I know this is number one on a lot of lists this year and my instinct is to not put it as number one -but it is a fantastic album start to finish.
2. Lower Dens, "Twin-Hand Movement"
I was lucky enough to see them play the Larimer Lounge here in Denver on a quiet Monday night after working all day. It was probably the most memorable concert of the year (Portland band the Lovers being a close second). I think I'll be putting songs from this album on mixes for a long time to come.
3. Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs"
This album resonated with me a lot more than their other ones- it expresses the landscape, isolation, and possible future (?) of the suburbs - a topic of my own art for quite a while.
4. Crystal Castles, "crystal castles II"
Sometimes insane distrorted electronics, sometimes atmospheric and danceable throughout
5. Walkmen, "Lisbon"
These guys are a sure thing- some of the best indie-rock out there - this album is probably even better than their last one (which was my favorite album of 2008).
6. The Radio Dept., "Clinging to a Scheme"
I would actually recommend all of their albums if you enjoy New Orderish synth/shoegaze pop- that said, this is one of their best.
7. Deerhunter, "Halcyon Digest"
"Helicopter" is probably the best song of the year (listen below).
8. Sleigh Bells, "Treats"
This gets you pumped.
9. Lovers, "Dark Light"
Another album of exceptional songwriting, but this time with a more electronic backing.
10. Love Langugage, "Libraries"
Catchy and upbeat rock songs.
11. Liars, "Sisterworld"
Tense, aggressive, and heavy.
12. Shearwater, "Golden Archipelago"
Exceptional musicians that make really beautiful music - the closest thing to audio landscape painting.
13. The Drums, "The Drums"
Simple, fun pop songs -you'll be singing along in no time.
14. Tamaryn, "The Waves"
Shoegaze done well.
15. Sufjan Stevens, "The Age of Adz"
He also put out a long EP this year but the full-length had more complexity to it and seemed somewhat refreshingly unrestrained.
- Worth mentioning: , Local Natives, "Gorilla Manor"
I went to more local shows and listened to more local bands this year than any year since I've moved to Colorado - here are some of my personal favorites:
- HOT WHITE - (self titled) - get the album free via the label here. It will melt your face off.
- Nathaniel Rateliff, "In Memory of Loss"
- Gauntlet Hair (7")
- Candy Claws, "Hidden Lands"
- The Chain Gang of 1974 (self titled)
These have been regular listening while in the studio or reading-
Ambient and Instrumental:
- Grasslung, "Sincere Void" (beautiful warm atmospherics)
- James Blake, "Klavierwerke" EP (chopped up/layered piano and minimal beats)
- RxRy, "VAEIOUWLS" (dense electronic music - free download)
- ((Rad Kids)), "tape split" (free downloads of Rad Kids music from the artist here)
- ryonkt, "north small town" (find one of his albums available for free-and legal- here)
- Barn owl, "Ancestral Star"
Favorites from 2009 and 2008.
Some of the best concerts I attended in 2010:
Here We Go Magic, Wye Oak, Owen Pallett, Lower Dens, Lovers, Liars, Hot White (x3), David Bazan, Chain Gang of 1974, Interpol, and Midlake