Now to the (usual) preface:
For me, Top10 lists are 100% subjective. Unlike the responsibilities magazines, websites, or "real" bloggers hold in being "objective", this is a list of personal favorites. Case in point: Arcade Fire's The Suburbs is certainly one of the best albums of the year yet I feel zero responsibility on including them in my Top10 when I didn't listen to or enjoy the album as much as my other choices. I feel especially inclined to include this caveat of an intro as a number of great indie rockstar albums came out this year yet they didn't make my list.
Anyhow, a ton of great music has come out this year and being out of school for the majority of it allowed me to listen to a lot of it. Here are my top picks and a brief reason why. Enjoy and, if I know you, link to your Top10 list in the comment section... I'm always looking for new music and new lists.
11. Beach House - Teen Dream
Dreamy. Swirly. Non-distinct. An album I had to include simply because of the number of times I ended up listening to it. I never got excited about it. I rarely even felt like listening to it. It just always found its way into being played. It's kind of like a crappy apartment that isn't really special in many ways but it finds a way into your heart because of its familiarity.
10. The National - High Violet
This band is just great at crafting songs filled with melancholy. I chalk it up to their lead singer's baritone vocals. Again, this isn't a band I get excited about. Rather, as with this album, I hit play and am instantly overwhelmed with well crafted songs and lyrics filled with fantastic imagery.
9. Tokyo Police Club - Champ
This was my first foray into TPC's music. Taking it back a couple of years, I get the same feeling from this band as I did from the Christian garage-rock band, Bleach (any takers on that comparison?). What I mean is that this band is great at making catchy jams that are easy to rock out to.
8. Vampire Weekend - Contra
Loved their first album. Love this album. A few more blips and beeps this time around. Catchy pop songs. Needlessly intelligent lyrics but that's besides the point, I'm not listening to VW for their lyrics. Sidenote: the fiancée bought us tickets to their show earlier this year and we grooved for a solid hour.
7. Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz
It's about time. After waiting for a solid five years for a significant new album, Suf delivers the jams. And I mean jams. Leave it to the indie-king to change a lot of the instrumentation but keep what we all love about him. While most artists would most likely flub up, Sufjan creates sounds and atmospheres that will keep me listening for a long while.
6. The Drums - The Drums
I kind of started listening to this band as a joke. My little bro showed me a song called "Let's Go Surfing" which, as the name suggests, is pretty awesome. Little did I know that I would love the rest of the overly dramatic album as well. This one's perfect for a trip to the beach ... or wishing you were at the beach.
5. Sleigh Bells - Treats
Pretty voice. Distorted guitar. Heavy beats. It's like a mash-up created from scratch. I love the intensity of this band and the fact that it's the perfect album to throw on when in the car with a group of friends.
4. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
Man, this guy came to Taylor my senior year and I missed the show ... then again, I really had no idea who he was so I can't really kick myself. I'm pretty sure he's not actually that tall but this album is great. Guitar and a fantastic voice. That's pretty much all it is. And it's perfect for background noise, for driving by yourself at dusk, for studying, for listening to.
3. Jonsi - Go
I was a little hesitant where this one was going to go. Jonsi's departure from Sigur Ros with Riceboy Sleeps had me literally sleeping so I didn't know what to expect from this release. I was pleasantly surprised. This album is large, joyful, exciting, fun, and an experience all around.
2. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
This new band consists of some young college kids from Florida. To a certain degree, that's all you need to know. The music is young, fun, and a good time - kind of like college. It also kind of makes you feel like Florida.
1. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
I was initially hesitant of listening to this band. For some reason, they just sounded too generic. After I got over myself, I absolutely loved this band and this album. I attended a show of theirs earlier this year and it may have been the best concert experience of my life. So much energy and it's all matched with a level of depth not always found in your usual album.
Honorable Mentions :: Yeasayer, Odd Blood :: Broken Bells, Broken Bells :: Best Coast :: Crazy for You :: The Radio Dept., Clinging to a Scheme :: LCD Soundsystem, This Is It :: Spoon, Transference :: Drake, Thank Me Later :: Phantogram, Eyelid Movies :: Arcade Fire, The Suburbs