2010 (TOP 10)

by qc staff

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Check out Quiet Color’s staff picks for the ten best albums of the year. We’ve provided you with some thoughts (after the jump) on each record that made the QC cut, plus a “best of” mixtape for you to jam to. Enjoy!

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening – May 18 2010

I challenge any human with a pulse to stand still when the beat drops during the album opener “Dance Yrself Clean.” The album keeps like a titled dance floor throughout. The tantalizingly long intros and intricate electrified sounds translate surprisingly well at live shows, just don’t throw shit at James Murphy when he’s on stage.

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Twin Sister – Color Your Life – March 30 2010

Twin Sister’s EP, Color Your Life, feels like that comfortable, intriguing dream you wake up from and immediately wish you could return to. I spent much of the first half of this year with this album on repeat. It’s easy to find yourself drifting away and smiling to yourself while listening. The tracks are somehow subtley uplifting, while keeping a dark, mellow aura at the same time. “Other Side of Your Face” is probably my favorite track, with its beautiful build-ups and leisurely fade outs.

Awesome QC clip from 2010: Twin Sister give it up for free

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Beach House – Teen Dream – Jan 26 2010

This album is so effortlessly evocative it’s hard to stop listening to it. Wistfully nostalgic yet grounded, Beach House nods to the past but never feels trapped in it. There are standouts on the album that grab you immediately, like “Norway” and “Zebra,” and others that are just a slow burn and grow organically, like “Real Love” and “Ten Mile Stereo.”

Awesome QC clip from 2010: The PS22 kids chorus rock Beach House!

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Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me – Feb 23 2010

Probably the most beautiful album of the year note-for-note, with endless layers of composition on every track of the 3 discs that make up Have One On Me.  Newsom’s voice does its usual mystic dance alongside whimsical instrumentation (her magic harp) plus intermittent horns that evoke memories of listening to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise. This record, like Joanna, is beautifully original and filled with angelic sounds that make you happier to be alive.

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The National – High Violet – May 11 2010

I am not always excited to hear these songs. It is not an easy listen. There are days when everything is aligned perfectly and I feel at peace. And then there are the ones suited perfectly for High Violet.

Awesome QC clip from 2010: National @ Bonnaroo craziness

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Gorillaz – Plastic Beach – March 9 2010

As much as I attempted to be a cool “old school” Gorillaz fan and try to find flaws in Plastic Beach, I was continually thwarted thanks to ingenious composition and a seamless mix of sounds spanning the music globe. This album is special because it serves as a beautiful microcosm of world music and musicianship, as it stands right now in 2010/11. We should send it out to aliens.

Awesome QC clip from 2010: First Impressions: Plastic Beach

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Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest – September 28 2010

This album is beyond intricate. The prolific Brandon Cox and his never-ending wellspring of talent has created the most reserved album to date. That’s not a negative, as Cox has honed in on certain themes and sounds that give his creativity room to flourish. He’s still making music in 2010, and probably won’t stop in 2011. That’s a good thing for you, me, and music in general.

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Sleigh Bells – Treats – June 1 2010

Sometimes popularity is truly indicative of a good product. Sleigh Bells offer a positive and interesting direction for music. Energizing beat production mixed with vicious guitar riffs and sultry female vocals is a winning formula, apparently to everyone. Treats offered a nice escalator to Sleigh Bells’ previously circulating demos and allowed the band to blow up globally. We recently caught up with Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller during the band’s current Australia tour. You’ll get a glimpse of his take on the band’s success in our Southbound coverage coming out next week.

.Awesome QC clip from 2010: Sleigh Bells “tell ‘em”

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The Walkmen – Lisbon – September 14 2010

The Walkmen’s 6th studio release is deceptively accessible, but the lyrics and chord structures convey a complex creative process. Lisbon plays like a memorial to some forgotten historical tragedy  and ranks with the band’s best work to date. The record has an innate and non-overbearing momentum that makes it especially heartfelt.

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Phantogram – Eyelid Movies – February 9 2010

Possibly not in the majority of top 10′s, this album featured one of the top tracks of the year with “Mouthful Of Diamonds” and consequently makes the list. Josh Carter has some filthy beat + riff combinations on “Eyelid Movies,” and Sarah Barthel’s vocals are legit.  “Running From the Cops” and “When I’m Small” were also on heavy rotation for me this year. On a the same parallel as Sleigh Bells, Phantogram are a studly duo that can hopefully build from their successful debut.

QC snippet from 2010: Phantogram at BK’s Union Hall

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