What a year it’s been….I feel like I have seriously loved as many albums as I have been let down by others (Rilo Kiley, Interpol, for starters). This year I wasn’t able to include any pop albums, which was not deliberate. Unless you count Lily Allen. I am totally open to anything mainstream if it’s good, but I haven’t loved anything pop since Nelly Furtado’s Loose.
Fun facts about my list:
21 out of 50 artists are not from the U.S.
13 out of 50 artists are female or female-fronted bands
8 out of 50 are debut albums for the artist
50. Imperial Teen; The Hair, The TV, The Baby, The Band
49. Black Francis, Bluefinger
This is why the Pixies do not need to reunite: Frank Black does just fine on his own.
48. Robbers on High Street, Grand Animals
47. Earlimart, Mentor Tormentor
46. Rooney, Calling the World
Who would have though that the band would last, and they could make a decent album? I didn’t.
45. Say Hi, The Wishes and the Glitch
44. Voxtrot, Voxtrot
43. Queens of the Stone Age, Era Vulgaris
42. Saturday Looks Good to Me, Fill Up the Room
41. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Is Is
#40 Animal Collective; Strawberry Jam
#39 The Killers; Sawdust
#38 Handsome Furs; Plague Park
#37 Beirut; The Flying Club Cup
#36 The Rakes; Ten New Messages
#35 Shout Out Louds; Our Ill Wills
#34 Gogol Bordello; Super Taranta
#33 Black Lips; Good Bad Not Evil
#32 Manic Street Preachers; Send Away the Tigers
#31 Tiger Army; Music From Regions Beyond
#30 Fall Out Boy, Infinity on High
#29 Lily Allen; Alright Still
#28 The New Pornographers; Challengers
#27 Spoon; Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
#26 Black Kids; The Wizard of Ahhhs
#25 Rogue Wave; Asleep at Heaven’s Gate
#24 The Hives; The Black & White Album
#23 Matt & Kim; Matt & Kim
#22 Peter Bjorn & John; Writer’s Block
#21 Patrick Wolf; The Magic Position
#20 Bedouin Soundclash; Street Gospels
The closest to reggae I will ever get.
standout track: 04-trinco-dog.mp3
#19 Justice; Cross
Sounds life Daft Punk’s younger punk kid sister.
standout track: 06-phantom-pt-ii.mp3
#18 Enon; Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds
Never a dull moment. The alternation of the voives totally does it for me.
standout track: 11-enon-labyrinth.mp3
#17 A Place to Bury Strangers; A Place to Bury Strangers
This stuff is really dark and scary. I imagine this is what “goth” kids listen to.
standout track: 06-breathe.mp3
#16 Kenna; Make Sure They See My Face
Angsty and electronicy.
Standout track: 10-better-wise-up.mp3
#15 Calla, Strength in Numbers
I am bad at explaining music. Their previous albums were super depressing, this is just as depressing but with more melody-driven stuff.
Standout track: 12-simone.mp3
#14 Editors; The End Has A Start
This is what Interpol SHOULD sound like.
Standout track: smokers-outside-the-hospital-doors.mp3
#13 The View; Hats Off to the Buskers
I definiately heard this in 2006, but it was officially released in the US this year. Again, the US has no taste and never really picked up on their awesomeness.
Standout track: 03-same-jeans.mp3
#12 The Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust
Genius.I read a review somewhere that said this band is a perfect soundtrack to a David Lynch movie. Also, their imitation of the Jesus and Mary Chain is at times actually better than actual J&MC.
Standout track: 10-sad-transmisson.mp3
#11 The Comas; Spells
Sometimes I don’t understand why they are not as popular on the radio as Rihanna and the other stuff.
Standout track: 03-now-im-a-spider.mp3
#10 Soundtrack, Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof
I usually don’t put soundtracks on these lists because it is usually a random collection of songs that the producer threw in the movie. But Quentin Tarantino usually takes the soundtracks very seriously, and can find semi-obscure songs that fit the movie perfectly. These songs illustrate the movie perfectly and are awesome.
Standout track(s): 16-chick-habit.mp3 /02-baby-its-you.mp3
#9 I’m From Barcelona, Let Me Introduce My Friends
I feel like this is one of those kids’ sing-along-records because it’s so catchy. I love those Swedes.
Standout track(s): 03-were-from-barcelona.mp3
#8 Amy Winehouse, Black to Black
How can this not be on here? I still hold my ground that her “persona” is fabricated to create an ilage.
Standout track(s): 05-back-to-black.mp3
#7 Mary Onettes, The Mary Onettes
I am not even sure how I found out about this band. But seriously, they sound straight out of 1984. And I mean that in a good way.
Standout track(s): 09-the-mary-onettes-under-the-guillotine.mp3
#6 The Go! Team, Proof of Youth
Everything they touch is gold. I thought their first album was fantastic, this one was ten times better. Can’t wait to see what they do next. I was also lucky enough to see them live this year. I felt like I was getting baptized.
Standout track(s): 10-flashlight-fight.mp3
#5 Alaska in Winter, Dance Party in the Balkans
I am actually surprised that I like this. This is the kind of stuff I usually loathe. But it is refreshing to me that people still can and wan to make music like this.
Standout track(s): alaska-in-winter-dance-party-in-the-balkans-09-staring-at-the-sun.mp3
#4 Bloc Party, A Weekend in the City
I can’t believe I was disappointed when this came out, I must have not listened hard enough. I like the level of fame that Bloc Party are now. I’m a little scared because their upcoming single “Flux” is a bit, shall we say, TECHNO, but I am sure that they will continue their trail of awesomeness.
Standout track(s): 02-hunting-for-witches.mp3
#3 Blonde Redhead, 23
This is beatiful, depressing, and haunting.
Standout track(s): 02-dr-strangeluv.mp3
#2 M.I.A. Kalla
This is probably the only hip-hoppish album you will ever see on any list of mine. This was a close contendor for my top spot. I also listended to this constantly as I was moving and when I first got here, and it got me through some rough stuff.
Standout track(s): 05-hussel-feat-afrikan-boy.mp3 / 11-paper-planes.mp3
#1 The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Some people say that the White Stripes keep releasing albums too quickly, but you know what? Each album is better than the last. Jack White is so prolific, it sounds like he may have written these songs in one sitting. Some of them are very structured, melodic, almost radio-friendly tunes, others are just some hardcore jam sessions. To quote Reen Big Fish, why do they rock so hard?
Standout track(s): 12-catch-hell-blues.mp3 / 04-conquest.mp3