Firstly, I know "Top Ten of Twenty Ten" has a nicer ring to it than "Top Five of Twenty Ten," but I had to spread my list around to TRACER, Indie College, and here at RFC. Secondly, I always feel a little too sheepish to be posting a "top albums" list - my scope of the music world is only so big, and I'll readily admit my tastes tend to shut out a large portion of what is going on in the music world at times. So, perhaps this is more like the top five slightly indie pop, bluegrass, and folk albums of 2010.
My top five albums are featured below; if you are interested in reading about my favorite albums of the decade or checking out RFC contributor Clay Riedesel's thoughts on music-sharing over the past decade, take a look at Indie College...that is, after you read this, of course! Happy New Year!
It’s no secret that Danger Mouse has sky-high ambition between his aspirations to mash the Beatles with Jay-Z and catapulting Cee-Lo to odd superstardom with Gnarls Barkley, and the dreamy songwriting from The Shins’ James Mercer has been wooing girls, boys, and Zach Braff for years. Production genius and storytelling prowess became delightful, slightly disco best friends for Broken Bells’ self-titled coming out, and I spent the summer playing it with the windows rolled down and getting odd looks from passersby as I dreamily swayed to and fro.
October - Broken Bells
Volume Two was aptly named, because it really is just the continuation of Volume One. Not much progression took place between freshman and sophomore years, but I can’t help but love it. I adore the forlorn, throaty singing of Zooey Deschanel set against the golden oldies backdrop that she and M. Ward have woven together in She & Him. Did you see their extremely stripped down rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” on Conan earlier this month? Stunning.
Gonna Get Along Without You Now - She & Him
The first time I heard Two Cow Garage, the band which Ohio’s Micah Schnabel fronts, I cringed. Not because it was bad music – quite the opposite, actually – but because Schnabel sounds like he gargles razor blades and whiskey in lieu of a bedtime prayer. However, that roughness is ultimately part of Schnabel’s charm, especially as he’s singing wonderful feats of understated songwriting like “American Static.” I cannot wait for the next Two Cow Garage offering.
American Static - Micah Schnabel
Bluegrass is awesome. No, seriously. It is. Granted, I was under the impression that bluegrass was for Kentucky farmers in overalls, but if it is then suit me up in head to toe denim and pass me a beer. This past year I had quite possibly the most fun I’ve ever had at a show while watching Trampled by Turtles marry the technical superpowers of bluegrass musicians past (bluegrass pickers are quite arguably the fastest playin’ sons of bitches you have ever laid eyes or ears on) with the punk aesthetic of the present. There is something completely fun, powerful, and bad-ass about Minnesota’s Trampled by Turtles, and this year’s Palomino laid it all out on the line.
Wait So Long - Trampled By Turtles
Here’s where I and Paste heartily agree – Mumford & Sons are the absolute best new band of the year. Well, they’re only really knew to us in the United States – Sigh No More actually hit the UK in 2009. Oh well, thank goodness gracious they hopped the pond. Their magnificent debut is haunting and pretty (“Sigh No More”) and so catchy it’s contagious (“The Cave”). Fans of The Frames and Glen Hansard himself will no doubt be making comparisons between the two, but that is far from a bad thing. This album has rarely been replaced in my apartment’s stereo speakers over the last three weeks. Luckily, my fiancee likes it too.
Dust Bowl Dance - Mumford & Sons