The time is finally here where we announce our favorite albums of the year. Yes, it took a whole lot of thinking and a whole lot of relistening, but in the end we figured it out. Trust us, it was no easy task this year. Take a peek at what kept our interest in 2010.
This will forever be known as the album where SSLYBY fully matured. Working with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, the band produced a stunning record full of pop hooks and catchy lyrics. The result, Let It Sway (Polyvinyl), one of the greatest pieces of work our ears have heard by any indie band in a long time. We loved it so much we made a tribute video celebrating the record which you can watch below. Congrats SSLYBY!
A nearly flawless album, the VW boys started off 2010 with a burst of energy that continued througout the year. Neck in neck with the Yeltsins, Contra (XL) also shared the tale of a too-good-to-be-true indie band growing up in the public eye.
Another record that was running with the big boys on this list, The Morning Benders released Big Echo (Kanine) early in the year and exploded like no one could ever have imagined. It’s ab out time. They deserve it. This is one of the catchiest albums we heard this year and it never gets old.
Of Montreal are always evolving. That is what we love most about the band. False Priest (Polyvinyl) takes them to a whole new level, dabbling in R&B and dueting with Solange Knowles. We may have been skeptical at first but it quickly won over our hearts and the dance floor.
Everyone’s favorite “IT” band of the year produced a promising debut album called Astrocoast (Kanine). We followed the boys around CMJ 2009 and knew they were about to blew up huge. We were right, and now Surfer Blood has taken over the world.
A chilling record filled with reverb and haunting vocals proved to be just the thing for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Before Today (4AD) stunned the indie music world and makes us wonder what the next Ariel Pink chapter has to hold.
A thriving piano backed by a guitar and drums made an unexpected assault in the indie world this year. Everything Under the Sun (Yep Roc) dropped jaws quickly this year and had Jukebox the Ghost playing with big name bands and appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Much different from their first record, The Love Language stunned us with a near perfect record, Libraries (Merge) this year. There was a lot of buzz about this album and as the tracks leaked, we could feel the greatness building up. We were right.
Without a record label in the U.S., We Are Scientists broke through this year with Barbara. They haven’t changed too much since the last time we heard from them, which is a good thing. They still have their driving 80’s vibe, W.A.S. charm and brilliant tunes.
This was an unexpected treat this year that had us putting Magic Kids on repeat. Memphis (Goner/True Panther) often has a lo-fi and retro vibe, and that is what really makes it special.
The rest of the list….
11. Miniature Tigers – “Fortress”
12. Matt Pond PA – “The Dark Leaves”
13. Wavves – “King of the Beach”
14. Sufjan Stevens -“Age of the Adz”
15. Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
16. Free Energy – “Stuck on Nothing”
17. Javelin – “No Mas”
18. Best Coast – “Crazy for You”
19. The Drums – “The Drums”
20. Tokyo Police Club – “Champ”
21. The New Pornographers – “Together”
22. Spoon – “Transference”
23. Hot Hot Heat – “Future Breeds”
24. Kids of 88 – “Sugar Pills”
25. MGMT – “Congratulations”
26. Harlem – “Hippies”
27. Broken Social Scene – “Forgiveness Rock Record”
28. Born Ruffians – “Say It”
29. Caribou – “Swim”
30. Interpol – “Interpol”
1. Of Montreal – “Sex Karma” featuring Solange Knowles
2. Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”
3. Love Language – “Heart to Tell”
4. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – “Everlyn”
5. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti -“Fright Night (Nevermore)”
6. Morning Benders – “Promises”
7. Jukebox the Ghost – “Half Crazy”
8. The Drums – “Let’s Go Surfing”
9. Surfer Blood – “Swim”
10. We Are Scientists – “Rules Don’t Stop”
11. Wavves – “King of the Beach”
12. Free Energy – “Bang Pop”
13. Magic Kids – “Hey Boy”
14. Robbers on High Street – “Electric Eye”
15. Beach Fossils – “Youth”
16. Javelin – “Oh! Centra”
17. Matt Pond PA – “Starting”
18. Miniature Tigers – “Gold Skull”
19. Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”
20. Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
21. Sufjan Stevens – “From the Mouth of Gabriel”
22. Hot Hot Heat – “21@12”
23. Tame Impala – “Alter Ego”
24. Caribou – “Odessa”
25. Jenny and Johnny – “Big Wave”
The Spinto Band
Here are our favorite things of the YEAR…Sorry it’s a bit fractured.
ROAR – I Can’t Handle Change EP
Miniature Tigers – Fortress
Pigeon John- Dragon Slayer
Generationals – Trust EP
Magic Kids – Memphis
Austin Leonard Jones – Superstitions
Half-handed Cloud – As Stowaways in Cabinets of Surf, We Live-out in Our Members a Kind of Rebirth
The Beast Pageant
Toy Story 3
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Hausu (Criterion Collection Release)
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (33 1/3 Series) – Christopher R. Weingarten
Wilson – Daniel Clowes
BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO US THIS YEAR
Paul Sprangers (Free Energy)
TOP STUFF ( in random order)
someone still loves you boris yeltsin – let it sway
titus andronicus – the monitor
mates of state – covers album
bear in heaven
best thing was eastbound and down season 2
Phil Dickey (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin)
Here are my top 10 songs.
1. “Be Professional” by the ACB’s
2. “Boy Like Me” by the ACB’s
3. “Final Exam” by New Monsters Collective
4. “Live Here” by The Lonely Forest
5. “Dirty Thing” by Telekinesis
6. “Young Hearts” by Free Energy
7. “Hahahaohhoho” by Yellow Ostrich
8. “Best Supporting Actress” by One For The Team
9. “Babies” by Via Audio
10. “Hang with Me” by Robyn
The best thing that happened to me this year was getting married.
Aaron Pfenning (Chairlift, Rewards)
Top 10 songs of 2010.
1. Stars – Warpaint
2. Good Day Today – David Lynch
3. Round and Round – Ariel Pink
4. Only The Young – Brandon Flowers
5. Rules – We Are Scientists
6. Congratulations – MGMT
7. Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem
8. O.N.E. – Yeasayer
9. Empire Ants – Gorillaz
10. Dark Night of The Soul – Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
Best thing of 2010: Getting number ONE and TWO top scores on Gilligan’s Island pinball with Keith Murray at The Commodore.
Justin Kennedy (Army Navy)
I have been in the studio most of the year and I really try not to listen to much new music while writing and recording. But these songs were some of the best that seeped in!
Top 10 songs of 2010
1. Cee Lo Green “Fuck You
2. Arcade Fire “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
3. Avi Buffalo “Whats in it for”
4. The Good Natured “Your Body is a Machine”
5. Teenage Fanclub “Baby Lee”
6. Kanye West “Monster”
7. Broken Bells “The High Road
8. Band of Horses “Laredo”
9. Spoon “Got Nuffin”
10. Best Coast “Boyfriend”
Todd Goldstein (ARMS)
1. joanna newsom – have one on me
2. james blake – klavierwerke EP
3. vampire weekend – contra
4. baths – cerulean
5. walkmen – lisbon
6. caribou – swim
7. tame impala – innerspeaker
8. oneohtrix point never – returnal
9. jonsi – go
10. pantha du prince – black noise
best thing that happened to me this year: recording the new ARMS album with my amazing new(-ish) band.
Hollerado’s Top ten of 2010
1- Free Energy – stuck on nothing
2 – Titus andronicus – the monitor
3 – Molly rankin – she ep
4 – let’s wrestle – in the court of the wrestling let’s
5 – fang island – fang island
6 – Neil young – le noise
7 – atom division – red smith 7inch
8 – besnard lakes – are the roaring night
9 – strange boys – be brave
10 – Jamie gilmartin – and there was nothing on the radio
Note. We didn’t include arcade fire’s the suburbs because it is so obviously the best record if the year and it should be implicit that it is on everyones list.
Cale Parks (BRAHMS, Aloha)
Alicia Keys – Unthinkable (song)
James Blake – CMYK (ep)
The Radio Dept. – Clinging To a Scheme (lp)
Lindstrøm & Christabelle – Real Life Is No Cool (lp)
Fantastic Mr. Fox – The Eveyln (ep)
Joy Orbison – The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow (song)
Vondelpark – Hippodrome (song)
Steve Moore – Primitive Neural Pathways (lp)
Matthew Dear – Black City (lp)
Dam-Funk – Do U Feel The Same Way I Do (song)
I found a secret spot in Central Park this fall. Many of my favorite moments of 2010 were spent here.
Top 10 of 2010
Perfume Genius – Learning
Sharon Van Etten – epic
Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Fridays
Amy Bezunartea – Restaurants & Bars
Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement
Arcade Fire The Suburbs
Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Seeing Tom Petty live finally
Belle and Sebastian “I Want the World To Stop”
The best thing I did this year was put out Amy Bezunartea’s debut record Restaurants & Bars on Kiam.
Jordan Hudkins (The Demon Beat)
Top Ten Songs of 2010 (New/Recently (Re)Discovered):
1. Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube”
2. Weezer – “Getting Up & Leaving”
3. 1910 Fruitgum Co. – “Indian Giver”
4. Cold Cave – “Life Magazine”
5. Hammer No More The Fingers – “It’s About Caring”
6. The Black Keys – “Everlasting Light”
7. Spirit Night – “Don’t Miss Me”
8. Real Estate – That whole record is pretty gnarly
9. Small Black – “Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix)
10. Electric Six – “Escape From Ohio”
Best thing that happened in 2010: Relentless touring!
Tucker Riggleman (The Demon Beat)
Top Ten Albums of 2010:
1. Beach House – “Teen Dream”
2. The Black Keys – “Brothers”
3. Spirit Night – “What We Will Be”
4. Woodworkings – “We Sit On Floors, We Stand On Chairs”
5. Girls – “Broken Dreams Club” EP
6. Dandelion Snow – “The Grand Scheme Of Things”
7. Pat Pat – “Wizard of This”
8. Lucero – “1372 Overton Park”
9. J Marinelli – “Pre-emptive Skankery Sessions”
10. Sufjan Stevens – “The Age of Adz”
Best thing that happened in 2010: Playing SXSW along with some of our very favorite bands/friends
Jason Nesmith (Casper and the Cookies)
Under the category of General Listening, this was the year of Sex Clark Five and Lee Dorsey. Those two artists demanded my attention. As for 2010 releases, here are my faves.
1. Aquaserge- Ce Tres Cher Serge, Special Origins
2. Kevin Dunn- No Great Lost (reissue)
3. LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening
4. Poison Control Center- Sad Sour Future
5. Colleen & Paul
6. Field Music- Measure
7. The Apples In Stereo- Travellers in Space & Time
8. Mike Watt- Hyphenated-Man
9. Venice Is Sinking- Sand & Lines
10. Tela Menos- Patagonian Rats
Teenage Fanclub- Shadows
Stereolab- Not Music
of Montreal- False Priest
The Method Actors- This is Still It
Would have made the list, but it’s from 2009:
Claire & the Reasons- Arrow (from 2009, but FTW!)
The best thing that happened to me all year:
I started working out! Not like six-pack-abs workin’ out, but general-well-being workin’ out. It changed my outlook on life. I’ve started staning differently. I’ve still got a little belly, and that’s probably not going to change. But I feel so much better.
Runner-up: I got to see Paul Collins (of the Nerves and the Beat) and Van Dyke Parks live, two of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed.
Jim Hix (Casper and the Cookies)
2010 saw the release of a lot of music, both mainstream and indie, that I was super-duper excited about.
When it comes to 2010 mainstream hip hop, 2010 had some really great and memorable stuff. The year began with the awesome (was it the third?) return of Jay Z: Blueprint Vol 3. Then all year we were treated to the emergence to the national stage of Nicki Minaj, hip hop’s lady gaga (that’s a good thing). And finally, we close the year off with my favorite major label record of the year, Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Like Smucker’s Jelly, even the ridiculous name (let’s not even mention the cover!) couldn’t hold that record back! In my favorite track of the year, Monster, you get Jay Z, Kanye, AND Nicki Minaj, all in the same three minutes and all spitting some of their best rhymes ever!
2010 was also the year that my favorite indie band, Poison Control Center, released their epic double record, Sad Sour Future. I’m not sure what the title of the record speaks to, but the songs it contains are instant classics in the PCC cannon for all fans. (if you’re not a fan yet it’s probably because you just haven’t heard them yet. Check them out, they’re SOOO GOOD!) Like I said, it’s double record yet it somehow manages to retain attention and listen-ability all the way through.
One of my other favorite bands, Indiana’s Jookabox, followed up their brilliant release, 2008’s Ropechain with 2010’s Deadzone Boys. (I just checked on Wikipedia and it says that Deadzone Boys came out in 09 but I didn’t get it until 2010 so that’s when I’m counting it!) It’s hard to describe jookabox by comparing them to other bands cause no one else really sounds like them. Trust me, they’re really good so you should get those two records!!
I have some friends in Toronto, Colleen and Paul, and they recorded a record this year under the name “Colleen and Paul” and this record is AMAZING! It’ relies mostly on acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies in the tradition of Simon and Garfunkel, and man, are the songs good! I just checked and the record is available on itunes for less than 8 bucks and it’s self titled and everyone should run to their computers and buy it cause they’ve never heard it and they don’t know that they have little holes in their hearts where these tunes are gonna fit so nicely.
I have to say, a lot of what I listened to this year was new music coming from the little legendary town I call home, Athens, GA! There’s a new three-piece called The Hums. I can find no web presence for this band and I don’t know if the record is released yet, I think my girl friend bought it at one of their shows, but man, its a great record that sounds kind of like the violent femmes playing white stripes songs, but not really. The album is called Lemonland and you can hear it current;y at the vision video store that I work at. I’ll keep you posted as I find out more. The other record I wanna plug cause if you don’t live here you’ve probably never heard of them but this record is my top record of the year, and it’s by a band called Quiet Hooves. The record is called, Saddle Up and I couldn’t find a place on the web where you could buy it but I know they had a cd release party this year so that’s released enough for me. Go one over to their myspace and check them out. (Start with the album tracks! That’s the stuff you wanna hear!) The songs sound like, I don’t know, really good well thought out baroque pop recorded on a cassette four-track. There’s whimsy and mystery and quiet moments of beauty. I can’t say enough good stuff about this album. Keep your eyes peeled and if you run across it, snag it up!!!
Alright that’s it for me. 2011 is gonna see some exciting new stuff for all the bands I play in. The Goons is going to release its first record so keep and eye out for that!! Marshmallow Coast is going to release “Seniors and Juniors Strike Back” which is a complete re-recording of Andy’s first album he released ten years ago! Casper and the Cookies have just started work on our next record and the demos are sounding awesome so look for a release from us sometime next year! Plenty of touring and promoting next year so if I’m in your town, come see me!!!
Owen Evans – ROAR!
Totally! What music fan doesn’t like to make lists? I’m really glad you included songs too. Smart!
1. Magic Kids – Memphis
2. Carol Cleveland Sings – The Cashmere Cassette
3. MGMT – Congratulations
4. Department of Eagles – Archive 2003-2006
5. Candy Claws – Hidden Lands
6. Miniature Tigers – Fortress
7. Avi Buffalo – S/T
8. Sparklehorse – Dark Night of the Soul
9. Half-handed Cloud – As Stowaways in Cabinets of Surf, We Live-out in Our Members a Kind of Rebirth
10. Mini Mansions – S/T
The best thing that happened to me this year was getting to go on tour with one of my favorite people/musicians and meeting the most amazing girl all in the span of two months.
Try this on for size…
2010’s Top Albums That Killed Me:
1. The Radio Dept – Clinging to a Scheme
2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
3. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
4. The Crackling – Keep Full Ambitious
5. JUNIP – Fields
6. Beach House – Teen Dream
7. Sharon Van Etten – Epic
8. Best Coast – Crazy For You
9. Land of Talk – Cloak and Cipher
10. The Clientele – Minotaur
Aside Honorable Mention:
Matt Pond PA – The Dark Leaves
It’s too good to categorize. Ok, I know I’m in the band, but I’m not on this record so it’s fair to be my fave, even after hearing it repeatedly for a year. Matt is a truly talented songwriter and I’m honored to share the stage with him in not one, but two beloved bands.
This Year’s Top Happening:
My highlight moment was getting called up to sing with Broken Social Scene by the lovely Lisa Lobsinger on Central Park Summer Stage. That came close to dueting with Dan Mangan on the road and spending my year touring in The Wooden Birds and Matt Pond PA. 2010 was a good one.
Here’s My Top 7 in no order:
1) The Biters- “Hang Around”
2) The So So Glos- “Fred Astaire”
3) The Ex-Humans- “Primitive”
4) The Booze- “Hate City Nights”
5) The Radio Exiles- “Secret Station”
6) The Danvilles- “I Tell You”
7) Cee-Lo Greene-“Fuck You” obviously. That song is incredible.
I’d say that being able to play a show with the Biters was probably my highlight, band wise. That, or any house party show we did at Purchase College. Then again, we haven’t played New Years yet at 58 Gallery, so it might still be too early to tell.
This year pretty much sucked on my end! Anything relating to the band was the best, save for a few more tattoos.
1. Social Distortion “Machine Gun Blues”
After 30 years they’ve still got it.
2.Tokyo Police Club “Favorite Food”
“Champ” is probably the album that was the soundtrack to my summer.
3.The Gaslight Anthem “Boxer”
Sure they sound like Bruce Springsteen, but I like Bruce.
4. The Biters “Hang Around” gotta agree with Dave on this one
5. Arcade Fire “Sprawl II (Mountains beyond mountains)”
6.the Black Keys “Everlasting Light”
I managed to sneak into the end of their set at Central Park, and these guys are as good live as they are on record.
7. Vampire Weekend “Giving up the gun”
8.Girl Talk “Oh no”
Anyone who can make people dance to Black Sabbath is good in my book.
9.Tokyo Police Club “End of a Spark”
10.Cee-Lo Greene “Fuck you”
Best thing that happened to me this year?
I would have to say playing a show at monster island basement in brooklyn, immediately driving to Iowa after our set on a random road trip, driving back to New York after a couple days, and then playing a 101.9 rxp showcase opening for Steel Train at the Bowery Electric. It was a crazy week to say the least.
That or hearing myself on the radio was pretty damn cool.
The holidays are soon approaching and we here at Modern Mystery have just the right thing to get you into the Christmas spirit! Holiday music is one of the best things about the season and we hope you enjoy this little, well, er, big mix. It’s our second Mixmas and we went all out with 38 songs this year. Everyone from Matt Pond PA to Of Montreal, you have to check it out below to believe your little eyes. This is the one gift you can peek at this Christmas!
Dressy Bessy- All the Right Reasons
The Sixth Great Lake- Always After Christmas Boring
Asobi Seksu- Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)
Belle and Sebastian- O Little Town of Bethlehem
Blitzen Trapper- Christmas is Coming Soon
Bright Eyes- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Casper and the Cookies- Kiss Me Beneath the Christmas Tree
Ladybug Transistor- Christmas Extravangza
My First Keyboard- Christmas is Only Good If You’re a Girl (Boy)
Of Montreal- Christmas Isn’t Safe for Animals
Essex Green- Deck the Halls
Denison Winter- A Christmas Song
Drive-By Truckers-Mrs. Claus’ Kimono
The Features- Christmas Wish Book
Felice Brothers- Murder by Mistletoe
The Music Tapes- Freeing Song for Reigndeer
Frightened Rabbit- It’s Xmas So We’ll Stop
Fun.- Believe in Me
Gentlemen Auction House- Don’t Want Another Christmas Like Last Christmas
Marbles- Gift for You
Fabulous Bird with Bill Doss-It’s Christmas Time Again
Long Winters- Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas
Low-Just Like Christmas
Matt Pond PA- Holiday Road
My Morning Jacket- Christmas Time is Here
Of Montreal- My Favorite Christmas (In a Hundred Words or Less)
Reigning Sound- If Christmas Can’t Bring You Home
Rilo Kiley- Xmas Cake
Robbers on High Street- Seasons Greetings
Ryan Adams- Hey Parker, It’s Christmas
Summer Hymns- Santa Couldn’t Fit You Under My Tree
Slow Club- Christmas TV
Sufjan Stevens- That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!
The Wedding Present- White Christmas
The Raveonettes- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
The Wombats- This is Christmas
The Damnwells- Xmas Eve
The Knife- Christmas Reindeer
Tonight I am going to see one of my favorite bands, Matt Pond PA. Here’s my little secret. For some reason I have NEVER seen MPPA live. This is beyond wierd isn’t it? I’m not exactly sure how this has happened, being I live in New York, as does the band, but we have unfortunate incidents, that every time for the past 5 years, when MPPA took the stage I either already had tickets to another show or I was on vacation. It seemed to be working against me. Good grief Charlie Brown.
I still remember the first time I discovered Matt Pond PA. It was 2005 and I was interning at big record label in Manhattan. Someone got fired, and as the intern I was, I got to clean out their cd collection, and keep what I wanted to, and put the rest in the trash. Nothing caught my eye but this mix someone had made the person oddly titled “Sunsetting.” Looking at the tracklist, I saw the good Matt Pond PA name on there, noticed it being familar, and took it. The song that was on there was “The Butcher,” and in my ever mess of a room, I didn’t listen to the mix for almost two weeks. It wasn’t until Sunday night two weeks later when I was watching Subteranean on MTV2, that they showed the MPPA video for “Closest (Look Out).” I’ve been hooked ever since.
Well tonight is the night that I get to experience first hand, MPPA at the Bowery Ballroom. With the recent release of The Dark Leaves (Polyvinyl), and some of the strongest songs Pond has ever written, it is sure to be an amazing night. Plus I am going to experience it with someone who I love dearly. I think it was all meant to happen at once.
Recently MPPA released the first video for the record, “Starting,” which features the new-ish lineup featuring the lovely Miss Leslie Sisson of the Wooden Birds (which she plays with Pond and Andrew Kenny formerly of American Analog Set), running away from a slow swerving car with glowing orbs. It MPPA fashion, it’s beautiful.
Matt Pond PA “Starting”