t's the most wonderful time of the year: list-making time, that is. 2010 was a pretty fun year in music for me and I hope you find something here that makes you say the same!
This year I did a better job of turning off the shuffle and listening to albums in full so I ended up with as many "favorite albums" as "favorite songs" this year. Still this post will be focused on individual songs because it seems more likely someone will give them a shot.
Caribou - "Bowls"
Caribou has gotten a lot of play this year! It's not often that I hear familiar new music away from home, but caught Caribou in a Welsh pub and a Berlin taxi in the last couple of months. We saw him play a very sold-out show at Karlstorbahnhof last month and the crowd was young enough to look at us funny. (Dan Snaith = my age, kids.) I really looked forward to this album and was so glad he did not disappoint.
Yeasayer - "O.N.E."
Album: Odd Blood
Surprise - Yeasayer's new album had almost nothing in common with their last one. The gamble lost some people and gained some, but I'm among those who really enjoy both styles. It's a particularly interesting move because I now wait with a special sort of suspense for their next album, having no idea at all what to expect!
The Books - "Beautiful People"
Album: The Way Out
In the immortal words of Questionable Content, "Music + Science = Sexy". At the first listen through this album I thought I'd made a mistake in getting it. I was wrong.
Sleigh Bells - "Infinity Guitars"
I think Fluxblog described it best. Hearing Sleigh Bells the first time reminded me of hearing Nirvana the first time in junior high. I didn't think I should like it, but secretly I did anyway.
Joanna Newsom - "Good Intentions Paving Company"
Album: Have One on Me
Like most ....odd female singer-songwriters, it takes a few listens, and suddenly goes from irritating to charming as hell. Taking the first couple of lines totally out of context gives you something a lot of expats can probably relate to: "Hello, my old country, hello - the stars are just beginning to appear, and I have never in my life before been here."
Delorean - "Infinite Desert"
El Guincho - "Ghetto Facil"
Album: Pop Negro
These albums are so lovably chipper. I could usually take or leave beachy music so these were more great surprises for me.
Local Natives - "Sun Hands"
Album: Gorilla Manor
Also, "Airplanes". This album is excellent all the way through.
Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)"
Album: The Suburbs
I never got into Arcade Fire before. It seemed like alternative music your mother-in-law could love. I guess this year I was just in the right mood for it. Talking about dead shopping malls is always a good way to get me involved. I'll stop here before my consumerism rant kicks in...
Menomena - "TAOS"
I didn't like the new album as much as the last, but I had to include them, as I saw them at Karlstor last month and was completely endeared by the fact that band member Brent Knopf was the one selling shirts in the lobby before the show - in sweet, polite too-perfect German. Later we got a second encore too, and the whole audience left enamored with them, even though they called us boring. ;)
Vampire Weekend - "White Sky"
Let's all enjoy Ezra's young voice while he still has it. :)
Orbital - "The Gun Is Good"
I can't leave off Orbital, THE band of my college years, back to put out a couple of new songs. Welcome back to the 90s.
Is this too many yet? One more.
Yawn - "Kind of Guy"
Album: Yawn E.P.
I actually prefer "Toys" but couldn't get it on YouTube. Yawn has generously put their super-catchy EP up for free download on their site, so just try it!
OK, I know when to stop, really I do.