It’s that time again… time to run down my top picks for this year. Remember as with last year, the albums on this list didn’t necessarily come out this year but are just stuff that I’ve found this year.
Lost Dogs, Old Angel – The Lost Dogs have truly engineered a triumph with their newest album. I have gone back to this again and again. While not my favorite Dogs disc it’s easily the second. I love the sense of collaboration here. I like that they dialed down the country a little bit. Oh, and I LOVE “Dead End Diner.” Amazing song.
Grave Robber, Inner Sanctum – I never would have thought that a Christian horror punk band would produce one of my top picks of the year, let alone become one of my favorite bands. Their brand of punk/metal is so upbeat, positive, and catchy that I can’t help but love them. Whenever I want to get myself pump (spiritually or otherwise) I give Inner Sanctum a spin. They also get bonus points for doing a cool version of “Awake” for the Deliverance tribute album.
Lady Gaga, The Fame/The Fame Monster – Seriously, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I like Lady Gaga. She writes good pop songs and can actually sing. Lady Gaga pretty much dominated the late spring this year. As a bonus, some of the best songs aren’t even the singles!
The Choir, Burning Like the Midnight Sun – So I think my initial blush of love has worn off on the Choir’s latest. While I don’t know if it’s quite the best thing they’ve ever done, it’s certainly good enough to make my “top picks” list.
Swirling Eddies, (all) The Midget, The Speck, and the Molecule – This year was a good year in that I was properly introduced to the Swirling Eddies. I downloaded Outdoor Elivs and was in love with it from the very first note. Several purchases followed and I love them all. I put the latest up as the pick of the year but they’re all my picks. Outdoor Elvis, Zoom Daddy, and The Midget. All good. Now if we can just get Let’s Spin and Outdoor Elvis re-released so I can complete my collection.
Sixpence None the Richer, My Dear Machine EP - I found this almost by accident early this year. Apparently they’d released it for free on some obscure website but I missed it originally as it came out in 2008. Like I said in my review, this is just enough new Sixpence to piss me off. The four songs on this EP are some of the best that Sixpence have laid down and I hope, nay, I DEMAND that they finish their new album!
Knott, Michael, Alternative Worship: Prayer, Petitions, and Praise – I’ve found that albums that I never liked when I was younger I love now that I’m older. So is the case with this “worship” album. I didn’t really care for it for various reasons but now that I’ve got a few more years on me I think I can appreciate the heart of this album. “Call on You” has quickly become on of my favorite songs of all time.
Various Artists, Temporary Insanity: A Salute to Deliverance – The big D have remained one of my favorite bands since I was a teenager. It took some warming up but this two-disc collection of D covers is probably the best way to cap off this year. Out of 30 tracks there’s only a handful that don’t cut the mustard, but there’s so much that’s good. Josh Kramer from Saint singing “If We Faint Not,” Scott Waters singing an ultra-heavy version of “What a Joke,” Whisper From Heaven’s epic take on “Anymore.” Oh… and “Hunger and the Thirst” finally on CD, a remixed and powered-up version of “In-U” by the D themselves. I could gush forever. This was worth every penny I spent.
Disappointments of 2010:
Coheed & Cambria, Year of the Black Rainbow – I usually count Coheed as one of my favorite bands but was sorely disappointed by this year’s release. The hooks just aren’t there, the cool riffs just aren’t there, and I never find myself really wanting to go back to it. I wouldn’t say it was terrible, but it’s definitely a disappointment.
Jet Circus, Look at Death Now – You know what I miss here? Terry Haw. I just don’t think the band is the same. It’s also not nearly as much fun. Aside from “Lizzard Love” there aren’t any songs that really stick out. It makes me sad because Step On It remains one of my favorite albums.
Weezer, Raditude – I think I’m just about done with Weezer. I’ve never been one that expects them to do another Blue Album or Pinkerton but I’d at least like something with a little more depth than Raditude. This album is pure sugar with little to hold my interest past the occasional listen. I’ve heard the samples from Hurley and it doesn’t seem like anything I’m going to like either.
No new D, no new Sixpence - *sigh* Both Deliverance and Sixpence are supposedly working on new albums that were supposed to be released this year but they’ve yet to appear. I’ve heard no news on release dates or nothin’. It makes me sad.
No Deconstruction or Ghost – This really isn’t anyone’s fault but my own. I was under the impression that the last two discs in The Devin Townsend Project would be out this year, but they won’t be out until 2011. That means no new Devin this year and that’s never a good thing.