Palm Beach Florida and it’s really easy to see where their debut album got its summer vibe from. “Swim” should become your next summer anthem.
ARCADE FIRE SUBURBS
Easily the best album of the year for me. These Canadians have hashed out three albums in the past decade and have yet to disappoint. The album ebbs and flows with violins ,crashing distortion and thunderous beats, all while making you feel you are tracking someone’s life from birth to death.
DEERHUNTER HALCYON DIGEST
Was never a huge fan of their work, but somehow really got into this. It’s very “now” production-wise, the reverb vocals make sense against some of the 60’s-surf melodies. It’s taken me a while to get into the whole album, but it seems to get better with each listen.
GIRL TALK ALL DAY
The best in the business as far as mash ups go. Who else can combine songs from the 60’s, Avril Lavange, JayZ and Radiohead all in the same track? He’s even better live. Best thing too IT’S FREE. Go to his website and download. Free.
BAND OF HORSES INFINITE ARMS
There is something about his yokel-sounding voice that makes Band of Horses so much different than the rest of the pack. I like the southern-drawl sound they’ve got going on and even though I preferred their last album to this, it still was memorable. It kinda makes you want to go to South Carolina – where they live now – and drive around for a while chewing on hay.
The Shins front man James Mercer got together with Danger Mouse’s Brian Burton for some side project love. They both sing on this album making it a TRUE collaboration. Unlike some front man who do side projects and its’ entirely the same sound as their band, but watered down. Not here. It’s split 50-50. Having said that, I’m excited for the new Shins next year. “The High Road” and “October” sounded pretty good to me.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND CONTRA
It’s early Weezer on holiday in Hawaii. Tropical bliss.
SUFJAN STEVENS AGE OF ADZ
It’s disco, it’s folk, it’s pop, it’s hip-hop. He’s admitted his 50 states project (he planned to record an album for each of the 50 states in the US) was a promo stunt, but that aside he’s part of the indie folk revival. Not afraid to use a banjo or ukuelele either, expect an assortment of sounds on this disc. A solid album from start to finish.
A watered down Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie) , but still just as good. Sometimes less is more and simple is effective. He’s due to release another one quite soon.The infectious pop beats will have you humming.
BIGGEST 2010 “WHA’ HAPPENED?”.
WEEZER– They were also my biggest 2009 wha’ happened? Such a tragedy. Enough with the b-side albums Rivers. A close second KINGS OF LEON, followed by JIMMY EAT WORLD.
TAME IMPALA, GYROSCOPE, HUNGRY KIDS OF HUNGARY,INTERPOL, THE DRUMS, BEST COAST.
Alexisonfire (Metro) & Surfer Blood (Corner Hotel)
The Town & Where the Wild Things Are.
Bring on 2011. Looking forward to Triple J’s Hottest 100 in January.