2010 in Review: My top albums

Honorable Mentions:
Abel – “Lesser Men”
Attack Attack! – self titled
Before Their Eyes – “Untouchable”
The Classic Crime – “Vagabonds”
Demon Hunter – “The World is a Thorn”
Ivoryline – “Vessels”
Sent By Ravens – “Our Graceful Words”
Showbread – “Who Can Know It?”

Haste the Day – “Attack of the Wolf King”
I told a friend this summer that AOTWK might do for me what August Burns Red’s “Constellations” did for me two summers ago. It didn’t quite do this, but as Haste the Day’s swan song it functions quite well. Infectious, sing along choruses and brutal breakdowns are both present here, trademarks of Haste the Day that will make me miss them. Standout tracks: “Dog Like Vultures”, “The Quiet, Deadly Ticking”, “White As Snow”

The River Empires – “Epilogue”
After the hiatus of Falling Up, I was glad to get new music from Jessy Ribordy and co. in the form of the cinematic bluegrass/folk project, The River Empires. There’s not much “twang” here but Ribordy paints soundscapes that take you for a relaxing, and at times ethereal ride. My only complaint is that there are too many “filler” tracks that don’t seem to serve much of purpose, but seeing as this project is written as the final score for a screenplay Ribordy is putting together this is understandable.
Standout tracks: “The Coventry”, “Three Tigers”, “The Marching of the Clocks”

Children 18:3 – “Rain’s A’Comin'”
Probably THE summer release of 2010. The trio of homeschooled Minnesota siblings put together a collection of happy, punk flavored tunes that are perfect for blasting in the summer. Unlike their self-titled, I find this one to be enjoyable the whole way through with the exception of the rather pointless “The Last Laugh” which is a simple piano outro. Standout tracks: “Cover Your Eyes”, “Hey Driftwood (Tides)”, “Lost So Long”

Paper Tongues – self-titled
My first exposure to this band was at a Switchfoot concert in February. Their infectious hip hop and soul fused alternative rock caught my ear and turned their debut into one of the most spinned of the year. If “Ride to California” doesn’t improve your mood, there just might be something wrong with you (I kid I kid, but really…) Standout tracks: “Trinity”, “Ride to California”, “Everybody”

Secret and Whisper – “Teenage Fantasy”
One of my most anticipated albums from the “looking forward” section of last year’s list, they certainly lived up to the anticipation. “Teenage Fantasy” finds S&W stretching their horizons and it pays off. Charles Furney’s haunting falsetto creates an interesting contrast with the almost metal instrumentation. Standout tracks: “Youth Cats”, “Bedroom Galaxy”, “Famous For a Century”

House of Heroes – “Suburba”
The highly anticipated follow-up to “The End is Not the End” does not quite beat it but it probably ties it. HoH creates a fun rock album that is accessible and enjoyable by multiple demographics. I think my parents would like this (if I could get them to listen) yet its different enough to satisfy the modern elitist rocker. Standout tracks: “Elevator”, “Love is For the Middle Class”, “Disappear”

Underoath – “Ø Disambiguation”
It might be a bit wierd that I’m ranking an album this highly that I’ve only been listening to for a month, but whatever, it’s my list! The absence of Aaron Gillespie is obvious, but this is of no detriment to the band. Underoath maintains their sound while becoming more heavy and progressive at the same time. Standout tracks: “In Division”, “Illuminator”, “Paper Lung”

My Epic – “Yet”
If this list were made solely on lyrical content, “Yet” would win. A stunning album from start to finish, indeed. Brutally honest, yet reverent and worshipful at the same time, the trio that makes up My Epic is truly gifted. The production and instrumentation, are also top-notch, beating out their previous record “I Am Undone” in these categories. Standout tracks: “Author”, “Lashes”, “Rich”

Anberlin – “Dark is the Way, Light is a Place”
This record, while a bit too short, is Anberlin at the top of their game. While “New Surrender” is enjoyable, “Dark Is the Way…” is more cohesive. Be warned, this album is a grower, but once it grows you won’t be able to stop playing it! Standout tracks: “Impossible”, “Pray Tell”, “The Art of War”

Jimmy Eat World – “Invented”
This album is simply a masterpiece made by veterans that are still at the top of their game. Beautiful melodies? check. Radio-ready rockers that will also satisfy indie junkies? check. An epic album ender? Make that TWO epic album enders. The radio single, “My Best Theory” was stuck in my head for weeks. Get this! Standout tracks: “My Best Theory”, “Movielike”, “Invented”

Looking Forward…(What I hope to get in 2011):
Emery – “We Do What We Want” (March 2011)
I Am Empire – “Kings” (out late January)
P.O.D. (is it a nostalgia time?)
Owl City
August Burns Red
Deas Vail
MuteMath (3rd LP! Yeah!)
The Devil Wears Prada


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