2010 has been a banner year for Indie Rock.  From the very first week, this year has been filled with exciting releases from well-loved bands and chock full of new discoveries and debuts.  Here is my list of the best ear candy of the year.

Beach House

 10.  Beach Fossils, Beach Fossils, May 2010

There were a lot of surf rockers in 2010 and it has become a sound that I really enjoy, but none more than Beach Fossils.  While Best Coast has a surf sound, Beach Fossils embodies what good surf rock does best, 60’s California chords, muffled almost fuzzy playback and a few boys talking into the microphone.  Brilliant.  Favorite Song: Sometimes

  9.  MGMT, Congratulations, April 2010

I loved the hell of out of Oracular Spectacular so much that I was skeptical if they could do it again.  I was wrong.  This album is every bit as catchy and innovative as their previous release and boasts a more sunny and ultimately more mature sound.  Favorite Song: Someone’s Missing

  8.  Jaill, That’s How We Burn, July 2010

Admittedly the cover art attracted me, but their sound kept me coming back.  Surprisingly upbeat, this Sub Pop special is a mix of several influences with a consistent snappy beat and too-cool-for-school vibe.  Surely one to watch. Favorite Song: She’s My Baby

   7.  Local Natives, Gorilla Manor, February 2010

I stumbled upon the music video for Airplanes in late February and it literally took my breath away.  I had to know more about this fascinating band.  Talk about a guttural emotional reaction.  Taylor Rice’s wistful meanderings on a relationship with his grandfather that never reached his adulthood is magical.  Plus, they covered Talking Head’s Warning Sign.  Clearly we were made for each other.  Favorite Song: Airplanes

  6.  Glasser, Ring, September 2010

I love interesting electronic music, and Glasser really fit that niche for me this year.  More organized and tight than Florence + The Machine, yet with a gorgeous voice carrying into several seconds of sliding bliss.  Glasser makes good use of electronic sounds and underused instruments like xylophones what I liken to the feeling of walking the streets of my city.  Favorite Song: Home

   5.  Foals, Total Life Forever, May 2010

Miles ahead of their 2008 release Antidotes, Total Life Forever shows the band’s growth.  Vocals are freer and unrestrained, gliding along perfectly with the instrumental swerves this album takes.  Lyrics are more interesting, and Foals’ overall sound is tighter without feeling restrained in any way.  With each song I kept thinking, “Better… Even better…Even better, still!”  All in all, addictive.  Favorite Song: This Orient

  4.  JJ, No. 3, March 2010

This Swedish duo is a bit of a departure for me, but their soothing sounds are all natural and feel like an auditory cleanse.  Elin Kastlander’s flawless voice floats around in the air around you with the experience of a road weary traveler.  Favorite Song: Let Go 

  3.  Best Coast, Crazy for You, July 2010

I knew I loved Beth Cosentino as soon as she sang, “I lost my job/I miss my mom/I wish my cat could talk…” but seeing her in concert this year propelled this album off my shelf and into my car full time.  Suffice it to say I haven’t removed it since. Favorite Song: Our Deal, an ode to Kurt and Courtney’s troubled, yet passionate relationship.

  2.  Keith Canisius, This Time It’s Our High, September 2010 

Gorgeous electronic melodies and beats, Keith Canisius took me by surprise when I heard one of his songs on KEXP in October.  I immediately Shazam’d it and bought it that day.  It’s transcendent and mind-blowing.  Favorite Song: This Time It’s Our High

  1.  Beach House, Teen Dream, January 2010

You can read more about how much I love them here, but this band is outstanding.  They helped me melt away some worries in February and March of this year and still get a big emotional reaction from me with each listen.  This album has really been the soundtrack of my year.  Favorite Song: Lover of Mine


Also Considered:

Wild Nothing, Gemini, May 2010

Wavves, King of the Beach, August 2010

Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz, October 2010

Ra Ra Riot, The Orchard, August 2010

Of Montreal, False Priest, September 2010

Gorillaz, Plastic Beach, March 2010

Dum Dum Girls, I Will Be, March 2010


Honorable Mentions:

Washed Out, Life of Leisure EP, March 2010

Neon Indian, Psychic Chasms, re-issued June 2010

Freelance Whales, Weathervanes, December 29, 2009 (so really I enjoyed it in 2010…)

JJ, No. 2, December 22, 2009 (same story)

What were your favorite albums this year?