my top 50 albums of 2010...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 24, 2010 05:53pm | Post a Comment

ariel pink's haunted graffiti before today
#1 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti-
Before Today
The first time I heard this album I knew it would be at the top of my list this year. It was really just a competition the rest of the year with these other albums to see if anything could overtake it but nothing could do it. I somehow resisted the temptation of Ariel Pink the last couple of years. Before Today was clearly the album for me and a perfect introduction to this band. I just didn't know how much I would be falling in love with the band and obsessed with this album. It is like a shoegaze soft rock mash up of all the songs that you have ever loved. You simply need this album in your collection. It is simply amazing!

listen to "fright night" by ariel pink...

buy the album at

avi buffalo
#2 Avi Buffalo-Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)
Oh, Avi Buffalo. I am so glad to have you in my life. Another album that I didn't really know I would love until I first listened to it. These guys are crazy young and ridiculously talented. The album is one of the perfect little pop gems of the year and I really couldn't stop listening to it for months. Seeing them open up for My Morning Jacket at the Greek was one of my favorite shows of the year. I was first drawn to them because they were from my hometown of Long Beach, but I fell in love with the album as soon as I heard it. It is addictive. This album will stay with me forever and forever connect me to my great year that was 2010.

listen to "what's in it for" by avi buffalo...

buy the album at

abe vigoda crush
#3 Abe Vigoda-Crush
(Post Present Medium)
Another amazing album this year that sort of caught me by surprise! It is Abe Vigoda's dark and synthy masterpiece. Full of super fun and mesmerizing spooky songs. These songs could have easily been on an album by New Order or The Cure. I am very happy they took the album in this direction, and the album cover is perfect. Reminds me of the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs sneaking through your curtains mixed up with some Stevie Nicks photo shoot. Brilliant!

listen to "dream of my love" by abe vigoda...

buy the album at

the drums
#4 The Drums-The Drums (Downtown)
The Summertime EP by The Drums came out at the end of 2009. It easily became my most listened to album of the end of last year and the beginning of this year. I basically just counted down the days until this full length album came out. This band is actually from New York but they sort of took off first in the UK and could easily be confused for being British or possibly Swedish. They remind me at times of The Smiths of Gene. Like the Smiths, they combine dark sounds of new wave with a more jangly pop sound. Belle & Sebastian meets Joy Division. Twee meets New Wave. I really love this album and it could have easily been my favorite of the year. Can't wait to see what they come up with next.

listen to "me & the moon" by the drums...

buy the album at

soft moon
#5 The Soft Moon-The Soft Moon
(Captured Tracks)
I have been paying close attention to this label after I fell in love with Wild Nothing earlier this year. Captured Tracks has become my favorite label of the year. They also put out the amazing new album from Blank Dogs and the Beach Fossils album just missed my list. I really just felt like I had enough of this label on my list already. The Soft Moon is dark and moody and synthy -- another album I loved as soon as I heard the first seconds of the first track. This album could have easily been put out by 4AD in the late 80's or early 90's. Watch out for this label! They have more fantastic albums just around the corner next year. 

listen to "dead love" by the soft moon...

buy the album at

#6 Arcade Fire-The Suburbs (Merge)
This is the only band in my top ten this year that has been on previous lists in years past. All the other bands had debuts this year or else this year was really the first time that I became a fan. Arcade Fire belongs in this top ten though. I became a big fan of them after their first album and have been a loyal fan ever since. They continue to put out great albums and amaze me with their live shows. You are probably already a fan of this band if you are ever going to be and I really can't get enough of Arcade Fire. I also loved their limited 12" that came out earlier this year. They just sort of sent them to their favorite record stores as a surprise for the fans and shops.

listen to "ready to start" by arcade fire...

buy the album at

joanna newsom have one on me
#7 Joanna Newsom-Have One On Me (Drag City)
Much like Ariel Pink, I avoided Joanna Newsom for years. I tried a couple of times but I just couldn't get into her album --. I couldn't get past her voice. But either she changed or I did. I really am not sure which, and this became the year of Joanna Newsom for me. The CD and LP are both beautifully packaged in little boxes. What a great album that I seriously would have never expected to see on my list this year! She also put on one of my favorite shows this year at the Orpheum. I would like to apologize to Joanna for not falling under her spell earlier! Even though it's taken me this long, it was worth the wait. This album is dreamy and folky and just perfect.

listen to "'81" by joanna newsom...

buy the album at

washed out life of leisure
#8 Washed Out-Life of Leisure
(Mexican Summer)
This album came out on vinyl right at the very end of last year but didn't really have a proper release until this year. It's another one of my new favorites this year. The album is only six tracks long but it has earned its place up here in my top ten -- another sort of eighties shoegazey album and yet another album I was destined to fall for. I became such a fan that I even bought one of his cassettes this year. The album is crazy addictive, and will take you on a dreamy sort of electronic journey. This is the good stuff! I really can't wait much longer for a full length from this guy. I am hoping it can live up to the brilliance of this one. 

listen to "get up" by washed out...

buy the album at

Best Coast Crazy For You
#9 Best Coast-Crazy For You
(Mexican Summer)
This album cover clearly wins for best album cover of the year. Did you see the kitty on here? It's the best! Such a great California album full of brilliant little love songs. It has the feeling of a really great girl group album from the 60's produced by Phil Spector. It is a perfect pop album and clearly one of my favorites of the year. I have listened to this album many times on repeat. My only complaint that it is a bit too short and I never want it to end! It came out at the perfect time, right in the middle of summer. This album is brought to us by another one of my favorite labels this year...Mexican Summer. 

listen to "boyfriend" by best coast...

buy the album at

Wild Nothing Gemini
#10 Wild Nothing-Gemini
(Captured Tracks)

Wild Nothing first caught my attention with their Cloudbusting 7", a brilliant take on Kate Bush. This band was clearly made for me; it's the perfect combination of twee and shoegaze. Gemini is just plain dreamy, with elements of all my favorite songs from Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and The Cure. This really is a heartbreaking album but it is worth it. It is that good and you really shouldn't live without it. I could listen to this album over and over again all night long. I love when new bands like this come into my life! Thank you, Wild Nothing!

listen to "drifter" by wild nothing...

buy the album at

Crystal Castles
-Crystal Castles (Universal)

beac house

Beach House
-Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

Kanye West
-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Def Jam)

-Halcyon Digest (4AD)

Belle & Sebastian
-Write About Love (Matador)

Blank Dogs
-Land & Fixed (Captured Tracks)

The Nationa
l-High Violet (4AD)

teengirl fantasy

Teengirl Fantasy
(True Panther Sounds)

Thieves Like Us
-Again & Again (Shelflife)

Daft Punk
-Tron Legacy Soundtrack (Disney)

Sufjan Stevens
-Age of Adz
(Asthmatic Kitty)

-White Magic (Modular)

Radio Dept
-Clinging To A Scheme (Labrador)


-Subiza (True Panther Sounds)

-Fool (Rough Trade)

shout out louds work

Shout Out Louds
-Work (Merge)

Land of Talk
-Cloak & Cipher
(Saddle Creek)

Toro Y Moi
-Causers of This (Carpark)

zola jesus

Zola Jesus
-Valusia (Sacred Bones)

-No3 (Secretly Canadian)

-Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

foals total life forever

-Total Life Forever (Sub Pop)

Surfer Blood
-Astro Coast (Kanine)

Tokyo Police Club
(Mom & Pop Music)

Wolf Parade
-Expo 86 (Sub Pop)

-Rocket Fire (Killer Pimp)

The School
-Loveless Unbeliever (Elefant)

serena maneesh

-No. 2: Abyss in B Minor (4AD)

Dum Dum Girls
-I Will Be (Sub Pop)

-Fields (Mute)

Album Leaf
-A Chorus of Storytelling
(Sub Pop)

The Depreciation Guild
-Spirit Youth (Kanine)


-Acolyte (Dangerbird)

Three Mile Pilot
Inevitable Past is the Future
(Temporary Residence)

james blackshaw

James Blackshaw
-All Is Falling
(Young God)

Johann Johannsson
-And In the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees (Type)

-Foreign Landscapes (Fat Cat)

manual drowned in light

-Drowned In Light (Darla)

Kenseth Thibideau-
(Temporary Residence)

(Temporary Residence)

Relevant Tags

Best Coast (41), Wild Nothing (14), Joanna Newsom (36), Soft Moon (2), Avi Buffalo (6), Ariel Pink (33), Mexican Summer (5), Captured Tracks (10), Best Of 2010 (22), The Drums (15), Arcade Fire (22), Abe Vigoda (14), Washed Out (11)