The Best Albums of 2010

The past year was filled with unforgettable music.  As I was poring over all of the great albums I began agonizing (often vocally to my wife) about how I was possibly going to choose which albums would make this list.  Throughout the past two months I’ve been listening to twenty albums on constant repeat and below I present to you the fruits of this labor.

01 : The National – High Violet (amazon) (itunes)

The National crafted an album in 2010 that surpassed all of the hype that has been surrounding them since they released their album Alligator in 2005.  Of all the great music in 2010 this album narrowly surpassed the rest of the pack in grabbing and holding my attention the most.

mp3 : The National – Sorrow
mp3 : The National – Conversation 16

02 : Cloud Cult – Light Chasers (amazon) (itunes)

There are five or six albums in this list that could have easily laid claim to the coveted number one position.  Light Chasers sits at number two on the list because every single song adds to the story arc and each track contributes something new, yet cohesive, to the experience.

mp3 : Cloud Cult – The Invocation (p.1) – You’ll Be Bright
mp3 : Cloud Cult – The Arrival – There’s So Much Energy In Us

03 : Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz (amazon) (itunes)

Many people didn’t know what to think of Sufjan’s return to music.  He eschewed his well known banjo and modern folk interpretations and instead produced a sprawling epic that combines intricate storytelling with even more intricate electronic compositions.  Truly a great album.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Now That I’m Older
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Vesuvius

04 : Jonsi – Go (amazon) (itunes)

Jonsi went solo this year from Sigur Ros and he came up with an album that sounds as great as his band, but it moves along with a joy and brevity that they don’t typically employ.

mp3 : Jonsi – Kolnidur

05 : Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (amazon) (itunes)

When you see Arcade Fire at fifth on this it’s easy to see just how hard it was to arrange the top ten.  The only problem I have with this album (which is the same as everyone else) is that it isn’t full of songs on the same level as Wake Up.  I know that isn’t fair, but it’s what we’re all waiting for.

mp3 : Arcade Fire – Rococo

06 : Vampire Weekend – Contra (amazon) (itunes)

In 2008 I was ready to write these Ivy League yuppie kids off as a typical flash in the pan.  On their sophomore album they’ve found a way to turn smug indie rock into something worth listening to over and over again.

mp3 : Vampire Weekend – Horchata

07 : Broadcast 2000 – Broadcast 2000 (amazon) (itunes)

The only reason this great album doesn’t move higher on the list is that many of the songs appeared two full years ago on their debut EP.

mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – Rouse Your Bones

08 : Freelance Whales – Weathervanes (amazon) (itunes)

Having been released back in early April it’s easy to see why many list makers completely forgot about this slice of well crafted folk pop.  The entire album is well crafted and infectious.

mp3 : Freelance Whales – Generator Second Floor

09 : Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (amazon) (itunes)

While I don’t agree with his lyrics, his message, his ego, or his personality I do agree with critics and listmakers across the globe that realize this album is worth looking past Ye’s flaws.

mp3 : Kanye West – Lost In The World (feat. Bon Iver)

10 : Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History (amazon) (itunes)

Each year I seem to find one amazing pop album that I can listen to again and again.  In 2009 it was Phoenix and in 2010 it was Two Door Cinema Club.

mp3 : Two Door Cinema Club – Eat That Up, It’s Good For You

Those are my top ten albums for 20010.  If you’d like to see my previous lists follow these links; 2009, 2008, 2007 (or click here to see all 4 years on one page).  I’m looking forward to 2011 in music as there will most likely be albums by Radiohead, Coldplay, Bon Iver, and The Strokes.  Enjoy the music.

+ more music @ twf hype elbows amazonmp3 itunes
add this post to / digg / facebook / twitter

Broadcast 2000

I’ve written a few times about Broadcast 2000 in the past, but it’s been a few years since their EP was released.  This time around they’ve upped the ante considerably and released a proper full length aptly titled Broadcast 2000 (amazon) (itunes).  Simply put, every song is wonderful.

mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – That Sinking Feeling
mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – Your Own Worst Enemy

It’s great to see a group (which is really a collection of players based around Joe Steer) take enough time between their first promising beginnings and their official debut to mature and tighten up their sound.  The time has been well spent and it shows on a debut album that is sold from start to finish.

+ more Broadcast 2000 @ twf hype elbows site myspace amazonmp3 itunes
add this post to / digg / facebook / twitter

Broadcast 2000

I woke up this morning full of life, and with all intentions of posting some tracks off of Wyclef’s latest effort. After checking my email I quickly realized that this would not be the case for today. In fact, before hearing this remixed track, I’m not sure if I ever was full of life. Ever. Broadcast 2000 is the creative effort of Joe Steer and after posting about him a couple of weeks ago he has rapidly climbed the popularity chart here at TWF to become one of the most requested artists I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to.

So here you go my minions. As your musical demagogue I am proud to present you with the spoils of my inbox today. As far as I know this is the first taste the public will get of this track, so enjoy. This little remix will appear as a B Side on the forthcoming Broadcast 2000 single from Groenland Records. It’s brilliant and I’m so glad to see Joe is getting some recognition. Here’s to all the great music to come {and hopefully more excellent emails}.

mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – Don’t Weigh Me Down (James Yuill Remix)

Simply and utterly fantastic. This song reminds me a lot of the more popular remixes of Kings of Convenience tracks. Three cheers to Joe Steer {and James Yuill}, keep the great music coming.

+ twf hype elbows site myspace itunes
add this post to / digg /facebook

Broadcast 2000

Broadcast 2000 is the creative fruit of a very talented multi-instrumentalist named Joe Steer. He creates, records, and masters all of his own music in his very own flat/studio in north London and I must say that this boy has the touch. I would easily list him alongside acts like Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, DeVotchKa, and the more folksy {not so tribal} days of Paul Simon. And I put him up with these artist not simply because he shares a similar folk infused theme in his music, but because the raw and unabashed talent is so apparent on every single track of his debut EP, Building Blocks (iTunes), which is set to be released soon although it is already digitally available on iTunes. Listening to each of the tracks makes you feel as if Joe had the most amazing amount of fun recording it, and ultimately that’s the mark of great music, when you can pass on emotions that transcend mere lyrics and melodies.

mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – Pep Talk
mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – The View

This little outfit easily tracks as one of the artists that I’m most interested in hearing from in the future. I get this euphoric feeling of fun when I listen to his music and I only cringe when I think how long it could be before a proper full length can be recorded. As a last note I would like to point out that on this debut EP Joe Steer combines cello, double bass, guitar, ukelele, glockenspiel, banjo, various percussive items, and a lot of layered vocals {all tracks and instruments are his work} to make this little marvel of an EP.

+ twf hype elbows site myspace itunes