I can’t begin to compete with the lovely and detailed postings of fellow Cyanide Breathmint contributor AlmostAGhost (although I totally agree with the #1 choice, right on), but I will be lazy and cross post something I compiled for a music discussion board that I actually took me a number of hours to drag up from the depths of my brain and the playlists on my media player.
This stream of conscious rambling of my musical tastes is a decent primer to sum up everything I’ve experienced musically this year. To keep this fun, I will using a single sentence to describe each of the most important albums (to me) of this year.
Your musical tastes are as valid as anyone else’s. In the times of Pitchfork I feel that it’s urgent to tell you that there is no objective scale to music, so have fun and listen to music that drives you.
That being said, making these lists is damned fun and I love seeing them from other people.
For summary purposes (and the tl;dr crowd), here are my top 5 from this year:
5. Beach House – Teen Dream
4. Eluvium – Similes / Eluivum – Static Nocturne
3. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (II)
2. The National – High Violet
1. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Top tracks of the year in no order (not necessarily released this year):
Eluvium – The Motion Makes Me Last (listen here)
Darkstar – Need You (listen here)
Memoryhouse – Bonfire (listen here)
Crystal Castles – Baptism (listen here)
Best Coast – Something In The Way (listen here)
Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova – Tripped (listen here)
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio (listen here)
Teen Daze – Gone For Summer (listen here)
Beach House – 10 Mile Stereo (listen here)
The Arcade Fire – Modern Man (listen here)
Real Estate – Out of Tune (listen here) – [if i had to pick a favorite track this year, this is it]
And here are the remainder of items which I discovered this year, along with musings on the aforementioned:
Releases That Came Out This Year That I Either Don’t Care For, Didn’t Crack The Top List, or I Was Too Busy To Listen To (In Alphabetical Order)
The Album Leaf – A chorus of Story Tellers: Probably the most boring Album Leaf album ever, please get your stuff together and do something interesting because I honestly love your work.
Brian Eno – Small Craft on a Milk Sea: His ambient work is some of my favorite, just haven’t gotten around to this one.
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record: BSS’s first album is bloody perfect and in my desert island discs, this one is kind of boring and I just really don’t care.
Dark Tranquillity – We Are the Void: OG melodic death metal band with way too much filler material.
Darkstar – North: Gave one listen and liked it, but pales in comparison to their single (mentioned later).
Dntel – After Parties (I and II): Such a huge fan of Jimmy Tamberello, just haven’t gotten around to this.
The Drums – The Drums: This is the 80′s, but so much fun.
Florence + The Machine – Lungs: The gf loves this, and the girl has some serious pipes.
Gayngs – Relayted: I’m all for super groups that include Justin Vernon.
Girl Talk – All Day: Don’t really care for this one, still consider him the gold standard of modern mashups (Dilla’s ‘Donuts’ and Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’ still have my heart).
God is an Astronaut – Age of the Fifth Sun: This band makes the same album over and over, post-rock to listen to while you read Orson Scott Card.
Jonsi – Go: Haven’t gotten around to this, but the single was absolutely stunning.
Peter Wolf Crier – Inter-Be: Tumblr recommendation, just makes me want to listen to The Dodos (although this is pretty good).
Phillip Selway – Familial: Haven’t gotten around to this, but I’ve heard great things.
She & Him – Volume Two: I love Zooey and I love M. Ward, but I just didn’t get around to this.
Sleigh Bells – Treats: So hyped, but never got the chance to listen to it.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Let it Sway: Heard a few on shuffle, and I certainly hope it’s better than I think it’s going to be once I sit to listen to it.
Albums That Weren’t Released This Year That I Was All About (In Alphabetical Order)
Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA (1984): Such an amazing record, been living by this vinyl ever since I got it in the mail from an awesome friend of mine.
Burial – Burial (2006)
Burial – Untrue (2007): Did not appreciate this in 2007, but am absolutely in love with Burial this year and lord knows what changed, but I don’t care because this material is golden.
Darkstar – Need You / Squeeze My Lime (2008): On recommendation fell in love with these the tracks here that became my late night soundtrack.
Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992): Hands down the best black metal album I’ve ever heard.
Erik Satie (composer) – 3 Gymnopedies: From the movie ‘Man On Wire,’ not a huge classical piano fan, but this composer’s work is one the precursors to ambient music and I fell in love with these 3 songs.
Grouper – Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2008): Echoey, shoegazed, and lost in thought, this album is absolutely beautiful.
Jay Reatard – Blood Visions (2006)
Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall (2009): Seriously kicking myself for not seeing him play live in Orlando, but holy shit these albums rule.
JBM – Not Even in July (2008): Best opening act I’ve seen in years with some of the most heartfelt songs.
The Life and Times – Tragic Boogie (2009): Closing band at a hipster-as-fuck-post-rock-show who absolutely DESTROYED for the 15 remaining concert patrons and who’s work you need to pay attention to.
Lymbyc Systm – Love Your Abuser (2007): Beautifully complicated music.
Pajo – Scream With Me (2009): Pajo’s work with Aerial M means a whole lot to me, and him slaying with lo-fi covers of The Misfits is almost too much to take.
Scott Walker – Scott 3 (1969)
Scott Walker – Scott 4 (1969): The best singer I had never heard of, this man is immensely under-appreciated.
Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (1993): One of the best things to come out of the ’90s that I had never paid attention to.
Songs: Ohia – The Lioness (2000): I’ll never be bored of tortured souls and acoustic guitars.
Tim Hecker – Radio Amor (2003): Living proof that electronica is unique and means something, which somehow manages to move mountains in your brain.
Warpaint – Exquisite Corpse EP (2008): Dreamy, drifting passages with a cohesive drive.
Worriedaboutsatan – Arrivals (2009): Minimalist beats that are epic to listen to while programming.
Top List Of This Year Even Though My Opinion Doesn’t Matter And Everyone’s Tastes Are Valid So These Lists Are Stupid (In Alphabetical Order)
Adam Haworth Stephens – We Live On Cliffs: Singer from Two Gallants makes a solo record with pop hooks and succeeds valiantly.
After the Burial – In Dreams: Waited for so long for this thirty minute collection of lovely deathcore songs.
Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit: One of the most unheard names in metal who actually do something unique and meaningful release a sprawling epic unlike anything they’ve attempted previously.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs: Paints the most vivid and poignant picture of living in America in 2010 and is simply the best record of the year.
Avey Tare – Down There: Animal Collective is on vacation, and I can only get my fix this way until Panda Bear gets his next LP out.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms: Solid tracks and someone who was clearly drunk when choosing the track order.
Beach House – Teen Dream: Even as a fan of their sleepy stuff, this self-actualized album is an absolutely perfect release from start to finish.
Best Coast – Crazy for You: One half of my favorite indie couple, I love Best Coast.
Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time: Power metal from these German dudes will never be old to me.
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (II): The death of guitar based music to the tune of Alice Glass screaming, this kicks all ass.
Daughters – Daughters: Suggestion of a friend and holy shit is it epic.
Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions: His first solid release since his debut, with a tear jerking re-take on ‘Christ Jesus’ sans-guitar.
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest: The creepiest cover art with the best dreamy slow jams all year.
Deftones – Diamond Eyes: Thanks to some fessing up with friends, I am no longer ashamed of my love for the Deftones and this is a solid release to fan the flames.
The Delta Mirror – Machines That Listen: Apartment electronica with a personal feel that drove a good many of my programming sessions.
Eluvium – Similes
Eluvium – Static Nocturne: One of my absolute favorite musicians releases an amazing record with his own vocals (for the first time since his start) and then releases the best white noise influenced ambient electronica record I’ve ever heard in the same year.
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma: Programming music strikes again, this makes my brain work in overdrive.
Forest Swords – Dagger Paths: The result of a pitchfork.com clicking fest which yielded some sparse and interesting electronica.
Freelance Whales – Weathervanes: This album needed to come out in 2000, because it’s the most lovely, idealistic, and naive indie rock record I’ve ever heard and today’s hipster just cannot accept it anymore.
Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks: Legit live show and great lyrics give me great reason to appreciate these guys.
Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner: Add to the heap of electronica this year, weird and dancey and everything in between.
Infinite Body – Carve Out the Face of My God: Almost in my top 5, this is dark, droned out, weird, and melodic all in one fell swoop.
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: Never listened to Kanye, but I’ll listen if you’re collaborating with Justin Vernon #everybodyknowsimamotherfuckingmonster.
Kid Ikarus – Kid Ikarus: Lovely post-rock, plain and simple.
The Last Felony – Too Many Humans: Face punching death metal, delivers exactly as promised.
Memoryhouse – Choir of Empty Rooms
Memoryhouse – Caregiver / Heirloom 7″
Memoryhouse – The Years EP
Memoryhouse – To The Lighthouse 7″: “Chillwave” band with a heart and some shoegazy dream pop to boot, please listen to them and thank me when you find yourself day dreaming.
The National – High Violet: This didn’t make sense until I saw it live, but holy shit is the band alive with a damned good record to prove it.
Owen Pallett – Heartland: Close to my top 5, saw him twice this year live and just a wonderful collection of baroque pop songs.
Panda Bear – Tomboy EP
Panda Bear – You Can Count On Me: My Animal Collective jones gets more or less filled with releases like these.
Quasi – American Gong: Pacific northwest rockers and Elliott smith friends, so by default I’m all ears
Real Estate – Out of Tune / Reservoir #3 7″: Best slacker rock, hands down.
Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast: My favorite Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal band released their first solid album in years.
Stars – The Five Ghosts: A forgettable but albeit solid release, a few awesome tracks keeping this in the top list.
Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises: Such a huge Mark Kozelek dork and what a gorgeous album.
Surfer Blood – Astro Coast: Best thing to come out of Florida, fun live, fun on vinyl, don’t screw up the record deal boys.
Teen Daze – Four More Years EP: Suggestion of an awesome friend, and what a great EP to fuel my late night work shifts.
[The] Slowest Runner [in All the World] – We, Burning Giraffes: Best and only baroque influenced post-rock I’ve heard.
This Will Destroy You – Moving On The Edges of Things: This band refuses a single classification and goes all drone on your ass just to say fuck you to the post-rock crowd.
Tokyo Police Club – Champ: Am still in love with ‘Elephant Shell,’ but I’m so happy to see these guys progressing.
Vampire Weekend – Contra: Who doesn’t love Vampire Weekend (seriously)?
Warpaint – The Fool: Dreamy and awesome, please listen to this.
Wavves – King of the Beach: The other half of my favorite indie couple, still love his sophomore release more (raising valid questions of my taste in recording quality) but am so happy to see that he’s letting his influences show with reckless abandon and trying out normal recording practices.
Worriedaboutsatan – Heart Monitor: Grabs you by the chest.