When I did this last year (not on here, sorry) I really thought that because the quality of the top 5 albums in the list ( Black Gives Way To Blue, Battle For The Sun, Crooked Timber, Grey Britain and Mariachi El Bronx) That it was going to be a one - off. You know, the much talked about death of the music industry beyond the current Reality TV led acts, other assorted pop trash and the Bieber demon.
This years list is much better than last years. Waaaaaaaaay better. So, providing you like broadly the same styles of music as I do, you're probably better served in 2010 than you ever have been - you just have to look a bit harder to find the acts you really love.
Before we get to the actual top 10, a little bit about some albums which didn't make the cut.
Marina and the Diamonds - The Family Jewels. An excellent pop debut from the Welsh diva, this proves that not all chart music has to be vacuous rubbish.
Sleigh Bells - Treats. This probably would have made the top10 if I'd gotten it a bit earlier, it's a really good pop punk album, well worth checking out.
Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. Another rock hard effort from Canada's finest. It is, however, completely overshadowed by their previous album Hail Destroyer, and for that reason it doesn't make it onto the main list. Sorry guys, I still love you though.
Right then, onto the countdown.
10. Yeasayer - Odd Blood.
This sounds like a cross between The Flaming Lips, Radiohead and David Bowie. Utterly brilliant synth pop with massively expressive vocal harmonies.
Standout Tracks - Ambling Alp, Madder Red.
9. Alkaline Trio - This Addiction
The Chicago punks return with an album which far exceeds expectations.
The title track sets the tone with its exploration of heroin addiction as a metaphor for relationships, but it's "The American Scream"--a gritty, neo-gothic parable--that best illustrates Alkaline Trio's unique take on the world using only 3 chords.
Standout Tracks - Fine, The American Scream
8. Hot Chip - One Life Stand
This band gets more sophisticated with each release. it's not as instantaneous as their earlier work, but it's more rewarding, and sees them stepping out of James Murphy's rather large and very talented shadow.
Standout Tracks - Alley Cats, Thieves in the Night
7. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
In most years I'm fairly confident that this would sail to the No.1 spot pretty easily, so much so, it feels slightly ridiculous ranking it so low. Sorry Damon.The whole thing works beautifully, moreso with each listen.
Standout Tracks - Stylo, Some Kind of Nature
6. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Beat the Devil's Tattoo.
Acoustic ballads, space-rock forays, and splashes of glam bubble up before it's all over, while a pervasive darkness holds the album together. Devil's Tattoo is unremittingly grim, and undeniably fun. I love this.
Standout tracks - Aya, Bad Blood
5. Alain Johannes - Spark
It wasn't that long ago that I reviewed this, go here to read it. Only the shortness of Spark kept it from the top spot. Easily my favourite 30 minutes of music this year.
Standout Tracks - Endless Eyes, Gentle Ghosts
4. Deftones - Diamond Eyes
When I reviewed this back in march (here) I really couldn't see anything beating it to the top spot, such was my love for it. Nearly 9 months on, I still feel the same way about the album - which should give you a clue to how good the next 3 are.
Standout tracks - Sextape, You've seen the Butcher
3. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
There aren't many albums where you love every single track the first time you hear it. This is one of them. Easily LCD's strongest outing, brilliance from start to finish My review here .
Standout tracks - Dance Yrslef Clean, You Wanted A Hit
2. Tricky - Mixed Race
Dense yet accessible, fleeting but full of memorable moments, Tricky's done here what he always does at his best, let the listener share the soundtrack of his involving, nomadic, outsider spirit. Absolutely awesome, his best since Nearly God.
Standout tracks - Every Day, Come To Me.
1. Chemical Brothers - Further
Free from building tunes to fit collaborators – with the exception of snatches of Tom Rowlands or Stephanie Dosen (on Snow), used more as accents and motifs than to guide proceedings – the duo are let loose to stretch their disco legs and make the technology the star. Synths are brutally manhandled and pushed to their limits across the eight tracks, with the pair’s well-known winning recipe of techno textures and mind-tilting psychedelia unleashed. Turn all the lights off, close your eyes and listen to this through the darkness. Incredible.
Standout tracks - All of them.
"Yay, we won!"