Instead of Christmas cards, I send out the best music of the year to family and friends. In case you missed this year's list, here is what's worth checking out from 2010:
Robyn - Dancing on My Own
Delorean - Grow
Best Coast - Boyfriend
Local Natives - Sun Hands
Adele - Rolling in the Deep
Biffy Clyro - Booooom, Blast and Ruin
Les Savy Fav - Let’s Get Out of Here
Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can’t See Land
The National - Sorrow
Margot and the Nuclear So-and-Sos - As Tall As Cliffs
Dark Dark Dark - Bright Bright Bright
Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
Tired Pony - Get On the Road
Badly Drawn Boy - Safe Hands
Fran Healy - In the Morning
Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
U.S Royalty - Equestrian
Lissie - When I’m Alone
Bombay Bicycle Club - Flaws
Richard Walters - The Animal
Mumford and Sons - Timshel
Jónsi - Kolnidur
LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean
Caribou - Jamelia
Crystal Castles (with Robert Smith) - Not in Love
Robyn - Indestructible
The Naked and Famous - Punching in a Dream
Sleigh Bells - Tell ‘Em
Empire of the Sun - We Are the People
Foals - This Orient
Miniature Tigers - Bullfighter Jacket
Broken Bells - he High Road
Sufjan Stevens - Too Much
Stars - Wasted Daylight
The Radio Dept. - The Video Dept.
The Morning Benders - Excuses
Wye Oak - I Hope You Die
Local Natives - Cubism Dream
ADELE – Her new album is out in early 2011 and this first track means business. She’s got a voice that’s bigger than the desert sky.
Arcade Fire – Do yourself a favor and just buy the whole album, one of the best of the year. And if you haven’t seen their music video that is the future of music videos, go watch right now: http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/
Badly Drawn Boy – The man behind BDB penned the score to About a Boy, one of my favorite movies. Thankfully he’s still around, making music, despite a recent meltdown at a live gig in Los Angeles.
Best Coast – This was the year of surfer-pop, but I think Best Coast is going to be around for a few years yet.
Biffy Clyro – Mercury Prize nominated band; it took me a few listens, but this rocked-out disc from yet another Scottish band makes a surprise spot.
Bombay Bicycle Club –I loved this band’s first album, which sounds completely different from the mellow folk album this year. Both are worth a few spins.
Broken Bells – James Mercer from the Shins + Danger Mouse = one of the best collaborations of the year.
Caribou – Trippy electro-pop from a Canadian; the steel drum synth action on the last half of Jamelia made it my favorite track from the album Swim.
Crystal Castles –Grabbing Robert Smith (The Cure! The Cure!) to provide vocals on this track - I am in love. Their second self-titled album is another favorite of the year.
Dark Dark Dark – Accordions and strings give this band almost an Eastern European feel and the more I listen to them, the more I dig it.
Delorean – Spanish electro dance pop? Yes, please! Got to see these Basque boys dance it up at the tiny Rhythm Room this year; I swear I’ve never seen a happier keyboardist – he danced a jig the entire time with a ridiculous grin. Of course I fell in love.
Empire of the Sun – Okay, their album really didn’t come out in 2010, but this was the year that these Aussies finally got some love on the US festival circuit in their wild costumes. It’s almost beyond imagination.
Foals – Their second album definitely doesn’t disappoint. The beauty in the tracks is the subtle build up, until it all kicks in and you just move.
Fran Healy – Lead singer of one of my favorite bands, Travis, goes solo. There’s always room for the Scottish!
Frightened Rabbit – Another Scottish band on the list, they’ve been on my radar for a few years. They do the sad thing well, but I put a happier track on this mix.
Jónsi – This was the year that Eyjafjallajökull literally exploded, and the front man from sigur rós did the same with his solo album. Iceland has never sounded so beautiful. After a couple listens to Kolnidur, you’ll be writing movie scenes in your head to go with this track.
LCD Soundsystem – Probably my 3rd favorite album of the year, and if you make it through the 3-minute introduction, this song will be your favorite. Picture a sold-out Hollywood Bowl dancing and you’ve pretty much got the most amped concert of the year.
Les Savy Fav – This NYC band has been around for awhile, but this track is grabbing them a lot of attention. A bit different from what I normally listen to, but hey, it’s always stuck in my head!
Lissie – I love this girl. Weirdly enough, she has a dance hit with a DJ that is a favorite of mine (The Longest Road) but she does this big-voiced folk rock thing better than anyone. Her debut album has plenty of gems.
Local Natives – Best album of the year by a new band – honestly not a single track that I don’t love. This will be a new favorite.
Margot and the Nuclear So-and-Sos – The band’s name alone should make you want to listen to them. Sadly their Phoenix show sold out before I could make it in.
Miniature Tigers – Bullfighter Jacket makes me want to get in a car and take off on a road trip. Ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya….
The Morning Benders – Maybe you noticed this track in a Reese’s Cup commercial; the sweeping opening and the leisurely 6/8 time take me back to another period.
Mumford and Sons – They got quite a lot of play this year, and I’m sure you heard at least one of the tracks from this Mercury Prize nominated album.
The Naked and Famous – New Zealand’s version of a Passion Pit, perhaps? Big things are ahead for them in 2011.
The National – High Violet is a great album from start to finish, but Sorrow is the track that keeps getting stuck in my head, cause I don’t wanna get over you.
The Radio Dept. – If you ever saw Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, then you’ve heard this Swedish band.
Richard Walters – Singer/songwriter from the UK who caught me by surprise this year. I saw him play a few songs alone at a tiny bar in LA, and I hope his momentum continues.
Robyn – This Swedish popstar has been around for a long time, but after releasing 3 albums this year and fueling many dance parties in my room, she’s near the top of my 2010 favorites.
Sleigh Bells –This duo came blazing on the scene out of nowhere this year. There’s a reason they call it noise-pop.
Stars – Since I love all things Canadian (except maybe Justin Bieber), I more than enjoyed The Five Ghosts from this band from the north.
Sufjan Stevens – Back with his first full-length album in five years, it’s got all sorts of styles going on. Surely you’ll find something you like, cause you can’t go wrong with Sufjan.
Tired Pony – Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody has lots of famous musical friends and is great at assembling them for collaborative albums. I got to witness one of three live performances in New York, and when Michael Stipe from REM steps on stage, you know you’re in the big leagues. Let Gary and Zooey Deschanel sing you this track
U.S. Royalty – Keeping with tradition, I must include a DC-based band! I haven’t heard much from them yet, but I have a feeling that once their debut album is out next year, things will take off.
Wye Oak – Another Baltimore band that gives us some dreamy electro-tinged folk.