I don't like to have my posts too long, so I split up my end-of-the-year top albums list into two posts. So here's the first post, albums 10 though 6. My tastes tend to favor the obscure at times, so you may not have heard of a few of these, but each is highly recommended by me.
#10 - Sundowner - We Chase The Waves
Check out my review here.
Chris McCaughan from The Lawrence Arms busts out a second album of alt-folk strummers. This time around it's mainly Chris on acoustic guitar and vocals, unlike his previous Sundowner album Four One Five Two which featured some strings that were pretty then but unnecessary now. Basically another contribution to the growing alt-folk scene, but a very welcome one.
Favorite track: "As The Crow Flies"
#9 - The Menzingers - Chamberlain Waits
I had heard about The Menzingers back around the time of their first album, 2007's A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology. But I didn't really pay attention to them until this year, when I was checking out BlankTV's Youtube channel and found a video for "I Was Born," off this album. I was hooked. Scrappy, rough-edged pop-punk, the best kind of pop-punk there is.
Favorite track: "Chamberlain Waits"
#8 - The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Not as good as their last album, The '59 Sound, but much more advanced than their debut, Sink Or Swim. American Slang traded some of the soul and rock 'n roll vibe of '59 but brought in a harder sound. Honestly, looking at this album and hearing some of the name dropping in recent interviews, I am very interested to see what they come up with next (supposedly they are already working on a new one).
Favorite track: "The Diamond Church Street Choir"
#7 - Tin Horn Prayer - Get Busy Dying
A super-group of sorts, Tin Horn Prayer is comprised of members and former members of various members of Denver, CO bands (by the way, I recently decided to add Denver to my list of places I'd be willing to move to, so if anyone hears of any library jobs in that area let me know). That's pretty much all I know about this band, but I hope information about the becomes more available in 2011. These are definitely a band I hope to hear more from in the new year. A great take on the alt-americana thing, with some excellently rough vocals and some mandolin, which is not seen enough in the alternative music scene.
Favorite track: toss-up between "Better Living" and "Fighting Sleep"
#6 - Carpenter - Sea To Sky
Aside from one streaming track on some blog, I first heard these guys when they opened for Two Cow Garage. Honestly, I think I loved their set almost as much as the headliners. They're from Canada, but I hope they make more trips down to the states in 2011. Post-hardcore with a slight americana edge. They remind me a lot of Hot Water Music, which I consider a good thing.
Favorite track: "Mean Things"