What else can I say except that this band is on the mountain top and I don’t see them coming down for a long time. No other rock band comes close to the energy, passion, and joy of Arcade Fire. I’ve had the privilege to see this band live in 2007 and 2010, and every time I’ve left with chills. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced them in the here and now. They are products of this modern age. The Suburbs wonderfully captures the plight of young people as they are called to explore the world even if it challenges the core of their existence.
2. The Black Keys – Brothers
I have to be honest, I slept on this CD and band for awhile. It was only until a few weeks ago was I totally blown away by the Black Keys. These guys are raw and they have an edge that I haven't seen in a band for a few years (e.g. Kings of Leon). Even Hollywood has The Black Keys fever because it seems that every other commercial has a Black Key's jam playing in the background. 2010 was without question the year of The Black Keys.
3. Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
It might be easy to peg this band from Ireland as another Vampire Weekend or Phoenix. However, they are so much more. These energetic indie rockers bring an incredible amount of enthusiasm and their CD Tourist History is catchy from start to finish. It does not let up. During the past year, I felt that there weren't as many musical discoveries unlike in 2009. This group gets award for best discovery of 2010.
4. Mark Ronson & The Business International – Record Collection
I've known of Mark Ronson for a few years and when I caught wind of his new solo project I knew that the results would be positive. A wild blend of electronica, hip-hop, and indie pop, this record was a home run. A collaborative effort, Mark Ronson brings Q-Tip, Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow), Boy George, & MNDR to produce an album that is a tour-de-force.
5. Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But Shook Them Loose
This album gets the prestigious honor for most times listened to while at work. Time and time again, I heard this album often at a high volume level. It always put me in a good mood, thus fulfilling the name of the album title.
6. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
This year, it seems as if there were dozens of indie pop folk bands that broke through into the mainstream. Band of Horses have consistently been churning out fantastic harmonies and southern rock rhythms for the better half of the last decade. With the release of Infinite Arms, Band Of Horses have arrived and with a Grammy nomination, it is a sign that this Seattle act is finally getting the recognition they deserve.
7. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
A CD that released last winter, the Broken Bells is still high on my most memorable records of the year. Solid throughout, this self-titled release remains on heavy rotation on my iphone and itunes. This album made the Gorillaz CD very forgettable.
8. Vampire Weekend – Contra
Any record released in January and that is remembered in the month of December is a success. In the span of a year, Vampire Weekend has catapulted to the top of indie rock stardom. Now, one can't turn on the tv (thanks Honda) without hearing "Holiday" on the airwaves. I still recall posting on my twitter in January that Contra was one of the best albums of the year. 11 months later, I still believe that.
9. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
I know these guys draw instant comparisons to MGMT & Passion Pit but Yeasayer reaffirms why I am a fan of the indie experimental electronic genre. Although I did not post their video for Madder Red that features Kristen Bell, I felt it deserved an honorable mention for the weirdest video of 2010. YouTube it.
10. Keane – Night Train (EP)
I was extremely disappointed with Keane’s last full length album, Perfect Symmetry and I approached Night Train with great trepidation. I had no idea what to expect. Usually, EP’s are a band’s excuse to release a few forgetful B-Sides and to show off their creative muscle. In Night Train, the group added more guitars and a touring bass player. Although losing a little of their charm as a three piece group, their stage presence is superior today than in previous years. I feel that Keane has finally found a sound they are comfortable with. Night Train restored my faith in this band and I hope 2011 brings renewed vigor and material from these lads.