With just a few weeks to go until the music industry revs up for the fall — and seven months into the year — now’s a good time to look back at some of the great records you may have missed, or can’t stop listening to, in 2010.
Here are my Top 5 records of the year so far:
Black Keys — Brothers
I get a lot of records, most I listen to a few times and put aside. But not the Black Keys’ new album — it’s worn out my stereo. From the heavy, opening bass beats of Everlasting Love to the throwback R&B sounds in the soulful The Only One, this isn’t just one of the best records of the year, it could be one of the more memorable discs of the decade.
Wintersleep —New Inheritors
I wasn’t a fan of Wintersleep’s Welcome to the Night Sky. It was too meandering and uneven. But their latest release is a different story. There are still plenty of epic moments, but they found the perfect balance between infectious indie rock and soaring pop. Black Camera is a standout — it’s single guitar and low-key drums intro gives way to loud blasts of rapid beats and a fist-pumping chorus.
Yeasayer — Odd Blood
This disc came out early in the year, but it’s still one of my favourites. The band’s sophomore disc is full of stunning electro pop, layered in thick instrumentation and complex harmonies. It’s not only a thought-provoking record, but it’s fun to sing with — Ambling Alp is easily one of the best songs from any band this year.
Hannah Georgas — This is Good
Hannah Georgas was robbed of a Polaris Music Prize nomination. The Vancouver songstress is one of those rare singers that you just know will be big — it’s a shame she’s not up for the prize. This debut is a gritty indie rock disc that recalls old Liz Phair and Emily Haines. Her sweet melodies are shrouded in an aggressive edge — listen to the fantastic Lovesick and you’ll see what I mean.
Wavves — King of the Beach
I just reviewed this disc last week, but it’s already found a permanent place on my iPhone. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of big pop hooks and this disc has plenty of them. Its frenetic grunge rock, aggressive blasts of fuzzy guitars, layers of noise and Cobain-like melodies should have been the next step from Nirvana. Too bad we got Creed instead.