Throughout December CHIRP Radio presents its members' top albums of 2010. The next list is from CHIRP Radio DJ Mike Pakowski.
(Click here to get the complete list of CHIRP Radio members' picks.)
Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This in my opinion was not only the best album of 2010 but could also be considered one of the best albums of the past decade. I think a true testament to what makes an album great is an ability to still move you months after it has been released. Teen Dream came out in January and it's been nearly a full year and I still absolutely adore it just as much, if not more, then when I first heard it. Just a beautiful record from start to finish and also one of the most romantic albums to come out in quite some time.
The National – High Violet (4AD) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
An amazing album from a group whose sound and depth has gotten better with age. Matt Berninger's songwriting has always been a fantastic combination of angst, dark humor and reflection, and those elements remain on High Violet, however they are bit more mature as many members of the band have transitioned nicely into a new phase of adulthood. By no means has this softened the band, in fact it's made them better musicians. It's a very powerful piece of music.
LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening (DFA) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
A fantastic dance-rock album that showcases the absolute genius of James Murphy & Co. The man is a rock star whether he wants to be or not. "Dance Yrself Clean" is just a flat out brilliant song. One of the most entertaining albums of the year hands down. And seeing them live was one of the highlights of my year. Bravo sir!
Four Tet – There Is Love In In You (Domino) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
I am amazed by this album. It's such an incredible blend of hypnotic beats and rhythms that one minute will have you dancing and the next will have you lost in deep thought. Every time I listened to There Is Love In You I discovered something new. Just a great album from start to finish.
How to Dress Well – Love Remains (Lefse) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
This was an album that completely blew my mind. I've been struggling on how to describe what it is about Love Remains that is so amazing and I think that is one of the things I love about it. It is hauntingly beautiful, stunning, and sounds like nothing else I've heard this year. I guess I'm better at describing it than I thought!
Twin Shadow – Forget (4AD) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
There are plenty of albums released this year that harken back to new wave days of the 1980's. However George Lewis Jr. (AKA Twin Shadow) just did it so much better on Forget, somehow even making the album sound modern. Dreamy, catchy beats along with heartfelt, achingly romantic lyrics ("As If It Wasn't Enough Just To Hear You Speak They Had To Give You Lips Like That" from the incredible track "Tyrant Destroyed") made this one of my favorites. In a year filled with many an 80's pop revival record, Twin Shadow's Forget stands alone.
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
Thank you Mr. West for being an egomaniac with a sense of humor and a bit of a sensitive side. Thank you for name dropping pretty much every possible luxury brand in the universe (I had no idea Versace made sofas) in a way that made me laugh instead of gag. Thank you for "Monster", thank you for "Runaway", and thank you for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I'm With Team Kanye!
Love Is All – Two Thousand and Ten Injuries (Polyvinyl) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
I had very little exposure to Love Is All until hearing Two Thousand and Ten Injuries. After listening to this album I couldn't wait to hear more. I love this band and I love this album. Lead singer Josephine Olausson's voice is adorable and her lyrics are sassy, sweet, angry and honest. What amazed me most was the bands ability to compliment her lyrics with such insanely fun and energetic music. It's pure Swedish punk-bubblegum bliss.
Dissapears – Lux (Kranky) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes
A garage-rock album that just takes off and is unapologetic and gritty. Lux is fuzzy, fast and loud. I can think of much worst things than to be compared to the Velvet Underground. It's only a matter of time before another band is compared to Disappears.
Candy Claws – Hidden Lands (Twosyllable) BUY: Amazon / Insound / iTunes Hidden Lands is a gorgeous album that is dream-pop unlike anything I've heard before. It's a sound that is smart, mesmerizing, and the fact that the band had no prior experience with keyboards and synthesizers blows my mind. This album doesn't have songs or singles instead it has mini-symphonies. Absolutely addictive.
2010 Honorable Mentions:
Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms (Delmark)
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (Merge)
Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International)
Foals - Total Life Forever (Sub Pop/Warner Bros./Transgressive)
Janelle Monáe - Archandroid (Atlantic)