The National High Violet
If the Great American Novel had a soundtrack, I think this would be it. This is not only one of my favorite albums of 2010, but one of my favorite albums in my life, ranking up there with Rush’s “Moving Pictures”, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Radiohead’s “OK Computer”, albums I played on repeat for a long time and still listen to today. It sounds like cut-and-dried rock on the first several listens, but there’s a lot of subtlety and odd changing drum beats, which always hook me and I really like his voice. Favorites: it’s a perfect album so all songs are great, but “Sorrow”, “Little Faith”, “Afraid of Everyone”, “Conversation 16” and “England” are especially good.
This is the solo album from one of the founders of Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band that we like. This album is more approachable than Sigur Ros and more pop-oriented, but still good and has that Sigur Ros atmospheric sound. Favorites: “Animal Arithmetic”, “Tornado”, “Boy Lilikoi”, “Kolnidur”, “Grow Till Tall”, “Hengilas”.
Belle & Sebastian Write About Love
It’s an alternative cliché, I guess, to like Belle & Sebastian and I look like an aging art school nerd for holding onto this band for all these years, but I can’t help liking them. I think this is their best album since their 2000 album, “Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant”. Favorites: “I Didn’t See It Coming”, “Calculating Bimbo”, “I Want The World To Stop”, “Read The Blessed Pages”.
Arcade Fire Suburbs
Their first album in 2004, “Funeral”, was amazing and it’s taken them this long to make something as good. I think their albums run together as one long song so it’s hard to pick out individual songs, but I’ll try: “The Suburbs”, “Modern Man”, “City With No Children”, “Half Light II”, “Suburban War”, “We Used To Wait”, “Sprawl II”.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach
I generally don’t like rap and hip-hop, but if Damon Albarn makes it, I like it. I even like the Snoop Dogg track, which I would’ve guessed would be impossible. Favorites: “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach”, “Rhinestone Eyes”, “Stylo”, “Empire Ants”, “Broken”, “Plastic Beach”, “On Melancholy Hill”.