The Brothers of Chico Dusty (Big Boi vs. The Black Keys) by wick-it
5. Small Black - New Chain
Ive noticed with chillwave albums that most bands change drastically with their increased production value, but Small Black’s New Chain seems to break that philosophy. This new album is cleaner in a lo-fi sense but retains all the treasured qualities from the EP. I look back at their self title and watch the music videos and think what is it I love so much about this new album. I think that maybe its the return of the wistful low key vocals from Josh Kolenik coupled with the subtle nuances of each mellowed out melody drifting you away in to a gloomy lo-fi synthpop dream that just makes you feel great.
4. Beach House - Teen Dream
Appropriately recorded in a converted church called Dreamland in upstate New York, Teen Dream delivers Beach House to us upon a plate of perfection. The album shimmers in dream pop glory and chills in Alex Scally’s heavenly vocals. The atmosphere the duo creates is unlike any other. Its a fantastic album, but upon experiencing Teen Dream live or with the right equipment and acoustics you approach a new level of awe in the glory of Beach House. I achieved said experience when Beach House played at Emo’s and might I say its a whole new dimension live. So if you feel as though the album isn’t up to par being this far up in the rankings as it is, then well, your doing it wrong.
3. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
Kangaroos, Steve Irwin (RIP), boomerangs, Maxx and psychedelic rock gods? Apparently I had missed the last stereotype up until now, but its true. Tame Impala is what the lack lustered psychedelic genre fans pray for each night at their bedside. Weaving rock ballads crash on the beach of your infantile interpretations of music like you were born yesterday. Straight out of Perth, Australia, Tame Impala hammers out the glorious debut album Innerspeaker like they were born to rock. Not an imperfection in sight and in fact added bonus awesomeness is discovered upon seeing these guys live. The jams added to some of the songs are a delightful treat sure to please any and all walks of life.
2. Delorean - Subiza
What in the world is this? The band that takes on so many genres from those white sandy beaches of Barcelona, Spain makes something out of everything with Subiza. A mediterranian disco-punk music to the likings of LCD Soundsystem with a hint of what wikipedia entries call Balearic beat, making what is perhaps the most unique indie album ive heard in a very long time. Now, I must admit that I hadn’t listened to much of anything besides the track Stay Close before seeing them live at funfunfun fest. As they were setting up I noticed a moderately sized crowd who was weary of another wack indie band that is not worth seeing live. This is understandable and what makes having three stages at funfunfun so great. Though when Delorean was ready and kicked into full gear, jaws dropped, everyone gained cheerful smiles on their faces and the dancing began. Everyone who was there experienced what I collected as the best show of the entire event. Their performance was so powerful and genuine in the sense that they seemed to enjoy being anywhere where they could perform their music. That being said this is absolutely remarkable album entwined with magnificent samples, relaxing vocals, house music styled build ups and an authentic mediterranean sound that you just cant find anywhere else.
1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Perfection is attained by slow degree; it requires the hand of time.
Everything Kanye West has accomplished has culminated to this very moment. With the help of the best producers and guest artists that the hip hop world has to offer, Kanye conceives the greatest album of his career to date. Tracks like Blame Game have samples of Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th” to which no hip hop artist would dare try to use. While in “All of the Lights” guest artists include John Legend, La Roux, Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, and Elton John just to name a few. I must admit, I lack the words to even explain how invaluable and time-honored this album is to Kanye and his fans, let alone his reputation amongst a sea of opposition. To slander this album is simply pretentious and at the very least, what we have here in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a masterpiece. “Im in the twenty first century doing something mean to it, doing better than anybody ever seen do it. Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it, I guess every super hero need his theme music”. Mythical in his abilities, Mr. West has crafted his super hero music, now we revel in its captivating sound.
Now, sit down, relax and enjoy the 35 minute music video for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Its entitled “Runaway”.
10. Big Boi -Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son of Chicho Dusty
One of the most anticipated hip hop albums of the year; the long winded album titled ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son of Chico Dusty’ brings back that Outkast sound we all hoped for. Opting to leave out Andre 3000 from the album, Big Boi shines his ability as a rapper in tracks drenched in synth keyboards and finger snapping tambourine goodness.
9. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
This is Happening is the third and possibly last album from LCD Soundsystem. I say this with disgust after one of the most frustrating nights of 2010 for me. This night was one in which I was forced (by the club) to choose Sleigh Bells over a James Murphy DJ set. I deeply regret missing it and hope this is not the last album. Anyways, what I am trying to express is that James Murphy is a first-class motherfucker and whatever it takes to see him live I suggest you do it. Sell your soul for all that matters, for anything to come from James Murphy is a timeless stream of disco dance punk grandeur sure to get you up off your feet and out on the floor.
8. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
When I saw Kristian for the first time live at Stubbs last year and again this year, I realized I am not the only one that is addicted to his voice. As the first words to the first song left his mouth the entire room erupted in applause and cheers. It chills me to the bone to hear such amazing songs sung so perfectly right in front of me. This is obviously the best singer songwriter album of the year for me and I anticipate every new song to come.
7. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
What can I say? Arcade Fire is an orchestral eargasm and The Suburbs is a wonderful reiteration of their collective genius.
Arcade Fire has some pretty incredible internet prowess and doesnt allow soundcloud to have original tracks of theirs to stream. Im also unable to post a video, but visit this link to hear my favorite track off the album. http://vimeo.com/14559115
6. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Alice Glass and Ethan Kath don’t really give two shits about generally anything. With that in mind this new album is indeed crazy as shit fun. The experimental electro-punk dance music Crystal Castles have been known for is back and even better. According to the BBC, listening to Crystal Castles “is to be cast adrift in a vortex of deafening pain without a safety net. You get the feeling you could do anything in the world, but that ‘anything’ would ultimately mean nothing. Crystal Castles marks a nuanced emotional territory that dance music never covered before”. I couldn’t agree more after seeing them perform this album live. I loved every second of it.
15. Phantogram - Eyelid Movies
After discovering Phantogram as the opening act for the XX, I quickly grew to love their trip-hop indie sound. Their tracks tended to be a feature of most playlists I had throughout the year and I continue to admire the album in all its fanciful parade of chilled out hip hop beats. A gem in the rough, Eyelid Movies is currently the only release from the duo of Joshua Carter and Sarah Barthel.
14. MGMT - Congratulations
The sophomore album by MGMT breaks from the radio pop hits and delves into the more psychedelic pop realm seen on the back half of their first album. If I were to weigh the albums alongside there performances live this album would not be anywhere near the top twenty. MGMT is notably mediocre live and I am now aware of this after seeing them perform this album in Austin. Regardless, based on album alone, this is keeper. Its sing along psychedelic pop jams embrace a new style of music for a band that is currently being shaped by artists such as Brian Eno and Peter Kember.
13. Ty Seagall - Melted
New champion of the psychedelic garage rock scene, Ty Segall kicks you in the face with his new album Melted. A swarm of fuzzed out rock tracks backed by Ty’s powered out vocals make this album top notch in a sea of lack lusted lo-fi rock ventures.
12. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Plastic Beach is Gorillaz return to stardom. It’s a great album that lacks the attention it deserves. I didn’t immediately listen to the album, but upon realizing that several songs featured Little Dragon I was instantly mesmerized. Little Dragon is headed by the talented and always gorgeous Yukimi Nagano, who co-wrote some of the best songs featured on the album. Other big name artists like Lou Reed and Mos Def make a notable impact on the album. If you haven’t given the album a try yet I insist you do.
11. Sleigh Bells - Treats
The anthem to hipster parties across the nation. Waves of hard hitting noise pop generates an atmosphere that is unique to the Sleigh Bells styled mantra of dance music. The collaboration between Derek Miller, a waiter at a Brazilian restaurant, and Alexis Krauss is one of those fairy tale band start ups that makes you wonder about your ever turn.
Well, its that time of year to churn out a list of my top albums. I have a strange spread of genres I enjoy, so my list may have some picks and positions that could be considered far-fetched for some. That being said, ill try to elaborate more on my selections as it gets closer to number one.
20. The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme
The Radio Dept. breaks through their niche with this indie pop post punk delight.
19. Best Coast - Crazy for You
Best Coast captures its warm summer sound and wraps it into a heartfelt album on love.
18. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Although critically acclaimed, Halcyon Digest just doesn’t sit well for me. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t listened to the album much and was generally unimpressed with the live performance put on at funfunfun fest. I did throughly enjoy Atlas Sound the previous year. If your a fan of previous Deerhunter works like Cryptograms, your in for a treat.
17. Harlem - Hippies
Local Austin trio Harlem dishes out ‘Hippies’, a plum full of jammin’ good garage rock tracks with a splash of power pop.
16. The Black Keys - Brother
I know, I know… 16? I thought about it for a while and its a killer blues rock album but what Black Keys album isn’t? Perhaps its not album of the year but its certainly an unforgettable one.