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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Best Albums from 2010's First Half


RSL Album Buyer's Guide 2010 Volume One
Mind Strong by Blaine Fontana

Welcome! You have just found one of the most exhaustive and well-considered lists of quality, new music available in 2010. We don't promise to have everything that's out there but what is comes in one easy-to-digest package!

Read on below: there's an mp3 or video from each of THE BEST music projects RSL has come across in the first half of 2010. Ultimately, this A-Z shopping list (we have great confidence that any and all of these belong in your permanent collection) is a reflection of our own personal tastes. (Accordingly - there are some rather prominent omissions from this list - and we stand firmly by these selections. We didn't always agree - so there are some debated entries here!)

Note: Everything we love that was released from June onward will be captured in our Year End piece. (Something to look forward to.)

Enjoy the fruits of our labor & invest in the artist material. We all need to support the works of musicians and artists whose work we enjoy. With that in mind, here are the 2010 Volume I album recommendations from Ryan's Smashing Life....


KASEY ANDERSON
Nowhere Nights


Kasey Anderson - I Was A Photograph

"One of my absolute favorite records of the year starts this alphabetical listing off right. Kasey Anderson has the soul of a much older fellow and the benefactors are his listeners. Be prepared to weather the storm with this wicked record," - Ryan Spaulding

KASEY ANDERSON
Web / My / Fb / Tw

ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT
Coconut


Archie Bronson Outfit - Hoola

"My favorite underground act from the last decade has returned! Archie Bronson Outfit are still writing songs about sex, rock 'n roll and fast cars, but the World just might finally be ready to listen. Coconut is one of the most fun albums of the year - pop it in and go for a drive," - Ryan Spaulding

ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT
Web / My / Fb

BEACH HOUSE
Teen Dream


Beach House - Used To Be
Paulo Dourado photo

"Beach House has upped their game with Teen Dream. Though the talents of vocalist Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally were apparent on their previous releases, Teen Dream is just... well... dreamier. Songs like 'Used to Be' and 'Walk in the Park' make this release reverberate in your skull and melt your heart, like the best illusory summer dozes should," - Emma Dessau

BEACH HOUSE
Web / My / Fb / Tw

THE BLACK KEYS
Brothers


The Black Keys - Unknown Brother

"So, what do you say about The Black Keys that hasn't been said? Its a Brilliant blues rock experience that follows a series of equally great albums. Buy it," - 5342 Studios

"At the Half, Brothers is my favorite from this year. The Black Keys have produced a grower of a record that just happened to hit me the right way, right off the bat," - Ryan Spaulding

THE BLACK KEYS
Web / My / Fb / Tw

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
Forgiveness Rock Record


Broken Social Scene- All to All

"Broken Social Scene seems to pull off being both more accessible AND more complex than before. Check out 'Your Forgot It In People' and their self titled album.) Although Forgiveness Rock Record may not necessarily be my favorite album of the three, it is certainly no step backward for a band that always seems to be at the peak of their popularity," - Steve Legare

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
Web / My / Fb / Tw

EIGHTIES MATCHBOX B-LINE DISASTER
Blood and Fire


Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Love Turns to Hate

"The return of this truly strange band after some years unsigned is very welcome. Despite a change of lead guitarist (old guitarist Richard Fownes left to join NIN) and label, 'Blood and Fire' is just as eccentric a mix of metal, goth and early Nick Cave like drama as their previous two efforts. One of the most interesting things I’ve heard this year," - Nick Parker

EIGHTIES MATCHBOX B-LINE DISASTER
Web / My / Fb / Blog

AARON ENGLISH
American Fever Dream


Aaron English - Sleight of Heart

"Aaron English may prove to the most relevant songwriter of the year. His work on the timeless American (Fever) Dream is pure contemplative genius," - Ryan Spaulding

AARON ENGLISH
Web / My / Fb / Tw / itunes

GIL-SCOTT HERON
I'm New Here


Gil Scott-Heron - Me And The Devil

"So much of what we listen to these days is about losing ourselves, Escape. Gil-Scott Heron has been talking about Reality for so long he has come to personify it. Heron's voice resonates in the soul," - Ryan Spaulding

GIL-SCOTT HERON
Web / My / Album

SHARON JONES
I Learned the Hard Way


Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - How Long
Sharon Jones at SxSW by 5342 Studios

"One of the world's best live performers just keeps putting out great albums. The female James Brown does it again with a soulful collection of tunes that you would have to be soulless to hate," - 5342 Studios.

"I Learned the Hard Way is a brilliant record. A performer at the top of her game. Serious best of 2010 Album Consideration for Sharon Jones. A true must-have," - Ryan Spaulding.

SHARON JONES & the DAP KINGS
Web / My / Fb / Tw

THE JOY FORMIDABLE
A Balloon Called Moaning


The Joy Formidable - Austere

"A year after its release in the UK, we can now all finally enjoy this welsh band’s addictive debut. “A Balloon Called Moaning” has been pitched as at the cutting edge of British music, and for once the buzz is very much appropriate. Support this fledgling band, and feel you have your finger on the pulse!" - Nick Parker

"Songs so good your fans make you an unofficial "masturbation" video. Yep, this powerpop trio has put together a collection of addictive tunes. Big bass, sweet guitar, driving drums and vocals reminiscent of The Breeders," - 5342 Studios

JOY FORMIDABLE
Web / My / Fb / Tw

KINGSLEY FLOOD
Dust Windows


Kingsley Flood - Just a Midnight Ride

"Ascension, you are mine! Kingsley Flood are easily one of the most talented bands on this list. Moving effortlessly through the worlds of Americana and Folk, the word is getting out on this Boston secret. Highly Recommended, Best of the Year so far in New England," - Ryan Spaulding

KINGSLEY FLOOD
Web / My / Fb / Tw

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
This is Happening


LCD Soundsystem - You Wanted a Hit

"With their third, and perhaps final, album you get just what you have come to expect from LCD Soundsystem. Awesome electronic music with a new wave sensibility," - 5342 Studios

"James Murphy has a gift for translation and storytelling. This is Happening is an artistic, sometimes wild, sometimes tongue-in-cheek modern tale. One, that should be experienced more than once," - Ryan Spaulding

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
Web / My / Fb / Tw

LIARS
Sisterworld


Liars - Scissor

"Sisterworld arrives as a reading of the LA music scene with all its dark genres. The album has the serpentine progress of Lynch's Lost Highway where strange character transfiguration points to something hidden and disturbing. Each song, whether grunge, metal or experimental work together as a cohesive whole to tell a somber story," - Mark Jenko

LIARS
Web / My / Fb / Blog

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION
Life is Sweet, Nice to Meet you



Lightspeed Champion - Marlene

"Lightspeed’s second album is as peculiar a combination of sounds as we’ve come to expect from Dev Hynes’s music. He seems to be in his own world, but it’s one you will love to explore with him," - Nick Parker

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION
Web / My / Fb / Worst Movies

LOCAL NATIVES
Gorilla Manner


Local Natives - Airplanes

"One of the Best New Bands in the Country right now. Local Natives are a zeitgeist act and this is an important album to the status quo. A Band's band, really, and made up of talented musicians with promising futures," - Ryan Spaulding

LOCAL NATIVES
Web / My / Fb / Tw / Blog

LOS CAMPESINOS
Romance is Boring


Los Campesinos - There Are Listed Buildings

"Still full of wit, but also more adult than ever before, Los Campesinos have proven with this third release that they are among the best alternative bands in Britain at the moment. Their gig with Cymbals Eat Guitars (also excellent) this spring was the best live show I’ve seen in 2010," - Nick Parker

LOS CAMPESINOS
Web / My / Fb / Tw

MADE IN ICELAND 3
Various Artists / Compilation


Sam Amidon - How Come That Blood

"This 20-song compilation album is brilliant from start to finish with but a few exceptions. To land that kind of value from one album is undeniable value. And, I love realizing that one of my favorite albums of the year is from contemporary Iceland. Most unexpected and highly recommend!" - Ryan Spaulding


PEGGY SUE
Fossils and Other Phantoms


Peggy Sue - Matilda

Peggy Sue put on one of the most charming stage shows I witnessed at the Paradise this year. The UK three-piece play both tender songs and rapturous bouts of Stage Rock intermittently. Pretty awesome," - Ryan Spaulding

PEGGY SUE
Web / My / Fb / Tw

PHOSPHORESCENT
Here's to Taking It Easy


Phospherescent - Tell Me Baby

"It's been a little over two years since we last had new material from Matthew Houck and the wait was clear worth it. Here's to Taking It Easy is emotive genius. A heartfelt album you would do well to own," - Ryan Spaulding

PHOSPHORESCENT
Web / My / Fb

MATT POND PA
The Dark Leaves


Matt Pond PA - Starting

"Matt Pond PA is one of those bands that I have a hard time describing. They have a mid-tempo pop sensibility while delivering elegant lyrics. Although very light at times, there is a barely restrained intensity to much of the music that just sucks me in," - 5342 Studios

MATT POND PA
Web / My / Fb / Tw

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
Together


New Pornographers - A Bite Out of My Bed

"Honestly, I didn't think much of their last album Challengers. I figured this was going to be one of those times where a band gets more dough for production and its used it to suck out the soul of the artist. Color me wrong, because Together is at least on par with Twin Cinema and I'd be hard pressed to disagree with folks if they thought it was a little better or a little weaker," - 5342 Studios

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
Web / My / Fb / Tw

ROGUE WAVE
Permalight


Rogue Wave - Solitary Gun
photo by 5342 Studios

"My inner contrarian indie-rock critic self is locked away in a room screaming while I write this. Rogue Wave is pretty well known indie-pop act these days and I really didn't want to like this album after the first listen. Its highly produced, poppy and more electronic than previous efforts. I think it bounces in spots. However, it is gleefully addictive when you give it a chance," - 5342 Studios

ROGUE WAVE
Web / My / Fb / Tw


"A fascinating combination of hip beats, keys, metal and an occasional sweetness that can catch you unaware. There is some funky bad-assery going on here," - 5342 Studios

SLEIGH BELLS
Web / My / Fb / Tw

TITUS ANDRONICUS
The Monitor


Titus Andronicus - Theme From "Cheers"

"Though Titus’s 'The Monitor' is a complex concept album based loosely on the civil war, it manages at the same time to sound perfectly relevant to today. It’s full of fascinating stories of working-class lives writ large, and remains furiously energetic throughout, demanding your attention," - Nick Parker

"One of the more significant albums released to date in 2010. An unexpected treat and a real winner," - Ryan Spaulding

TITUS ANDRONICUS
Web / My / Fb / Yt

TRAVELS
Robber On The Run
Travels,Best of 2010

Travels - Friends In Bands

"Travels is one of New England's finest explorations of sound - and still unknown to the general public. Mona Elliott (Victory at Sea) and Anar Badalov (Metal Hearts) have released their best work to-date in Robber on Run. Amazing stuff - one of my favorites from this list," - Ryan Spaulding

TRAVELS
My / Fb



7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff thanks!
Made a Spotify playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/maorezer/playlist/4psiiU7cT3X8wGfW1UIwhK

Anonymous said...

Not a bad list. I was a little disappointed to not see "American Slang" by the Gaslight Anthem or "The Big To-Do" by the Drive-By Truckers, but it was nice to see Rogue Wave get some love, and I found some new stuff on here that I hadn't heard, so...victory! Well done.

uwmryan said...

great list. a lot of stuff I like plus a bunch of stuff I need to check out.

Thanks!

Jessica said...

Good list. I strongly agree with your comments on Kingsley Flood and Matt Pond PA, glad you give them the recognition they deserve. I also liked that your list varies from the general music blogger list and wasn't actually a "most hyped bands of 2010" list. Thank you!

Jessica said...

Nice list. I strongly agree with the addition of Kingsley Flood and Matt Pond PA. Glad you are giving them the recognition they deserve. I also like that your list is very different from other music bloggers' lists because it's not just a "most hyped bands of 2010" list. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

All of this is indie music...how do you expect to make a "best of" list with music that no one has ever heard!

Anonymous said...

I think Joanna Newsom's "Have One on Me" has to be on this list. An epic triple-album rife with delicious orchestral melodies. The album is genius.