It’s basically 2010, people and that can only mean one thing-end of the year lists that you don’t care about. But you know what? I don’t care about you not caring. So here’s the 10 albums that made the most noise around the WC BIAS offices this year. Boo yah.
1. Fanfarlo – “Reservoir” – This album can do no wrong. The easiest way to describe Fanfarlo is to call them the Arcade Fire Unplugged but that’s overly simplistic and incomplete. Safe to say if you like/love Arcade Fire (and how could you not) you’ll love Fanfarlo but there’s a ton of sheer joy on this album. You won’t hear anything better than this, guaranteed.
2. Sunset Rubdown – “Dragonslayer” – Holy crap. While 2009 may not have produced the quantity of albums we would have liked, there’s no denying the quality, as this album would have ranked #1 most other years. While not quite a concept album and not quite not a concept album, “Dragonslayer” is nothing short of a total mind bending, quasi drug fueled opus. Was a better song released this year than “Silver Moons“? No. No there was not. Plus the album title gave us a great nickname for Andre Ethier and his late inning heroics.
3. Blind Pilot – “3 Rounds and a Sound” – Nothing but nice songs made by nice people to be enjoyed on a nice day. Pretty, indie rock that everybody would like and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s haunting and beautiful and there’s always room for that on your iPod.
4. The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Hometowns” – In the long line of singer’s with voices that are less than stellar (Neutral Milk Hotel, Jets to Brazil, Bright Eyes) comes The RAA and the dubious pipes of Nils Edenloff. And they are perfect pipes for these stripped down yet wondrously complete songs. You know how when you eat falafel you’re thinking there’s no way it’ll fill you up and you’ll wish you had a hot dog or something with more meat in it but then after you eat you’re like, “dude, that was great, I can’t wait to get falafel again!”? That’s how you’ll feel after you listen to this record.
5. Conor Oberst – “Outer South” – Come on, did you think I would make a list that didn’t include Conor/Bright Eyes in some way? In a lot of ways “Outer South” represents some of his best songwriting with the Biblical based “All the Lights in the Windows” and “Roosevelt Room” (a protest song that would make even Bob Dylan jealous) being my personal favorites. You can make a case for this album being better than his first solo album in terms of completeness but if I had to chose between the two I’d go with the first one.
6. Mason Jennings – “Blood of Man” – A darker Mason here than we’ve seen before and I like it. There aren’t any songs that are 10s here and most would probably end up on the cutting room floor of a “Best of” album there aren’t any clunkers. Gritty, heavy and still hopeful, these are some tight ass tracks.
7. Handsome Furs – “Face Control” – Sigh. This album was hyped to the moon for me, since their first record is probably a top 10 album for me (of all time) and the fact that there are only two tracks here that I really, really like made it a bit of a disappointment. Still, those two tracks are retardedly good.
8. Monsters of Folk – “Self-Titled” – Conor’s got 3 songs here that are fantastic and then we’ve got a bunch that just didn’t do it for me.
9. Blitzen Trapper – “Furr” – The title track and “Black River Killer” are 10s. Just sicker than sick.
10. Manchester Orchestra – “Mean Everything to Nothing” – Not totally sold on these guys but not opposed either. I think from top to bottom I liked this one more than Brand New’s total misfire but this 10th spot is fluid and I reserve the right to change my mind over this last month.