1. Coheed and Cambria - Year of the Black Rainbow (Here We Are Juggernaut)
I am disgustingly biased over my absolute favorite... but deal with it. It's my blog. Coheed's the best thing to happen to (prog) rock in a while so here's the premiere single from the latest prequel effort by the Upstate NY band.
I was late to the party with this band (fell in love with the soulfully chilling Planet of Ice) and have held strong ever since. I keep saying they are the next "Tears For Fears"... and now for the catchiest song from their repertoire.
3. Animals as Leaders - Animals as Leaders (CAFO)
More prog-rock? *SHOCK&AWE* Still, when a friend dropped this in my lap I must have listened to the beautifully instrumented & ever so slightly vicious record front to back on loop at least a dozen times. THIS is serious string & percussive talent.
4. Chromeo - Business Casual (Night By Night)
Back and better than ever with what I dare say is their absolute best album. Tons of fun that we've been anxiously awaiting ever since "Dj Kicks". Also, who the hell knew he could dance?
p.s. This ran dangerously close with the team-up Chromeo did with Daryl Hall as part of the ongoing Live From Daryl's House series (www.lfdh.com)
5. Chief - Modern Rituals (Night & Day)
Hands down: best vocal harmonies I have heard ever. That's all I really have to say.
6. Vampire Weekend - Contra (Cousins)
More upbeat than my standard picks but these guys really caught my ear this time around. Also the video is exciting & fascinating to watch. Hipster quirkiness be damned.
7. Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame (Shadow People)
Bob Dylan called, he wants his everything back. No seriously though, these guys are great. And truly versatile albeit unnecessarily so.
8. Protomen - Act II: The Father of Death (Light Up The Night)
This came out of nowhere for me, but throw on epic pseudo futuristic concept tunes coupled with Delorean implementation? I'm sold. It's Meatloaf without the Meatloaf ... and I call that perfect.
9. The Scarlet Ending - Ghosts (Phoenix)
A major shout out to some friends on this one. The sisters Goldsworthy have been a musical force for many years but with the release of full length "Ghosts" the band as a whole truly has an opportunity to flourish.
10. Ellie Goulding - Lights (Guns & Horses)
I may have fallen a bit in love with this lady. To me, its few and far in-between you find a seriously talented female musician with a legit uniqueness to her overall sound & presentation. Can't wait for more from Ellie.
11. Free the Robots - Free the Robots (Jazzhole)
My buddy Gbenga turned me on to this little trip-hop project and its been my go to soundtrack for uber-chill concentration music for months. If only all hip-hop beats were this good.
12. The Damned Things - Ironiclast (We've Got A Situation Here)
This is the supergroup I've been waiting for. Party metal perfection. Hopefully this won't be just some single-shot trip.
13. Lissie - Catching a Tiger (When I'm Alone)
She can churn out outstanding folk-ish rock tunes on a steady basis AND can take any crappy pop song cover and make it a whole new jam all her own. Love this girl.
14. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
I really don't need to say how excellent this group is because everybody already knows. But who's gonna mind one more chance to take a listen to this song of champions?
15. Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History
Kinda missed out on these guys early on... have only recently re-discovered but man it's a great pop sound. Nothing generic about it.
16. 22-20's - Shake Shiver & Moan
Kinda dark, kinda eerie; very driving... altogether what I feel is great motivational tune-age.
17. Andrew W.K. - Mother of Mankind/Close Calls With Brick Walls (U.S)
Thank "god" this guy is back. What a bummer with all of the controversy but so glad to have the king of party playing the states again.
18. We Are Scientists - Barbara
Fun. Plain and simple. Probably just as much fun to watch the dudes without the music as well. True entertainers with a solid post-punk vibe.
19. Listener - Wooden Heart
I really don't have words. It's kind of like Me Without You, if Daniel Day Lewis (as Daniel Plainview from "There Will Be Blood") yelled vocals. Usually don't give a rat's ass about lyrical content 'cuz most of it's diluted swill anyways but this guy is a genius. Also check out his work with The Chariot. Intense.
20. Hey Champ - Star (Neverest)
and the award for WTF!? goes to...
21. Facing New York (honorable mention)
Only an honorable mention because they didn't release anything in 2010... but hands down has been my absolute favorite music of the past 12 months. I've collected the entire catalog... it's on Grooveshark.com for on demand listening pleasure. It's brilliant, jazzy, rockin', and the ideal soundtrack for any 20-something douchebag trying to figure shit out.
Saw them open for Every Time I Die (another one of my all-time favorites) and they blew me away... also terrified the poops outta me. 2010 brought the EP "Filth Rations" but I wanna throw back to a track from a couple years ago (from a previous full length) because... well... its brutal.
23. Gonculator - Omnomnom (honorable mention)
Wanna give a shoutout to these guys too. Old friends from Rochester/Fredonia and have always loved their music. Only wish I could find a video or something to share.. .*HINT*
Seriously though, been a rough year for them and their sound has truly matured. They deserve all the attention they can get. www.myspace.com/gonculator