“Harry! I’ve reached the top!” Top ten that it is. We have finally reached #10 for our albums of the year, who is excited? Coming in at #10 is a familiar face from our songs countdown– Yeasayer. When Chris Keating, Anand Wilder, and Ira Wolf Tuton came together to record Odd Blood there must have been something in the water because this album has a totally new sound in comparison to 2007’s All Hour Cymbals. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that all three members are still contributing powerful vocals on lush harmonies throughout the album. With a host of production effects and intricate compositions, one might think that Yeasayer’s live shows may falter in recreating the album’s greatness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. After hitting London’s Koko to catch the band on their Odd Blood tour I saw for myself how they made the album come to life. All of the effects were there and the volume (and energy level for that matter) was turned way up. Everyone was jumping around stage and I even got close enough to have Wilder stick his guitar in my face during a few shredding solos. Check out some of those shreddable jams below.
Yesterday we featured the Dead Weather’s 2010 release Sea of Cowards as our #11 album of the year, and today we show the group a little more love by plugging them in at the 10 spot for top tracks of the year. It’s almost an honor in itself for a song to be featured as the opening track for a Jack White album, joining the likes of “Consoler of the Lonely”, “Steady as She Goes”, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”, and “Seven Nation Army”. Sense a theme there? If you still need convincing, a clip of the band performing it live should do the trick, with Jack White doing his best Phil Collins impression behind the drums.
Maimed and Tamed’s #11 best track of 2010 is Broken Bell’s “The High Road.” Ever wonder what it would sound like if Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (The Shins) teamed up to make music? Well no, me neither, but man is it good/relaxing/funky/catchy. The duo struck gold in 2010 with the instant chill-out classic which got them plenty of radio play along with their other hit “The Ghost Inside.” Besides the catchy chorus on “The High Road,” I’m a huge fan of the drum beat in the song along with the videogame-ish sounds in the background. (I might have made that word up)
There are artists, and then there is Jack White. It’s undeniable that the man is on a different level than anyone else, lending his services to various side projects on a seemingly monthly basis. The great part about Jack White, and probably the reason why he is my favorite living artist, is how he crafts each album he has a hand in–whether it be for the White Stripes, The Raconteurs, or The Dead Weather. On this most recent release, the semi-super group consisting of Allison Mosshart (The Kills), lil Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes, The Raconteurs), and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stoneage) drops a very heavy and very dirty sophomore album. Jack White’s extreme love of the blues comes through loud and clear with screaming guitars and shut-your-dirty-mouth vocals by Mosshart. Opener “Blue Blood Blues” smacks you right in the mouth with an absolute ripper of a riff and some classic White lines, “Yeah all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.” And from there, tracks “Difference Between Us” and “I Can’t Hear You” keep it sweet n’ nasty, especially when Mosshart says she wants to teach us, take us by the hand, and walk us to her house so she can hear us. Talk about a fear boner.
Akron based rockers Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, better known as the Black Keys, have hit our top 15 albums at #12 with their 2010 release Brothers. The huge radio success of lead single “Tighten Up” definitely opened up a lot of people to what they have been missing for the last eight years. With the Keys’ sixth release (seven if you count their Blakroc disc) they bring something for everyone. From the bluesy jams like “Ten Cent Pistol” onto slow building ballads like “These Days” and even the more funky spots like “Next Girl” and “Everlasting Light” there is a little something to tickle everyone’s fancy. The Black Keys have come a long way since 2002’s The Big Come Up and have learned some valuable lessons along the way as Auerbach shares, “My next girl will be nothing like my ex-girl,” which is some pretty good advice considering divorce rates these days.
When asked in an interview why they chose to create more of a pop album the second time around, Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating replied, “What does that mean? What’s the definition of pop?” Here at M&T we’re not quite sure how to define pop music either, but we know what good music is and Yeasayer’s “ONE” definitely falls into that category. This song, like the rest of Yeasayer’s sophomore release Odd Blood, just makes you want to jump out of your seat and start dancing around the room. Fuck pop music, it doesn’t even matter what kind of music it is, Yeasayer’s “ONE” is certainly one of the best songs of 2010.
Say what you want about Kanye West, but this guy knows how to write songs. Kanye has been blowin up everyone’s top song and top album lists and yes he has even found a way onto the Maimed and Tamed list, at #13. Kanye’s “Runaway” was just one of many great tracks off of his newly released album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “Runaway” is a powerful track, an ode to all the shitty things he’s done in the past and maybe even a plea for forgiveness, his own penance.
Coming in at the #13 spot are semi-newcomers Warpaint with their first full length release The Fool. The band has actually been together as a group since 2004 and put out an EP in 2008 titled Exquisite Corpse, which seemed to have primed the group to make a splash with this album. Running only nine tracks long but providing enough material to sufficiently establish an identity, Warpaint’s sound is hard to put a finger on and that’s what these girls want. They want you to follow them through the dreamy slow burner “Undertow” and hard liner “Compsure”. The fact that each member of this band possesses enough chops to contribute to lead vocals or harmonies supplies a never-ending assault of heavenly vocals. Then there’s the acoustic “Baby” which is oh so tender on the surface but carries a sharp tongue underneath. An addictive album that necessitates much more than a couple listens.
Coming in at #14 is Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons. Some people might say, HEY! This shit came out in 2009! And then we would respond with, yeah it did…in fuckin England. Sigh No More came out in the US on Febuarary 16th, 2010, so now that I cleared that all up, lets move on to the actual album. Mumford and Sons’ debut album was a major success all over the world. It was constantly on the top 40 albums chart and produced multiple radio hits, including “Little Lion Man” and “The Cave.” The band creates a unique folk rock sound using a variety of different instruments, including, mandolin, accordion, dobro, banjo, keyboards, guitar, and drums, along with vocal harmonies. The thing that really caught me on this album were the build-ups, especially on “Dustbowl Dance” and “Thistle and Weeds.” These songs show so much emotion and create a great, haunting feel (I’m completely expecting one of them to be used in an epic part of a movie or tv show). I got a chance to see these guys at Bonnaroo and I’ll recommend them to everyone, they play with such high-eneregy and are constantly switching instruments amongst band members which really shows off their musical talents. Oh yeah, it was raining during “Thistle and Weeds,” coincidence?
One word to describe indie punkers Les Savy Fav’s latest release: don’tgiveafuckness. Known for their brash and high energy live shows, Root for Ruin isn‘t anything to scoff at either. Opening track “Appetites” lets us know how hungry these boys are…for rock. As soon as lead singer Tim Harrington informs us to “Shows us your teeth/and show us your tits” you should know it’s going to be a hard ride. Sexy time rock anthem “Lets Get Out of Here” invites all the members of the mosh pit to take a break and sing along to the ever catchy chorus and get spacy on the effects laden “Poltergeist”. Even though Root for Ruin seems to lose a little steam by the end, the diversity saves you from jumping out of your seat and running a few laps around the house. With Les Savy Fav being one of the few bands that can encapsulate such high energy and pack it into a 40 minute album, lets just say I can’t wait to see them live and unleash the beast unabridged.