Well it’s that time of the year when every man and his dog is coming up with their “Best Of” lists for 2010 looking at the things that peaked our interest more than others over the past 12 months.
Since this has been quite a busy year for me music/concert wise, I thought I would get a few music-savvy friends together and share with you our favourite albums released in 2010 and also the one (or two) concerts we’ve been to this year respectively, that we’ll never forget.
The whole idea of this post is to hopefully introduce you, my readers, to some new music that you perhaps didn’t come across in 2010. Each album listed is linked to it’s iTunes page so you can click through and preview tracks etc. That being said, you’ve got absolutely no excuse for not exploring a little and finding something new to rock your speakers across the holidays.
You’ll quickly notice that there’s a few popular choices, in particular a fantastic little album represented by a certain pink ball. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, so without further to do, here’s what we’ve all come up with. If you’d like to skip to any of the guys or gals in particular, here’s their page anchors. Enjoy!
MICHELLE DAVIES (@michd10)
This album from first listen made me giddy, its just so good. I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t show up on 90% of music lovers top five lists.
Stand Out Track: “Everlasting Light”
“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees…” – its lyrics like that that make this album a true work of art from start to finish. I will never tire of this brilliant album. ‘Lemonworld’ and ‘England’ are stand out tracks as well….very hard to pick just one.
Stand Out Track: “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
This album takes me back to Whistler during the Paralympics, and it accompanied me through Costa Rica and Nicaragua. How could I not pick it?
Stand Out Track: “Vaporize”
A late addition, but one that can’t be ignored. This album is timeless.
Stand Out Track: “MoneyGrabber”
This album is a breath of fresh air, good days, bad days, every day in between – I love this album from start to finish.
Stand Out Track: “Sigh No More”
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
I have two answers:
January 22, 2010 Phoenix @ The Orpheum, Vancouver
Row 8, Centre Floor
This concert blew my mind. They were so tight, so loved, and so fantastic that I can’t help but smile out loud as I type this. Oh, and the crowd fully taking over the stage at the end was epic (see image).
February 12, 2010 Kd Lang singing “Hallelujah” at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies, Vancouver
I have never had goosebumps like I did at that moment – looking around at all that was going on around me – this thing we’d been working so hard to make happen was finally beginning; her amazing rendition of this incredible song will stay with me forever.
RYAN ASHTON (@rwashton)
I stumbled onto Ray Lamontagne about two years ago and his previous three albums had me hooked, with his soulful, intimate ballads. His performance of “You Are the Best Thing” on SNL back in 2009 stole the show, so it was with some serious anticipation that I awaited “God Willing” in August of this year. It did not disappoint.
Stand Out Track: “New York City’s Killing Me”
Probably the easiest choice for me to make it to this list, The Grand Bounce was a much-anticipated release from The Hip frontman (and personal musical hero) Gordon Downie this year. Giving this album a special place for me was seeing Downie on stage with Gordon Lightfoot in February 2010 for CBC’s “If You Could Read My Mind” songwriter series in Toronto, where Gordie teased the audience with a release off his upcoming album titled “The Hard Canadian”. Shortly thereafter, The Grand Bounce makes its debut.
Stand Out Track: “The East Wind” cements itself as likely one of the best tracks of the year.
Oddly enough, it was a tweet from Anaheim Ducks forward Joffrey Lupul that recommended Broken Bells new album. A few keystrokes later and “The High Road” was on heavy rotation in my iTunes playlist.
Stand Out Track: It’s gotta be the aforementioned “The High Road” although honourable mentions on this album definitely go to “Vaporize” and “Float”.
If it wasn’t for Katie’s good taste in tunes, I don’t think I’d have come across Band of Horses “Everything All the Time” and the epic track “The Funeral” about a year and a half ago. Fast forward to 2010 and “Infinite Arms” lands in my top 5.
Stand Out Track: “Dilly” with an honourable mention to “Laredo”.
A bit of an odd choice as I’ve never been a CBR fan. I think the only song I knew was “Put Your Record On”. But somehow I stumbled across “The Sea” on an iTunes genius playlist and – BAM – I was hooked. It’s a very introspective and personal album written and produced both before and after her husband’s accidental overdose death.
Stand Out Track: Give the track “Are You Here” a spin and let me know if you agree it’s the strongest of the bunch.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
It’s a toss-up, for sure.
February 04, 2010 Gordon Lightfoot & Gord Downie @ George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto
I had the fortune of seeing two Canadian music icons on stage together for the CBC’s “If You Could Read My Mind” concert series earlier this year. Hearing Downie and Lightfoot recount the inspiration to some of Canada’s classic songs (“If You Could Read My Mind”, “Bobcaygeon” and “Shadows”, to name but a few) was something I’ll likely never see or hear again so it has a pretty special place.
August 27, 2010 Ray Lamontagne & David Gray @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto
The other epic show that leaves a mark on my concert experiences this year would have to be the unreal show put on by both Ray Lamontagne and David Gray at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre here in Toronto in September. A contrast in performances – Lamontagne a raspy, southern twang and Gray an animated, exuberant spectacle – both lit the warm summer night up in their respective ways on the final night of their North American tour. Pretty lucky.
KATIE DRECHSEL (@kat_trains)
Saw them live three times this year and they are outstanding. When performing live, they kick up their music to a whole new level, seriously blew me away. I’ve been playing this album on repeat for months & months.
Stand Out Track: “Terrible Love”
Can’t help stop listening; in the car, at work, at home and while running. Biggest concert regret of the year… not seeing them.
Stand Out Track: “Mongrel Heart”
Amazing in concert and great music for a good workout.
Stand Out Track: “Infinite Desert”
An excellent record to turn up real loud and sing to – had to add in a dash of folk rock.
Stand Out Track: “White Blank Page”
The Canadians. Need I say more. This album has had me doing my “shoulder pop dance” more than any other all year. Saw them at the Vogue theatre, front row center, and it turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve been to all year.
Stand Out Track: “Leave House”
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
May 31, 2010 @ Sasquatch (Day 2), The Gorge, George (Washington)
The Temper Trap, Drive-By-Truckers, Passion Pit, Band of Horses, MGMT, New Pornographers – say no more.
December 07, 2010 The Temper Trap @ The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver
Fantastic live. Outstanding Crowd. If their album “Conditions” had come out in 2010 it would have made my top albums list for sure. I saw them 3 times live this year and they were fantastic each time.
JASON MANNING (@jasonmanning)
It’s just so listenable after SO many listens.
Stand Out Track: “The Suburbs”
Stand Out Track: “Pyro” – just reminds you of summer.
Stand Out Track: “Die by the Drop”
Good god they are talented.
Stand Out Track: “The Hair Song”
Robert Plant pays respect on this disc with all the covers… a great evening listen.
Stand Out Track: “Angel Dance” – a great Los Lobos cover.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
December 10, 2010 Roger Waters/The Wall @ Rogers Arena, Vancouver
Nothing like leaving it until the last minute.
MEGAN GORSCH (@megheartspoltz)
A compilation of Kate’s 3 covers EP’s, this sounds like what the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon would sound like – if lazy Sunday afternoons could talk. Kate strips these songs back to the bare bones, breathing new life into lyrics you just never realised were so bloody beautiful.
Stand Out Track: Kate’s renditions of EMF’s “Unbelievable” & Blur’s “Beetlebum”
I have to admit this one took a while to grab hold of my heartstrings. It was always good, it just took me a while to realise that it’s great.
Stand Out Track: “Black Crow” & “Walk It Off”
Anyone who knows even just a handful of things about me knows how much I love Steve Poltz. And I mean love Steve Poltz. When I say love, I really mean LOVE. Yep I really dig this guy. This particular recording of “Dog in Bosnia” inspired my first feature length screenplay “A Dog in Bonsai” – and for that alone it grabs hold of one of my Top 5 spots.
Stand Out Track: “Licence Plate Eyes” & “I Love What You’ve Done With This Place”
Lyrically – something incredibly special. That is all.
Stand Out Track: “Catastrophe” & “The Horse With The Wings”
This is one of those ultra-special albums where each song is a certified hit… not a single filler to be seen/heard. Look no further than Megan’s ARIA’s performance of “Sunday Best” for evidence of awesomeness incarnate.
Stand Out Track: “Underground” & “Cement” (although each track is a standout in it’s own right, and thus has been awarded my toppiest of tops prize for 2010).
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
April 27, 2010 Spandau Ballet @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Please welcome to the stage… Spandau Ballet. These guys have still got it. Especially Martin Kemp. Hellooooo boys…
ROB MASEFIELD (@masey)
Having been essentially out of Australia, and not that well connected to the domestic music scene of late, “Birds of Tokyo” somehow remained under my radar up until the release of their self-titled 3rd full album hit the shelves in late July this year.
A bit of a surprise package for me, the lads from Perth have come up with an album filled with pumping rock anthems that almost have shades of the much loved “Silverchair” sound to them. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot more of these guys on the International scene in the coming years on the strength of this brilliant offering.
Stand Out Track: “Plans”
I really tried over the past couple of hours in putting this post together, to talk myself out of including this album in my list simply because I knew it would appear on a number of my esteemed panelist’s lists. But the fact is, it’s easily one of the best album’s of the year – plain and simple.
Rolling Stone has named “Brothers” their #2 album of 2010, and “The Black Keys” have received 4 nominations in the 2011 Grammy Awards including “Best Rock Song” and “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group”. Kind of says it all really.
Stand Out Track: “Everlasting Light”
All I really remember about this album is that it was the one I threw on my iPod before taking off for China back in May with Dad. I fell in love with it straight away, and tracks like “The High Road” and “The Ghost Inside” have since become my anthems from that very trip.
Brian Burton – a.k.a. Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley fame), has yet another hit under his belt and my life is all the better as a result.
Stand Out Track: “The High Road”
Ok, so I’m cheating a little on this one as my hometown (Brisbane) lads didn’t actually release anything “new” this year, but they did bring down the curtain on a highly successful 20+ year career together with their sold out “Sunsets Tour” which they took all around Australia before three final, memorable concerts at Brisbane’s River Stage, the last of which was recorded & released on iTunes.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to be there for Powderfinger’s final ever performance, but I can tell you that the day, no week, no fortnight, following the albums release, you could barely keep their concert out of my ears.
Let’s move on, I’m getting sad typing this…
Stand Out Track: Really tough to go past the stirring rendition of “These Days” – the last song ever performed by the boys. It’s something else…
From what I can tell, I’m pretty much the only person in this post to include what could reliably be considered a dance album. Featuring a selection of expertly mixed progressive house tracks, “Believe” is a true indication in so many ways of the true talent of Morgan Page.
You may not think you’ve ever heard of him, but chances are you have as he’s completed over 110 mixes for top mainstream artists including Madonna and Katy Perry. For something a little different to mix up the musical styles in 2010, this was a must-have inclusion in my top 5!
Stand Out Track: To hard to split a winner from “Believe”, “Fight For You” & “Only Human”
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
September 05, 2010 Dave Matthews Band @ The Gorge, George (Washington)
Oh man, I saw so many great shows at The Commodore this year including the “John Butler Trio”, “Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings” and the incredible “The Temper Trap”, but hands down the best performance witnessed live by me (together with Joe & Michelle) this year was the “Dave Matthews Band” on the final night of their amazing 3-night stretch, supported by “Ben Harper”, down at The Gorge in Washington.
Somehow my buddy Jen managed to secure us dead centre positions in the reserved seating area which was, as it turned out, my first time ever sitting in the prime reserved section after travelling down to The Gorge 1-2 times a year for the past 6 years, and also potentially the last concert I will have ever seen at The Gorge… a lasting memory in itself.
JENNIFER MCKENZIE (@jlmckenzie)
If you love Travis then this album from their lead singer will satisfy you until they put out another one. Fran Healy provides a set of songs that are low key, reminiscent of the band and definitely worth a listen!
Stand Out Track: “Buttercups” or “Sing Me To Sleep”
Although Infinite Arms isn’t much different from their previous efforts Everything all the Time and Cease to Begin, it’s an album that is filled with beautiful songs and that is enough for me.
Stand Out Track: “Factory” or “Blue Beard”
Jim Mercer and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) are a perfect combination on this album nailing it track after track. An album that just gets better every time you listen to it!
Stand Out Track: “Ghost Inside”
Inspired by rock, folk and bluegrass, Mumford & Sons molds their influences into an album that is contemporary, appealing and relevant. Quite an accomplishment.
Stand Out Track: “Little Lion Men”
I was sold on Wakey!Wakey! when I heard “Brooklyn” from their previous EP so was really looking forward to hearing this album and it does not disappoint. It’s piano-pop that is completely refreshing.
Stand Out Track: “Dance So Good”
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
April 01, 2010 John Mayer @ GM Place, Vancouver
This year wasn’t a huge show year for me but I have to say my favourite of the year was John Mayer. Click here for my review of the show.
JOE BARNETT (@joebarnett)
Awesome album that I first discovered when my friend Jeff Thomas released the trailer to his ski movie, “Revolver” which featured the first track of the album, “Animus Vox”.
Stand Out Track: “Animus Vox” followed closely by “Fortune Days” and “We Swarm”. “We Swarm” gets amazing at 2:15 and builds up to one of the best musical pieces of the year (in my opinion of course).
I was late to the game in listening to The National and actually started my musical relationship with them with High Violet.
For those that know me, I have a bit of a problem in that I normally listen to a lot of chillout, instrumental or electronic music, across a wide variety of genres. It turns out that I never really listened to lyrics. I think that there are a few types of music listeners, those that listen to the lyrics and appreciate the meaning behind the song as well as the musical composition of the song itself. I fall into the second group that sort of forget there are lyrics and skip straight to appreciating music solely for the composition. This rambling explanation is needed to help show that I have started to actively listen to more lyrical music and ended up really enjoying this album.
Stand Out Track: My most favourite track is certainly “Little Faith”.
This isn’t something I’d normally pick for Album of the Year but I’ve really enjoyed it since it came out, and who can resist singing along to “Fuck You”. After hearing that popular track more times than might be healthy I spent some time listening to the rest of the album and was surprised to find an incredibly diverse album.
There are sounds in this album that are spread across the last 40 years, “Wildflower” wouldn’t feel out of place in the 70’s, “Bright Lights Bigger City” is at home in the 80’s and the rest of the album fills out the decades nicely. The video for the cover of Band of Horses “No One’s Gonna Love You” is pretty awesome as well.
Stand Out Track: “F*ck You” – it’s pretty hilarious.
It’s not everyday that Daft Punk releases a new album, and it’s certainly not what you’d expect. Backed by an 85 piece orchestra, Daft Punk strays from their usual electronica and explores a much more orchestral score for the new Disney Movie, Tron: Legacy.
Though there are definitely signs of the old Daft Punk in tracks like Derezzed, I find myself enjoying the mix with the orchestra in tracks like “The Game Has Changed” and “Tron Legacy (End Titles)”.
Stand Out Track: “The Game Has Changed” is my favourite track from the album, you can hear hints of it in the first official trailer for the film.
I was introduced to this album pretty late in the year, but its found regular rotation in my listening since then.
Stand Out Track: From the instant appeal of “Dog Days Are Over” to my personal favourite “Drumming” the whole album is surprisingly easy to listen to.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
September 03-05, 2010 Dave Matthews Band @ The Gorge, George (Washington)
The best concert of the year was hands down Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge, my first time there and it was epic in every way. Good friends, good music and good times. This was my first change to see Dave Matthews live and he lived up to expectations, from epic songs like “All Along the Watchtower” with Ben Harper to the usual classics it was a concert weekend to remember.
I think this could be one of the only albums I own that I can listen to cover to cover and not skip a track (and could just put it on repeat for the entire day). I never get sick of any of these songs, they all hit an emotional cord with me. Now if I could only be so lucky to see them live! Stand Out Track: Hard!! I love all of them. “White Blank Page” & “After the Storm” would be my faves. Michelle (and Rob) turned me on to these guys this year and I am so thankful. Stand Out Track: “Howlin’ For You” & “Everlasting Light” I don’t why but it took me awhile to “feel” this album, but once I did it was on heavy rotation on the iTouch. Stand Out Track: “High Road” and “Ghost Inside” but of course. A departure from the above. I’ve never been a big Eminem fan but after hearing a few tracks on the season closing of “entourage”, I downloaded this album. Stand Out Track: “Going through Changes”, “So bad” & “WTP” I can thank my friends Simon and Michelle for this recommend. Outstanding album – I am so sad I missed their concert at Malkin Bowl. Stand Out Track: “Bloodbuzz Ohio” & “Sorrow” August 21, 2010 Bryan Adams @ Empire Stadium, Vancouver It was a beautiful hot summer’s day, you could see the mountains all around the stadium and Bryan rocked it for well over 2 hours. He played all the hits, some great newer stuff and interacted in the way you hope a performer will with the crowd. Best concert of 2010 for me! What’s a music post without a decent playlist, eh? To assist you in trying out some new stuff, here’s a playlist I created based on the favourite tracks from everyone’s favourite album selections above. Check it out on Grooveshark here (most reliable), or use the widget below! I’d just like to personally thank all my friends for taking part in this post with me. I respect all of your musical knowledge immensely, and don’t know where I would have been this year without most of you. So thank you, thank you, thank you!
JEN SCHAEFFERS (@jenu2)
CONCERT OF THE YEAR
I LOVE Bryan Adams. Ok I don’t listen to him a ton, but he is freaking incredible in concert. I saw him years ago at GM Place (when it was still GM Place and not Rogers Arena) and I’ve never danced or sang so loud at a concert before in my life (other than U2). I vowed to see him anytime he returned to Vancouver.
BONUS: Favourites Playlist
I think this could be one of the only albums I own that I can listen to cover to cover and not skip a track (and could just put it on repeat for the entire day). I never get sick of any of these songs, they all hit an emotional cord with me. Now if I could only be so lucky to see them live!
Stand Out Track: Hard!! I love all of them. “White Blank Page” & “After the Storm” would be my faves.
Michelle (and Rob) turned me on to these guys this year and I am so thankful.
Stand Out Track: “Howlin’ For You” & “Everlasting Light”
I don’t why but it took me awhile to “feel” this album, but once I did it was on heavy rotation on the iTouch.
Stand Out Track: “High Road” and “Ghost Inside” but of course.
A departure from the above. I’ve never been a big Eminem fan but after hearing a few tracks on the season closing of “entourage”, I downloaded this album.
Stand Out Track: “Going through Changes”, “So bad” & “WTP”
I can thank my friends Simon and Michelle for this recommend. Outstanding album – I am so sad I missed their concert at Malkin Bowl.
Stand Out Track: “Bloodbuzz Ohio” & “Sorrow”
August 21, 2010 Bryan Adams @ Empire Stadium, Vancouver
It was a beautiful hot summer’s day, you could see the mountains all around the stadium and Bryan rocked it for well over 2 hours. He played all the hits, some great newer stuff and interacted in the way you hope a performer will with the crowd. Best concert of 2010 for me!
What’s a music post without a decent playlist, eh? To assist you in trying out some new stuff, here’s a playlist I created based on the favourite tracks from everyone’s favourite album selections above. Check it out on Grooveshark here (most reliable), or use the widget below!
I’d just like to personally thank all my friends for taking part in this post with me. I respect all of your musical knowledge immensely, and don’t know where I would have been this year without most of you. So thank you, thank you, thank you!