Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 10 of 2010

It's that time of year. Time to get out your ice-scrapers, wish you had spent your last paycheck on Xmas gifts instead of comic books, and proclaim bold top 10 lists about various things from the last year.

Being that this is the Salmon, here's the first half of the top 10 albums of 2010, the keepers. If I left out your favorite album, too bad. You're wrong about that album, it's actually awful.

Also, if you're waiting around to see where the Salmon placed a Kings of Leon or Eminem album, you will be disappointed. The Salmon believes they reek like seaweed and Danny Bonaduce.

10. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Cartoon band makes like they're really real. Really worldly. Really expansive. Really poignant. Really funky. Really good.

Big catch: "Stylo" - Mos Def + Bobby Womack + Gorillaz = Really awesome underwater rock.

9. Beach House- Teen Dream
Victoria LeGrand sounds like Grace Slick way before she got drunk and helped Starship build that crappy city.

The indie-rock band takes their Xanax arrangements and fills them with shimmering guitar and haunting choruses. It's not beach music, but Teen Dream certainly warms these winter days.

Big catch: "Zebra" - Captures this band's propensity for patient, melting tunes with achingly memorable choruses.

8. The National - High Violet
Good bands with a distinct sound can opt for one of two roads; completely rework your vibe or chisel it down to its most refined.

The National go for the latter on High Violet, taking their thunderstorm-in-the-distance sound to great, if not unexpected, places.

Frontman Matt Berninger continues to make a name for himself as a quietly seething presence with a forked tongue. I'll bet you a dollar his baritone could make even "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" sound like a dirge.

Big catch: "Terrible Love" - Walking with spiders, really? Sounds like a worst-case scenario.

7. Sufjan Stevens- The Age of Adz

Easily the indie comeback kid of the year. Sufjan Stevens, 2005's genius behind Illinois, gets past his existential crisis to finally make another full-length where he's not hiding behind the production credits.

The good news is he's as tuneful as ever, although he's no longer the shy, super-talented loner sitting on the back porch playing a banjo who you would love to ask out on a date to the local coffee shop. He's still super-talented, but now he wants to go clubbing, sort of.

Glitchy dance beats combine with Stevens' penchant for writing melodic wonders. If you listened to the boy wonder's earlier catalog -- see 2001's Enjoy Your Rabbit -- you could have seen this one coming.

Big catch: "Impossible Soul" - Twenty-five minute run time makes it impossibly long, but not impo
ssible to listen to.

6. Vampire Weekend - Contra

The sophomore album from this delightful, world music-inspired indie band is every bit as irresistible, educated and sharp as its predecessor.

The Salmon watched these guys scarf into barbecue sandwiches following a show in South Carolina last year and they looked all of 14.

Truth is, they're in their 20s, but they've already written more classic pop songs than most artists could dream. At one point, it seemed their world beat tracks would eventually be stale, but they still taste fresh through two albums.

Big catch: "Contra" - Title track reveals something new about VW. A band known for danceable, punchy choruses can make a slow-moving ballad that cuts just the same.

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