Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ & Director of Online Media, Mike Gibson.
(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)
The first version of this list inadvertently included Why?'s Eskimo Snow, which came out in 2009. The list has now been corrected.
Fight Like Apes – The Body of Christ And The Legs of Tina Turner (Model Citizen) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
The second album from this Dublin quartet is exactly what I was hoping for: sugary sweet melodies with a sinister underbelly, all driven by MayKay's foul mouth that's always on the cusp of breaking into a blood curdling wail. I'll be planning my next trip to Europ around finally seeing them play.
Iron Chic – Not Like This (Dead Broke) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Rarely do I want "ex-member" bands to sound like the band they used to play in, but when Latterman broke up things were different. I wanted ALL of the members' new bands to sound like them. Iron Chic is the first that truly picks up where Latterman left off, with plenty of anthemic courses wrapped up nicely in a gooey, passionate, unrefined blanket.
Les Savy Fav – Root For Ruin (French Kiss) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Count me in with the crowd that thought Les Savy Fav had lost it. Root For Ruin is the smack in the face I needed to pay attention again. They're back in all their spastic, sweat-filled glory.
Superchunk – Majesty Shredding (Merge) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! This is the album that the 18 year old version of myself expected to hear as a follow up to Here's Where The Strings Come In.
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks (Matador) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
While the album art was a major letdown (listen, I care about these things) the songs contained within are all the proof that even after almost 25 years of writing music a good songwriter will always be at the top of their game.
Off With Their Heads – In Desolation (Epitaph) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
High energy, no frills, rough around the edges punk. It's a dime a dozen nowadays, so what allows Minneapolis' Off With Their Heads to stand out from the rest? It's their ability to find inspiration in the bleakest situations. It's hard to feel bad in a crappy situation when you're screaming along with a hundred strangers at the top of your lungs in a darkened club.
Auxes – Ichkannnichtmehr (Gunner) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Few musicians have a track record as impeccable as Dave Laney's. Having spent time in Milemarker, Challenger & Griver, I've had Dave's voice screaming in my headphones for the better part of the past 15 or so years. Auxes fits the lineage perfectly.
Los Campesinos – Romance Is Boring (Arts & Crafts) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
If it weren't for the absolute snoozer of an opening track this would've been a bit higher on the list. Still, there's nothing like a huge helping dose of childlike recklessness when there are a bunch of instruments lying around and microphones to record the results. Los Campesinos is perfect in their sloppiness.
Leatherface – The Stormy Petrel (No Idea) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
While a household name in the UK, Leatherface has been living in the shadow of everyone they've influenced here in the states for the better part of the past two decades. Leatherface has been directly cited as the influence that led Hot Water Music to start their band, No Idea Records to start their label and countless fans of punk to find the sound to begin with. The Stormy Petrel sees the bnd in some of the finest form they've ever been in.
The Measure [sa] – Notes (No Idea) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
The Measure [sa] utilizes several elements that win me over every time. Dual male/female vocals, songs that are played either fast or faster, and honest/heartfelt lyrics that paint their hearts on the outside. I'm still a bit torn on the band's production decisions, but hopefully they'll get that sorted out for LP3.
"Supergroup" of the year
Forgetters – Forgetters 2x7" (Too Small To Fail) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker/Jets To Brazil), Caroline Paquita (Bitchin'), and Kevin Mahon (Against Me!). I so wish Blake would have skipped Jets To Brazil and just gone here.
Most successful exploitation of the exclamation mark
Bomb The Music Industry! – Adults!!!… Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing!!!!!!! (Quote Unquote) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
17 exclamation marks is not enough to properly convey the happiness I felt when I listen to this EP.
Best collection of songs that were better than what actually got released
Weezer – Death To False Metal (Geffen) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Sure, while Hurley may be the Weezer album the everyone talked about this year, everyone should be listening to Death To False Metal. The album compiles songs that the band wrote and recorded throughout their career and for some reason scrapped. Not just B-Sides, these are fully worked studo tracks from all of the band's sessions, including some hiatus era post-Pinkerton/pre-Green album stuff that is just superb. It's almost enough to make me forget about Make Believe.
Best album of 2010 that was recorded in 1985
Dag Nasty – Dag With Shawn (Dischord) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Back in the mid-80's there was a band in DC named Dag Nasty. They were pretty awesome. They went and recorded a supposedly great demo, but then they all got cranky and the singer, Shawn, left the band (and then formed Swiz, which is a whole other awesome story). Not to be deterred, the rest of the group found a friendly boy named Dave Smalley to take his place. They went and re-recorded all the songs on the demo (along with some others), released their debut album, Can I Say, and the rest is history. This is the release of that supposedly great demo, finally seeing the light of the record shelf 26 years late.
Collaboration of the year
Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue (Nonesuch) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Nick Hornby writes the words. Ben Folds writes the music and sings Nick's words. Only thing left to say is that it's obvious that Ben works best when he's working with others.