35 Best Albums Of 2010

BESTOFALBUMS

Here at Faux, we decided the best way to look back at this year was to let our writers nominate albums and make their case for its inclusion

Instead of a standard chart or carefully ordered list of basically the same albums alot of ‘best of’ lists and “top 10/20/50 etc” lists might feature. In the hope of getting a very honest and open list, we threw it open to our writers to tell you about their favourite albums of the year and why they think everyone else should give them the time of day….

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Los Campesinos! // Romance is Boring

Heavier, wittier, more masochistic and celebratory, Los Campesinos! returned this year with an extraordinary album. 15 tracks and 48 minutes long, it revolves around sex, anorexia, death, toilet walls and car parks and is driven through by a coarse, post-punk sound matched by a sarcasm Morrissey could only dream of. Love songs, cathartic songs, revenge songs and dance songs included, it epitomises the trials of young, urban life with a maturity far outstripping any other British band this year.

DAN WILLIS

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LCD Soundsystem // This Is Happening

The supposed final album of the New York band was sometimes criticized for not being as good as its predecessor Sound Of Silver, yet This Is Happening is probably their most intelligent, witty and emotionally varied of their albums. Each track is lovingly crafted around frontman James Murphy’s often acerbic and self-deprecating lyrics and there are more crossovers between genres compared to Sound of Silver. It’s a swansong that nearly achieves perfection.

EUGENIE JOHNSON

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Warpaint // The Fool

After being completely and utterly blown away by them at Reading Festival (despite being quite unknown they were a highlight of my weekend), I knew that this album was going to special as their live set proved that the material they had created was of an incredibly high standard. Since Reading I long awaited this album and the wait paid off. For me, Warpaint’s powerful lyrics really strike a chord and are backed by tidy guitar riffs with effects that build up a blissful, hazy ambiance and urgent drumming that captures the intense restlessness that the album seems to possess.

KATIE WILKINSON

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These New Puritans // Hidden

Each year the boundaries of British music are being pushed by the likes of The Horrors and The XX, bands who dare to be different. These New Puritans with their second album ‘Hidden’ raise the bar by introducing strange recording techniques, including filling a melon with cream crackers and smashing it with a hammer. A brave and altogether realised records from a team of musicians that aren’t afraid to rock the boat.

DARIUS MATTHEWS.

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Sleigh Bells // Treats

Have you ever been punched in the face with a wall of sound? No? You should buy this album then! A deafening mix of dense guitars, obnoxious vocals, shredding synths and heavy drums, this is less of an album and more of a 30 minute assault on your senses. Is it Hip-Hop? is it Rock? is it Dance? Who cares, just wipe off your nosebleed when you’ve finished.

MARTYN COOLING.

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Best Coast // Crazy For You

Saying that this was the album of the summer would be an understatement. With Crazy for you, Best Coast distanced theirselves from their lo-fi surf pop counter parts by having lead singer Bethany Cosentino bearing her soul for all to hear. She sings of feelings that her audience can really sympathise with all presented in an upbeat format that keeps the ears happy. Catchy melodies keep their songs whirling around the brain all day – in a good, uplifting way, rather than an irritating one.

KATIE WILKINSON.

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Magnetic Man // Magnetic Man

What’s the best way to introduce dubstep to the mainstream, take 3 of the scenes heavyweight producers and create a supergroup. Magnetic man have created an album which has dragged dubstep kicking & screaming into the limelight whether that was their original intention or not. Not to mention launching career of Katy B.

JAMIE DAY

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Carl Barat // Carl Barat

Possibly overshadowed by the reunion of The Libertines, Carl’s self-titled release proved that he didn’t just stick to one genre. Tracks like The Magus and The Fall showcase a darker side while single Run With The Boys and Je Regrette, Je Regrette are the guitar tunes that the lost Libertines fans wanted to hear.

EMILY SOLAN

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Janelle Monae’ // The Archandroid

Sometimes moving between genres can be a tricky business. Get it wrong and you have a completely messy album packed with ideas but short on coherence. On her debut album, Janelle Monáe has no such problems as she raps, croons and howls her way through an epic collection of songs that breaks all the usual barriers formed between indie and R’n’B while also featuring some very impressive collaborations. The ArchAndroid is a magical experience.

EUGENIE JOHNSON.

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Foals // Total Life Forever

The boys from Oxford seem to have realised their full potential with their second album and have only improved on ‘Antidotes’, resulting in an album for all moods. It’s ambient, funky and cool as anything. You can’t help but find yourself with a big grin on your face after listening to ‘This Orient’ or ‘Spanish Sahara’, which are in a league of their own. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a weak song on the album, but these two really put the icing on the cake.

DARIUS MATTHEWS

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Avi Buffalo // Avi Buffalo

This is an album that somehow manages to be heartfelt and brutal at the same time. It takes a lot for a band to include goose bump rendering songs on their debut album, especially when they’re all of such a young age, but Avi Buffalo somehow do it. It’s almost impossible not to become shamelessly obsessed with the album, repeatedly going back to it, as if there’s no other music in the world.

ANDREW SKINNER

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Caribou // Swim

Swim defies all conventions of what a dance album should be. It still contains some usual conventions, such as looped beats and synths, yet the way Dan Snaith layers them together to create a dense, textured sound is both completely haunting and mesmerizing at the same time. The falsetto vocals just add that to that spine-chilling feeling you get when listening to Swim. Its evocative emotions make it unforgettable.

EUGENIE JOHNSON

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Beach Fossils // Beach Fossils

This year saw an abundance of indie bands from over the pond dominating the music blogosphere. A re-birth of surf rock may have sounded a bit silly not so long back, but here it is, and in all its glory. The album, based around effortlessly catchy guitar, hazy vocals and lo-fi drumming, goes to show how convincingly the Americans beat us this summer when it came to indie music.

ANDREW SKINNER

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Yeasayer // Odd Blood

From the creatively rich breeding grounds of Brooklyn came the second LP from art-rock mystics Yeasayer, blowning away the mist from their debut to reveal an unrecognisable poppier sound. Odd Blood was a back-to-back organic collection of the ultimate anti-mainstream pop hits, bursting with delightfully accessible ideas tagged with choruses that at once sounded like peyote-induced campfire anthems that wouldn’t sound out of place being sung into the bathroom mirror.

TOM REVELL

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The Drums // The Drums

Originally touted as yet another mainstream guitar band, The Drums broke free of this tag with the personality behind their songs and the sheer force of their live show. Let’s Go Surfing proved to be one of the summers festival anthems, with Forever And Ever Amen and Down By The Water being personal favourites.

EMILY SOLAN

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Mount Kimbie // Crooks and Lovers

For me, the stand out album of the year. It breaks expectation. They master a messy sound of which perfectly formed beats and melody seem to emerge from. From airy light drums of ‘Carbonated’ to the paced melody of ‘Ode to Bear’ they seem to have every sound under their belts. It is beautiful music that maintains unique styles and new sounds. I immediately listened to again after I had finished the first time.

TOM JORDAN

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Arcade Fire // The Suburbs

It’s not very often an album like this comes along. A massive statement of a record, telling of a disillusioned past and a paranoid but just fear of the future with bigger tunes to be found than anywhere else so far this decade. From the foot-stomping ‘Ready To Start’, to the disco choruses of ‘Empty Room’ and ‘Sprawl II (Mountains beyond Mountains)’, The Suburbs is the closest to a perfect album 2010 has to offer by some distance.

TOM REVELL

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Two Door Cinema Club // Tourist History

It’s rare to have a debut album where every track on it could be a potential hit; from ‘Come back home’ to ‘Undercover Martyn’ you can’t fault the Irish lads on catchiness. It’s poppy, catchy have fun electro pop music that you can’t help but tap your feet to. My only criticism with this album is that there are only ten tracks. These guys make outstanding music that I want, and people need more off. Highly recommended to those who want some mind-blowingly good indie rock.

STEPH WILSON

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Chew Lips // Unicorn

Synth-pop at its very best, Unicorn is an accomplished album by a band set to make their impression on Britain’s music scene. Vibrant, dramatic and original, Chew Lips have created a 12-track record, all worthy of being chart-hitting singles, which illustrates how pop music does not have to be devoid of talent. Funked up bass lines and a haunting female vocal wrap up questioning, arpeggiating synth lines throughout ( see ‘Play Together’ especially) making it an effortless album to move to;  that being said, the darker elements in later tracks ‘Gold Key’ and ‘Piano Song’ show that they are not a band to be pigeon-holed with plenty of scope to explore new directions in the future.  DAN WILLIS

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Hurts // Happiness

A thoroughly Manchester album, more in the tradition of New Order than Take That, Happiness paints dramatic images of emotional encounters on dark streets, arguments on rainy evenings and relationships ended on cold, hard Sunday mornings. Striking up through the torment, pain and heavy, lethargic synthesised backing, however, is an overwhelming optimism made masterful by its appearance only at the last second. Singles ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Better Than Love’ may have taken the airwaves but the underlying themes of drugs and suicide cannot be ignored as Hurts prove themselves to be a band capable of tackling the greatest issues in the most sensible ways. And if you don’t love that, Kylie’s on it as well.  DAN WILLIS

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Four Tet // There is Love in You

Four Tet at his best. This is an album that takes you to another world through perfectly placed sounds and structure to songs. Opening with the gorgeous vocal cut ups on ‘Angel Echoes’ we know we are in for an album of the Four Tet we know and love. It’s an album that is perfect for any occasion, you cannot help but admire Four Tet as he composes songs like no other.

TOM JORDAN

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The Black Keys // Brothers

I’m nominating ‘Brothers’ because more people need it in their lives, from pervious albums that haven’t got the same recognition they deserve, ‘Brothers’ finally hits the mainstream. Its blues/rock at its finest, leaking coolness with every listen and you know it’s cool when Hollyoaks use it in their adverts. Whistling ‘Tighten up’ for half the year hasn’t worn thin yet and live this band can rock! Go and buy it.

STEPH WILSON

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The National // High Violet

If a band lasts long enough, there comes a time where they must mature, or become an unfunny parody of everything that they once were. Not that they were exactly Two Door Cinema Club before, but High Violet is the sound of The National well and truly growing up. It’s an dark album of beautifully expressed concern and fear of responsibilities, all while Matt Berninger pushes the definition of baritone on top of some of the best tracks The National have ever written. It’s too early to say, but High Violet might just be The National’s masterpiece.

TOM REVELL

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Dum Dum Girls // I Will Be

Not all of the year’s best albums were centred on epic philosophical journeys, and Dum Dum Girls proved that with relative underground hit I Will Be. The collection of short, scuzzy songs were the sort that one might find scrawled on the back cover of a teenage girl’s exercise book, but it made for a fast paced and enjoyable trip through a world of bubblegum chewing, window breaking, Doc Marten scuffing fun.

SCOTT KERSHAW

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Laura Viers // July Flame

I have never heard any of Viers other work, but this album has definitely become a comfort album to me. I like my reliable old favourites, especially on a quiet night in and it is safe to say July Flame fell effortlessly into this category. Her piercing yet tranquil voice and relaxed melodies are just so easy to listen too. Key Tracks: I Can See Your Tracks and When You Give Your Heart.

CHERYL BURNS

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Mumford and Sons // Sign no more

An obvious choice I suppose, but seeing the album played live – just made my love for them grow beyond belief and judging from the thousands of others cramming to see them at Leeds, it seems most felt the same. They’ve brought folk back to being cool with their raw cutting guitar riffs and Marcus Mumford’s oak-aged vocals that just marry together so well. Outstanding tracks ‘Winter Winds’ and ‘The Cave’ are great sing along anthems, also nominee for the Mercury shows how ground breaking this album is, lets hope their next lives up to this.

STEPH WILSON

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Broken Social Scene // Forgiveness Rock Record

This album truly is phenomenal. As with all of BSS’s work, it isn’t the easiest album to get into, but it is definitely worth it in the end. I would without a doubt call this my favourite release of 2010, and possibly my favourite BSS release to date. With it’s easy shift between relaxed and rhythmic to loud and vibrant BSS have managed to do once more what they do best, a fun and inviting album with elements that everybody can enjoy. Key Tracks: Meet Me in the Basement, Water in Hell and All to All.

CHERYL BURNS

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Vampire Weekend // Contra

Their debut was a breezy, refreshing and familiar (yet not unoriginal) album; with distinct African influences crossed with layers of strings and preppy subject matter. It managed to capture the hearts of many a music lover. Their follow up Contra did not disappoint either, adding to their pool of influence, sounds as diverse as reggaeton, dancehall and ska-punk effortlessly fill 10 brand new tracks of breezy good times. JAMIE DAY

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Kanye West // My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

After 2008’s questionable ‘808’s & Heartbreak’ my faith in Kanye was starting to shake… but My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has Mr West back on full form. Incorporating influence from all 4 previous albums, this is the culmination of the last 14 years of Kanye West soaking up pop culture, learning from and processing his previous efforts into an album that represents just why we fell in love with the guy in the first place; unlike my faith, his is unshakeable, Kanye knows what he is doing and you ain’t got a chance in hell of stopping him.

MARTYN COOLING

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Tame Impala // Innerspeaker

Can’t say I follow many Australian bands, but I have made an exception for a couple, one of them being psychedelic rock band, Tame Impala. A combination of bizarre lyrics, simple yet trippy instruments, with fairly long guitar riffs, the album seems more of a jam session than an organised set of songs on an album. Which I think is great, shows more depth in each track and the band in general.

MICHELLE HUYNH

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Laura Marling // I Speak Because I Can

I just love Laura Marling, seen her play every time she’s been down in Melbourne. She has an impeccable voice and her a lyrics are nostalgic and even a bit dark.  She is more of a storyteller, rather than just a songwriter. I deny anyone not to get lost in her world and not be seduced by her musical voice.

MICHELLE HUYNH

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Teebs // Ardour

This album was recommended to me by a friend, and it stands out so vibrantly above your general mainstream releases. The album holds a really relaxed feel with its peaceful progressiveness and ambient electronics just breezing effortlessly over you. Key Tracks: While you Dooo, Double Fifths and Bound Ball.

CHERYL BURNS

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Bonobo // Black Sands

An album that can create a rich sound with just strings and piano or with the use of heavy bass lines or both together. Bonobo with Black Sands manages to master the art of writing both ‘songs’ and ‘tunes’. With the help of Andreya Triana they create recognisable ‘hits’ such as ‘Eyesdown’ whilst staying true to their roots create lush pieces such as ‘Animals’. So consistent in it’s quality. They create an addictive sound that you can listen to over and over again.

TOM JORDAN

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Robyn // Body Talk

Comprising of the best tracks from her two Body Talk mini albums and 5 new cuts, Body Talk once again proves just why Robyn is the ultimate credible pop star. Unafraid to experiment and push boundaries, Robyn does everything on her own terms, whether she is trading lines with Snoop or creating one of the biggest club tracks of the year on ‘Dancing On My Own’ she is always on form and doing things for the right reason – because she wants to.

MARTYN COOLING

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Gorillaz // Plastic Beach

Plastic Beach takes the concept of genre conventions and throws them out of the window. Into an overwhelming, precariously teetering, mountain of rubbish. Which you left. Ignoring all rules and expectations Albarn, Hewlett, and their howling menagerie of guest musicians created a record that cries out with unflinching attitude and anger, all cleverly disguised beneath those approachable cartoon niceties; the bright cheery shapes and colours. Every track is more surprising than the last, until the haunting finale Pirate Jet leaves an unpleasant taste of guilt in the listener’s mouth. A truly groundbreaking album, and one of the year’s best.  SCOTT KERSHAW

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Whats your favourite album from 2010? Do you think some of our writers have championed terrible albums? Let us know in the comments below…