And now it's time for the list you've all been anxiously awaiting with bated breath: Native Minnow's favorite* albums of 2010.
Delta Spirit - History From Below
Quite frankly, I'm surprised these guys don't generate more buzz. This was the album I listened to more than any other this year, and I'm still not tired of it. Devil Knows You're Dead is a fantastic song. Just before I moved, I told Girl Who Wouldn't Be My Girlfriend that it should be our theme song, but she said it was too sad. Fair enough. It was the first song I heard off of this album, and I thought it would be my favorite, but that honor now goes to Bushwick Blues. Watch the video on YouTube. Great stuff.
The Whigs - In The Dark
One of my lamest brushes with "celebrity" (aside from Joe Jackson giving me a fist bump at a Halloween party because he liked my Axl Rose costume, or the time I walked right past Luke Wilson without realizing it because I was ogling the girl he was with) came when I saw these guys open for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in February. When BRMC came on, some of the band members for The Whigs went out into the crowd to watch. During one of the faster BRMC songs, I got shoved into the bass player who was standing to my left. He caught me. I apologized. He said no need to. I told him he played a good set. He thanked me. Oddly, we never hung out again after that.
Band of Horses - infinite Arms
One of my regrets this year was missing these guys live because of the timing of my move away from Vegas. These guys played here a week or two before I moved, and played in Vegas the weekend after I left. Talk about missing the boat. Of course my Vegas friends had to keep texting me to let me know what a great show I was missing. Pricks.
Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
One of the benefits of living with a music fanatic is that I hear about a lot music I'd never find out about otherwise that way. My roommate told me to give this album a listen shortly after he moved in. I'm obviously glad he did. There's a pretty good chance that either Camera Talk or Warning Sign will make it onto a future mix CD of mine. I guess this album was actually released in 2009, but that was just in the U.K., and it's U.S. release was 2010 so I'm counting it. Sue me.
Ok Go - Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
The kings of making music videos that go viral were at it again in full force this year with their videos for This Too Shall Pass and White Knuckles (I'm pretty sure the latter would hold a special place in the heart of everybody's favorite Anonymous Boxer). In the band's own words "'Cause nothin' ever doesn't change, but nothin' changes much." I also listened to this while cruising around UCLA's campus with some friends in early July. Somehow that mental image comes back every time I hear the song Skyscrapers.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Beat The Devil's Tattoo
I'll be honest, the first few times I listened to this album I only liked the first three or four songs, so I rarely listened to it past that. But, as I work in the lab, or write, or drive, I often listen to my iTunes (or iPod) on shuffle so that I don't have to constantly restart it after an album ends. As you might guess, when that would happen, and random songs from this album would play, they started to grow on me. I love them now. It's still not my favorite BRMC album, but it's climbing the ranks. Plus, I got some kisses when I bought concert tickets for me and GWWBMGF, so that was a plus.
Neon Trees - Habits
This album is just fun to listen to, plain and simple. It's one that can instantly cheer me up if I play it while I'm feeling down. Which probably means I should play it a lot more than I have been lately. Kudos also go to these guys for making it out of Utah, a place with very little going on when it comes to the local music scene.
Eels - End Times
Speaking of feeling down, this is an album that you may not want to listen to while you are. Every song is centered around Mark Oliver Everett's divorce, and can be quite depressing for anyone who's been through one themselves (or anyone going through a break up of any sort). That said, it's got some powerful stuff. Like the song Little Bird, and The Mansions of Los Feliz. It didn't receive a very good review from Pitchfork, but those guys are too hip for their own good anyway, so pay them no mind.
Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For The Young
This solo album from the frontman of The Strokes has a bit of an '80s feel to it, but not in a bad way. Fans of The Strokes should really like it, and really, there's no reason any of you shouldn't be fans of The Strokes. They're another band that it surprises me they don't get more attention.
So there you go. Now you all know how to spend those iTunes gift cards you get in your stockings. You're welcome.
*One of my very favorite albums of the year was Kasabian's West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Too bad it was really released in 2009 and I was just late coming to the party.