Well - it's been awhile since I last posted due to a number of things keeping me busy, but I wanted to share a list of my favorite albums that arrived in the first half of 2010. Last year, there was a single standout album that stuck for me immediately and was never superseded at any point after it came out. In fact, if it came out this year, it would also be the best album in the first half of 2010. And that album would be............Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors. But I digress. This post is about new music, not year-old music that still blows my mind over a year later. Here is my top 10 in order from best to 10th best:
1. Teen Dream by Beach House
What an amazing album by Beach House. I can honestly say that I like every single track. Definitely my favorite so far this year, and very cool DVD that accompanies the vinyl copy of this album containing a different music video for each song. I also *saw* them in concert earlier this year and they sounded awesome live. I use the term "saw" loosely since the concert was at Diesel and the stage is only viewable for approximately 25 people after they renovated the place to make it awful for concert viewing. I was not one of the 25.
2. Brothers by The Black Keys
But for Teen Dream, this would be my favorite album by a long shot. There is a significant gap between my first and second choices and the remaining eight. I feel like this is potentially the Keys' masterpiece. Everything is really working for them on this album and I love the fact that they stuffed the album with 15 tracks, none of which are filler in my opinion even though some "professional" critics have said that the album is too long. Sometimes people feel like they need to say something negative for credibility purposes, but I have nothing negative to say here. The riffs are sweet and the use of falsetto on several of the tracks adds a new dimension to the Keys sound that works really well. A five star effort in every respect. Great music videos too, especially the one for "Tighten Up".
3. Expo '86 by Wolf Parade
A great effort by Wolf Parade after At Mount Zoomer, which was a bit of a letdown.
4. Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene
I've been coming back to this album a lot lately. It's definitely an improvement over their last self-titled album and over Brendan Canning's lead effort. I would still rank it a notch below Kevin Drew's album and it's not nearly as good as You Forgot It in People, but not much is from the last 10 years!
5. Treats by Sleigh Bells
6. Astro Coast by Surfer Blood
7. Gorilla Manor by Local Natives
8. Fang Island by Fang Island
Just saw Fang Island with The Flaming Lips and they were a great opening act. Awesome energy and incredible guitar work. Anytime you have three dudes dueling on the guitar and it doesn't come across as cheesy, you're doing something right. Very nice debut album. "Life Coach" is one of my favorite tracks of the year, even if it sounds a little like "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates (as my fellow blogger Roberto so astutely pointed out before the show - Fang Island, not Hall & Oates).
9. Heartland by Owen Pallett
10. King of the Beach by Wavves
I also have one honorable mention that is growing on me and might be a lot higher on my end of year list: Mines by Menomena. Also, it hurt me not to put This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem on the list, but it really lost some steam for me as of late. I like three tracks a lot, but the rest of the album just doesn't do it for me.