Today at 4 p.m. I’m going to be counting down my Top 25 (Radio Friendly) Albums of 2010 on WMUC. It’s yet another year-end list so I admit it’s going to be something that you’ve heard before, but I think I’ve thrown in some surprises to make it worth your while. Like my Top 25 (Radio Friendly) Songs of 2010, this list will be a little different than my final Top 25 Albums of 2010 list because there are some albums that I couldn’t find a radio friendly track from. So don’t be too surprised when that list is a little different. After the show, I’m going to publish the list below and have the two-hour extravaganza available for download, so be sure to hit that up as well.
Check back after the show for some updates!
EDIT: Download the show here!
UPDATE (6:41 p.m.): The show went well, and all around and away we go:
Daniel’s Top 25 (Radio Friendly) Albums of 2010
Note: The track listed is the one I played on my show, not necessarily the best one from the album.
25. Broken Social Scene — Forgiveness Rock Record — “All to All”
I’ll admit that this album as a bit of a grower, and seeing Broken Social Scene live at Sasquatch did not hurt this album either. “Texico Bitches” is one of the most addicting songs of the year, with its overall radness of just hearing “bitches” over and over again. The tracks are really solid all the way through, with some personal highlights being “All to All,” “Forced To Love” and the absolutely awesome instrumental “Meet Me In The Basement.” For a slower pace, “Sweetest Kill,” is absolutely heartbreaking to listen to in the middle of the night. While the overall length of the album (63 minutes) made it a little difficult to listen to, Broken Social Scene packs enough to punch to keep me coming back to certain songs which in turn roped me into the rest of Forgiveness Rock Record.
Video: “Texico Bitches” live at Sasquatch
24. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti — Before Today — “Bright Lit Blue Skies”
This is another album that I have the sneaking feeling that I overlooked during the course of 2010. I, like everyone else, loved “Round and Round,” and then during the summer “Bright Lit Blue Skies” grew on me a good amount as I drove around underneath blue skies. Beyond that, “Fright Night (Nevermore),” “Beverly Kills” and “Butt-House Blondies” were the only other tracks that totally resonated with me. I really liked listening to the album as a whole when I got the chance, but that was not too often, as I really lacked the patience to dive into it as the year went on.
23. Tokyo Police Club — Champ — “End of a Spark”
Champ was another grower for me in 2010. When I first started listening to it over the summer, it just didn’t click with me. The two main singles from the album, “Breakneck Speed” and “Wait Up (Boots of Danger),” didn’t do it for me. I wanted A Lesson in Crime back. I wanted “Nature of the Experiment” and “Citizens of Tomorrow.” That kind of raw energy behind teenage urgency. But as the summer went on and it turned to the fall, I got more and more into the album and found some other gems, like “Bambi” and “End of a Spark.” Those two are my favorite (and I think best) tracks on the album, while “Frankenstein” and “Favourite Colour” are solid cuts from these Canadians. I still miss A Lesson in Crime a whole hell of a lot, but Champ showcases maturity in Tokyo Police Club, and it seems like they’re on the right track.
22. Andrew Cedermark — Moon Deluxe — “Hard Livin'”
Another album I discovered late, as in “in the last two weeks,” Moon Deluxe struck an immediate chord with me when I finally got down to it. Maybe it was seeing Andrew Cedermark play these songs live in a basement, or maybe it was that I was finally at a stage where I could listen to this album and take it all in. Either way, I’ve found a good one. Given Cedermark’s connections, this album is the perfect mix of Titus Andronicus and Real Estate with a little Family Portrait thrown in. The second most intense New Jersey act after Titus, Cedermark lays down some really, really cool riffs that have a really folk-y feel to them, but the percussion adds another layer of intensity not found in Real Estate.
21. Javelin — No Mas — “C Town”
Another album on the list that benefited from me seeing its songs played live, No Mas fell into my rotation for the three weeks following the show at Ottobar with Warpaint and Beach Fossils. It got to the point where the day didn’t seem right if I hadn’t thrown this album on my iTunes. It was the first album I listened to when I moved into my dorm and just the randomness of the noise and the samples used just gets me every time I listen. Extremely danceable, Javelin throws some delectable beats together on No Mas.
20. Warpaint — The Fool — “Composure”
It was said in this review of Warpaint’s live show, this review of another Warpaint live show, and this review of The Fool, but I’ll say it again here: Warpaint is devastatingly beautiful. The harmonies of thrown together with soaring instrumentation are relentless throughout the album, requiring each song to be listened to closely, or else something might be missed. The Fool is a really, really solid debut for Warpaint, and it just signals bigger and better things for them as time goes on.
19. Surfer Blood — Astro Coast — “Anchorage”
Another band that had its album leak before the calendar change, causing it to slip from memory, Surfer Blood has put together quite the collection of tracks. From “Fast Jabroni” to “Slow Jabroni,” the five-piece has longer, slower-paced songs down, along with short, tight rock songs. I was fortunate to catch Surfer Blood live, a show at which they played most, if not all, of Astro Coast, something that was really cool. The album does not have a dull moment, as each song is distinctly Surfer Blood, but something is changed up just enough to that the songs never get old. Plus, the album cover is badass.
18. The Thermals — Personal Life — “You Changed My Life”
The amount of emotion present in The Thermals’ music is just extremely awesome. Whether it’s about politics and religion or relationships, every song has all of Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster in it. I got to talk to Kathy about this back in October before the band played Black Cat in DC, and it was just really interesting how she took the lead on this album, something that changed the musicality up from Now We Can See and other Thermals albums. Marc, Fresh Heirs’ resident Thermals expert, took well to the album, and I found it was an album that I could just put on and listen to on repeat because of tracks like “You Changed My Life” and “I Don’t Believe You.”
17. Slow Loris — Extra Colors — “Ghosts”
I jumped on the Slow Loris bandwagon extremely fast and extremely hard. After a week of listening to Extra Colors and the dream/vacation EP on repeat, I was smitten with Wes Doyle’s bedroom project. It takes aspects of all of the great indie music out there today and molds it together into something completely different. The riff from “Ghosts” sounds like it could fit right into the sentimental moment on a romantic comedy, while “LA LA Swim” is straight surf rock, and then “We Were Never Alone” slows things down just enough and has just enough mystery to it. Slow Loris is one of my new favorites and has the opportunity to breakthrough into more ears if the output from Doyle continues along the lines of Extra Colors.
16. Big Troubles — Worry — “Bite Yr Tongue”
Worry is like the lovechild of My Bloody Valentine and Real Estate. The fuzzed out guitars are extremely reminiscent of the shoegaze that My Bloody Valentine made so popular, while the riffs remind me of Real Estate and other indie bands out there on the scene today. “Bite Yr Tongue” and “Freudian Slips” make up the core of the album, as these two songs are fabulous, but “Modern Intimacy” and “Drastic and Difficult” make the 14-track Worry admirably deep. Plus, the band has an awesome, Ross Miller-approved music video for “Bite Yr Tongue:
15. No Age — Everything In Between — “Depletion”
Seeing No Age twice this year (at Sasquatch and Black Cat), I was struck at how sophisticated Dean Spunt and Randy Randall’s music is in a live setting, with the variety of samples that are triggered throughout the set. “Life Prowler” and “Glitter” start Everything In Between off on an awesome note, and while the addictiveness of the tracks may fade throughout the album, the quality doesn’t. “Skinned,” “Katerpillar” and “Positive Amputation” keep it moving with artful noise and emotion that keeps returning. Everything In Between seems to be a break-up album to many, giving the noise a more melancholic feel, rather than aggressive.
Video: “Depletion” at Sasquatch
14. The Drums — The Drums — “Book of Stories”
The Drums really have burst onto the scene in 2010, but still seem to be looking for a foothold in the States despite their fame in Europe. The self-titled debut full-length is charming and possesses some intense emotion. While some of the tracks could definitely be categorized as angsty, Jonathon Pierce’s delivery is just enough to have the angsty dissipate before it becomes whine. The throwback sound which reminds me a bit of The Cure, is great on songs like “Let’s Go Surfing” and “Forever and Ever Amen,” although I would have loved to see “I Felt Stupid,” 2009’s single, on the record. But then again, we can’t get everything we want. Pierce is also an amazing frontman and so entertaining to watch, as I saw at 9:30 Club in September.
Video: “Me and the Moon”
13. Wavves — King of the Beach — “King of the Beach”
While some people are quick to discount Wavves as a blink-182 wannabe now after he went from his parents’ poolhouse to an actual studio, I actually found King of the Beach to be an extremely refreshing album this summer. While most of the year has been spent in a haze of reverb and chillwaves, Nathan Williams got rid of it all (for the most part) and came out with this album. It’s has the perfect beach feel for summer and while there are some question marks like “Convertible Balloon,” the fun beach-punk tracks like “King of the Beach,” “Idiot,” “Take on the World,” and “Green Eyes” make it all worth it. Plus, they made this video for “Post-Acid”:
12. Sleigh Bells — Treats — “A/B Machines”
This album is loud. That’s the easiest way to describe it. It’s loud. It’s percussive. It bangs. Nothing other than that. From “Riot Rhythm” to “Crown on the Ground” to “Infinity Guitars” to “A/B Machines,” it doesn’t stop. The only time it really seems to take a breather is during “Rill Rill,” but even then, that song just has an edge to it that bangs. High school students: try taking your AP tests with “A/B Machines” stuck in your head. It’s awesome. Treats is awesome. Still pretty bummed I didn’t get to check out this duo at FreeFest, but Pavement calls.
11. Julian Lynch — Mare — “Travelers”
On the more relaxed and chill side of things is Julian Lynch with Mare. I really got into this album on late nights/early mornings over the summer and it synthesized itself more and more into my usual rotation. The instrumentation is unusual for sure, but Lynch makes it work and molds Mare, an album that can be listened to over and over again, out of all these different instruments and influences, something that I respect deeply and love listening to. He’s posted some new demos on his Tumblr, and I’m really excited for his next release. But for the meantime, we have Mare.
10. Toro Y Moi — Causers of This — “Causers of This”
Some people have said that chillwave is dead. Some people have said that it will never come back. I totally disagree with that, 100 percent, but if it is true, we have Causers of This. An early January 2010 release that easily could have fallen off the radar as other chillwave acts came out and failed, Causers of This stayed strong with its intricate layers on songs like “Low Shoulder” and the title track, plus “Blessa” and “Fax Shadow.” I’m hard-pressed to find a week track on this song, as everything is just so catchy and just so…chill. It’s no wonder I enjoyed being woken up by this album every day for nearly all of January. So much fun to blast. Plus, Chaz has a new album planned for 2011. I’m stoked.
9. Wild Nothing — Gemini — “Live In Dreams”
I saw Jack Tatum’s ’80s dream-pop project twice this year, and he put on killer shows like when he opened for Stars at 9:30 Club but I didn’t stay to see Stars. But his bedroom album Gemini is really, really exquisite. It really is like a dream, as the keyboard and guitar lines float over the backing instruments and Tatum melts his vocals into the whole picture. With “Live In Dreams” and “Summer Holiday,” Tatum has one of the best album starts of the year, but he keeps the album going with “Chinatown” and “The Witching Hour.” I had the privilege of talking to him before the show at 9:30 Club, and he just seems like a nice guy that I wish all the best too.
8. Dum Dum Girls — I Will Be — “Bhang Bhang, I’m A Burnout”
One of my biggest regrets from this year in music is not going to see Dum Dum Girls when they played the Recher in Towson with Girls. I can’t believe two indie bands like that would play Recher, only about 40 minutes from home, but I couldn’t go. It’s sad, really. Stupid schoolnights. But anyways, I Will Be packs short punches close together, only slowing down for “Baby Don’t Go,” when Dee Dee makes it feel like she really doesn’t want you to go. It’s a fun, scuzzy piece of pop that will last and is easy to listen to.
7. Vampire Weekend — Contra — “Run”
Contra is another album that dropped in January and was subjected to the test of time to determine its greatness. It passed. For all the hating that goes on on these guys, the fact remains that they are incredibly skilled musicians and Ezra Koenig has an amazing voice, which is even better in person. While the first two singles that were chosen off of Contra, “Horchata” and “Cousins,” are not my favorite tracks in the world, “Giving Up The Gun,” “Run,” “Taxi Cab,” and “Diplomat’s Sun” make up a solid core of songs that can showcase the variety of skills found in the band. I’m really happy that Contra has stood the test of time for me and has found itself this high on my list. It deserves it.
Video: “Giving Up The Gun” at Sasquatch
Video: “California English” at Sasquatch
6. Deerhunter — Halcyon Digest — “Fountain Stairs”
There is so much amazing in this album. Songs like “Desire Lines” and “Helicopter” are some of the most epic I have ever heard, as well as “He Would Have Laughed.” It’s another album that seems ripe with emotion, but Deerhunter moves beyond the epics when putting together an album. Shorter songs like “Fountain Stairs,” “Revival,” and “Coronado” are short, tight packages that easily get stuck in your head. They put on one of the best shows of the year at 9:30 Club this past October, and I’m continually awestruck when I get to certain parts of the album.
5. Titus Andronicus — The Monitor — “A More Perfect Union”
From the moment I first laid ears on The Monitor, I was struck by how something this grand and complex and creative could be made. The epicness of it is unmatched by any other album on 2010. My views really haven’t changed from the first time I reviewed this album. From “A More Perfect Union” to “A Pot In Which To Piss” to the ridiculously epic “Battle of Hampton Roads,” Patrick Stickles and the gang is absolutely unmatched in sheer volume and grandeur. I’m absolutely exhausted by the time I’m finished with The Monitor each time out. Plus, the Titus live show is a sight to be seen.
4. Future Islands — In Evening Air — “Long Flight”
In Evening Air is emotion. From “Walking Through That Door” to “Tin Man” to “Inch of Dust,” it’s where the clout lies. Without emotion, Future Islands would still be a good band, but it would be nowhere near as good. Plus, we’re big fans as well. We’ve seen Future Islands a ridiculous amount of times between all of us. I’m not even going to link to the individual shows. Here’s a link to the “future islands” search. You can go from there. In Evening Air is one of the most cathartic albums I’ve ever listened to and every single song is solid and could be the best song on the album. It really is a cool thing to hear. Future Islands. Fresh Heirs. In Evening Air. In Afternoon Air. They all go together.
3. LCD Soundsystem — This Is Happening — “I Can Change”
James Murphy is a genius. No way around it. It’s the truth. This Is Happening displays that genius from the first synth hit on “Dance Yrself Clean” until Murphy comes “Home.” The tracks in the middle are radio ready, from “Drunk Girls” to “I Can Change” to “Pow Pow.” Murphy manipulates things to be how he wants them, and they are. Each snare hit sounds so meticulously thought out and put together. Seeing LCD Soundsystem live at FreeFest ranks up there with the top musical experiences of my life, and for good reason as Murphy was able to elicit feeling and emotion in his live set, which is also done on This Is Happening. It happened.
Video: “I Can Change” live at Sasquatch
2. Beach Fossils — Beach Fossils — “Wide Awake”
Dustin Payseur’s project topped my Top 25 (Radio Friendly) Songs of 2010 list with “Daydream,” and he comes close again with his self-titled debut full-length. For all the snotty things people say about Beach Fossils (including the band themselves), there’s no denying this record. It never got old to me at any point this spring, this summer, this fall, or this winter. Payseur has a way with creating great relaxed pop tunes that have the ability to make you feel relaxed no matter the situation. It’s so nice to kick back after a stressful day and pop in “Sometimes” and progress through the album from there. While “Daydream” is my favorite/the best song from Beach Fossils, “Wide Awake” is making a move the more I listen to it. Really, if I listened to any song enough, every song could be my favorite and the best. I’m happy that Payseur got a full-length together, but I really hope that he keeps it together for future releases. I’m excited to see what else can happen. But for now, I have Beach Fossils, which is all I need.
Video: “Twelve Roses” live at Ottobar
1. Beach House — Teen Dream — “Take Care”
When I first heard Teen Dream in November 2009, I knew it was great. I was only worried about whether or not it would last. My immediate review spoke glowingly of the album. As time went on and other new, great albums came out, I kept coming back to Teen Dream to see whether or not it would still hold up against time. It did. After giving it a full listen, there’s nothing to feel except for absolutely fulfilled. Victoria LeGrand and Alex Scally have created something beautiful that I want to hold on to for a long time. When I look back on 2010, I’ll think of Legrand’s beautiful voice carrying things along through the winter and the cold, but also through the summer and the heat. Beach House is moving to the top of my band bucket list, and I can’t wait to see what the band has in store for its fourth studio album. I’m not expecting it to be better than Teen Dream, as that would be nearly impossible to do, as Teen Dream is the pinnacle of music for 2010.
There we have it. More list craziness should be coming as things get closer to the New Year. What will 2011 bring?