[We're pleased to welcome another guest contributor willing to share his favorites of 2010. - Rube]
The best thing about sharing these year-end lists with friends is getting to see what I might have missed out on during the year, to get turned on to an album that has the potential to be another one that I can’t live without. It’s impossible to buy, or even listen to every new album that comes out in any given year. That’s why it’s important to borrow some trusted ears to compare and contrast what the standouts are on the soundtrack of your lives.
The following list is in no specific order. You can’t simply compare them to one another like that because they are all great in their own unique way.
Retribution Gospel Choir – 2
My friend Jeremy loves the band Low. He has tried to transfer this love to me as long as we’ve known each other. Retribution Gospel Choir is a three piece led by Alan Sparhawk from Low. The main and obvious difference to me, that allows me to love this outfit more than the other is the fact that they rock. If you want to see an impassioned front man that leaves no doubt that he believes whole-heartedly in what he’s doing on stage, go see this band. But until then, give this record a spin.
Retribution Gospel Choir – Workin’ Hard
Retribution Gospel Choir – Hide It Way
Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son Of Chico Dusty [Explicit]
Hey, Jive Records, feeling the burn yet? One of the best albums of the year, and those morons didn’t want to put it out because why? “It’s a piece of art, and they didn’t know what to do with it.” I know what to do with it. Drop the needle and turn up the volume.
Oryx and Crake – Oryx + Crake
Full disclosure: I know these folks, but the god-honest truth is that you’d be pretty hard pressed not to fall in love with these songs regardless of whether or not you’ve fallen in love with the band members. But given the opportunity, it’s impossible not to do both. This band could very well be the new leaders of ushering in a new era of legitimacy to the Atlanta music scene; either way, we have our gems every now and then and this is definitely one of them.
Oryx and Crake – Pretty How Towns
Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
This album is so rockin’ good, it’ll make you want to go buy a new bong. I regret not being able to see them on this tour (which led them to a sold out show at The EARL), but this album keeps ending up on the player, as it should, with the volume turned up to high.
The Henry Clay People – Somewhere On The Golden Coast
Full Disclosure: I know these guys too. We’re even on a movie soundtrack together, but that doesn’t put any colour on the fact that this album of theirs is a great American rock record. These guys breathe and sweat rock and roll. It’s in their bones, so that you may feel it in yours.
The Henry Clay People – Slow Burn
Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid
The musicality of this album is simply amazing. It’s the kind of album most people that would even consider tackling would be afraid to do so in fear of either failing miserably or fear of everyone writing it off as pretentious. But from beginning to end, flowing like a mixture of Stevie Wonder and James Brown with an orchestra and Janelle’s astoundingly sweet, angelic voice, this album is both adventurous and engaging.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
This one came as a surprise to me, because historically I have not liked this band. Perhaps I’ve been wrong and need to revisit the catalog, or perhaps this just happens to be the only album of theirs that I like. Either way, this one is solid.
The New Pornographers – Together
Some of the riffs on this album are awesomely heavy, you know, the genuine kind of heavy that doesn’t rely on distortion and modern studio tricks, but just honest-to-goodness heavy. Oh, and don’t forget the beautiful vocals, there’s plenty of those.
Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s – Buzzard
Thank god this album is so great so that I can listen to it and forget about that whistling, jerkface, frat-boy who pretty much ruined their last live show here in Atlanta. Perhaps one of the reasons I like this album is because it sounds like it could very easily be either from an Athens, GA or Silver Lake, CA band, but you can hear the Midwest in there. But regardless of where they are from, they put out a winner this year.
Two additional albums that more or less round up my top ten to a top twelve:
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way
Retro, throwback, old-school, nostalgic… call it what you will but both Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings have soul that you can’t fake. And good, honest soul is hard to come by these days.
Patrick Park – Come What Will
I’m not even going to pretend that this album doesn’t remind me a bit of Harvest by Neil Young, but it does so in such a good way. I love the production; it’s warm and crisp, like a drive through the mountains in Autumn with the windows down and the heat turned on, the smell of crushed leaves and fireplace smoke mixing themselves with the music pouring through the car stereo to bond and create new memories that will return seasonally, year after year.