5 . The Gaslight Anthem-American Slang
These New Jersey boys became famous in 2008 when they released The ’59 Sound, which blended blues, punk and pop in a way that hasn’t been seen since Bruce Springsteen. To expand their sound for the follow-up, the band incorporated classic soul into their sound, while still maintaining their punk-blues edge. This is an album for not just young fans of punk and the blues but also one that their parents and grandparents can enjoy as well. Brian Fallon, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, puts himself in the same category as Jesse Lacey and Dustin Kensrue, mixing phenomenal songwriting with near-perfect vocals. His range, which ranges on American Slang from the gruff howls on the title track to the soulful wails on “The Diamond Church Street Choir,” is nearly impeccable.
Deftones has always been known to be one of the most experimental bands in the heavy rock/metal scene. They rarely stick to the norm of screaming and grunting along with heavily distorted guitars. Diamond Eyes is them at their most experimental, something they haven’t attempted since 2000 when they released their best album, White Pony. Deftones is the metal band for fans of My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins. They aren’t so heavy that they scare away fans of shoegaze rock, yet they are technical enough to please those who crave the intricacies of heavy rock instrumentation. Diamond Eyes is a multi-genre masterpiece that is sure to break the band even farther into the mainstream, with vocalist Chino Moreno at his best.
Sure, he may be the biggest ass currently making music, taking the reins from Axl Rose. The fact is, unlike other big mouths who claim to be musicians, Kanye seemingly makes up for it with the unbelievable music he releases. Expanding on the auto-tune and experimental nature of 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak and throwing in some unprecedented collaborations, he has made an album that will surely be for rap what Radiohead’s Kid A was for rock: the genre’s new bar for judgment. All other rappers need to take note of the instrumentation and song structure found here. Kanye gets points in my book for being able to acknowledge the mistakes he has made in his past in songs like “Power” and “Runaway.”
The debut for this “supergroup” consisting of Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine is simply amazing and would be number one any year if not for the next album’s perfection. The songwriting here is some of the best found in a long time, with the songs taking references from literature and working just as well as short stories as songs. The band mixes quiet and moody acoustic numbers, like “Texas,” with rollicking full-on rockers, like “Please Move.” Hopefully, for fans of both the bands, Bad Books will continue to create music for years to come as they manage to take the best parts of both bands and create something different.
If this album was released last year, it would make its way onto my top 20 list for the decade. The fact that this album is a full-length debut that is made by a band with members still in college is even more amazing. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here, though the album mainly stays planted in the area of indie-rock. The highly metaphorical lyrics contain imagery that is nearly surreal, all written by someone who recently turned 21. If you don’t listen to this album, you are missing out.
- Colour Revolt–The Cradle
- Jimmy Eat World–Invented
- Happy Body Slow Brain–Dreams of Water
- Motion City Soundtrack–My Dinosaur Life
Five Best Songs
- 5. Black Keys-“Howlin’ For You”
- 4. The Gaslight Anthem-“We Did It When We Were Young”
- 3. The National–“Terrible Love”
- 2. Vampire Weekend-“Giving Up the Gun”
- 1. The Republic of Wolves-“The Attic”
- Matt Fazzi
Before 2010, Matt Fazzi was known as being the guitarist/co-vocalist on Taking Back Sunday’s worst album, 2009’s New Again and to few as the guitarist of the experimental Facing New York. However, 2010 would prove to be a huge year for Fazzi. Fans would learn that Fazzi could actually sing, due to Taking Back Sunday’s acoustic album Live from Orensanz, leading fans to lend him sympathy for the band’s shady methods of firing him. As if this weren’t enough, he went on to release one of the best albums of the year with his new band, Happy Body Slow Brain. In one short year, Fazzi went from nearly unknown to a big figure in the scene.
After 2009’s massive reunion tour, fans of the band began to have hope that a new album would be released in 2010. Especially after the encouragement from bassist Mark Hoppus that a new single would be released sometime in the year. Yet, as the year has ended, there has been no new song and only promises that recording is going well. This time last year, recording was expected to be finished in mere months. The only news from the band was guitarist Tom Delonge releasing music with his other band, Angels and Airwaves, and a short string of shows, mostly in Europe with only one in the U.S. Hopefully 2011 will bring more promising news.
Best Album Art
- Arcade Fire–The Suburbs
Best Live Show
- Weezer-“Memories Tour: Pinkerton” on Nov. 27 at the Gibson Theater in University City, CA.
Most Anticipated 2011
- 5. Blink 182-TBA
- 4. The Republic of Wolves–The Cartographer EP
- 3. Manchester Orchestra–Simple Math
- 2. Thrice-TBA
- 1. Any news from Brand New