HEY! A week late, and a dollar short, it's my top ten records of 2010!
This year, was difficult to place a lot of albums. Way too many albums to fit in a top ten, which is why it was so hard for me to get this done a week ago. I will have many honorable mentions, but first off, one that I didn't include in my Top Ten on account that it's not an album of music, and it's actually an EP, is Dan Telfer's Fossil Record.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you have not sought out Mr. Telfer's material after my absolute urging, go forth to iTunes and procure some of that goodness. Right now
The live show count this year was 55. Yes. More than one show a week. It was insane, and we had a great run at the end to get it above 52, with 10 in December alone. Highlights?
6/27/2010 - Taking back Sunday at the Metro. The reunion tour. Yes, the "classic" lineup that recorded Tell All Your Friends, one of my all time favorite albums. This show was insane, complete with Adam asking fans to name NEW songs, and Eddie Reyes chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" awkwardly after the encore.
9/18/2010 - The Gaslight Anthem at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee. Gaslight Anthem took Fake Problems and The Menzingers out on tour this summer, and promptly proceeded to kick everyone's asses everywhere they went. This show stood out more than the Chicago show due to the inclusion of "I Coulda Been A COntender," and Fake Problems selling me a hoodie before the doors opened because Twitter allows things like that to happen.
10/8/2010 - Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at the Metro. Riot Fest finally got Jello to bring his new band to Chicago, and they didn't disappoint. He may not be rail thin like he used to be, but when you're fifty, if you don't look as good as you did 25 years before, I'll forgive you, too. Roadie (yes, that's the name this british man goes by) actually took us back into the venue to meet Jello after the show and to get our setlist signed. I had never been backstage at the Metro before, and unless I play there, I will probably never get that chance again. Here's to a quick return for Jello and the GSM. I'll be there, no question.
10/15/2010 - NoMeansNo at Reggies. Just the following...
Me: "I can't comprehend how you play those basslines and sing at the same time. How in the hell do you do that?"
Rob Wright, bassist of NoMeansNo: "If I knew, I'd put an end to it."
12/6/2010 - The Music Tapes @ someone's house. All I need to say is this: Julian Koster.
12/18-19/2010 - Dashboard Confessional at Lincoln Hall and the Bottom Lounge. fullcollapse
and I went to both nights of Chris Carraba's Swiss Army Romance 10th Anniversary Tour stops in Chicago. Our 16 year-old selves killed ourselves out of sheer glee those nights. Arrangements to be announced at a later date.
12/31/2010 - The Hold Steady at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. There ain't no party like a Hold Steady party. And if you haven't seen them, you're missing out on one of the most euphoric shows I've ever seen in my life. Emily and I saw them four times in the last three months of the year. That should tell you something. DOn't miss them. See them any chance you might get.
But yeah, onto the release list for this year.
Again, this list only includes new studio albums from this year.
Live and Cover albums are not considered.
This is culled strictly from what I have purchased in some way, shape or form.
1. Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
They did it. They hit me with what they needed to to beat the Manics this year. Just strong songwriting, and great music to go with fantastic lyrics. I had been grappling with which of the top two records would be placed at #1. This wasn't an easy choice, but Brian, the Alexes, and Benny pulled through to create, what may be their weakest album in their catalogue, but still better than just about everything else put out this year. How's that for a review?
Recommended listening: "The Boxer," "Orphans," "The Spirit of Jazz."
2. Manic Street Preachers - Postcards From A Young Man
I denounce all cries of "DAAAAAAAAD ROOOOOCK" that I've ever heard as bullshit. It's not. I'm in full agreement with my friend John that this new album is "The Holy Bible for 40 year-olds." If you like production value, strings, choirs (and I do), then this is a must listen. From their deceptively happy-sounding opener, to their internet critique ("A Billion Balconies Facing The sun"), to their ripping closer, "Don't Be Evil," this is just a solid as hell album. What have you been waiting for?
Recommended listening: "It's Not War (Just The End of Love)," "Don't be Evil," "A billion Balconies Facing The Sun," "The Future Has Been Here 4 Ever"
3. Fake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught On Tape
If you don't like Fake Problems, there's something wrong with you. Dipping into that good ol' '50s pop sound for inspiration on a lot of these tracks, Christopher Farren, Casey Lee, Derek Grant, and Sean Stevenson prove that sometimes age means nothing when you can be in your early twenties and deliver like this. "ADT" might be one of the best opening tracks I've ever heard, and "Songs For Teenagers" would go well with a video that would seem like a less depressing (but not by much) Requiem for a Dream. And yes, I consider that to be a good thing. Though live performances of "RSVP" now feature considerably less waterslide for my liking.
Recommended listening: "ADT," "Songs For Teenagers," "RSVP,"
4. Jimmy Eat World - Invented
Lots of Character writing in this album, though I think my wife likes envisioning it as Jim Adkins singing about other dudes. But much of this album seems as though it's from the perspective of a young woman in her twenties, going off into the world, and I give major props to Jim for challenging himself like that. Good tunes came out of it, and while it doesn't sound like Clarity (which 90% of Jimmy Eat World Fans are going to bemoan), I think it's absolutely stellar. Different, and a bit of an experimental step for them, but stellar nonetheless.
Recommended Listening: "Heart Is Hard To Find," "My Best Theory," "Action Needs An Audience"
5. Bruce Springsteen - The Promise
The "Lost Album" from Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town period is a much different album than what Darkness turned out to be. IT's much more of a pop album. A 70s pop album, as only Bruce could've done. It has to be said that if you're going to listen to some pop rock, then Bruce is one of the best people to go to. The rearranged version of a familiar song ("Racing In The Street ('78)")also makes an appearance as the lead of the two disc affair, and I'm hard pressed to decide which would've been better for Darkness on the Edge of Town. If you've been on the fence on whether to buy this or not, get off and go get it. I can't think of a reason it was shelved all these years.
Recommended listening: "Racing in the Streets ('78)," "The Promise," "Ain't Good Enough For You"
6. The hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever
Shimmering, slick, and polished. This is the first album of their five that The hold Steady can boast these adjectives in a review of their albums, I think. It's not a bad thing, but many hardcore fans didn't have their attention grabbed right away, I do know. As a new fan, I consider it to still be a strong effort. "The Sweet PArt of the City" proves a fantastic opener, and sets the tone marvelously, and they show they can still rock the pants off of most band half their ages with "Rock Problems," and "Hurricane J." Also, "The Weekenders" may be one of the best songs of the year, then again, I'm a sucker for recurring characters and themes in songs. Possibly one reason I like these guys so much.
Recommended listening: "the Weekenders," "Hurricane J," "Soft in The Center"
7. Bad Religion - the Dissent of Man
Punk. Punk. More punk. LEss than a minute in, I knew this album was going to be good. TO mark their fourth consecutive album with the same lineup (a band record for them!), they pulled all the stops and just rocked everyone's face off. "Do you remember when we were young? Adventure had no end! Those were the days, my friend, but I'm not talking about them at all" is the first couple of lines of the opener, and they get straight down to business with their own brand of pop punk that has been inspiring countless bands for over 30 years.
Recommended listening: "The Day The Earth Stalled," "Only Rain," "Wrong Way Kids," "Cyanide" (fourth song added 'cause "TDTES" is so short)
8. Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life
Early in the year, I had picked this up, and shelved it for a while. Then something happened. Live, the songs from this release jumped out at me with a plea to give them another shot. Sure when I first gave it a shot, there were some great lines, as there are with all Motion City Soundtrack tunes, but upon further listen, it comes through as a very strong effort from one a band that refuses to stop churning out greatness. It also served as a good chunk of the soundtrack to my vacation this year. Sentimentality: It works.
Recommended listening: "Pulp fiction," "Disappear," "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help)"
9. My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
I think My Chem's new release suffers from the same thing 21st Century Breakdown did: No matter how good it is, it won't be nearly as good as the last one. the only difference is this: My Chem actually followed up their masterpiece with a GOOD album instead of one that sucked. The Black Parade was a goddamned barnstormer, tearing up everything in it's path. This is the ruthless band of scavengers that's following in it's wake, kicking the ass of anyone left standing. They didn't sacrifice good songwriting to fit a concept. Kudos. Also, the drums sound fantastic, and Jawbreaker references will always make me like you (it's in "PArty Poison," if you must know).
Recommended listening: "Vampire Money," "Party Poison," "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)"
10. Against me! - White Crosses
& Gold Motel - Summer House
(listed in alphabetical order, not in the order I liked them the most)
Two albums I could not decide which one to leave off. Both albums scream SUMMER to me, and I get the same feelings from them. I just want to ride around (after work 'cause I'm supposed to be a grown up now) with my windows down when I listen to these albums. Against Me!'s White Crosses throws in much somber imagery, and themes of addiction, lost friends, and ostracism, while Gold Motel's debut, Summer House, revisits those sweet 60s sounds (as opposed to those drug addled 60s sounds), with beautiful harmonies and wonderful jangly guitars. I could not decide what album to leave off, so they share the #10 spot. Deal with it, guys.
Recommended listening: AM!: "White Crosses," "High Pressure Low," "I Was A Teenage Anarchist"; GM: "Make Me Stay," "Perfect (In My Mind)," "Safe in LA"
Honorable Mentions go to the following for the following reasons:Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
: It's good. Make no mistake. Always grandstanding, always weird, but just LISTEN to the wordplay in "Monster," and tell me there's no talent there. (Since I'm posting this on FB, too, and I have family on there... Yeah, there's a lot of dirty words. I'm 25. So what?)Daft Punk - Tron: Legacy OST
: It's Daft Punk doing a movie soundtrack. What is there to not like?Tim Barry - 28th and Stonewall
: Avail's frontman makes a fantastic third solo album, and puts on a great show. Country punk at it's finest... Well, up there with Chuck Ragan. Nevar forget Chuck.Amanda Palmer - "Ukelelehead"
: This album made me actually want to pay any attention to anything Thom Yorke has written.
Other good stuff this year:
Godspeed You! Black Emperor reuniting.
Sleeping (which I didn't do enough of)
GOODNIGHT AUSTIN, TEXAS, WHEREVER YOU ARE!!!!!!