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Best Albums of 2010

T. Medema
The list author says: "Thanks for checking out the list! Albums 'tied' for 41st: Broken Bells, Bruce Springsteen - 'The Promise', Cee Lo Green - 'The Lady Killer', Hank III - 'Rebel Within', The Hold Steady - 'Heaven is Whenever', Nachtmystium - 'Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. 2', Sufjan Stevens - "Age of Adz', The Social Network Soundtrack."
Black Ribbons [Deluxe Edition]
Black Ribbons [Deluxe Edition]
"Shooter boldly abandons country music for a concept album about an Orwellian future, with multi-layed prog-rock that channels NIN, Pink Floyd, and everything in between. Stephen King appears as a radio DJ, updating his Rae Flowers character from The Stand. Any critics have likely only listened to it once, unfortunately. After at least a dozen spins, it continues to get better."
Diamond Eyes
Diamond Eyes
"In the wake of a car accident that left bassist Chi Cheng in a coma, The Deftones shelved the album they were working on and recorded their best album since White Pony to help cope with the tragedy. Chino's vocals and Stephen's guitars swirl and soar while the rhythm section keeps it all together."
Brothers
Brothers
"The best album yet by the Akron blues-rock duo. They expand their sound and range while keeping everything tight and focused. The atmosphere provided by recording at Muscle Shoals is captured, as well, as a certain swampiness permeates the record."
Under Great White Northern Lights
Under Great White Northern Lights
"I'm usually unimpressed by live albums, but this companion to Emmett Malloy's sublime film about Jack and Meg's '07 tour of Canada is Jack White's Hendrix moment. The songs are often abrasively loud and sloppy, but it's in these moments that the genius emerges, and they were wise to not polish this up or turn down the lively crowd in post-production."
Sigh No More
Sigh No More
"This years best new artist. And indie-folk roots-rock record...by a band from London?! Why not!  Just do me a favor and keep these guys a secret, I start to worry when promising new bands like this make it big.."
Harlem River Blues
Harlem River Blues
"The first thing you learn about Justin is that he's the son of Steve Earle, is named after Townes Van Zandt, and stands like Cash on stage. This is all kind of a shame, since he's doing just fine standing on his own two feet. A nearly flawless Americana album that weaves in and out of folk, rock(with a little '-abilly' tacked on), and country with ease."
Monitor
Monitor
"The band sounds like a fuzzed-up, irish-tinged, punk(ish) band with a singer who sounds like Conor Oberst if he knew how to fight. The album? Well, it's a concept album about the Civil War..or is it about leaving home? It's about New Jersey..or is it Boston? It quotes Lincoln and Whitman,  but references Springsteen, Billy Bragg, & Yo La Tengo. Confused? Well, just listen to it."
Junky Star
Junky Star
"Bingham uses his Oscar win as a springboard to take his newest album in a more focused, confident direction. Even though T-Bone Burnett is at the helm and he's got a rockin' back-up band, The Dead Horses, the lyrics and Bingham's voice are the main draw here."
Marrow of the Spirit
Marrow of the Spirit
"As much beautiful and organic as it is haunting and brutal, Agalloch's melding of black/folk/post/prog-metal have put them at a level with few peers."
American VI: Ain't No Grave
American VI: Ain't No Grave
"The last posthumous release of Cash's American Recordings. The entire collaboration between Cash and Rick Rubin might well be my favorite collection of music, and Vol. 6 is a fitting end as Cash recounts the lessons life has taught him. Several of these tracks send a shiver up my back every single time I hear them."
Distant Relatives
Distant Relatives
"This collaboration between Damien Marley and Nas is my favorite hip-hop album of the year. They trade rhymes over Afro-beat and Reggae tracks while paying tribute to Africa. A satisfying and rewarding listen."
The Big To-Do
The Big To-Do
"One of the greatest live acts around, DBT continue to release a seemingly endless supply of great Southern Rock and Alt. Country songs. Having 3 songwriters in the band helps that cause, of course.  DBT's tradition of 'you write it, you sing it' helps to once again create a varied collection of songs here."
Recovery [Explicit]
Recovery [Explicit]
"Em scales back on the tongue-in-cheek radio hooks and grows up a bit.  His rapping skills have only improved, however, and some of the rhymes on this album are jaw-dropping."
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption
"Pardon the link here, Listmania can't link to Amazon's mp3 downloads, which is currently the only way to get a hold of this awesome game soundtrack. Featuring original music that combine elements of all the classic western scores, along with contributions by Jose Gonzalez, Jamie Lidell, Ashtar Command, and personal fave William Elliot Whitmore."
Spiral Shadow
Spiral Shadow
"Boasting 3 vocalists and 2 drummers, Kylesa's increasingly atmospheric stoner-rock keeps getting better as they explore the outer limitations of heavy music.  Listen with the headphones on for full rhythmic effect."
Beat The Devil's Tattoo
Beat The Devil's Tattoo
"A culmination of the varying styles BRMC have experimented with the past few years, yet at the same time a fresh beginning after changing labels and drummers. I like this band best when they get a bit bluesy, as they do here, as opposed to their more straight-up rock records."
Palomino
Palomino
"A bluegrass band whose songs often feature thrash metal song structures, and they can play just as fast. I'm sold."
White Crosses (Limited Edition)
White Crosses (Limited Edition)
"After their last album split their fan base but catapulted them to mainstream success, Against Me! charge forward with another batch of irresistibly catchy punk songs.    The part of me that loves their early albums wants to hate it, but I just can't... it's too good!"
Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine
Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs Of John Prine
"Tribute albums are often hit-and-miss affairs, but this collection of modern Americana groups fits together well. I checked it out for the My Morning Jacket, Drive-By Truckers, and Conor Oberst tracks, but it also helped turn me on to Justin Townes Earle and Old Crow Medicine Show, among others."
Constellations
Constellations
"To quote NPR - "Minimalist, cinematic music that combines modern, experimental acoustic sounds with classical qualities." Excellent instrumental music that works as background music for dinner or while working, but the real reward comes when you put on the headphones, close your eyes, and let it carry you away."
Grinderman 2 (Deluxe Edition)
Grinderman 2 (Deluxe Edition)
"Nick Cave's dirty-rock side project won me over with this one. I didn't particularly enjoy their first album, and my favorite Nick Cave stuff is still his instrumental soundtrack work with Warren Ellis (also a member of Grinderman). Don't expect any of those atmospherics here, though, this one sticks to the essentials: sex, drugs, and rock."
Option Paralysis
Option Paralysis
"D.E.P. are back again to challenge the listener to keep up while they switch time signatures and genre styles, repeatedly and frenetically, in every song. Newcomers may be shocked to hear that this is possibly their most accessible album yet.  A rewarding experience for those willing to give it the few listens it takes to appreciate."
Le Noise
Le Noise
"Neil Young teams up with producer Daniel Lanois for a bare-bones record of a fuzzed-out guitar, Young's fractured voice, and nothing else.  The high point is one of the two acoustic selections, where the distortion takes a back seat so that Young can reflect on two of his favorite topics, 'Love and War.'"
Li(F)E
Li(F)E
"'Li(F)e' finds Sage trading in beats (that were always a little lacking to me, anyway) for indie-rock instrumentals to back up his rhymes. It works, mostly because Sage is a poet first and foremost, and the new direction allows his verses to stray from conventional song structures when needed.  There are a few groan-inducing moments, however..."
True Grit
True Grit
"It's a shame that Carter Burwell didn't get an Oscar nomination.  Sure, the entire score is based on the hymn that closes the record ('Leaning on the Everlasting Arms'), but all this means is that the score sounds as authentic to the place and time of the movie as the language created by Charles Portis in the original novel."
Anthropocentric
Anthropocentric
"The 2nd album released this year by this German metal 'collective'. The other release, 'Heliocentric', was quite a departure from their past albums that was a bit over-ambitious and just didn't work. On 'Anthropocentric', however, the old and the new blend together well."
The Grand Theatre Volume One
The Grand Theatre Volume One
"The Alt. Country pioneers don't disappoint here. I've recently discovered them through Pandora, and it's apparent I need to check out their previous albums a.s.a.p."
Women and Country
Women and Country
"Jakob Dylan's second solo album continues his evolution away from The Wallflowers and into Americana.  Dylan's songwriting, vocal delivery, and voice continue to evolve in the same direction here, but it's the various instrumental flourishes and accompaniments from T-Bone Burnett's great production that make this record shine."
The Guitar Song
The Guitar Song
"A robust double album of outlaw country revivalism.  At points it's too 'twangy' for me, but there's no denying Johnson can write a great country song. Will the country music establishment embrace his authentic sound, or shun him along with fellow 'true country' artists Hank III or Shooter Jennings?  Forgive me if I'm hoping for the latter."
Songs For Singles
Songs For Singles
"Torche continue to challenge the notion that Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal isn't easily accessible music. This short 20 minute E.P., and follow up to their acclaimed 'Meanderthal", is damn near 'poppy' in a somehow completely cool, non-sellout way."
Slash (incl. 2 bonus tracks)
Slash (incl. 2 bonus tracks)
"On his newest album, Slash gets his pick of the litter for guests vocalists. All the usual suspects are here (Ozzy, Lemmy, Alice Cooper, etc)and most of them do a good job. The scene stealer here, though, is...Fergie?! Take note, Black Eyed Peas, she's much better rockin' out than recycling the song from Dirty Dancing."
This Is Happening
This Is Happening
"Really, i don't even know what made me decide to check this album out.  An 80's dance-pop album made by a middle-aged indie rocker? No thanks!...usually. LCD surprised the hell out me.  It's fun, it's catchy as all get-out, and ....it makes me wanna dance! Now THAT'S an impressive feat."
How I Got Over
How I Got Over
"'How I Got Over' finds The Roots dabbling in Indie Rock samples and influences to provide new dimensions to their beats and rhymes.  For The Roots it makes sense, as they've spent the last 2 years playing with everyone imaginable on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.'"
Sea of Cowards
Sea of Cowards
"Released quickly on the heels of their debut, this album feels less like a side project and more like a necessary outlet for Jack White to continue to release music at a blinding pace so he doesn't explode.  Of course, there's nothing even slightly wrong with that."
High Violet
High Violet
"Though dismissed by some as too depressing, The National have still found themselves on 'Best of' lists all over the place this year. I didn't find it all that much of a bummer, but instead a great record to blare on the car stereo on long drives."
Valley of Smoke
Valley of Smoke
"These guys are getting better with every release, which is impressive since all of their releases have been pretty stellar."
Snakes for the Divine
Snakes for the Divine
"Matt Pike continues his reign as metal's modern riff-master.  Pure head-banging pleasure."
Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty
Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty
"Big Boi's long-delayed solo album proves that he can make a good album without the Outkast moniker.  A number of fun songs and enjoyable rhymes, it's on equal footing with 'Speakerboxx'. It still makes me long for an Outkast album, though..."
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