Oh fine, here are my Top Ten for 2010.

edited November 2010 in Fight Club
Well, it seems a bit early, but since people are starting to discuss their Top Ten, I’ll post up mine. In a lot ways this was a disappointing music year for me. Some of my favorite bands released albums (The National, Spoon, The New Pornographers, The Hold Steady), but in every case the album came up short for one reason or another. Each album certainly has its positives, but overall they were just lacking.

That said, I found a ton of stuff this year that I absolutely love. For the most part these albums were outside of my normal ‘indie rock’ (whatever that is) fandom. I’ve found myself listening to more and more hip hop, electronic, and post punk, while I’ve fallen head over heads for new minimalist classical.

When it came down to it, though, the following are my ten favorite albums from 2010:

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Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

An absolutely epic rock album. The repeating themes give it great cohesion, and the use of things like the Civil War era speeches and the sudden appearance of bag pipes at the end add to the epicness.

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Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

He may be the most egotistical man alive, but he puts together a fantastic pop song, whether it’s an ubeat dance tune like “Lost in the Woods” or “Power” or a depressing story song like “Blame Game”.

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Owen Pallett – Heartland

I can’t follow the story very well, seriously an “ultra violent farmer dealing with his god”?, but the composition is beyond anything currently being done in popular music. This album just begs to be listened to on headphones in the dark.

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Dessa – A Badly Broken Code

I’ve described her here as a hip hop Ani DiFranco, and I really think it’s apt. She has a way with lyrics that few do, and she has the chops to pull them off.

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CocoRosie – Grey Oceans

A very divisive band, but I love the combination of vaguely rock sounding vocals with a hip hop beat. Plus, I find them fascinating as people.

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Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

The best of the R&B/Soul resurgence of the last couple of years. She writes songs that are interesting both lyrically and musically.

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Sleigh Bells – Treats

Yes, one of the years big blog bands makes my list. Again the combination of angry rock vocals and a hip hop beat speak to me.

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Caribou – Swim

Until a year or so ago I did not much care for electronic based music. Now I listen to a ton of it, and the track “Odessa” almost single handedly gets this album in the Top Ten. It will be Track 1 on my Best of 2010 compilation.

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Beach House – Teen Dream

Gorgeous, haunting, simply a beautiful album that I am so happy arrived on eMu before I became an ex-user.

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Galactic – Ya-Ka-May

We need the funk. Gotta have that funk. Love the variety of the tracks based on the guest vocalist, and it’s just such a fun album.



  • I'm completely with you on Titus Andronicus. The Monitor was an album that I picked up on a whim and have been going back to every couple of weeks ever sense. It's probably going to be my pick for best of the year.
  • I've been loving this new wave of bands mixing the "indie" aesthetic with hip hop/R&B beats and production. Have you listened to White Hinterland? They are a bit more mellow than the bands on your list, but I love what they are doing in that genre. Kind of a mellow Dirty Projectors.
  • I've heard of White Hinterland, but haven't checked them out yet. I'll have to add them to the list.

    cburkins - For me The Monitor was one of the rare albums that I was highly anticipating and it actually lived up to my hopes. And then some.

  • I really have to sit down and listen to The Monitor again. I thought it was good when I first heard it but didn't pick it up. Since then it's been stuck in purchase purgatory for me.

    That Dessa album sounds up my alley (especially considering I loved Ani's collaboration with Corey Parker). Listening to the samples that comparison nails it. To the SFL machine!
  • i dig your list, and i dig a lot of those bands.

    gonna have to start working on mine.
  • Daniel - I'm shocked we have some of the same tastes! You need to be on last.fm, by the way (if you aren't already), I'd like to see what you're listening to. I find myself on there almost daily to see what everyone on here is listening to.

    thom - I can't recommend the Dessa album enough. At first I thought it was partially me being a homer for a Twin Cities act, but then one of the guys on Sound Opinions put it on his mid year best of list, so that gave me permission to be a complete shill for it!

  • edited November 2010
    Hosting Thanksgiving ATM, but I'll circle back later on this topic.
  • I was wondering if she was a Minneapolis act. Hadn't heard anything about her. And usually I'm fairly well plugged in. That's good to get some local acts in on these lists.
  • She's a part of the Doomtree collective that spawned P.O.S. before her. The rest of the collective doesn't live up to those two, but are okay in their own right.

  • edited November 2010
    craig, i have five of the discs on your list -- titus andronicus; kanye; janelle monae; sleigh bells; beach house -- and i like-to-love all of them. to me, kanye stands heads-and-shoulders above anything else released this year: it's ambitious and epic, the culmination of kanye's fascinating self-love and self-loathing, it takes rap music to new levels compositionally and uses samples as innovatingly as i've heard. it's stunning. i like titus andronicus' disc, despite being indifferent to their debut, but after the first three songs, the disc wears on me and suffers to some degree from diminishing returns. there are a few songs on the monae disc that i love, but a lot of that disc just washes over me. i kind of love the idea of cheerleader-punk, a genre that only seems to have sleigh bells and the go! team in it (and of the two, sleigh bells have much better songs). and beach house are stunning songwriters; this album is a major step foward for them.

    okay, so this is way too early for me to really make this list, but here's what i'm thinking of in terms of albums-of-the-year:

    • Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    • Grinderman – Grinderman 2
    • Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here
    • How To Dress Well – Love Remains
    • Autre Ne Veut – Autre Ne Veut
    • Purling Hiss – Public Service Announcement
    • Bako Dagnon – Sidiba
    • Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
    • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
    • LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
    • Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
    • Superchunk – Majesty Shredding
    • Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
    • Guido -- Anidea
    • The Books – The Way Out
    • Charlotte Gainsborough – IRM
    • No Age – Everything In Between
    • The Soft Moon – The Soft Moon
    • Gemini – Wild Nothings
    • Four Tet – There Is Love In You
    • Twin Shadow – Forget

    but that's a pretty straightforward list. what's really interesting to me, this year, is the indvidual songs i've liked best, a list populated by a very different set of artists (except at the top of the list, which i suppose isn't surprising). so again, very preliminarily, here's what i'm thinking of:

    • Kanye West -- Runaway
    • Grinderman – Worm Tamer
    • Gil Scott-Heron – Me And The Devil
    • Nerve City – Sleepwalker
    • Dirty Beaches – True Blue/Sweet 17
    • Circle Pit – Another Trick
    • Karl X Johan – Flames
    • Black Mountain – Old Fangs
    • Deerhunter – Revival
    • Four Tet – Angel Echoes
    • Superchunk – Diggin’ for Something
    • Electric Bunnies – Pretty Joanna
    • Cosmetics -- Sleepwalking
    • Bako Dagnon – Wouya Larana
    • Autre Ne Veut – Two Days of Rain
    • The Besnard Lakes – Albatross
    • Minks – Funeral Song
    • Zola Jesus – Poor Animal
    • o0o00 -- Sedsumthing
    • No Age – Glitter
    • Veronica Falls – Found Love In A Graveyard
    • Soft Moon – Parallels
    • Girl Unit – Wut
    • Woven Bones – I’ve Gotta Get
    • Arp. 101 – Dead Leaf
    • James Blake – CMYK
    • Psychobuildings – Paradise
    • Funkineven – Heart Pound
    • Cee-Lo Green - F--k You

    i've got a month to focus more intently, to explore some new stuff, and finalize these lists. then i'll make my own thread, i guess!
  • I look forward to your thread Daniel! Some tracks on your list I haven't even heard of.

  • edited November 2010
    I'd post but it always takes me a few years to decide what my favorites of any given year are. One that would make my top 10 is Angus and Julia Stone's last album, but then again I'm madly in love with Julia...

    I did pick up that Dessa on Amie Street for real cheap, as I did for a lot of other local acts. I've only listen to it a few times, but thought it was good. now that Amie is defunct and I'm dropping emu, it will be one Limewire account and digging into my old stuff.
  • I was shooting for a list of 20, but I keep getting new choices and thinking of others from earlier in the year I forgot (Mary Gauthier? Black Keys?), so I'm up to 24 or 25, depending on what I'm counting (24 artists, 25 albums). I'll have to make some difficult choices, but they're affecting the bottom, not my top 10. Maybe I'll just go with 10 and be done with it.
  • I like when the album art covers are posted. I'm old aesthetic enough to think that contributes to the win, along with the music.
  • denver: Agreed that Mary Gauthier's The Foundling should not be overlooked for those who like more rootsy stuff.

    daniel: About Grinderman – Worm Tamer, I always get a kick about that song esp the line about the loch ness monster (2 humps and then you're gone).

    Saw the new Harry Potter movie yesterday and noticed the scene with Harry & Hermione dancing to Nick Cave's O Children.
  • yeah i love that line! my wife thinks it's funny (too over-the-top).
  • neither one of us know what he means by "actually i'm the abominable snowman," but whatevs.
  • Kat - I can't say I factored the album art into my final decision, but I always prefer looking at lists with the art there, so I took the extra time.

    denver - I always force myself to stay at 10. This year I really wanted to do 15, but made the necessary cuts.

  • yeah, I don't know what he means by the abominable snowman either. I think it's great that your wife listens to Grinderman with you. My wife doesn't appreciate all of my music. Grinderman would be on the edge of what she'd listen to, but I haven't tried it on her.
  • my wife hates the kanye record. too profane. but, because it's cute tho profane, she loves the cee-lo song f--k you.
  • Interesting. My wife loves the Kanye. I can usually sell her on hip hop, though. Jazz? No way.

    In fact, the other day she suddenly became fearful that the jazz I often listen to when I'm up with the baby will cause him to become a jazz musician and she'll have to like it.

  • Wife? Music? She's cool with me spending a monthly sum on it and doesn't complain when I have my AKGs that bleed sound all over (basically a low level speaker). That would be the total extent to which we share music though.
  • Finally finished my best of 2010 compilation, and thought I'd show off the artwork. Note: These aren't necessarily the top 18 songs of the year in my opinion. Just 18 of my favorites that fit into a mix.



  • That's awesome - the mix and the cover.
  • Thanks, on both counts! He seemed to learn the other day that when he smiles he gets a reaction he likes, so it's been a smiley few days!

    Too bad I couldn't get it in this photo, but he's actually wearing "Chuck Taylors" that his grandmother knit (knitted? Which is the past tense?) for him. He's already a hipster.

  • man, 2010 was a good year.

    these albums still kill

    • Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    • Grinderman – Grinderman 2
    • Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

    as do many others above.
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