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EPs | 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1


50. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow

[Myspace] // [Review]

In the decade that they have been together, Kylesa’s story has been one of constant improvement, and in this sense, Spiral Shadow doesn’t disappoint. Although they retain the sludgy hardcore energy that made them good in the first place, the band has added new psychedelic dimensions to its sound which are fully utilised here. This is also without a doubt their most accessible offering yet, and some of the material – particularly ‘Don’t Look Back’ – hints that they may continue down this path in the future. The records highlights, however, come when the band does what it does best, such as the hard-hitting and direct ‘Tired Climb’ and the psychadelic tangle of the title track. If they continue on their ascent, Kylesa’s next moves will certainly be worth monitoring. – AliW1993

49. The Roots – How I Got Over

[Myspace] // [Review]

How I Got Over is a hip-hop album that carries a strong sense of purpose.  Too many artists focus on the negative aspects of growing up “on the streets”, such as drugs, domestic abuse, murders, theft, etc.  However, The Roots use their status within the genre (as well as their own history rising above the challenges of inner city Philadelphia) as a platform to preach to their young audience that hope exists.  Take the title track for example, which states, “Out in the streets where I grew up, first thing they teach you is not to give a fuck. That type of thinking can’t get you nowhere, someone has to care.”  It doesn’t end there, as ‘The Day’ possesses something of a carpe-diem theme, “I wake up, I look into the mirror, I can see a clearer vision, I should start livin’ today” and ‘Now or Never” succeeds in its motivational message of “I feel different today, don’t know what else to say, I’m gonna get my shit together, it’s now or never.” Positive messages of rising above one’s challenges permeate the entire record, and you can’t help but swell with pride over what The Roots are trying to do for their following, whether they are at-risk youth or just middle class adults in need of some inspiration.

How I Got Over backs up its profound messages with The Roots’ solid-as-always musicianship. The album is definitely the group’s most accessible to date, arguably even “safe”, but it accomplishes a great deal through the remarkable rhythm and melodic verses that make it so easy to get into. A number of featured artists make guest appearances, the most recognizable of which would be Joanna Newsom and John Legend, both of whom contribute masterful performances in ‘Right On’ and ‘The Fire’, respectively. Even the interludes and instrumentals make valuable contributions, as ‘A Peace of Light’ and ‘Dillatude: The Flight of Titus’ help in keeping up the album’s impeccable flow. All things considered, How I Got Over might be the most complete record that The Roots have recorded, and it is one of the year’s most essential hip-hop/rap albums. – SowingSeason

48. Cloudkicker – Beacons

[Myspace] // [Review]

In this rather interesting world of internet genres and free albums, Cloudkicker is undoubtedly one of the only artists teetering on the break of superstardom. For a man so quick to pass off his talents and output as nothing more than downtime put to good use, Ben Sharp’s Meshuggah idolizing has finally moved out of the shadows of worship into a rather unique artistic statement, now almost completely devoid of his past inclinations. Cloudkicker is definitely a man who is selling himself short, but his humble approach to his craft renders all the usual hype and promises obsolete and leaves nothing in its place but a burning passion to make insanely catchy and fun music. And that is exactly what Beacons is, the sound of a man in love with the idea of creating music free from prying eyes. But Beacons is also the sound of a man finally living up to the expectations he’s placed on himself by not quite delivering on those promises in the past. He’s finally dropped the deliriously stupid tag of “djent” and moved into much more progressive territory, dropping the chugging monotony and neanderthal-like bashing for more inspired fare, with full sections slipping comfortably into almost post rock territory. Or when he winds everything down on the untitled album closer by bringing it all back up into a cacophony of emotion and intensity. And he makes it seem all too easy, and he does it all with one freakin’ guitar. And there’s a new one at my door every few months now it seems, like a godamn readers digest subscription. Cheeky bastard…… he’s just rubbing it in. – Deviant

47. Tera Melos – Patagonian Rats

[Myspace] // [Review]

For one reason or another I’ve personally always thought of Tera Melos’ psychotic brand of math-whatthefuck as “musician’s music”. Although that sounds pretentious, hear me out; it’s from my very own observations that only those who are capable of analyzing the album from a theoretical point of view really understand exactly what they’re hearing. To the regular listener the stop-start rhythms, incessant time signature changes and abrasive stabs of pedal noise and general guitar wankery aren’t all that accessible, and I feel like the most attractive feature that comes with the band is deciphering the music itself whilst being constantly overwhelmed by the proficiency and technicality of their instrumentality. In essence, I spend their entire catalogue thinking “How the fuck do they do that?” and that’s more than enough to satisfy me without any particularly catchy hooks or glaring melodic segments (even though there are plenty). With Patagonian Rats, this has all changed; Tera Melos have finally managed to implement the catchy vocals that they’ve always dreamed of adding, subsequently injecting a healthy dose of accessibility into their sound that will no doubt broaden their audience significantly. This will no doubt come as an unwelcome shock to any die-hard listeners, but the crazy, wizard-mask-wearing Tera Melos we all know and love are still here – they’ve just been listening to Strawberry Jam or something. – Tombits

46. Foals – Total Life Forever

[Myspace] // [Review]

Total Life Forever is an album that will engulf you. The guitar work swells and smothers you from each and every angle, while the glorious vocals of Yannis Philippakis never yield at tugging at your heart strings for the entire album length, giving you the sharpest of shivers down your spine. ‘Spanish Sahara’ is no better example of this, with its 7 minute post rock-esque build that makes you feel every emotive strain on every single guitar swell, while also seemingly to build a slight nervous tension to what is coming next – and that is the thought that describe Total Life Forever perfectly – tense. Each song brings new and evocative sounds to feel your mind with, while it still feels isolated and cold. Most likely the bands magnum opus, Total Life Forever shows Foals doing everything right, and do so with startling clarity. – Douglas

45. Fang Island – Fang Island

[Myspace] // [Review]

If I could, I would have Fang Island soundtrack my every high-five, hug, clap-on-the-back; every time I got an A, every time I finished a Lego model, every time I beat a video game, etc. The list could go on and on. What I’m trying to say is that Fang Island manages to capture, in music, that feeling you get every time you do something awesome. While it’s by no means perfect, every “whoa-oh” and handclap is just so infectious that you’ll listen to it over and over again. – qwer7yfreak

44. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

[Myspace] // [Review]

Kicking back and listening to Innerspeaker is like watching a swirling kaleidoscope of projections drifting lazily around your head. One moment you’ll see Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon the next, and perhaps Syd Barrett will float past too; Tame Impala are indeed an amalgamation of ‘60s psychedelia, and yet they’re anything but a cheap anachronistic imitation. Kevin Parker and co. manage to balance out their inspirations with gorgeous innovation (flowing the maddening Hendrix stomp of ‘Bold Arrow of Time’ into that dripping ethereal mist is particularly ingenious) to produce something entirely organic, undeniably unique and just plain cool – so roll a joint (if so inclined), sink back into your couch and let these young Australian boys groove you into blissterday. – Tombits

43. Women – Public Strain

[Myspace] // [Review]

It’s difficult to put into words the effect Women’s 2010 LP Public Strain has on the listener. It’s an immense, divisive record that’s managed to either stun listeners with a beautifully fuzzy sense of nostalgia or blocked them out through the unclarity. In a decade where direct catharsis and spelled out meanings have been so prevalent, Public Strain recalls an era of Noise Rock bands who could make complex statements simply through clouds of hypnotic drums and blooming feedback. While the other albums of 2010 were either crazily inventive or thematically obvious, Women seem intent on putting out something more obtuse, loosely collected through the culmination of dry guitar interplay and reverberated vocals. The instrumentation echoes the atonalities of bands such as Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth, yet while those bands revolved around a sort of nihilistic punk ethic, Women’s flourishes of ethereality are forward looking, creating something bigger than most rock records. Vocalist Patrick Flegel croons and mutters over the distorted guitars through an anonymous perspective, blurring his lyrics, yet his words are given context by how in sync every element of the music is. No matter how un-user friendly it is, Public Strain has multiple outlets to release its musical tales, whether it be the echoing, droning combo of ‘Penal Colony/Bells’, the drowned out balladry present in ‘Can’t You See’, or the epic pop closer of ‘Eyesore’. The key to embracing this LP is to not embrace it, to let the fuzzy anthems and dry, psychotic rockers apathetically blur past one’s head, subconsciously absorbing every brilliant guitar line or lyric.

The album can best be summed up when Flegel’s vocals soar over singing “In this place you call your home” over the inspiring feedback bursts of ‘Narrow With the Hall’. If you find something unrecognizably beautiful in this moment(1:38), you very well may fall for this album. – Enotron

42. Beach House – Teen Dream

[Myspace] // [Review]

Teen Dream is a record that just sounds expansive, creating a world you want to crawl into. From the opening notes of lush opener ‘Zebra’ to the heart-stopping balladry of ‘10 Mile Stereo’, Beach House made some of the most gorgeous and welcoming pop music of the year. And at the time of its January release, that seemed to be all it was. “All it was,” because for some reason, I had this feeling in the back of my head that something “merely” beautiful was somehow insubstantial. But as the year wore on and the seasons changed, I found myself returning to Teen Dream time and time again. As gorgeous as it was in the winter, it was even better music for the thaw. And then it was perfect for the laid-back haze of the summer. Then it soundtracked those walks in the park where I’d take delight in stepping on dry fallen leaves. And so on and so forth, until I realized that Teen Dream had become one of my most listened-to albums of the year. Front to back, Teen Dream is a quietly stunning masterpiece. – ConradTao

41. Sed Non Satiata – Sed Non Satiata

[Myspace] // [Review]

On Sed Non Satiata’s 2010 self-titled LP, the band had finally managed to find their niche within the endless scene of post-rock oriented screamo bands. They’ve managed to do this by loosening the hardcore elements that made everyone compare them to Daitro and upped the amount of reverberant instrumental work that gave the album such an enticing atmosphere. While Le Ciel’s best moments were found in the impassioned french screams and distorted guitar riffs, Sed Non Satiata’s best moments can be found in the long-winded build-ups that are found on every song. Airy guitar textures, occasional spoken word samples, and vocals that build along with the atmosphere of each track give this album a sound that synthesizes post-rock and hardcore more thoroughly than any recent works. Every little flourish and ambient passage that progresses each track makes the actual screamo climaxes sound unequivocally more intense than their previous album, adding a dramatic tension to the album. While Sed Non Satiata may sometimes find itself overwrought with atmospherics, it finds the band successfully settling with their own brand of post-rock screamo instead of a generic mix. – Enotron

40. Dark Time Sunshine – Vessel

[Myspace] // [Review]

So-called “indie rap” has seen its ever-burgeoning scene stagnate over the last couple of years due to both a lack of fresh faces and ideas, save for a small number of promising artists (P.O.S., for one). Enter Onry Ozzborn, an emcee-come-producer who’s made less of a name for himself than a sound; a voice that will sound familiar to those who may be only casual listeners – but recognizable nonetheless. His collaboration with Chicago-based producer Zavala and the resulting album Vessel provided a breath of fresh air into a genre that had quickly found itself on life support. The electronic-drenched, fuzzy and almost psychedelic haze that permeates the record provides the perfect backdrop for Ozzborn’s unique brand of story-telling. Equal parts wordsmith and flow-artist, Onry doesn’t so much as command your attention from the outset as he does creep in from behind the beat to implant his message into your brain almost subconsciously. The end effect is truly astounding and provided listeners with one of the most compelling albums of 2010, hip hop or otherwise. – Inveigh

39. The Black Keys – Brothers

[Myspace] // [Review]

Dynamic is a great word to describe this particular 2010 release. The Black Keys are a dynamic duo, and Brothers is a dynamic album. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney play old blues with a new edge, and do so in a fashion that has both immediate likeability and real staying power.  Laying down a perfect groove from the record’s very first seconds, the music remains catchy and creative, from the high-register Everlasting Light, the funky attitude on Tighten Up, to terrific slower tracks as ‘The Only One’ and ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. To some it may slightly outstay its welcome, but ultimately, Brothers counts among the year’s most memorable and charismatic moments, coming from a group that will likely do well in the coming years. – Nagrarok

38. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

[Myspace] // [Review]

An excellent addition to The Gaslight Anthem’s discography, American Slang is yet more proof of the band’s unceasing consistency. Their ability to incorporate a lovable sincerity into every one of their Americana-tinged songs is a testament to the grand voice of Brian Fallon and the band’s knack for larger-than-life melodies. Missing from American Slang is the edginess that garnered descriptions of pop-punk or punk in the band’s past, and this can easily be attributed to the polished output on full display. Gone are the rough edges; but more importantly, the sense of candidness and straightforward style are still evident. Yes, complaints of a deviation from The Anthem’s more punk roots are inevitable. Personally, I couldn’t be happier that one of my favorite bands have garnered the popularity to produce an album as complete and studio-worn as American Slang. It’s in this respect that American Slang provides me with both a reason to reminisce and clear-cut reasons to look forward to the future… most likely with a smile and ‘Stay Lucky’ caught in my head on repeat. – SeaAnemone

37. Daughters – Daughters

[Myspace] // [Review]

In the break-up following their self-titled, it seemed Daughters ended up with the sort of band defining work that most bands don’t get out in three records. Canada Songs was a release focused around pretty general, yet ass-kicking one minute grindcore songs with the catch being that the guitars sounded more akin to the string-motif from Psycho than any Discordance Axis song. Hell Songs was a progression, albeit a really odd one, replacing screams with schizophrenic Jesus Lizard-esque wailing and adding even more disjointed guitar madness. With Daughters, we find the band working with their past sounds and amping them up through songs that feel written out and complete. Daughters manage to retain their unique grind madness yet balance them out with distinguishable rhythms and heavy guitar riffs. Tracks like ‘The Hit’ and ‘Our Queens’ perfectly fall on this line, matching anthemic, thrashing riffs with moments of guitar fuckery that keep the listener on the edge of their seat, rather then throwing them off. On this last album, Daughters have created songs with purpose, every freak-out placed with precision and the elvis-like shouts actually sounding impassioned rather than awkwardly disturbed. Daughters is a huge album and ended the band’s career with a sense of finality, their best album. – Enotron

36. The Saddest Landscape – You Will Not Survive

[Myspace] // [Review]

To call The Saddest Landscape’s comeback album You Will Not Survive cathartic would be missing the point. The music that the group creates isn’t simply “emotive”, rather it is defined by the emotions they so heavily revolve around. Every scream and pounding riff is so absurdly accentuated, that it becomes evident that these songs were created for the sole purpose of conveying the larger-than-life feelings of frontman Andy Maddox. As Maddox cowers “We’ll kiss until it shows” on highlight ‘So Lightly Thrown’, the authenticity of his performance can be seen as questionable, perhaps shallowly deliberate in its tortured delivery. However, this question becomes entirely irrelevant, as The Saddest Landscape never dwindle in their songcraft, presenting themselves bare naked in what they do. You Will Not Survive is a record created to stimulate the most desperate, self-pitying reactions out of the listener and we can only admire The Saddest Landscape for doing this so well. – Enotron

35. Atheist – Jupiter

[Myspace] // [Review]

Handily reestablishes Atheist at the top of the tech metal food chain. The only sign of aging evident in this album is Kelly Shaefer’s breathier, less piercing growl, and even that works out well. Excellent riffs throughout, tech death soloing that isn’t nonsense, groundbreaking drumming and Atheist’s trademark songwriting style – you’ll love this as much as Unquestionable Presence. – tom6

34. More Than Life – Love Let Me Go

[Myspace] // [Review]

More Than Life use a fairly standard (and sometimes even predictable) hardcore template for their excellent debut, using chord progressions that harken back to the fresh beginnings of modern hardcore with sizzling guitars and pumping drums. The real winner here is the use of various guitar leads however, like in the middle of ‘The First Night Of Autumn’ or the ethereal ‘Black Eyed’ and the almost post-rock-esque loose structure of ‘Daisy Hill’. An excellent, albeit non-groundbreaking modern hardcore release. – Chambered89

33. Orbs – Asleep Next to Science

[Myspace] // [Review]

Orbs’ Asleep Next to Science is not only a stunning progressive rock album, but it is also wholly unique. Firing all engines and blasting into space, the band prefers to fill the void with alien soundscapes that they somehow conjure with only guitars and some keys. The highlight of the album, though, is the feeling that one gets after listening to it. Like a cinematic experience, the music pulls and tugs the audience along with its grandiose nature and brilliant melodies. Not a second goes by that is forgettable or boring, and it certainly helps that the album is rife with blistering aggression. Overall, Asleep Next to Science is a fun album, and amongst progressive giants choked with calculated pretension, Orbs’ debut is refreshing to say the least. – Pizzamachine

32. Alcest – Ecailles De Lune

[Myspace] // [Review]

Take one look at the artwork displayed on the cover of Écailles de Lune and you will have an idea of the kind of record Alcest have made; tranquil and wistful shoegaze atmospheres melted to a sharp-edged black metal point that is an altogether radiant listen. The album forgoes the raw and primal interpretation of black metal for one that compliments the utter bliss of Neige’s airy cleans, with the distortion guitar not being abrasive so much as it is wandering, placed alongside warm clean riffs that plod along without much care or cause- or so it seems. Écailles de Lune is a fundamentally cohesive piece, an album so sly at its shoehorning of two seemingly opposing genres that it can be called a truly resounding achievement. The shrill cries and placid acoustics seem a cohesive unit, one that is not drenched in sorrow but instead is an almost hopeful apparition; a ghost that lingers faintly in the distance. – Crysis

31. The State Lottery – When the Night Comes

[Myspace] // [Review]

Just as The Gaslight Anthem’s The ’59 Sound did in 2008, When the Night Comes revives the ghosts of Springsteen. With a punk rock mentality, unconditional exuberance, and a saxophone; The State Lottery’s 2010 release is an indication that Americana is still very much alive. And booming I might add. From the unrelenting energy of opener ‘Coming Alive’ to extended sing-a-long ‘Spring, 2008, Detroit,’ When the Night Comes is a staggering experience. As young as a band as they are, The State Lottery understand their obligation to carry on the Americana legacy, and do a damn fine job of it. – mallen

PreviousNext





Deviant.
03.21.11
Oh hello

AngelofDeath
03.21.11
Hmmm.

TMobotron
03.21.11
looking good so far, nice to see beach house and tera melos on here

Athom
03.21.11
that orbs album is fucking annoying. other than that, cool list so far.

Rev
03.21.11
Sweet. Wooh 20, 36, and 32

SowingSeason
03.21.11
sweet this is up

Knott-
03.21.11
nothing worth reading here ;)

Deviant.
03.21.11
"20, 36, and 32"

20?

couldwinarabbit
03.21.11
Surprisingly good list for this being made by the users.

Eko
03.21.11
aw I wish gaslight and the state lottery were higher

Aids
03.21.11
I haven't heard quite a few of these, I should get on it. So happy that Sed Non Satiata and The State Lottery made the cut, go sputnik. I was hoping that More Than Life would be higher, but I didn't vote for it so shame on me.

Inveigh
03.21.11
looks fantastic as always Willie (and also kudos to Deviant and whoever else may have assisted in putting this together)

Would have liked to see a couple of these higher on the list, but as has already been said, this is still a pretty great selection of albums

Eko
03.21.11
any guesses for #1? seems like a tossup between like 5 or so albums.

Deviant.
03.21.11
I think my favourite section is 30-11

Enotron
03.21.11
apologies for my awful writing for women, so hard to write for that

Enotron
03.21.11
"but the crazy, wizard-mask-wearing Tera Melos we all know and love are still here – they’ve just been listening to Strawberry Jam or something."

loved this line so much btw tombits

Inveigh
03.21.11
I actually thought your piece for Public Strain was great Eno; you're right, that's a difficult album to describe but I thought what you wrote was spot on

Ire
03.21.11
yessss sed non satiata and dark time sunshine.

lolcest

Deviant.
03.21.11
This feature just makes me hate The Black Keys "artwork" even more now

Ire
03.21.11
ha yeah i thought the same thing

pizzamachine
03.21.11
44 is surprisingly low.

bigowitzwayne
03.21.11
WHERE IN DA FUK IS KENTUCKY FRIED BITCHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Willie
03.21.11
it's between 45 and 43, just like it has always been. How is it a surprise? Where do you usually place 44?

demon of surveillance
03.21.11
35 hell yeah.

Aids
03.21.11
hahaha Willie

Enotron
03.21.11
willie yer editing made me realize how rad some of this artwork is

pizzamachine
03.21.11
@ Willie: Think you're so funny do ya?

NOTINTHEFACE
03.21.11
Really glad to see 32 as it didn't make the staff list. Great album.

cvlts
03.21.11
no offense to chambered, but the sound-off for mtl is whack

Satellite
03.21.11
hell yeah 31

psykonaut
03.21.11
awesome to see 33 here, and fuck yeah 44 and 46. nice cropping skills on 34 btw

TheyTookErrJobs
03.21.11
Nice. Alcest.

theacademy
03.21.11
FIRST

theacademy
03.21.11
dam i just missed it

Deviant.
03.21.11
Maybe next time acad

qwer7yfreak
03.21.11
I really wish that The State Lottery were higher (hey, I voted for it!) but otherwise this list is pretty awesome. Also, it's my Fang Island sound-off, cool.

Aids
03.21.11
qwe I was hoping you would stop by so I could tell you your write-up was awesome. perfectly describes the music.

Deviant.
03.21.11
That's why I picked it

Douglas
03.21.11
Heck yes Foals, but was expecting higher ah well.

qwer7yfreak
03.21.11
@ Aids
Thanks, man. Dorkily enough, I think I actually was working on a Lego model around the time I really got into Fang Island...

greg84
03.21.11
I only like 50. The rest of list I haven't heard or haven't been too impressed.

DaveyBoy
03.21.11
Great work everyone. I knew Trey had been quiter than usual for a reason.

Foals was in roughly the same spot on the staff list from memory.

Parades better be on this list though.

lookatthatparkinglot
03.21.11
Beach House album is vastly overrated imo.

Motiv3
03.21.11
Im so happy Orbs is on here.

Crysis
03.21.11
Looks awesome Trey, great work.

Deviant.
03.21.11
Hardest working man on Sputnik

Must be all those steroids he's rumoured to be on

Gyromania
03.21.11
Great, great list! Glad to see Daughters and Alcest here, although I was hoping that Public Strain would have cracked the top 10.

Tyrael
03.21.11
Sweet list, nice to see Atheist here.

Xenophanes
03.21.11
SO this is actually pretty awesome

Gyromania
03.21.11
Tyraelxy: didn't know that you like Atheist. Have you heard elements?

MO
03.21.11
love Beacons, Mr. Sharp is very talented

Josh D.
03.21.11
Pretty good start, although some are out of the way that I wish were higher up.

WatchItExplode
03.21.11
Go users!

acorncheese
03.21.11
Oceansize better be top 20.

Adabelle
03.21.11
Nice..

Aids
03.21.11
post 30-11 already god damn

AliW1993
03.21.11
Thanks for using my Kylesa soundoff

Lists looking pretty good so far.

CounterClockwise
03.21.11
Though I think Foals should be higher and Tera Melos and Beach House sucked ass, I think this is a good start. Very Pleased to see Orbs on that list.

greg84
03.21.11
Orbs? Yuck. This album is awful.

pizzamachine
03.21.11
I like it.

FatChickIrl
03.22.11
was hoping Vessel would be higher but at least its on the list

omnipanzer
03.22.11
A lot of the ones I had hoped to be higher are on this list. Great writeups guys I hope the top 10 aren't all unknown to me.

Baphomet
03.22.11
Nice to see tons of albuums I love here...

... but isn't Daughers an EP?

Blackbelt54
03.23.11
yay 31!

tombits
03.25.11
44 was far and away my favourite of 2010, great to see it here.

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