Friday, December 3, 2010

add salt's albums of 2010


Here are add salt's top albums of 2010 for your listening (and purchasing) enjoyment. Disagree with me? Like the choices? Feel personally cheated that I didn't include anything from Kanye West? Leave a comment, let's chat. If you are a party seeking the removal of one of your tracks or images, please contact me personally at

+15 Beach House
Teen Dream

MP3: Beach House - Zebra
MP3: Beach House - Norway

+14 Four Tet
There Is Love In You

MP3: Four Tet - Love Cry
MP3: Four Tet - Circling

+13 Big Boi
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

MP3: Big Boi - Shutterbug (feat. Cutty)
MP3: Big Boi - Tangerine (feat. T.I. & Khujo Goodie)

+12 Reading Rainbow
Prism Eyes

MP3: Reading Rainbow - Wasting Time
MP3: Reading Rainbow - Always On My Mind

+11 Sufjan Stevens
Age of Adz

MP3: Sufjan Stevens - Too Much
MP3: Sufjan Stevens - Now That I'm Older

+10 Surfer Blood
Astro Coast

MP3: Surfer Blood - Take It Easy
MP3: Surfer Blood - Twin Peaks

+9 Fang Island
Fang Island

MP3: Fang Island - Life Coach
MP3: Fang Island - Sideswiper

+8 Gorillaz
Plastic Beach

MP3: Gorillaz - Stylo (feat. Mos Def & Bobby Womack)
MP3: Gorillaz - White Flag (Feat. Kano, Bashy & The Lebanese National Orchestra For Oriental Arabic Music)


+7 Arcade Fire
The Suburbs

MP3: Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
MP3: Arcade Fire - Rococo

+6 Sleigh Bells

MP3: Sleigh Bells - Crown on the Ground
MP3:Sleigh Bells - A/B Machines


+5 No Age
Everything In Between

Everything In Between came as one of the greatest surprises of the year. No Age have intrigued audiences with their blend of punk and shoegaze, but Nouns, as a whole, failed to impress or dazzle me. After witnessing them at Sasquatch! I revisited Nouns with newfound zeal, and it's a good thing, as it readied me for Everything In Between, an album which is sonically unique, compelling enough to be absorbed in one sitting, and ambitious without being egotistical. It is considerably boosted in rank because it fucking rocks in all the right places.

MP3: No Age - Life Prowler
MP3: No Age - Valley Hump Crash

+4 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Before Today

After a decade producing lo-fi albums utilizing 8 track tapes, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti has signed to 4AD, heralding a game change which has been a much-talked of topic in the blogosphere this year. The resulting effort, Before Today, is comprised of "polished" tracks which broaden the scope of Ariel Pink's songwriting and reveal his lyrical wit (which is often too muffled to decipher). To speak of accessibility would be fair but also irrelevant. This is a genius album. It would be genius if Ariel had made it in his basement using a Little Tikes sing-along cassette recorder. It also includes the best song of the year, which cannot be found on this page, as it will be showcased on my top tracks list.

MP3: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Beverly Kills
MP3: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Butt-House Blondies


+3 LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening

This Is Happening was always going to make the cut. James Murphy never fails to amuse and enlighten with his straightforward insights into life, love and "the scene". While perhaps not a huge progression in the band's sound, (the formula here is simply an extension of the most popular cuts on their previous albums) LCD Soundsystem craft an infectiously danceable contemporary pop masterwork, which translates as well to the stage as it does to your bedroom when you think no one is looking.

MP3: LCD Soundsystem - Pow Pow
MP3: LCD Soundsystem - I Can Change

+2 Joanna Newsom
Have One On Me

A concept which initially inspired anticipation and simultaneous apprehension, Joanna Newsom's triple-album could have gone horribly wrong. Fortunately for us, Have One on Me combines sweetness, humor and provocative sincerity into one exquisitely subtle package, demonstrating that the girl-child harpist has grown up into a woman full of rather thoughtful ideas, not a one of them poorly executed. Her affinity for weaving complex song structures and cohesive narratives has rarely been so well defined...or so beautifully composed.

MP3: Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company
MP3: Joanna Newsom - Esme

+1 Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles II

With glittering production, punk lyricism, and jagged, menacing dance beats, Crystal Castles II (Crystal Castles' 2nd eponymous album,) weaves together screams and solemnity, tender inclinations and bloodthirsty ones, and adds a Sigur Ros sample for good measure. Progressive and damn catchy, it both conforms to and transcends the notion of a pop song structure. Plus, there's something here for every mood: brokenhearted, amped, vengeful, in love. It's the best album of the year, but more importantly, it's an album that has epitomized Crystal Castles' evolving musical maturity.

MP3: Crystal Castles - Pap Smear
MP3: Crystal Castles - Celestica
MP3: Crystal Castles - Suffocate

Honorable Mentions
Caribou | Swim
Das Racist | Sit Down, Man
Massive Attack | Heligoland
Harlem | Hippies

Albums I haven't listened to correctly/given due credit to
Deerhunter | Halcyon Digest
Kanye West | My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Tame Impala | Innerspeaker
Best Coast | Crazy For You

Do any songs seem to be conspicuously absent here? Tracks that were break-out hits or tracks that defined the albums?

Maybe you'll have to check back for my top tracks list, coming soon.


Photo via stOOpidgErL. MAJOR props.

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