WPGU’s Best Albums of 2010: 15-11

Local Natives : Gorilla Manor

15: Local Natives | Gorilla Manor | [Frenchkiss]

Local Natives are new on the scene this year but without a doubt the coined, west coast Grizzly Bear deserves serious recognition out of all records to come out this past year. This album is a consolidation of youthful love and dreams from the opener “Wide Eyes”, a dream to see the world for yourself, to a cover of the Talking Head’s “Warning Sign”, everything is full of energy and optimism. With harmonic chanting and rustic vocals, a solid string backup and energetic guitar riffs this album stays relevant in my best of 2010 list. Gorilla Manor is a solid album that while it sounds inherently familiar, you always tend to be surprised by the grandeur of the tracks. — Colin Lateano

Listen: “Airplanes”

Best Coast : Crazy For You

14: Best Coast | Crazy For You | [Mexican Summer]

The subjects of the tunes on Best Coast’s debut Crazy For You are something out of a high school kid’s basement – weed, love, and cats. While it’s not the most lyrically important record of 2010, Crazy For You does a kick ass job of making you feel like you’re baked on the beach, or on the couch wanting to sunbathe. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno fuse Ronnie Spector-like (although more chilled out) vocals with lo-fi guitar sounds into pop genius. With lyrics so unabashedly simplistic, listeners are almost encouraged to croon away with the ooh’s and ahh’s of the title track “Crazy For You,” and belt out their love for an unattainable crush with Cosentino on lead single “Boyfriend.” Crazy For You is warm, fuzzy, and really, really stoned. It also might just be the best pop record of 2010. — Tom Pauly

Listen: “Boyfriend”

Broken Social Scene : Forgiveness Rock Record

13: Broken Social Scene | Forgiveness Rock Record | [Arts & Crafts]

As a collection of musicians, essentially acting as an all-star team in the indie-alternative world, Broken Social Scene find themselves busy…and busy often. Between the endless numbers of solo careers and other projects (which form legitimate bands, not just half-ass side gigs) and touring constantly, I’d imagine its difficult to sit down together and have a cup of coffee, let alone record an entire album. Let alone a great one. This year was the return of the mighty BSS, and with their blissful grooves and sharp instrumentation, they crafted Forgiveness Rock Record. A collection of songs making up an album that fits like a old baseball glove. A really weathered one that you never want to get rid of because it still serves its purpose just as well as a brand new one would. The band’s effort is mostly Kevin Drew-heavy, with a sprinkle of a few new female guests, but that’s to be expected. We’ve come to find this band to fly under the radar of sorts, but the collection of musical geniuses just makes it easy to expect something stellar. —Patrick Singer

Listen: “Texico Bitches”

The Black Keys : Brothers

12: The Black Keys | Brothers | [Nonesuch]

I was in Best Buy looking for the re-release of Darkness on the Edge of Town, but I was having trouble finding the Springsteen shelf. What I didn’t have trouble finding was The Black Keys section; eight shelves were spilling with copies of The Big Come Up, Thickfreakness, and even the EP of Junior Kimbough covers, Chulahoma. It seems like The Black Keys have finally gone mainstream. Their songs are in video games, movies, and HBO original series (Hung, Big Love, Eastbound & Down); they’re charging forty dollars a ticket for their sold-out New Year’s show at the Aragon Ballroom. Did Dan and Pat finally sell out? Short answer: no fucking way. Brothers is the best Key’s record in four years. Having shown utmost commitment to recreating classic blues, the guys now seem interested in trying out seventies’ soul music. Dan sings in falsetto, Pat continues to provide laser precision drum work, and the band extends their experimentation with production started on Attack and Release. “Tighten Up” serves as a radio-friendly single, while “Too Afraid To Love You” gets down in the muddy depths of the blues’ wailing sadness (complete with background harpsichord). Every song on Brothers is different from the last—the one tie that bind them all together is their ability to rock fucking hard. Like usual, I’m curious what The Black Keys are going to do next; most minimalists would have run out of ideas this good years ago. — Nick Martin

Listen: “Tighten Up”

LCD Soundsystem : This Is Happening

11: LCD Soundsystem | This Is Happening | [DFA]

Is James Murphy the voice of our generation, or a pretentious prick? Whatever the case, This Is Happening combines “infectiously danceable” with “endlessly sad” into one of this year’s best album. I think there’s a reason LCD Soundsystem resonates so well with peers in my age group; like college students, Murphy is obsessed with acting cool, getting old, fucked-up relationships, drunk girls, and dancing. What makes his “adult” angst so interesting is LCD’s bottomless knowledge of classic dance, rock, and soul music. The album indulges in vast contrasts. Some songs have guitars; some songs have synths. Some songs are depressing and self-conscious; some songs are flirtatious and fun. One song is a tongue-in-cheek drinking chant that is both an ode to, and a list of grievances about, meaningless sex; another is a scathing critique of the music industry’s ever-present commitment to sacrifice artistic integrity over profit, yet this argument is packaged in an easy-to-sell, hyper-catchy pop song. In sum: there’s a lot going on throughout This Is Happening. Yet, this maximalist collage-of-ideas sounds pretty damn cool when it’s all mashed together. According to Murphy, this will be LCD’s last album; thankfully, it’s also LCD’s best album. — Nick Martin

Listen: “I Can Change”


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