OK so, I know it is almost March, but I couldn't just forget about my top 10 of 2010! So without further ado, here we go...
10.) The Chariot- Long Live
Haven’t had your ears bleed in awhile? Has your face not been melted in a long time? Do yourself a favor and throw the new Chariot release into heavy rotation. It is a terrifyingly horrendous onslaught of noise, crunching and distorted guitars, ripping screams, and drums that will wreck your natural heart rate. That being said, the chaos of “Long Live” is unflinching in its beauty, and surprisingly, its diversity. From hand claps, horns, cuts to old-timey recordings, and guest vocals from Dan Smith from Listener, there is plenty to keep each song sounding unique and interesting. Josh Scogin presents some of his most powerful lyrics to date, especially in “The City” when he bellows, “If I leave this earth tonight may it be said that I spoke my peace, I spoke with the wrath of His grace.” When the final track ends, don’t forget to come up to breathe!
9.) Showbread- Who Can Know It?
The story behind the album is almost as good as the album itself. “Who Can Know It?” is only a reality because fans donated to Showbread’s Kickstarter event! “Who Can Know It?” is a strong release to add to the Showbread catalog. Somewhere during their years together, they toned down the screaming, stopping singing about zombies and vomiting, rearranged their lineup a bunch, and started being explicitly passionate about pacifism, false Christianity, and the pitfalls of music. But unlike their obnoxiously self-aware 2009 release “The Fear of God,” WCKI is lush with harmonies, honest and subtle truths, and pertinent vignettes of faith. Even when touching on topics of rape, abortion, and warfare, they do it with grace and peace. Did I mention that the whole album is available completely FREE to anyone anywhere? Don’t miss the next step in Showbread’s evolution.
8.) Band of Horses- Infinite Arms
Band of Horses is one of those bands that just puts me in a good mood. With their dreamy folk rock and Americana styling, I just love them. For “Infinite Arms,” the band finally settled down with a secure lineup of members and put pen to paper as a group to write an extremely solid set of a dozen songs. From the first strums of the opening track “Factory” to the last organ outro on “Neighbor,” this album pumps out songs that put you back in the good old days. The vocals are delicately laced over top of piano, guitar, organ, and drums, with layers of backing harmonies, oohs, and ahhs. “On My Way Back Home” channels their inner Shins, while the title track croons love… “when my thoughts drift to you.” The feel of the album bounces nicely between rocking out to ethereal ballads. Kudos, Band of Horses.
7.) Cloud Cult- Light Chasers
If you know me, you know I enjoy Cloud Cult. Many of their songs have been soundtracks to memories of my life. So it comes as no surprise that their new jam “Light Chasers” cracked my top 10 with ease this year. It is very clearly a concept album about pursuing light and dispelling the dark things of this world. It is vaguely spiritual in that sense, saying how we are “born to make this right, born to chase the light.” But don’t expect Craig Minowa and company to get too preachy! The songs are so diverse and fascinating, with layers of meaning, including an inner dialogue between different personified emotions in the singer’s head. The album is complete in its craft, not overly produced but with just enough synth beats, elegant violin, cello, and horn compositions. Standout tracks include “Unexplainable Stories,” “Forces of the Unseen,” and the epically emotional closer “There’s So Much Energy In Us.”
6.) Janelle Monáe- The ArchAndroid
Janelle Monáe was a breath of fresh air to my musical palate this past year! I was first entranced with her performance that I saw on Letterman one night (check it here). Her sassy dance moves, smooth tuxedo attire, hair poof, booming vocals, and banging band riveted my eyes, and I had to find out more about her. Her full length “The ArchAndroid” does not disappoint in the slightest, being so ridiculously ambitious to delve into musical genres like R&B, rap, rock, jazz, and funk. Now, you might be thinking, “Sheesh, that lady ought to calm down and just pick a musical focus!” NO. She is way too talented to be pinned down! Her voice is full of soul and emotion, and she writes with pizazz and originality. I mean, it is a freaking sci-fi futuristic conceptual album with two suites of music! Monáe is the full package, a true Renaissance woman, and I see her career going very far
Top Albums 5-1 COMING SOON! (Probably August...)