Seeing how our staff has distinct tastes and opinions on music, it would be nearly impossible for us to determine a 10 Albums of 2010 list as a single entity without excessive bloodshed. Therefore in the next two weeks, we’ll be posting multiple Top 10 Albums of 2010 lists as determined by Loud Loop Press editors and contributors. Today, Associate Editor Audrey Leon takes us to school with her list for Top 10 Albums of 2010.
10. Spoon - Transference
Britt Daniel could sing the phone book and it would probably be amazing. His gravelly, faint Texan drawl is the highlight of any Spoon record. Live, he’s as close to Mick Jagger as you‘ll find outside of a Rolling Stones concert. Transference
is Spoon doing what Spoon does best: creating uncomplicated, yet memorable rock songs to which the listener can groove like “Mystery Zone” and single “Got Nuffin.”
9. Jenny and Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now
Pop darling Jenny Lewis found a decent balance between her folk stylings of late and her work with indie pop rockers Rilo Kiley on her latest album with long-time boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Jenny and Johnny’s I’m Having Fun Now
features a sweet back and forth between the pair on backdrops of sinfully catchy pop rock and the occasional acoustic folk rock elements. Highlights include the Rice-helmed “Animal” and the countrified duet “Switchblade.”
8. The Maybenauts - Big Bang EP
What a year it has been. From the moment I saw The Maybenauts at the “Girls at the Garage
” show back in January, I knew this band was special. The then-four piece with one male member in a panda mask had a flair for pop harmonies and flashy, glam rock sensibilities (and a penchant for wearing silver, space-themed costumes). Lead singer Leilani Frey left the band in October, but before that happened, the band created Big Bang
and the magic contained therein cannot be erased. I don’t know where my 2010 would be without the infectious pop and serious lyrics featured in the song “My Head is a Bomb.”
7. Scott Lucas and the Married Men - George Lassos the Moon
No one genre hops more expertly than Scott Lucas. Whether it’s with hard rocking Local H or electro-noise rockers Prairie Cartel, Lucas’ experiments shine no matter the style. Adopting a rootsy, folk rock sound for George Lassos the Moon
, Lucas combines his picturesque lyrics and soulful voice with an acoustic guitar and six-piece backing band, including horns and strings, to win the girl and the adoration of the audience. It’s a win/win situation for everyone.
6. Rabble Rabble - Bangover
Sometimes you feel like a punk, sometimes you don’t. Luckily Chicago pysch-punks Rabble Rabble combines its influences (Blues, Punk, Psychedelic rock) so well you can indulge all your schizophrenic tendencies with the group’s wild and frenetic jams. As I said earlier this year
brilliantly captures Rabble Rabble’s live show, transporting you to that room as they fill your body with their electric goodness.
5. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks
Most songs on Brutalist Bricks
were debuted to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists fans months prior to the album’s release, including the infectious pop jam “Bottled in Cork.” Leo has always been an brilliant storyteller backed by high energy, melodic punk anthems (“Mourning in America and “Where Was My Brain”) and this record proves no different. However, Leo shows he can break from the usual on the track “One Polaroid A Day,“ which has Leo adopting a lower, seductive vocal style instead of his usual high-tension falsetto. Brutalist Bricks
is Leo and Co. at their finest.
4. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Broken Social Scene has always been a bit of musical circus and Kevin Drew is its ringmaster. It’s good to have so many talented friends to add a kind of depth and fullness of sound that other bands can only dream of reproducing live. And they can. This time around Drew and his cohort - including Chicago’s John McEntire of Tortoise and The Sea and Cake - come back swinging with aggressive horns and swirling guitars and keys on track “Forced to Love,” or throwing ambient waves at you with songs like “Romance to The Grave” or “Art House Director.” The slow, then frenzied - at times - pace of Forgiveness Rock Record
fully encapsulates the necessary elements of an epic mixtape.
3. My Gold Mask - A Thousand Voices/A Million Miles (From Where We Were Last) EPs
It is a cop-out not to choose just one release by Chicago’s My Gold Mask, the awe-inspiring husband and wife duo of Gretta Rochelle and Jack Armondo, but each EP beautifully feeds into the other. My Gold Mask are experts at creating a fuller sound with layers of haunting vocals, simple, heavy drum beats (courtesy of Rochelle) and addictive guitar rhythms (Armondo). A Thousand Voices EP
and A Million Miles (From Where We Were Last) EP
are each exemplary works showcasing the group’s dark pop sensibilities. Singles “Violet Eyes” and “I Don’t Need the Reason” are unforgettable tunes that stick with you long after the EPs come to an end.
2. Tim Kasher - The Game of Monogamy
Tim Kasher finds a musical balance between past projects Cursive and The Good Life on his first solo effort The Game of Monogamy.
Somehow, Kasher’s grudge against relationships and mortgages works. Somehow, it’s not the same trite, macho bullshit about a guy who doesn’t want or can’t handle life’s responsibilities. Maybe it’s the music that saves it; the lush horn sections that Kasher embraces on all his projects takes a well-deserved spot on center stage on certain tracks such as “Bad, Bad Dreams.” Maybe it’s the self-effacing lyrics that lend Kasher a bit of likeability and humility. Either way, all those maybes hold all the components of an extremely addictive and intelligent take on the struggles of adulthood.
1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
I don’t think there’s a kid out there who didn’t grow up feeling bored and wildly disappointed in his/her hometown. “Maybe when you’re older you’ll understand why you don’t feel right,” Arcade Fire front man Win Butler croons on the Suburbs’ track “Modern Man.” Those same suffocating fears resurface later while on the cusp of adulthood, facing graduations, marriage and children. The music from The Suburbs
is light as air with ethereal orchestration, and yet it weighs so heavily on the heart. You can’t help but feel trapped inside that damned small town again, but this time around it feels kind of okay.