Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best Albums of 2010

Yeah, yeah, I know....I lagged and it's almost a month into 2011...well too bad, that's the price you pay for greatness. Wel, mine anyway.

Without further ado...here are my favorite albums from 2010. Like the singles list, this was a difficult process this year what with so much great music. For many of these albums their excellence was defined as a whole, rather than by a few outstanding tracks and some other ok ones. More so than in a long time, these choices are top to bottom excellent albums and keep getting better and better with repeated listening. It is this type of excellence through and through which really stood out to me most in picking my favorite albums this year.

Each link takes you to a particularly delightful selection from the album for your listening pleasure. In the case that there is a band that appeared on a previous list, I chose a different selection.

1. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening – James Murphy and bandmates clearly have created something special and this albums diversity, funky beats, and lyricism made for and eminently fun and interesting experience.

2. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast – A wonderful debut album from this young Florida band. The perfect mix of sunny, surf rock inspired riffs.

3. Girl Talk – All Day – Greg Gilles’ frenetic and fascinating mash up style has to be heard to be believed. With ingenious choices and technically mind blowing mashing and mixing, this album is far and away the most party rockin-est album of the year. I keep going back and hearing something new months into listening.

4. The Black Keys – Brothers – Finally gaining the notoriety they have long deserved, this is far and away the Keys most diverse album sonically. The mixing of styles, sounds, and instruments made it tougher to get into for me initially given my love of their grittier, bluesy-er sound of the past but ultimately this album rewarded with an incredible collection of songs.

5.  The Walkmen - Lisbon - A long awaited new album from these indie vets after a protracted labe battle.  This album is the perfect mix of surf rock, indie, and some more creative influences.  Tough to ceteogorize, I'll just say this is an incredibly enjoyable rock album.  Welcome back.

6. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark, Twisted, Fantasy – As grand a hip hop album as they come, Kanye backed up his outsized ego and public meltdowns with a stunning album. Packed with hits and a star studded guest roster, this album could have very easily been all fluff and no substance. But it’s lyrical intensity, monster beats, and raw creativity made it something special to behold.

7. Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner – A beautifully intricate and minimal electronic album that came out of nowhere for me. This is another that keeps improving with repeated listens.

8. Vampire Weekend – Contra – Somehow these preppy lads managed to hold onto that unique sound that set them apart on their debut, while also pushing the boundaries of their sound with more complex songs and more exotic musical influences. More than just plain fun and catchy (which it still is) this album is more mature than its predecessor.

9. How To Dress Well – Love Remains – Low fi electronica with some deep soulful grooves. The fuzzy, feedback driven recording style may seem weird at first but ultimately it works in this albums favor. This is baby makin music’. Well for me anyway.

10. Best Coast – Crazy For You – Like a musical version of a love letter to a summer fling, this albums simple lo-fi beach-rock vibe overflows with catchy, honest tunes of teen angst.

11. Toro y Moi -Causers of This– Another unlikely surprise, this album of dreamy and funky electro rock is perfect background music for any number of stylish endeavors. I got an advance copy a few months ago but they are doing a full release in February.  I know this toes the line as far as a 2010 release but this album is that good I had to spread the word.  Yep, that's a cover of one of my favorite Michael Jackson tunes.
12.  No Age-Everythig in Between - A much more accessible and enjoyable release from this lo fi LA punk rock band.  It is gritty and catchy at the same time.  Look for big things from these guys in the near future.

So there you have it.  There are far too many honorable mentions to list but here are a few....Local Natives, Arcade Fire, Wavves, James Blake, Big Boi, Matt and Kim, Radio Department, Kings of Leon, Phanotgrams, Matthew Dear, Daft Punk, Beirut.

Friday, January 7, 2011


This literally made my day.  Just TRY not smile and get teary eyed.  I couldn't....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

15 Best Songs of 2010!

Boom!  It is that time again, can you believe it has been a year already?  This post, and the subsequent best albums of 2010 post that will follow, are also important becasue they mark ONE YEAR of my blog.  So let's also give it up for me!

Seriously....go ahead, give it up for me.


Ok then....on to the music.

On the whole, 2010 was an amazing year for music, there was an embarassment of riches genre-wide including major releases from huge artists like Kanye, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem and more.  But also, for me at least, 2010 was about some suprisingly wonderful under the radar releases that impressed equally if not more than their much lauded counterparts.  The sound of 2010 was both ambitious and big, but also interesting and varied.  As I mentioned, I'll follow up with my favorite albums later, so without further ado....my 15 favorite songs from 2010....

Click the artist/song title to liste to the tune...

1.  LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean - James Murphy can do no wrong and this dance rock number kicked off his incredible new record with a funky, dark breakdown.

2.  Japandroids - Younger Us - One of my favorite bands from 2009 returned with an amazing new single this year.  This tune is everything perfect about their gritty and emotional sound.

3.  Katy Perry - Teenage Dream - A perfect pop song, I couldn't get enough of this tune this year.  I lip sync this in the mirror using a hairbrush as a microphone.  It stirs the 16 year old girl in all of us.  Listen to this song and DON'T EVER LOOK BACK, DON"T EVER LOOK BACK!

4.  How to Dress Well - Ecstasy With Jojo - A wonderful surprise in 2010, HTDW is a curious mix of distorted, fuzzed out vocals, dreamy beats, and odd samples.  This track melds this melange with an irresistable Michael Jackson sample to create something truly special, dreamy and danceable at the same time.

5.  Gold Panda - Same Dream China - Gold Panda was another incredible surprise this year.  This is beautifully intricate and interesting electronic music.

6.  Kanye West - Runaway - For all of his hyping, meltdowns, and preposterous, well...posturing in 2010, it would have been poetic justice if Kanye's new album had been a mediocre flop.  Remarkably though, Kanye not only lived up to the impossible hype but also exceeded expectations with his ambitious new album.  Runaway is everything that is great about this album, introspective lyrics, gritty samples, guesting from the flawless Pusha T...dramatics at its finest.

6. Cut Copy - Take Me Over - This is the first release off Cut Copy's forthcoming album being released in 2011 and boy is it a gem.  Like an electrified Talking Heads, this track promises amazing things to come from the band; it'ss gonna be a long, agonizing wait until the album's release in Febuary.

7.  Yeasayer - Ambling Alp - While not as huge in 2010 as in 2009, the experimental "brooklyn sound" continues to be a force in indie music.  Yeasayer embraces all the most diverse sounds in this new soundscape and Ambling Alp is both interesting and catchy as hell.  Despite a very early in 2010 release, this album and this track in particular really stuck with me through out the year.

8.  Mumford and Sons - The Cave - Another spectacular 2010 debut and a massive hit, this track just builds and builds into an incredible climax.  I love the almost Gaelic musical influences, strumming acoustic guitars, and banjos.  Undeniable brilliance.

10.  Daft Punk - Derezzed - Daft.  Punk.  Is.  Back.  What sweet, sweet words those are, almost as sweet as, "free beer".  While the soundtrack as a whole didn't wow me as much as I had hoped, given the impossible heights I expected, this track is pure Daft electro goodness.

11.  The Black Keys - Shes Long Gone - The Black Keys broke in 2010 and broke in a huge way.  Their remarkable album "Brothers" had a very diverse collection of sounds but it was this track, most similar to their older, more bluesy sound, that really hit me.

12.  The Arcade Fire - Sprawl 2 - Far and away the most critically lauded album of the year, this track was, for me, far and away the standout of a mixed outing.

13.  Surfer Blood - Neighbour Riffs - This stunning debut album was top to bottom an amazing effort but the one non-vocal track really stood out with its surf rock vibe and unforgettable bassline.

14.  Lcoal Natives - Wild Eyes - The perfect spring/summer track from this wonderful, dreamy pop rock album.  Along with a sunset and a cold beverage this is the makings of a perfect warm weather package.

15.  Underworld -Scribble -  Dance godfathers Underworld returned in 2010 with a miraculous album, easily their best in years, and this stunning, uplifting gem.  It is far, far better than "ok".

So there it is....this list easily could have been 20 or even 25 songs without too much trouble given the amount of great music this year.  Stay tuned for my albums list.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Daft Punk wearing Balenciaga to the Tron Legacy movie premier.  Awesome.  I'm definitely wearing robot gear to my next black tie event.

Friday, December 10, 2010

pure magic...

As if my love for Zooey Deschanel could get any deeper...

My affection for this adorable hipster is well documented but she took it to another level this week when she performed with her musical partner M. Ward on Conan. For those who don't know Deschanel and Ward perform together as the aptly titled She & Him and just released their second album of beautiful indie rock this year. The duo rolled through an incredible cover of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classis "I Put a Spell on You" that nearly had me weeping. Deshcanel has always had a great voice, deeper and more resonate than you'd expect coming from a tiny body in an impeccable vintage Chanel but this performance absolutely blew me away. Its like somewhere inside her lives a soulful, heartbroken african american woman in her late 40's. Enjoy...and if you need me I'll be sitting outside Zooey Deschanel's house in a tree with binoculars doing a little semi-harmless stalking.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


New track from Cut Copy's forthcoming album Zonoscope. Absolutely delightful. It has kind of a 80's Talking Heads feel to it. Can't wait for this album to come out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You win again Deadmau5...

Pretty much eveything you do fucking rules, and this is no exception.