10. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
This band that puts a hole in my theory that all bands from LA are terrible. Local Natives put together a wonderful debut album.
9. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
Who knew that mixing one part Gnarls Barkley and one part The Shins would produce such good music. It’s a shame that this album was overlooked by so many this year.
8. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
My expectations were much higher for the first Sufjan album to be released in five years; and compared with his previous works, Sufjan’s Ade of Adz is a choppy, less refined piece of work. But the brilliance of Stevens still shines through in many of the tracks.
7. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
The previous Arcade Fire albums have landed in my #1 album of the year slots every time. While The Suburbs doesn’t quite live up to their earlier works, it’s still a very good album with several remarkable singles.
6. The Black Keys - Brothers
When bands abandon their sound to get more radio friendly, it typically backfires. However, the Black Keys made it work with Brothers.
5. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
I wanted to hate this album. The hype. The blatant foraging from the 80’s new wave catalog. But James Murphy is a master craftsman at making music and there’s no denying it; as evident by this catchy, creative album that is one of the best of the year.
4. Vampire Weekend – Contra
A band with a sound that borrows from Paul Simon’s 1986 Graceland album, it’s easy to dismiss Vampire Weekend as a guilty pleasure. But over two albums, they have rarely produced a bad track. Contra is a fun, energetic and just darn good album.
3. Jeremy Messersmith – The Reluctant Graveyard
After just one listen of this album by Minnesota native Jeremy Messersmith, I was hooked on his clever lyrics, excellent vocals and Beatles-esque song craftsmanship.
2. Sleigh Bells – Treats
This band geeks out and doesn’t give a d*mn what you think. Heavy hitting base. Distortion. And. Just. Great. Music.
1. The Walkmen – Lisbon
There are times when one’s pace is slowed because the task at hand is too difficult to grasp at faster speeds. Then there are times when the pace is slowed because—well—we want to take our time to enjoy the journey. The Walkman’s Lisbon album is in no hurry; they are taking their time to show you that they’ve mastered a sound all their own that you're sure to enjoy.
Surfer Blood – Astro Coast
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
The Bewitched Hands On Top of Our Heads – Hard to Cry EP
Spoon – Transference
CocoRosie – Gray Oceans
Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away
Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People
Caribou – Sun
Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo
The National – High Violet
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest