In a world driven by singles and iTunes downloads it is rare these days that we even make it all the way through an album, or even get around to checking out an album in its entirety. That being said, it is all the more special when we discover the rare gem, those diamonds in the rough not comprised of ninety percent filler, that we can subsequently ware out. These are those albums, our best of 2010 if you will.
9. of Montreal - False Priest
Kevin Barnes and Co. finally added a bit of bump to the trunk, and picked up a funkier sound along the way to boot.
MP3: of Montreal - Coquete Coquette
8. Morning Benders - Big Echo
60's pop disciple Chris Chu takes his sunny lo-fi pop out of the bedroom and flourishes it with broader arrangements to much success.
MP3: Morning Benders - Excuses (via)
7. Black Keys - Brothers
The only thing cooler than their album cover is the grimy indie blues that permeate this disc--the Black Keys' sixth full-length--which also finally sees them stepping out from behind the misguided tag of White Stripes clones that had been hampering them for so long. Admittedly it probably would have placed higher on our own list if we weren't so late jumping on their bandwagon.
MP3: Black Keys - Howlin' For You (via)
6. Sleigh Bells - Treats
Another one where the title says it all; the grating, VU-clipping mix of harsh electric guitars and hardline electro beats pushes the limits from the get-go and yet every minute we spent listening to it was a treat indeed.
MP3: Sleigh Bells - Crown on the Ground (via)
5. Das Racist - Shut Up, Dude
One of two bad ass, irreverent, stream of conscious hip-hop mixtapes the trio released this year. The first of the two being so full of pop culture references and old school hip-hop nods we just couldn't get enough.
MP3: Das Racist - You Oughta Know
MP3: Das Racist - Who's That Brown (via)
4. Vampire Weekend - Contra
Vampire Weekend have still managed to come up with an album that shows flashes of maturity, torrents of purpose, and floods of pop knowhow. More importantly though, it shows loads of promise and serves to prove that the band aren't so much one-album wonders as indie-pop wrecking balls who won't be disappearing anytime soon.
MP3: Vampire Weekend - White Sky (via)
3. Spooky Folk - Spooky Folk
Not just local-blog posturing here, we've seen these guys more times this year than pretty much any other band, and listened to their record more times than is probably healthy. Between “My Niagra Heart,” “Rare Bird,” “Polaroid,” and “Bible Belt,” the album also possesses the strongest opening four track sequence on an album since Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the latter being a drunken fist-pumping sing-along able to win over even the most docile of crowds when the band plays it live. And although the disc drops off a bit from this point on, the strength of tracks 1-4 still make it a contender as being one of the year’s best album’s to date, or at the very least one of the most mature freshman efforts I’ve heard.
MP3: Spooky Folk - Bible Belt
2. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot...The Son of Chico Dusty
This album had been in the works for so many years that anything less than a monster effort would have seemed like a failure. Even with all the enormous expectations Big Boi delivered, even convincing a few non-believers he's not just 'that other guy in Outkast' either.
MP3: Big Boi - Shine Blockas (feat Gucci Mane) (via)
1. Harlem - Hippies
This album is like the lo-fi Beatles drunken and road wary, trapped in a garage for too long but not noticing due to a predisposition of being both easily amused and possessing a wicked sense of humor. That being said, we listened to this record so many times it probably borders on obsession, and the times we caught them live they completely delivered.
MP3: Harlem – Someday Soon (via)
*Bonus: Check out little-known DJ Wick-it the Instigator's mixtape, The Brothers of Chico Dusty, that mashes Big Boi and the Black Keys' latest efforts. Two of our very favorites from 2010 are pitted against each other to create a little something special worth checking into.
MP3: Wick-it the Instigator - You Ain't The Next DJ (full album download)