Every year at this time, blogs come up with their “highly anticipated” best-of lists. PSD is no different. Here’s a list of the 10 best local albums of 2010. It’s the first in what will probably end up being a series of lists here.
10. The Secret Handshake – Night & Day
Luis Dubuc, the man behind The Secret Handshake, decided to take his sound in another direction. Night & Day is a Motown record through and through. Full of catchy pop jams that were actually recorded using the same tape recorder used by Berry Gordy. The future seems uncertain for this project, but with a guy this talented, there’s no question he’ll come up with something even better.
9. Smile Smile – Truth on Tape
You know the story. They fall in love, make a record, then fall out of love, then breakup, then make another record. Truth on Tape is just that: these are the actual recorded feelings of a couple on the outs. It’s one of the best breakup albums you will ever hear, and something that just about anyone can relate to on some level. Still with just a guitar and keyboard, Smile Smile continues to find pop success in simplicity.
8. The Burning Hotels – Novels
Catchy, hook-driven indie pop-rock has been The Burning Hotel’s calling card since their days of playing second fiddle to Black Tie Dynasty. With Novels, they have positioned themselves as quite the dance rock (or “sex punk) powerhouse. A lineup change and hints of them taking their sound in a more New Wave direction is surely to make The Burning Hotels an even bigger force to be reckoned with.
7. Sarah Jaffe – Suburban Nature
Jaffe received as much or more attention locally and nationally for her debut, Suburban Nature, and rightly so. She is a solid songwriter and the album is both moody and mellow in a good way. This album proves that she has the potential to be the next female to break out of the local scene.
6. Doug Burr – O, Ye Devastator
Burr is quite simply the best songwriter in DFWd. His third release, O, Ye Devastator, is the type of chill-inducing record that sticks with you after every listen. He bares his soul in every single song. This is more than just a folk record, this is an experience.
5. lalagray – Devil’s Nest
Ashley Myrick (aka lalagray) went from performing background vocals in The Beaten Sea to being in the spotlight after the release of Devil’s Nest. Despite being her first album, the self-taught musician displays an impressive confidence in both her musicianship and songwriting. This album is just beautiful.
4. Ishi – Through the Trees
What else can I say about them that I haven’t already said? They packed Trees on two occasions during The Local Edge Live Concert Series. They were then voted by the fans to open Edgefest 20. Ishi made more white people dance in 2010 than we’ve seen in some time here. Their sound seems to bridge some musical gap between electronic, indie rock and folk that is simply infectious. Through the Trees is full of beats and infectious hooks that can make even the whitest dude in the room (me) get down. Now with an enhanced lineup, seeing Ishi live has become an even better experience.
3. Spooky Folk – Spooky Folk
One of the most fun releases of the year. In a year where Denton didn’t seem to have its usual abundance of great releases, this one stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Not really folk at all, their self-titled debut is everything that’s good and right about indie rock.
2. The Orbans – When We Were Wild
No other record this year came fully equipped with the amount of pop hooks as When We Were Wild. It’s described by the band as an album full of singles, which is spot on. These finely crafted pop-rock jams with a hint of twang are Ben Harper approved. Need I say more?
1. The Beaten Sea – The Beaten Sea
2010 was a great year for local music. You’ve heard it a thousand times. With all the great music to choose from, The Beaten Sea’s self-titled record stood out as the best. This album got more spins on my iPod than just about anything. It paints a picture of a different time. A time with more struggles and hardships than we have today. These are songs sung while sitting on the porch watching the sun set over the plains. But this is not a totally somber affair. The album has its fair share of alt-country jaunts fueled by a healthy amount of banjo and sing-along choruses courtesy of the other members of their larger collective, the Dallas Family Band, to complete the best musical achievement in local music this year. It’s artist collectives like the Dallas Family Band that help make a “scene” a community.