As I mentioned in my halfway lists back in July I haven't been able to buy as many records this year as I have in years past. So, rather than do my traditonal Top 25 records of the year list, I've scaled back to the Top 10. Most of my music comsumption this year has been on a single by single basis, with the lion's share of the full albums I've purchased coming at a deep discount via eMusic.com. But, I still think it's a very good Top 10 list nonetheless. Featured are three US groups, three from Glasgow Scotland, two from Australia and one each from England and Sweeden. Six of the groups represented here are making their first appearance on my year end album list, which I'm sure they will tell all their freinds about.
10) The Mary Onettes - Islands. This record has only been out for a few weeks, but it had to make my list. It would have come out earlier but the hard drive containing the recording sessions for the record was stolen out of Philip Eksrom's car. So they went back into the studio and did nothing less than make a complete masterpeice of an album. If it had come out earlier in the year, I might be higher on the list for sure, but I'm still getting to know it. You should too.
9) Paramore - Brand New Eyes. I named Paramore as one of my favorite bands of the oo's, so it's no surprise that their thrid disc made it on my list. I think Hayley Williams has exibited more tallent before her 21st birthday than many other artists wring out of their whole career. This record was a quantum leep forward from what was already a very strong sophmore effort on 2007's Riot!. If the songwriting continues to grow more mature and complex they could become one of the pemeire acts of the next decade.
8) The Cinematics - Love and Terror. One of the three acts on my list from Glasgow, and part of an ever growing stable of fantastic groups who are coming out of Scotland these days. On this their second album they put together a bunch of strong tracks that smack of having been writen on the road. New Mexico is one of those, and is also one of my favorite of the year. One of these days I'm going to have to make my way to Glasgow and see what it is about that place that births all of these great groups.
7) Arctic Monkeys - Humbug. Another of my band of the decade picks, Arctic Monkeys changed it up a bit with there third record. Rather than rushing back to the studio as they did the last time out, they waited a full year to start work on Humbug. They also worked with a new production team; recording the whole disc in the US with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age at the helm. The result is a differnt texture to the tracks than can be found on the first two albums, and noticable growth.
6) The 1990's - Kicks. Another Glasgow group and one that I first got turned on to because former Long Blondes singer Kate Jackson does back up on Kickstrasse. I ended up buying a few singles from iTunes before using a few extra eMusic downloads to pick up the ballance of the record a few months ago. From song to song the style fluxuates but in a good way that keeps the procedings moving.
5) Youth Group - The Night is Ours. This record origianly came out a few weeks after Inky and I left Oz back in '08, but it also got an American release this year. It was worth the wait, as I found this to be one of my favorite records to listen to from begining to end. It's rare to find a solid record these days, but this is one of them.
4) The Temper Trap - Conditions. This was the record I anticipated most this year, after being hipped to the single Sweet Disposition by one of my favorite Aussie music blogs. Having had only one of their songs to listen to for months, and having it be one of my favorite of the year, meant I had big expectations for the disc when I finally got a hold of it. To live up to those lofty expectations is kind of amazing these days, but that's what Conditions did. It's just a phenomanal listen.
3) The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You. The Avett's have been hard at work as a band since the begining of the decade, but they are just now starting to get noticed on a larger stage. I really enjoyed the Second Gleam EP in '08, which put a song on my Top 100 songs of the decade list (St. Joseph's) and so I was looking forward to this record. When I found out Rick Rubin was producing I was even more excited. What Rick and the Avett's came up with is an amazing grouping of alt country tunes. In a year where Son Volt kind of let me down in that area, thank god I had the Avett boys to cary the load.
2) Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career. It is absolutly killing me to not have My Maudlin Career at number one. Camera Obscura is my favorite band of the last ten years and this record is every bit as good as their last three. Tracyanne and co. have put together another hauntingly beautiful roster of songs that uniquly their own. I can't immagine too many music fans who couldn't appreciate what this Glasgow six peice does.
1) Neko Case - Middle Cyclone. As I said before, It killed me to not have Camera Obscura number one this year, but that is just a testament to how much I loved Middle Cyclone. This is Neko Case's sixth full length solo record and it is by far her best ever. I'm not alone in praising this record which has garnered a ton of #1's on year end lists all around the web.