Posted by: cousinbrandon | December 21, 2010

“The Mixes” Series: Noon and Midnight, 2010

As it’s pretty much been my custom over the past few years, I’ve abandoned the whole “Album of the Year” countdown. Why? Frankly, there aren’t enough great records that warrant listing. Again, I’ve not given up on the album as a concept. In fact, I love the album. I adore the album. I want every band to aspire to making great, complete albums as opposed to 12-song recordings with a stand-out track or two. But, the reality is that this just doesn’t hold as true anymore, and we’re stuck with great songs on decent to mediocre albums. Don’t get me wrong: I clearly have my choice for Best Album of 2010, and for me it’s a no-brainer. But to come up with the Top 20 – hell, the Top 10, for that matter – well, I’m not sure I could do it. And with that, I’ll pretty much do what I did in 2009, which is list out the top 5 records, honorable mentions, and a few other awards here and there.

So, without further adieu, let’s get into it:

Album Cover of the Year: The Black KeysBrothers

Favorite Vocal Moments of the Year:

Betty and the Werewolves – “Purple Eyes” (“Who the fuck are they?” at 1:41 in, as heard below)
Roky Erickson – “Devotional Number One” (“And to as Jesus is not an hallucinogenic mushroom” at 1:19 in, as heard below)

The Five Most Overrated Records Based On the Critics’ Picks:

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Before Today
Broken Bells Broken Bells
DeerhunterHalcyon Digest
The Walkmen Lisbon
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasty

Videos of the Year:

Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs
Sleigh Bells – “Infinity Guitars” (see below)
The Thermals – “I Don’t Believe You” (see below)

The Six Best Records That Weren’t In My Top Five and All Tied For Sixth Place:

6. Tokyo Police Club – Champ
6. Avi Buffalo Avi Buffalo
6. Beach House Teen Dream
6. The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
6. Spoon – Transference
6. Fang Island Fang Island

The Top Five Records of 2010:

5. Wavves – King of the Beach
4. HarlemHippies
3. Titus AndronicusThe Monitor
2. Betty and the Werewolves Tea Time Favourites
1. Arcade FireThe Suburbs

Now, I went back to two CDs worth of music this year as opposed to the three discs I put out last year. And at some point, yes, I’ll likely make a third disc of songs that were barely eked out for consideration, either because they came up just short or couldn’t make it on due to space limitations.

Unlike years past, I’m actually including a link to a Mediafire site where I uploaded all of this year’s music and artwork. So, you can now not only click the hyperlinks below to access the band’s websites, the video for the song, and the review of the record, but you can actually click and download all of the songs for yourself via Mediafire. What’s more, I’d encourage you to do just that, as some songs (e.g., Betty and the Werewolves’ “Purple Eyes”) weren’t available online.

With that, I give you the 44 songs that comprise my 2010 mixes…

Noon front cover.

Noon inside art.

Midnight front cover.

Midnight inside art.

Noon (The Best “Fast” Tracks of 2010):

1. Fang Island – “Welcome Wagon” (Fang Island)
2. Sleigh Bells – “Infinity Guitars” (Treats
3. Boston Spaceships – “Come On Baby Grace” (Our Cubehouse Still Rules)
4. Born Ruffians – “Oh Man” (Say It)
5. Delta Spirit – “Bushwick Blues” (History From Below)
6. Arcade Fire – “City With No Children” (The Suburbs)
7. The Thermals – “I Don’t Believe You” (Personal Life)
8. Wavves – “Post Acid” (King of the Beach)
9. Harlem – “Pissed” (Hippies)
10. Broken Social Scene – “Art House Director” (Forgiveness Rock Record)
11. Best Coast – “When I’m With You” (Crazy For You)
12. Betty and the Werewolves – “Purple Eyes” (Tea Time Favourites)
13. Tokyo Police Club – “Breakneck Speed” (Champ)
14. Clem Snide – “BFF” (The Meat of Life)
15. Dr. Dog – “Later” (Shame, Shame)
16. Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette” (False Priest)
17. Spoon – “Written In Reverse” (Transference)
18. Wye Oak – “My Neighbor” (My Neighbor/My Creator)
19. The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio” (High Violet)
20. Titus Andronicus – “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future” (The Monitor)
21. No Age – “Depletion” (Everything In Between)
22. Ratatat – “Party With Children” (LP4)
23. LCD Soundsystem – “Home” (This Is Happening)

Midnight (The Best “Slow” Tracks of 2010):

1. The Octopus Project – “Fuguefat” (Hexadecagon)      
2. Harlem – “Someday Soon” (Hippies)    
3. Arcade Fire – “Modern Man” (The Suburbs)
4. Malachai – “Another Son” (Ugly Side of Love)
5. Clem Snide – “Walmart Parking Lot” (The Meat of Life)
6. Winter Sons – “Raise Me” (Winter Sons)
7. Mimicking Birds – “Under and In Rocks” (Mimicking Birds)
8. Roky Erickson with Okkervil River – “Devotional Number One” (True Love Cast Out All Evil)
9. Beach House – “Silver Soul” (Teen Dream)
10. Ida Maria – “My Shoes” (Katla)
11. Best Coast – “I Want To” (Crazy For You)
12. Betty and the Werewolves – “Heathcliff” (Tea Time Favourites)
13. Land of Talk – “Quarry Hymns” (Cloak and Cipher)
14. The Besnard Lakes – “Chicago Train” (The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night)
15. Matt Pond PA – “Ruins” (The Dark Leaves)
16. The Thermals – “Only For You” (Personal Life)
17. Avi Buffalo – “What’s In It For?” (Avi Buffalo)
18. Tokyo Police Club – “Favorite Food” (Champ)
19. Local Natives – “Airplanes” (Gorilla Manor)
20. Frightened Rabbit – “Not Miserable” (The Winter of Mixed Drinks)
21. Vampire Weekend – “I Think Ur a Contra” (Contra)

Well, folks, that’ll do it for 2010. A lot of work went into this year’s edition, as it in all honesty began on January 1, 2010. Now, then, I encourage – nay, demand – you to do two things:

1. In the comments section, let me know your picks for the best songs and records of 2010. What did I miss? What do you violently disagree with? What are you wholeheartedly in agreement with?

2. Should you choose to (or if you have already) put together a Best of 2010 disc of your own, by all means send me a copy of the disc, or at the very least a track listing. I’ll do my best to post them on my blog.

Now, then, you can download the tracks in their entirety here:



Until 2011, have at it, you vultures!



  1. No love for LCD Soundsystem? By far my #1 of the year.

    • Other than getting a song, “Home,” onto my mix, not really. It didn’t have the stand-out, replayable quality of, say, Sound of Silver. Again, I thought 2010 was a weak year for the album as a whole, and This Is Happening just didn’t blow me away.

      • That’s how I felt about Suburbs.

        • I would argue that The Suburbs was a return to form for Arcade Fire, who took a step back on Neon Bible. The Suburbs is not only highly entertaining and awfully re-listenable, but smart! I think Pitchfork, for one, dropped the ball this year. I’m okay with them not making it their number one album, but not even cracking the top 10? For shame, Pitchfork. For shame.

          • Suburbs would not make my top 10 either. And I agree with Lafix below me. The Kanye West album was pretty good!!

            • I find that not only discouraging, but surprising. The Suburbs being ouside of your Top 10, I mean.

            • I can’t reply to your last one! I agree it was a return to form, definitely. Maybe I just expect too much since Funeral. I’ll give it another shot just for you.

  2. I was disappointed with Transference (Spoon) as a whole, but Written in Reverse was the best track from it, by far. And I really, really like Broken Bells. Also, Kanye’s new album is pretty good even though he’s a spectacular dick. Monster, specifically. And really? Not even a mention of OK Go? Here’s 20 (or so) of mine in alphabetical order:

    The Besnard Lakes – Albatross
    Biffy Clyro – Mountains
    The Black Keys – Everlasting Light
    Broken Bells – The High Road
    Broken Social Scene – The Sweetest Kill
    Citizen Cope – Healing Hands
    Eels – Spectacular Girl
    Fitz and the Tantrums – Moneygrabber
    Fyfe Dangerfield – When You Walk In the Room
    Kula Shaker – Modern Blues
    LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls
    Massive Attack – Paradise Circus
    The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio (my pick for top track of 2010) (England, also)
    The New Pornographers – Crash Years
    OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (WTF, also)
    The Polyamorous Affair – Strange
    Rogue Wave – You Have Boarded
    Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill
    Spoon – Written In Reverse

    Thank you for the awesome gift and I will post a link to my favs for DL as well. Keep your eyes peeled.

    • Hey there, lafix. Thanks for your comments, as always. The thing I so enjoyed about Transference was how unpolished it was. That is, Spoon managed to get “less slick,” which is where I think they shine. My favorite Spoon records are easily A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell. Transference was sort of a lo-fi hodgepodge, and for me it worked.

      I tried listening to the OK GO record a couple times and I found it downright grating. Other than their ability to make outstanding videos, their music infuriates me. I had the same reaction to Broken Bells, in that James Mercer’s vocals become so boring after a while.

      By the way, I LOVE that you included “Crash Years,” as that was one of the songs I was forced to cut for space (sadly).

  3. This is spectacular. I cannot wait to download and start listening (when my 5 year old isn’t asleep next to me). I’ll be back to comment but wow, thanks, love this. LOVE THIS. The power of a truly good song never goes away (even if, like me, you listen to it so repeatedly that you’re sabotaging it for yourself).

    • Thanks for the comment, These Are Days. Always great to get a new audience for what I consider the cream of the crop this time of year. And if you find yourself digging this compilation, by all means click “Music” in the What’s What portion of my site. I’ve got a TON of mixes posted, including my Best of compiliations from the last 10 years. Again, thanks for reading!

  4. @Manderson: Yeah you will, Manderson. Yeah you will. Look, Funeral was their brilliant coming out party, and when you reach the pinnacle on your first effort, well, it’s typically all downhill from there. Neon Bible took a huge step back from them despite being a solid record. And that, then, is why The Suburbs is so damn good. It’s focused. It’s intelligent. It’s anthemic and quiet all at once. Trust me on this one.

  5. Have you checked out Tame Impala? Or Caribou? Or Yeasayer? Check them out.

    • Yes indeed, sarafine, I’ve checked them out. Well, two-thirds of them (haven’t heard the Tame Impala). The Caribou record bored me, to be honest, and the Yeasayer actually had some nice moments. In fact, I had to cut a Yeasayer track from Noon to make space.

      • check out tame impala. live caribou is wonderful… doesn’t translate as well on the cd.

        • I definitely will. And, yeah, I can see that about Caribou. It’s a shame, really, that a lot of bands can’t recreate their live “energy” on their recordings.

          • Currently listening to Tame Impala. I’ll let you know…

  6. i completely forgot that spoon put out an album this year. hate to say this about one of my favorite bands of the last decade, but i’ve really lost interest. everything they’ve put out lately is an extension of “gimme fiction.”

    for what it’s worth, “the monitor” is probably my favorite record of a pretty dull year. the black keys album is great, but i’m getting a bit sick of hearing them on shitty commercials and soundtracks, and the liars continue to put out one brilliant album after the next. after that, i’d round out a top 5 with no age and the national, or deerhunter.

    just got around to listening to wavves a few weeks ago and am really digging it. can’t comment on much more up there, because i’ve probably only listened to half the shit on your lists, if that. i just don’t have the time for it and am getting old and out of touch.

    • As I’ve told you before, cr666, I don’t think Spoon have made a great album since Girls Can Tell. It’s all been pretty boring, for my money. And I think, then, that’s why I liked Transference. I felt like it wasn’t trying to be anything more than a collection of songs. Period.

      As far as The Black Keys go, I had “Everlasting Love” on my maybe list. They worry me in terms of falling into that White Stripes, overly repetitive category, wherein every record starts to sound the same (which is what you’re kind of saying with Spoon). In all honesty, I didn’t hear this year’s Liars record.

      Deerhunter, as I mentioned above, just didn’t do it for me. I listened to it time and again, figuring it was ME who was missing something. But after countless listens, no thanks. There’s a song I was going to include on my mix, but in the end I realized I just don’t like the record all that much. And The National’s High Violet wasn’t great, either.

      The Wavves record is a lot of fun. Kind of makes me think it’s what early Rob Pollard would have sounded like had he grown up listening to The Beach Boys instead of The Who.

      And, yeah, you’re old.

  7. Thanks for doing all this Brandon. I’ve got to say, year end mix release day is quickly becoming my favorite day of the year. I was thinking that I was doing a somewhat decent job of keeping up this year, but apparently I was completely wrong which is very exciting because I have a lot to look forward to in getting my hands on this. I’m not going to really do anything definitive in “bests” just yet because I’m looking forward to hopefully snagging a couple of records and gift cards this week and I’d like to see what they net. For what it’s worth, here are some notes for the year.

    Admittedly, I haven’t heard a lot of the recrords that you guys are talking about (I can say that I have Kanye’s on my computer at home but I haven’t listened to it yet and I’m curious), but the standouts for me in no particular order are:
    The National – High Violet
    the Arcade Fire – the Suburbs
    Wolf Parade – Expo 86 (although there are a couple of skipable moments, great highlights)
    Franklin For Short – Dark Cloud
    Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void (I think this may be my record of the year, not the strongest year)

    I like the Broken Bells record. I was initially disappointed, but I’m pretty into it after coming back to it with lower expectations. I also like the LCD Soundsystem record, and with all the rain we’ve been having I’ve been listening to it lately. Good, solid record. I also really like parts of the Sharon Van Etten record. There are a couple of dead spots and the record is very short, but I’d say it’s 60% a great album. I also really like some pieces of that Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse album. I just got the Sufjan Stevens stuff and I’m liking that as well, but I’m still digesting it (and SS has a specific mood that I haven’t really been in that much lately) I like the steps he seems to have taken though. I’m also looking forward to checking out The Phantom Band, The War on Drugs and Morning Benders records, who I haven’t really heard except for free tracks I found on Amazon that panned out really nicely. Also, come on man. Neon Bible is great. The Suburbs is too, but Neon Bible is a wonderful album. If anything I’m not so high on Funeral these days (which I like, but not as much as what’s come since)

    Some favorite tracks:
    Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void
    Sufjan Stevens – Too Much
    Franklin For Short – Electric Blanket
    Wolf Parade – Pobody’s Nerfect
    Dr. Dog – Unbearable Why
    Arcade Fire – Suburban War
    Local Natives – Wide Eyes
    The National – Afraid of Everyone
    Sharon Van Etten – One Day
    Broken Bells – Mongrel Heart
    Quasi – Bye Bye Blackbird (haven’t heard the record yet, soon, just an odd end I picked up)
    Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Jaykub
    Seth Pettersen – So Fully
    Delta Spirit – White Table
    Cee-Lo – Fuck You
    LCD Soundsystem – All I Want
    New Pornographers – Crash Years

    For some reason I never really found interest in the Black Keys, but I’m beginning to think it’s about time to rethink that stance.
    I’m also looking forward to picking up the Wavves album sometime soon.
    I can’t wait to dig in and start listening to the comps. Thanks a whole lot for posting this man.

    • I’m also really curious about the Admiral Radley album if anyone has any opinions. Haven’t gotten to that one yet either.

    • Thanks a shit-ton, WUWRobots. As always, your enthusiasm is greatly appreciated.

      Where to begin. Okay, I should point out that “Cave-o-Sapien” (by Wolf Parade) was on my mix, but I had to cut it due to space constraints. Overall, I think it’s a weaker record for them. Not bad, but nothing spectacular. I’ve commented already above about some of the albums you mentioned, but I’m glad you brought up the Blitzen Trapper. Frankly, I hated it. It was such a shame, really, as Furr was so darn good. This year’s release bored me to death. I just didn’t care for it one bit.

      I haven’t heard the Franklin for Short, nor have I heard (or even heard OF) Sharon Van Etten. I’m with you on the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse collaborative. Somehow I forgot to fold that into my 2010 consideration. My external harddrive crashed earlier this year and I lost a ton of my music. That must have been among the casualties.

      You may be the only person I know who touts Neon Bible over Funeral. I think there’s really no comparison in the long run as to which will hold up over time. Still, I’m not disparaging Neon Bible; rather, I merely think they dropped off from their debut.

      In terms of some of the songs you included, really happy to see “Crash Years.” Also, particularly glad you mentioned Quasi. I was able to get an early release of the record, and damn near had arrangements made to do an interview with Quasi. Sadly, it fell through. In any event, I was planning to include “Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler,” but again had to cut it due to space.

      Thanks again for the comments, sir.

      • Thank you man!
        Hated Destroyer of the Void? I did not see that one coming. I can definitely see it though. There is a sort of overall sameness to the album, but I guess I would put it as flatlining in a sound that I find to be a little refreshing. I like that we got a sort of indie rock/freedom rock record. I could definitely see it getting a little boring though.

        I was actually torn between Cave-O-Sapien and Pobody’s Nerfect for the highlight track on Expo 86. I also liked Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler when I saw them play it live, but I still haven’t heard the album cut. Sorry the interview fell through. I’d have liked to read that.

        With Neon Bible, I think it’s just one of those records that just hits the right tone. I actually wasn’t sure about it until I listened to it a couple of times, put it down for a month or two, and came back to it. I like Funeral. I like it a lot, but it just doesn’t connect with me like the other two do. I do know that I’m kind of on an island with that though.

        • Destroyer of the Void just didn’t inspire me to want to come back for repeat listens. That, in itself, is a crime. What’s more, it’s a record I went back to several times in that I wanted to like it. Unfortunately, it just never happened.

          “Cave-O-Sapien” has the dynamic quality that I love and expect from a good Wolf Parade track. At over six minutes, though, I had to make some adjustments. As far as Quasi, yeah, bummed about the interview. Also, did they happen to play “Pictures of Lily” when you saw them? They closed with that when I saw them years ago in Chicago, and oh how it ruled!

          Nothing wrong with your take on Neon Bible. In fact, I kind of wish more people would stick to their guns when it comes to that sort of thing. Look, I absolutely think Funeral is the stronger of the two records, but who am I to tell you you’re wrong for feeling otherwise. More power to you.

          • No, Pictures of Lily, but I really wish they had played it. That does sound awesome. That show was quite some time ago. I think it was one of those situations where they had Bye Bye Blackbird and Laissez les bons temps rouler written and ready a while before the album happened. It was back when Built To Spill was touring, playing Perfect From Now On sometime in 2009 and Quasi opened. Man, that was a hell of a show.

            It would be pretty boring if there was only one perspective. I’ll completely cheers to that. Happy holidays buddy.

            • Man, what’s with me and misplaced/unwanted commas lately. oops.

  8. I haven’t seen this many comments since the days of LOST. I think for the first time in our back and forth CD exchange we DO NOt have one overlapping track from the whole year. I have to say, I was kinda disappointed with 2010. There was a lot of promise from a lot of bands this year that fell flat to me. I wont comment on songs/ albums of the year. We can get into that when I send you my mix. One thing that suprised me about your mix was the Vampire Weekend track. Although it really shouldn’t suprise me becuase I know you love the show “The Hills”.

    • I agree with you about 2010 being pretty disappointing overall. I was very excited about a quite a few releases this year and almost all of them landed in the “meh, it’s fine” category.

    • Oh, my beloved LOST, how I miss thee…

      No overlapping songs? Incredible. That must be a first.

      Yeah, 2010 was a pretty down year overall. Very few “Wow!” songs. Typically, I find myself throughout the year moving songs to my Best of playlist without hesitation, as they’ll OBVIOUSLY be there at year’s end. This year? Not so much.

      And like it or not, that Vampire Weekend track is solid, and a fine closing number. The rest of the album? Again, eh.

  9. No love for the Hold Steady anywhere that I see. The Weekenders is probably my top 2 or top 3 songs of the year. Although I am glad to see The Monitor, that’s definitely either my number one or number two, I can’t decide.

    • Thanks for reading/commenting, Jason P. Heaven Is Whenever was something of a weak effort for a band who, frankly, doesn’t translate nearly as well to studio recordings as they do live. Granted, I’m a big fan of Separation Sunday, but in general The Hold Steady tend to be too repetitive for me.

      And, yeah, The Monitor whooped ass. I got to see Titus Andronicus live (in Harrisburg, PA, of all places) this past year and was highly impressed by their stage presence and sound. Just a solid, solid band.

  10. I agree, Heaven is Whenever is so-so, but I thought that song was fantastic. But they’re one of my faves, so I’m sort of a homer. Met them backstage once, Craig Finn is super, super cool (also a good Walt Whitman reciter!)

    Haven’t had a chance to catch Titus yet, hopefully next year. Think my year-end playlist would definitely have to kick off with A More Perfect Union though.

    • I’ve heard more than one person say that he’s a swell guy. I’ve not had the chance to meet him. My take on him is that he’s, well, “normal,” and I mean that in the best way.

      Get on seeing TA live. Well worth it. They put on a fine show.

  11. Other then Bad Religion, The Bouncing Souls & Sick of it All, I didn’t know any albums were released this year.

    • Yeah, there were a few others.

  12. Just how overrated do you think Kanye’s album is? I could see it almost HAVING TO BE “a little,” in light of Pitchfork’s 10.0, but there were only 4 others more overrated?

    • A couple things, BSA:

      1. My list of overrated albums wasn’t in order; rather, I was pointing out that Kanye’s record was one OF the most overrated records of the year; and

      2. Kanye, unfortunately, is one of those artists who’s treated with kid gloves by the critics, and his records will always be considered one of the year’s best despite the quality. In other words, his reputation proceeds him, a la Radiohead. And by no means am I saying bands like Radiohead aren’t great; rather, I’m saying that their releases garner instant credibility despite the content, which isn’t really fair.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • I was impressed with it … but I can 100% agree with both points, that’s why I said it almost had to be overrated. Think it was a little surprising, showed some growth, and overall some original stuff outta him. But I’m also a fan of a whole lotta his beats and songs, so I was already a fan.

        I was surprised to see some of the praise it’s gotten in these online “Best of 2010” lists. I just got it a month ago ($5 on Amazon was too good to resist!) and I dunno if it’s been out long enough to call it the #1 album of the year or any of that nonsense.

        Digging that Fang Island!

        • Unfortunately, that’s another drawback to these year-end lists. I think that, in many cases, people tend to forget stuff that came out at the beginning of the year, and instead get caught up with “fresh” music that’s just come out. Again, my process is to squirrel away songs in a Best of 2010 playlist as soon as the year begins. That way I never find myself “forgetting,” so to speak.

          And, yeah, that Fang Island was one that I went back to over and over again. Solid record.

  13. Cousin Brandon – a fine effort this year, as always.

    In terms of your top records, I am with you on Arcade Fire and Wavves, I really liked both of those records. I haven’t listened to most of your top 10, but I thought the Spoon record was just OK, and I didn’t like Beach House at all. My tastes tend to be on the pop side of indie so all that makes sense. I will check out some of these other records.

    I thought Broken Bells, Kanye and the Deerhunter records were all very good. I get that your comment had to do with them perhaps not living up to their hype – like many calling the Kanye record a masterpiece and Pitchfork giving Deerhunter a 9+ rating, but all 3 records were in my top 20 of the year….granted, I listened to a lot less records than you did and depended on critis to help steer me to good stuff which carries an inherent bias. I also really liked the Blitzen Trapper record, especially the cuts where they went prog rock, which seemed like a positive departure from the norm.

    I grew up listening to a ton of hip hop/R7B and Soul so I am also partial to that stuff which made that Janelle Monae album really resonate with me. I thought it was a really strong year for that genre with her record, Kanye, Cee-Lo, etc.

    Based on what I listened to the most, here was my Top 10:
    10. Marc Ronson and the Business Intl – Record Collection
    9. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
    8. OK GO – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
    7. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
    6. Clinic – Bubblegum
    5. John Legend and the Roots – Wake Up!
    4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
    3. Black Keys – Brothers
    2. Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void
    1. Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid

    • Great post, Sheky Greene. So, let me get to your points…

      Again, my listing the Spoon record in my Top 11 should tell you what I’ve been saying all year: 2010 was a down year for music. Honestly, this year just wasn’t very good aside from a couple standouts (eg, Arcade Fire). I mean, here I am a HUGE fan of The Thermals, yet I was underwhelmed by Personal Life.

      As far as the rating systems goes, some bands earn their acclaim based solely on past efforts, and in a lot of cases it’s unjust. I think it’s both the blessing and the curse of being a critic. On one hand, critics who are honest and pan something are met with disdain, in that they are often charged with disliking something simply for the sake of disliking it. In other words, they want to be the first ones to discredit something. On the other hand, I think it sometimes to takes a bold voice to stand up and say, “Hey, you know that record you all love? It’s a piece of shit.” (And that, by the way, is EXACTLY what I’m doing in the case of that Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. That record is fucking terrible!)

      In terms of your top 10, I’ve not heard the Marc Ronson, Clinic, John Legend or Janelle Monae, so I can’t really speak to them. I’ve already made my opinions known on the rest of your favorites, most of which I didn’t really care for.

      Again, thanks for the comments, sir.

  14. No love for Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More” track?

    • Honestly, TJ, I tried to find that album but couldn’t and never went back for it. I’m sure that’s one I might have missed in terms of quality. To this day, I still have never heard a single note they’ve played.

      • I liked it and all, but I thought the praise was a little over the top. I think it will probably land a track on my year end cd, there are a couple of nice high points, but I find myself getting a little bored about half way through.

        • Goes without saying, but that’s definitely just my opinion though. The couple of other people who I know who grabbed it really like it a lot.

  15. I look forward to your year-end compilations, Brandon. I love discovering new music and this thread has provided me with a ton of new discoveries. Thanks to everyone!

    Forgive me if my list is less indie or hip than most of your tastes. I’m not a music critic… I just know what I like!

    Ready to Start – Arcade Fire
    Clementine – Sarah Jaffe
    Change of Time – Josh Ritter
    Afraid of Anyone – The National
    O.N.E. – Yeasayer
    Roscoe – Midlake
    Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons
    Norway – Beach House
    July Flame – Laura Veirs
    Superhuman Touch – Athlete

    1. The National – High Violet
    2. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
    3. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
    4. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
    5. David Gray – Foundling
    6. Sarah Jaffe – Suburban Nature
    7. Keane – Night Train
    8. Yoav – A Foolproof Escape Plan
    9. Citizen Cope – The Rainwater LP
    10. Josh Ritter – So the World Runs Away

    • Thanks for reading (and commenting), mrspotter13. You don’t have to be cool or hip or indie to stop by my blog. What’s more, you don’t need to be any of those things to have an opinion. Granted, your opinion is probably wrong, but I digress…


      As far as your list, I haven’t heard a good deal with it, so I can’t really respond. I will say, though, that I absolutely despise Kings of Leon and David Gray. I listened to the Josh Ritter record, and while he’s talented, I wasn’t “excited” by it. Nearly had a Yeasayer song on my mix this year, in fact.

      Thanks again.

      • I’m curious which Yeasayer track was on the bubble.

        • “Ambling Alp.”

  16. I grabbed the Wavves record and I’m digging it. Just listened to the Surfer Blood album for the first time too and that’s a pretty nice album as well. I got the impression that you’re not into the whole Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos thing, but I liked the first run through of their new one as well.

    Did you check out Elvis Costello’s National Ransom? I’m a couple of albums behind with him, and I’m told that the territory is a little too well worn for him, but I liked it.

  17. I couldn’t agree more with you first entry for Most Over-Rated Album. Ariel Pink’s ssssuuuuux. After Pitchfork dubbed “Round and Round” the top track of 2010, I tried to listen to the album again, but just choked on vomit for 30 minutes.

    1. Menomena – Mines
    2. Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz
    3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    4. Sleigh Bells – Treats
    5. The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

    The rest of my Top 40 is rounded out at the following location.

    Mumford & Sons
    The Avett Brothers
    Deer Tick | J Roddy Walston & The Business
    The Walkmen
    Menomena | Suckers

    Black Keys – Tighten Up
    Hot Chip – I Feel Better
    OK Go – This Too Shall Pass
    Yeasayer – Madder Red
    Vampire Weekend – Giving Up The Gun

    All in all I felt it was a pretty good year for music. Excited for what 2011 has to offer!!! Thanks for you hard work compiling two awesome lists!!

    • Holy hell, LongDistanceDrunk! That’s quite the whoop-ass response! And seeing as how you agree with me on the Ariel Pink suckage, let me ask this: Who likes that record? Of the people I’ve talked to, I can think of only one person who enjoyed it, and I know plenty of folks who have their wits about them, musically. With that, who in the fuck is listening to that record and determining its greatness? I mean, people were apeshit about it well before Pitchfork’s list came out. I’m so, so confused.

      And while I’ll once again thank you for your comments, I have to disagree (again) on 2010 being a “pretty good year” for music, as I was underwhelmed at best.

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