Friday, December 3, 2010
Apologies for not posting this last night, had no time whatsoever.
As the last of the admins (The_Red_Agent posted his last week), I'd like to thank all of our readers for making this site what it is today. Back when we formed LPC in late June, we had no idea that within four months we'd have our monthly visitors count rise from 3,600 to nearly 13,000. The site's popularity is seemingly growing every day, and it's a welcome sight.
So to everyone who's commented, helped, written, read, and told me to take down albums, thank you. We can only hope you'll stick around as this site continues to grow.
Anyway, on to my list:
10. The National - High Violet
It took some time for me to really understand what this album was all about. I wouldn't say that I consider this as accessible as their last album, Boxer. On the day this leaked, a user commented that it was absolutely perfect for a rainy day; I replied that maybe I need to wait for the next thunderstorm to sit down and listen to it.
I didn't need that, but upon appreciating tracks such as "England", "Conversation 16", and "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks", I started to view this as one of the best of the year. It may have taken some time, but it's just another great record by one of the best groups in indie rock.
9. Caribou - Swim
Dan Snaith is truly a fantastic musician; it seems that he can effortlessly move from the upbeat, 50s/60s melodies on Up in Flames (under Manitoba), an album GoBlue32/Tom Pickle called "the happiest album ever made" to essentially dance music on Swim.
So many standouts here - "Odessa", "Sun", "Bowls", and "Jamelia" are all excellent. It's hard for me to pick a singular favorite track off of this because they're almost equally great. Snaith makes electronic music look pretty nice with this.
8. Vampire Weekend - Contra
Can I even really explain this? I can understand why Vampire Weekend gets the hate they get, but I've never understood how you can deny the fact that it's just good, fun, enjoyable music.
Honestly, it's better than their debut. "Horchata" and "Cousins" might not be better than "Oxford Comma" and "M79", but there's less filler here.
7. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
One of my greatest disappointments of the summer was being unable to attend Bonnaroo with several friends of mine. They all seemed to enjoy it greatly, but I was stuck at home watching a mediocre stream on YouTube of the Bonnaroo stages. By the end of the night I had switched to the NPR broadcast.
Didn't stop me from watching a replay of LCD's Friday night concert, though. What he does on record is equaled by his live performances. 2010 ended up being a great year for him, as serious discussion began as to if "Dance Yrself Clean" was one of the best opening tracks to an album of all-time. The album doesn't decline in quality after the opener, though - "I Can Change" and "Home" are fantastic.
6. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
I'll go ahead and get this off of my back - I think Bradford Cox is one of the best musicians in the world of music right now. Not many can keep releasing consistently great material under a solo project AND a full band along with touring for both.
It's almost amazing how good Halcyon Digest is, though. "Desire Lines" was a serious contender for Track of the Year for me. "Helicopter" just works perfectly. Same for "Revival" and "Memory Boy". Excellence, thy name is Bradford Cox.
5. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
Ariel Pink's kind of a strange guy. His older albums such as the Doldrums and Worn Copy are the essence of lo-fi - something that sounds like an AM oldies station out in a rural area. Those albums weren't very good outside of a few tracks because it seemed like he didn't want to try hard enough. He thought he could hide his faults with poor production.
That's why it was such a shock when he released the first single from this ("Round and Round") in such high-quality production. To boot, the song sounded straight out of the 70s or 80s. Later on, I'd find out the entire album sounds like that. It's perfection. Easily the most underrated album of the year.
4. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
I'm never too certain about artists changing their sound. When an artist changes their sound, it always seems like they lose qualities that made them what they are in the first place. Not so with Sufjan - "I Walked" and "Too Much" were immediate standouts. "Impossible Soul" is somewhat daunting and a bit long at 25 minutes, but it ends up working in the end.
3. Beach House - Teen Dream
Where to start? When this leaked, I had listened to only one source of material by Beach House, their album Devotion. I wasn't impressed whatsoever and kind of forgot about them. When this leaked, I figured "might as well try it out" - surely it couldn't be worse than Devotion.
This blows Devotion out of the water. It's a beautiful and stunning album. Victoria Legrand does absolute work on this album.
2. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
My album of the year for five months. I was a fan of Los Angeles and 1983, but I couldn't really have listed Flying Lotus among my favorite artists before this was released. "Galaxy in Janaki" ended up being my #2 track of 2010. "...And the World Laughs With You" showed that Thom Yorke doesn't even have to be an essential part of a song to help out immensely.
"Computer Face//Pure Being" I can't even start on. If Steven Ellison is the future of electronic music, the future is hotter than the sun.
1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Now here's my album of the year for the next five months and the entire year overall. I had great hopes for this upon hearing "Month of May" and the title track. Those expectations were, needless to say, exceeded. With much force.
The difference between Cosmogramma and the Suburbs is this - except for Galaxy in Janaki, my jaw never dropped quite like it did at several moments during my first listen through the Suburbs. Sure, I had a smile the entire album knowing I was listening to something that wasn't anything but excellent, but I just can't place it above this.
The_Red_Agent will take over these for a spell starting tomorrow. I need rest. Maybe.