This year I got my groove back, both in terms of writing and listening to music (in comparison to last year). So I managed to purchase and LISTEN many of the albums released in 2010. These are albums that I can’t get enough of and have had heavy rotation in my iPod and car stereo. Here are my top ten albums of 2010:
10. Vampire Weekend, Contra: I don’t care if I get crap for having this album on my top ten. It is totally catchy… like can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head-type catchy. Not an earworm though. “California English” tops out as my favorite song on this album.
9. She & Him, Volume Two: Girl crush, volume two. Yep. We made the trek to LA to see them, on one of their rare occasions, playing live (oh yeah, also for an awesome wedding). Zooey’s beautiful voice combined with M. Ward’s guitar and back up vocals are enough to make me swoon. Songs I love… “In the Sun” and “Sing.”
8. Steve Poltz, Dreamhouse: Long awaited in my world. 50th birthday present to himself, Dreamhouse is beautiful and full of realness. Hmmm, maybe not the right words but I guess what I’m trying to say is that Steve Poltz is finally being true to himself with this album. Goofy at times, but not all the time. Recorded in his home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Favorite track that still pulls at my heart-strings is definitely “License Plate Eyes.”
7. Ok Go, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky: For some reason I never got into OK Go until this year. Well, that doesn’t matter now. This album is great. Extra catchy and gives me good feelings in my tummy. Not to forget that they make awesome videos. Best songs include “White Knuckles” and “WTF?”
6. Wirepony, Right Hook of Love: Lead singer/guitarist, Patrick Dennis hyped this band and album to me months before they ever played. Me… I try not to fall for hype as I am often disappointed. But in this case, totally spot on. Right Hook of Love takes the best of San Diego and rolls it up in a neat little package. I can’t help but listen to this album over and over again. Tracks gives my gut that live show feeling “All My Rockets” and title track, “Right Hook of Love.” Expect an announcement soon about plans for 2011… ominous message left on their website.
5. White Apple Tree, Velvet Mustache: I love these boys. I first stumbled upon them at the FM 94/9 Independence Jam back in June. They have an 80s feel with the synthesizer and danceable beats. Favorite song off the album is still “Broken Bones.”
4. Fitz and the Tantrums, Pickin’ Up the Pieces: Albums often miss the feeling of the live performance. Pickin’ Up the Pieces really does justice to the band’s energy and love for soul. I am grateful to have the chance to see them twice in a matter of weeks at FM 94/9 Rocktoberfest in October and a couple of weeks later, at KPRI’s Private Listener’s Event at La Costa Resort. But they aren’t done yet. They will be back next week for a show at the Belly Up and a free show at M-Theory Records. Don’t miss! Favorite song off the album is “Breaking the Chains.”
3. Brian Wilson, Brian Wilson Reinvents Gershwin: If you didn’t know, I love Brian Wilson. Back before this album was released, I was jumping up and down at the concept. Now, after months of listening and soaking it in, the album holds a special place in my heart. Still loving “The Like in I Love You.”
2. Freelance Whales, Weathervanes: Some would say that this album technically came out in 2009. Whatever. It was rereleased on a larger label in March, so I’m calling it a 2010 release… cause it is. Love, love, love. Me and the banjo and the mandolin. Favorite song is still “Generator ^ 1st Floor” even after Twitter used the song as the background for a video to introduce the New Twitter experience.
1. Rafter, Animal Feelings: Solid. Just solid. From the first listen, I fell in love. The remix album pales in comparison to the original. The songs that drew me include “Paper” and “Fruit“, but really the whole album is engaging the entire way through.
At least half the bands on my list are from the Southern California Region. What does that mean? It means that we have access to a great pool of talent to enjoy. As my dear friend, Hilary says, “Get out there and see some shows.”
Photo credit: Our wedding photographer, Ron Hughes