Feeling the itch to give my blog a little love, decided to sit down and compile my list of Top 10 Albums of 2010. Lots of great music can come out over the course of twelve months and this last year was no exception. Not wanting to risk being superfluous, I limited the list to only 10 – which is about as frustrating as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an egg beater and pita bread.

That being said, this list is highly personal. Albums were chosen based on what I listened to the most this last year. Each is great in its own right and links to download songs will be included with each listing. Now, enough babble out of me… let’s get to the albums!

* Forgive the shoddy formatting, text wrap worked a lot better than in the text editor and don’t have the time or patience to do battle with WordPress right now. Happy New Years!

10. The Spring Standards – “Would Things  Be  Different”

A recent entry to my library, The Spring Standards  are a local Brooklyn group with a lot of promise.  Simple, elegant tracks that are as powerful as they  are pleasant – wavering between catchy folk songs  and something you might hear in an Apple  commercial. Heather Robb’s luminous voice and  cascading piano drive a record that is pleasant  from start to finish. This album is something you  might  listen to a nice rainy day or while taking a  stroll  through Central Park. The Spring Standards  are one of those special bands whose live  performance only serves to best what you’ll hear on  the record.

The Spring Standards – “Sharks”

Buy “Would Things Be Different” now on Amazon

9. Sleigh Bells – “Treats”

The debut album from Sleigh Bells makes this list if only to say “I f**king told you so!!!!” After “Crown on the Ground” and “Ring Ring” (now “Rill Rill”) dropped as demos in 2009, I knew this was going to be a pair worth paying attention to. “Treats” doesn’t disappoint, delivering jam after driving jam of lo-fi, distorted garage pop guaranteed to rock your face off. As the cover suggests, this album was probably conceived by a gang of cheerleaders strung out on meth and sick of shelling out for the ‘man.’ Still, breaking through the distortion are solid melodies that lift the grunge pop into something listenable. “Rill Rill” is the anchor on this sick boat.

Sleigh Bells – “Rill Rill”

Buy “Treats” now on Amazon

8. Marina & The Diamonds – “The Family  Jewels”

Pop music is dying for someone like Marina  Diamandis, aka Marina & The Diamonds. This  Welsh singer-songwriter released one of the most    honest pop albums in early 2010. Five out of  thirteen tracks are singles, and each one crafts a  new dimension to a record filled with friendly jams  and scathing critiques of popular culture. It’s  impossible not to love Marina, especially after  watching one of her standout music videos that  match the dissension of the music itself. Marina  doesn’t give a shit what you think, she’s just gon do  what she gon do. A sophomore album that even  comes close to this will ensure a spot at the top.

Marina & The Diamonds – “I Am Not a Robot”

Buy “The Family Jewels” now on Amazon

7. Francois Peglau “The Imminent Failure  of  Francois Peglau”

Here’s one you aren’t likely to find in stores but deserves a place on this list without question. Peruvian born singer-songwriter now living in London, Peglau dropped a gem of a solo project this year. Gentle pop music with traces of European folk, “The Imminent Failure” is endlessly  charming. Something you might listen to while  smoking a cigarette, cruising the streets of London in the 1960’s. If vintage clothing could be  transformed into song, this album would be the  result. One for the hipsters to say “You gotta check  this out, pretty sure you haven’t heard of it.”

Francois Peglau – “One Minute to Midnight Dream (So Sad)”

Download “The Imminent Failure of Francois Peglau” now on Bandcamp

6. Freelance Whales – “Weathervanes”

Eery. Haunting. Beautiful. Freelance Whales’  debut  album tells a ghost story, the lead falling in  love  with a female spirit who haunts his home. Never  able to make her his, he imagines life with her on  some spectral plane. There are not enough good  things to say about this album, a gorgeous blend of  ethereal indie pop. I’ve always described  this band  as “Like Owl City, but you don’t have to be  ashamed to listen to it” and even that doesn’t do  them the justice they deserve. Known for  performing on the NYC streets and in the subways,  Freelance Whales is a band that loves music and it  can be felt with every touching note. Another great  live act as well.

Freelance Whales – “Location”

Buy “Weathervanes” now on Amazon

5. Robyn – “Body Talk”

First of all, Sweden deserves a shoutout for all of  the killer music coming out of there right now.  Robyn has been on the scene for a while, but  finally broke through in a big way this year with  “Body Talk,” a studio album that was released in  three parts over the course of 2010. A perfect  marriage of pop and electronic, Robyn is Lady  Gaga with loads more talent, swagger and  sophistication. From the bubblegum gangsta  nastiness of “Fembot” to the toned-down, heartfelt  “Hang With Me,” the entire series brings  undeniably danceable rhythm and funk guaranteed  to have you listening over and over.

Robyn – “Call Your Girlfriend”

Buy “Body Talk” now on Amazon

4. Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Arcade Fire just won’t stop. After two solid releases  in ’04 and ’07, they finally took it Wu-Tang style  and dropped a megaton bomb in 2010 with “The  Suburbs.” I’ve always been a fan, but past releases  seemed almost too ambitious to really connect with  them on a lasting basis. On “The Suburbs,” they  finally hit the mark with just enough catch and  hook to lock into their grand, symphonic indie  melodies. If this were a top tracks of 2010 list, their  single “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”  would make an excellent case for the number 1 one  spot. I remember when this album dropped and it  was immediately dubbed album of the year by most  critics, and they weren’t too far off.

Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

3. Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted  Fantasy”

What a year for Kanye West, after acting himself  into the role of King Douche of the Planet, this  album dropped and the nation collectively shit their  pants. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is  being called the “Sgt. Pepper’s” of hip hop and they  just might be right. Whatever his behavior might  say, Kanye West is an absolute musical genius. It’s  hard to describe exactly what’s going on with this  album, only that it’s like nothing you’ve ever  heard. I think Kanye says it best when he said:  “Gossip,  gossip. N***a just stop it, everybody  knows I’m a  mutha f**kin monster!” Album of the  year to most, it doesn’t get much better.

Kanye West feat. Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Rick Ross and Bon Iver – “Monster”

Buy “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” now on Amazon

2. The Magnetic Fields – “Realism”

There’s a reason why The Magnetic Fields are my  most listened to artist since I got a Last.fm account  in early 2010. “Realism” is one of the most down to  earth, stripped bare, ‘real’ albums I’ve ever  listened  to. Stephin Merritt & Co have been around  since  ’91 and show no signs of letting up. Nothing  needed here except for a few instruments and  brilliant songwriting. Never heard a band do so  much with so little. “You Must Be Out Of Your  Mind” is the standout and intro track, a melody of  honest heartbreak that sets the tone for the rest of  the LP. Simply brilliant.

The Magnetic Fields – “You Must Be Out Of Your Mind”

Buy “Realism” now on Amazon

1. Yeasayer – “Odd Blood”

No debate in my mind about the album of the year,  or the band of the year for that matter. Yeasayer  blows all competition out of the water with “Odd  Blood.” Yeasayer created a lot of buzz after their  debut release of “All Hours Cymbal,” but risked  being mired as an experimental band. “Odd Blood”  changed all of that, and delivered a fury of  wonderfully constructed rock songs supported by  indie sensibilities, lush synth and unmatched vocal  power. Saw them in Dallas and cannot wait until  they come back to their adopted Brooklyn home for  a show. If Yeasayer isn’t the future of rock, then at  least they made 2010 a damn good year for music.

Yeasayer – “ONE”

Buy “Odd Blood” now on Amazon

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These obviously weren’t the only good albums of 2010. Here is a short list of some other standouts that are worthy of mention, with links to their artist streams on Hype Machine.

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