The first half of 2010 has been pretty remarkable. I've found some early contenders for album of the year, and wouldn't be surprised if they held their positions come December (but we'll see what Menomena and The Books have to say about that). If you become a fan of ("like") Total Darkness vs. Blinding Light on Facebook, you'll receive a download link for a mix of 20 songs that represent the artists who released the best music between January and June. Some of the tracks are just that, great tracks, and are one of only two or three good songs on an album (Yeasayer, Album Leaf, Blitzen Trapper). I've decided to write about my personal top five. Represented by the first five tracks on the mix, these are the best releases of 2010 so far:
Here We Go Magic - Pigeons
My favorite album of the year so far. But if you haven't yet learned musical patience, don't bother with Pigeons. But, if you have achieved this virtue, you will be deeply satisfied by Here We Go Magic's other-worldly trip-prog.
Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
Folk albums like this keep me grounded. The Tallest Man on Earth doesn't do anything too impressive, but that's what makes his songs so impressive. There's an audible restrain in The Wild Hunt, one that proves how less can certainly be more.
Beach House - Teen Dream
I can't believe this came out in 2010. It feels like I've been listening to it for years already. And I wasn't on the Beach House bandwagon before either, this album is just too good to argue. They decided to put some meat on their bones with Teen Dream, accomplished through the miracle of melody.
Jonsi - Go
Just when I thought lo-fi was about to recapture the indie rock world, this insanely dense and crowded album storms in like it's 2004 all over again. I feel like I haven't said the word "multi-instrumental" in years, and I'm delighted that Jonsi has made it possible in 2010.
Laura Veirs - July Flame
This Portlander continues to make great records, year after year, and still hasn't received the success she deserves. Laura Veirs is a profuse songwriter. Maybe the best comparison I can make is the Beatles. Veirs just doesn't write many bad songs, July Flame is just further proof.
1. Here We Go Magic - Moon
2. Tallest Man on Earth - Burdens of Tomorrow
3. Beach House - Walk in the Park
4. Jonsi - Around Us
5. Laura Veirs - Life is Good Blues
6. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
7. Yeasayer - ONE
8. Four Tet - She Just Likes to Fight
9. LCD Soundsystem - Home
10. Album Leaf - Blank Pages
11. Phantogram - Mouthful of Diamonds
12. Delorean - Simple Graces
13. Rocky Votolato - Sparklers
14. Horse Feathers - Starving Robins
15. Blitzen Trapper - Man Who Would Speak True
16. Toro y Moi - Blessa
17. Broken Bells - Ghost Inside
18. Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company
19. Dosh - Country Road X
20. Gayngs - The Last Prom