1.) Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom
2.) High Violet by The National
I can't waste anymore of everyone's time talking about The National.
3.) Brothers by The Black Keys
"Everlasting Light". Best Track One, Side One of 2010. Maybe. I didn't hear them all.
4.) Transference by Spoon
"Who Makes Your Money" is worth the price of admission alone. Thoroughly enjoyed this album all year long after three records from them that I didn't see as exceptional, unlike most critics and seemingly the general public.
5.) Lisbon by The Walkmen
The horns on "Stranded" just kill me and the simple lines are getting belted all over the place. The Walkmen lines that get rooted in your brain.
"I am a good man by any count/and I see better things to come."
"You're one of us/or one of them."
"You don't want me/ You can tell me/ I'm the bigger man here/ Oh, it's true."
Like Matt Berninger, it's usually a conversation with Hamilton Leithauser, and I always imagine that the person they are saying these things to just won't respond. The difference between the two is that Berninger has calmed and isn't making a scene, while Leithauser can't stop yelling about it. When will he learn?
6.) Epic by Sharon Van Etten
Two releases and two Smaxwill Top 10 Lists for SVE. Epic is a carnival ride compared to her debut. She picks up a band and a little bit of production on this one. In fact, with a slicker production, a song like "One Day" could be a big hit. Colbie Caillat has hits. Sara Bareilles has hits. Sharon Van Etten deserves hits.
7.) The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
Funeral: The Teenage Years. The "Tunnels" kids grew up and have shopping malls to contend with now. I don't really know how they feel about the suburbs. I don't really know how I feel about the suburbs anymore. The suburbs made this album possible. Can they be that bad? Also, "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)." Best song of the year.
8.) Relayted by Gayngs
Behold the wonder of the slowjam. A one-of-a-kind album that has the type of timeless, hazy, familiar quality that will keep it a consistent source of material for themed mixtapes forever. Could have easily sounded like a novelty thing, but it's loose and playful without sacrificing all of the sincerity inherent in the catalogue's of the members primary bands. I don't remember where I read it, but Bon Iver Thugs n' Harmony was a pretty decent moniker, too.
9.) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
Holy shit! The songs we'll be hearing for the next two years (as with any Kanye release). And two years won't be enough to appreciate how sprawling and perfect this record is. Not a single misstep, which is a hard thing to accomplish when your record features 7,396 guest artists.
10.) Expo 86 by Wolf Parade
If the side projects weren't so good, I would be more upset about Wolf Parade's recently announced hiatus. Splits the difference between their much loved debut record and the moodier, Isaac Brock-less At Mount Zoomer. "What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)" at P4K in July was as emotive a performance as any I saw this year. Too bad they are done for now.
12 BEST LIVE SHOWS--2010:
1.) Wolf Parade @ Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, 07/17/2010
2.) The National w/ Antlers @ Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, 08/04/2010
3.) LCD Soundsystem @ Sasquatch Festival, George, WA, 05/30/2010
4.) Of Montreal/Janelle Monae @ Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, 09/24/2010
5.) Hole @ Vic Theater, Chicago, 07/14/2010 (No shit)
6.) Avett Brothers w/ The Low Anthem @ Riverside Theater, 03/06/2010
7.) Sharon Van Etten w/ Daniel Knox @ Cactus Club, Milwaukee, 01/20/2010
8.) Joanna Newsom w/ Robin Pecknold @ Pabst Theater, 04/02/2010
9.) St. Vincent w/ Wildbirds & Peacedrums @ Turner Hall, 02/18/2010
10.) Neil Young w/ Bert Jansch @ Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, 07/30/2010
11.) Passion Pit w/ Smith Westerns @ Congress Theatre, Chicago, 04/22/2010
12.) New Pornographers w/ Dodos, The Dutchess & The Duke, 06/12/2010