Anyhow, here is the top ten. My favorite records of the year. Some that grew into favorites and a few that instantly blew me away. Even a few that (even after less than a year) have sentimental value. I’m not sure if you care, but you can check out the rest of the list here; (11-20), (21-30), (31-40), (41-50), and (51-60).
PS: If you are reading this you should leave a comment.
10. The Eternals – Heavy International (Aesthetics)
MP3 | Astra 3B
Mixing dub, funk, electronica, art-noise, and experimental rock this record is a ponderous and eclectic album that can be difficult but ultimately rewarding. It is futuristic indie reggae with rubbery danceable basslines, unconventional vocal textures, and is intentionally confrontational. Read the full post here.
09. Against Me! – New Wave (Sire)
MP3 | Thrash Unreal
Fuck all the naysayers that are longing for the sparse, raw, and ragged bedroom folk punk of their early days. Sure, I love that stuff too, but the songs on New Wave are just impossible to resist. Plus (thanks to Butch Vig) the record sounds amazing. Catchy and anthemic; political without being preachy. Read the full post here.
08. Lifetime – Lifetime (Fueled By Ramen/Decaydance)
MP3 | All Night Long
After a 10 year hiatus, this is Lifetime’s triumphant return. Sure, much of my love for this album might just be fueled by my own nostalgia, but the music is still fast and furious and snotty and romantic. It is familiar but the band has aged (just as we all have) and I think it shows. Even so, I’m selfishly loving every minute of this. Read the full post here.
07. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch Records)
MP3 | Impossible Germany
Even though my initial reaction to this record was a negative one I’ve come to the conclusion that Sky Blue Sky might be the biggest leap forward that Wilco has made yet. It is an subtly adventurous album that eschews much of the sound that made them the band we all love. A bold statement that proves Jeff Tweedy can do no wrong. Read the full post here.
06. Maritime – Heresy And The Hotel Choir (Flameshovel)
MP3 | Guns Of Navarone
The latest from Davey Von Promise Ring and company finds them playing triumphant indie pop with more aplomb than they ever have. Tighter than ever, the band churns out bright, jangly, and energetic guitar rock that harks back a little to the early eighties even. Read the full post here.
05. The National – Boxer (Beggars Banquet)
MP3 | Fake Empire
This one is a grower whose immediacy and power is understated and something that might not be readily apparent on just a cursory listen. Melodically dense and populated by a litany of piano, strings, and horns that are incorporated with such restraint that it makes the instrumentation seem lonely and almost sparse. It punches you in the gut and then offers a hand to help you up. Even more bizarre since I didn’t like Alligator when it was released and still don’t. Read the full post here
04. Minus The Bear – Planet Of Ice (Suicide Squeeze)
MP3 | Knights
This brilliant follow up to Menos El Oso is full of frenetic mathy prog-rock that is perfect for driving home in the wee hours of the morning just before daybreak. Meticulously crafted, the album relies more on moody atmospherics and propulsive grooves rather than brute force. Read the full post here.
03. A Wilhelm Scream – Career Suicide (Nitro)
MP3 | 5 To 9
Anthemic, fast-as-fuck, melodic, pissed off, complex, thought-provoking, and virtually flawless (dare I say) razor-sharp pop punk that is un-fucking-believable. One of the most impassioned and well-executed punk records I’ve heard in some time where every riff and every searing solo is absolutely necessary. Read the full post here.
02. Okkervil River – The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
MP3 | Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe
Frontman Will Sheff is a masterful lyricist with an almost conversational narrative style that makes listening to his songs like reading intimate and soul-baring diary entries with an accompaniment of pop-rock hooks and subtle alt-country instrumentation. Read the full post here.
01. The Weakerthans – Reunion Tour (Epitaph)
MP3 | Tournament Of Hearts
An urgent but reflective mix of punk, folk, and country wrapped around captivating stories told with highly literate and poetic lyrics that sounds like the golden sun peeking out from behind a darkly clouded sky (if only for a moment). A fucking phenomenal album made even more amazing when hearing my two year old daughter sing along. Read the full post here.