1. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
The New Jersey boys don’t seem to be able to put a foot wrong. Their newest album, American Slang, is a journey through love and heartbreak from the crowded streets of Manhattan to the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore. With every release, The Gaslight Anthem progress as song writers, really delving into the psyche of their characters and with each new gravelly lyric describing every Springsteen soaked piece of imagery, you think nothing can get better than this. That is until the next verse.
Key Tracks: Stay Lucky, Spirit Of Jazz, When We Were Young
2. Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now
This Nashville native has produced an absolutely stunning debut album which combines Folk sensibilities with Country heritage. A beautiful album detailing love and loss and the changes you make in order to find yourself. With a heavy focus on acoustic guitar, the album drifts along, pulling you into her detailed and heart wrenching world. Caitlin Rose is by far the best new comer of 2010.
Key Tracks: Own Side, Shanghai Cigarette, Things Change
3. The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever
So your favourite characters Charlemagne, Gideon and Holly may not be referred to by name in the fifth studio album from The Hold Steady, but Heaven Is Whenever is still one ass-kicking, fist-punching, banal-assassinating record about life, love and all the music in-between. The first record without keyboardist Franz Nicolay since their 2004 debut, Heaven Is Whenever is the sound of a bunch of guys growing up. “Heaven Is Whenever / We can get together/ sit down on the floor/ and listen to your records”. Heaven is The Hold Steady.
Key tracks: Hurricane J, We Can Get Together, The Sweet Part Of The City
4. Delta Spirit – History From Below
If the first track from this album was non-existent, History From Below would have been further up the list, possibly even number one. However, looking past the three and a half minute flaw, Delta Spirit’s sophomore album is quite exquisite. More cohesive and mature than their debut ‘Ode To Sunshine’, the album’s 11 tracks move through folk, rock and swampy blues, with each song in itself a contained narrative. Seductive, intoxicating and god-damn addictive, History From Below is a scarily hard album to fault.
Key Tracks: Bushwick Blues, Devil Knows You’re Dead, Ballad Of Vitaly
5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Not one man should have all this power, well he shouldn’t, but it appears that he does. Kanye’s fifth studio album is a massive return to form after the train wreck that was 808s and Heartbreaks. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy refuses to stay locked in its box, breaking your West-perceptions with every new track. With cameos galore, hooks to sink your teeth into and verses your mother would smack you for mouthing the album is angry, passionate, sexy and crude; this is the Kanye we have been longing to return.
Key Tracks: Runaway, All Of The Lights, Monster
6. The Tallest Man On Earth – Wild Hunt
Kristian Matsson, aka The Tallest Man On Earth, is a Swedish folk god. There I said it. Though only one musician plays on the entirety of the album, it is one of the most interesting, intoxicating and absolutely overwhelming releases of the year. Wild Hunt feels as though you’re coming in from the cold. Though the album has an underlying feeling of isolation and solidarity, at the same time it feels as though it engulfs you; seeping into every last inch of your soul. Absolutely haunting vocals combine with breathtaking song writing to produce the finest Swedish release since Dancing Queen.
Key Tracks: Kids On The Run, The Wild Hunt, Troubles Will Be Gone
7. The Like – Release Me
What do you mean the 60’s ended? Not according to The Like they didn’t. 60’s girl group sensibilities with a modern twist, The Like’s second album, Release Me is, from start to finish, an incredibly accessible, honest portrayal of the life of a single girl. From emotionally inept boys who can’t commit to putting the shame in walk of shame to just not really digging the guy you’re seeing, Release Me is an album every woman should own. Shake your tail feather to the sounds of tomorrow baby!
Key Tracks: He’s Not A Boy, I Can See It In Your Eyes, Don’t Make A Sound/Why When Love Is Gone
8. Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue
The collaboration album between American musician Ben Folds and English author Nick Hornby moves between comical cultural satire and heart wrenching tales of humanity almost effortlessly. The 11 tracks which make up Lonely Avenue are each a contained narrative, proving the story telling talents of Hornby and the balladeer skills of Folds. The best part of this collaboration? The fact that neither artistic voice overpowered by the other. Pretty cool stuff.
Key Tracks: Levi Johnston’s Blues, Picture Window, From Above
9. Violent Soho – Violent Soho
Although technically a repackaging of an album released in 2008, Violent Soho’s self titled album still sounds current, relevant and exciting. Bringing back the soul of the early nineties so much so that your jeans rip themselves when you hit play, Mansfield’s favourite sons, Violent Soho, combine what is great about Australian music – the raw honesty and individuality – with classic grunge roots. It’s a beautiful thing. Must be listened to loud.
Key Tracks: Love Is A Heavy Word, Jesus Stole My Girlfriend, Muscle Junkie
10. Janelle Monea – The Archandroid
At 18 tracks long, The Archandroid is a contender for longest album of the year – but every track is wanted. Janelle Monea’s ability to effortlessly jump from soul to pop to R&B while still retaining a signature sound is mind blowing – her characteristic swagger and incredible vocal ability shine through in this genre melding album. Check it out!
Key Tracks: Tightrope, Cold War, Faster
Best Of The Rest:
- Little Red – Midnight Remember
- Second album from Melbourne boys – Structured, colourful and engaging, the record is nn amazing representation of the talent we have locally.
- Foals – Total Life Forever
- More chilled out, melodic and slow burning than their debut, after a few listens to this album you WILLbecome addicted!
- Alberta Cross – Broken Side Of Time
- Mashing up blues, rock and folk into an incredible collection of songs, this album has absolutely no filler. Amazing record!
- My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys
- The chameleons of emo/pop/punk. MCR have turned their back on the black parade and embraced the synth, pop happy kill joys. MCRmy raise your filthy paws!
- Taylor Swift – Speak Now
- Like reading the diary of your sister, this album sometimes feels voyeuristic and intensely personal, the talented singer songwriter defines genre and lays her soul on the line.