Lesser Known Saint

Jim’s “Best Albums of 2010″ List

This year it was actually quite a bit easier to create my “Best Of” list than last year. Some years I have a really hard time deciding 1-5 (like last year); or I’ll have a ridiculous amount of honorable mentions (like 2007 and 2008), which makes ranking 10-20 really difficult.  But this year, for whatever reason, I have a pretty clear Top 20 – with the exception of a few albums that didn’t quite make the cut.  It’s not that there weren’t a lot of good releases this year… but apparently these 20 just really fall in line for me.  Also, I deliberately didn’t include the new Lesser Known Saint album… since, you know, I’m a little biased in that regard.

So, without further ado:

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TOP 20 ALBUMS

1. Oceansize – Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up
Oceansize is my favorite band ever, so their place at the top of my list isn’t really a surprise. That said, they’re not at the top simply because they’re my favorite band, and Deftones certainly gave them a run for their money. This album has generated a fair amount of argument within the band, and for good reason: it’s their least consistent album to date. I personally like it better than Frames, which Smallz thinks is absolutely crazy. I would argue Frames is a better album than SPWTBFU, because it’s arguably their most consistent album beginning to end.  The problem is that, despite SPWTBFU being hit or miss, when it hits it destroys. So that’s the issue here. SPWTBFU contains a couple of my least favorite ‘Size songs, but it also contains some which are among my favorites they’ve written… and while Frames doesn’t contain any songs I don’t like, it also doesn’t really contain any songs that completely blow me away (except The Frame). Yep.

2. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
It’s hard for me to understand any fan of rock music not liking this band. They can write brutally heavy music. They can write gorgeous music. They’re all incredibly talented; their chemistry is astounding. And this year they managed to release their greatest album to-date. It’s a stunning release, and long overdue.

3. Devil Sold His Soul – Blessed & Cursed
I’m fairly confident this band was tailor-made for me. Dense, heavy, atmospheric and melodically gorgeous. Much in the same way Deftones is… if Deftones had their roots in British metalcore. But I digress.

4. Periphery – s/t
It took forever for Periphery to finally release this album. Seriously, like 4 years. And Rug and I were waiting impatiently the entire time. But they finally released it, and it was everything we hoped it would be. This album is intended for a very specific audience. It takes Meshuggah-style, mathy, down-tuned riffing and Dream Theater-esgue prog moments and merges them with one of the best, most versatile rock vocalists I’ve ever heard in my life. Everything about this band is wildly impressive. And every note is edited and produced to perfection. There is no room for error on this release, and that (frankly) drives some people crazy. Which, given the types of music I usually listen to, is totally understandable to me. But I love the shit out of this album anyway.

5. Matt Morris – When Everything Breaks Open
Frankly, the best pop album I’ve heard since FutureSex/LoveSounds. Matt Morris deserves way way way more acclaim than he’s currently receiving… from everyone.

6. All the Way Rider – City of Champions
See my post “It’s Good to Have Friends (Who Make Great Music).”

7. Rosetta – A Determinism of Morality

8. Open Hand – Honey

9. Cloudkicker – Beacons

10. Intronaut – Valley Of Smoke

11. Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants – With Anticipation

12. Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis

13. Kruger – For Death, Glory and the End of the World

14. Arctic Sleep – Earth to Earth

15. Khoma – A Final Storm

16. Jamiroquai – Rock Dust Light Star

17. Dropsonic – IV

18. Knut – Wonder

19. Ion Dissonance – Cursed

20. Autolux – Transit Transit

Honorable mentions: Casanatra, Circa Survive, Constants, East of the Wall, The Secret, Sevendust and War From a Harlots Mouth

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TOP 5 EPs

1. The Mire – Volume II
This band is what it sounds like when Jimmy and I make love (sorry, Cassie). Okay, let me try to explain that statement: I’m pretty sure this band sounds like the ultimate realization of the music Jimmy and I bond over. Sludgy, mathy (British) metalcore combined with postrock-esque melodic passages in a way where everything is still raw and aggressive. The kind of music where you drink a bunch and then stand around like a couple of idiots in Jimmy’s bedroom, during a house party, and headbang like you’re trying to hurt yourselves. This is the two tracks from my second favorite EP last year (Oceansize was No. 1… imagine that), combined with two new songs that are somehow just as good as the previous release. So, if you get this EP, you get last year’s fantastic EP combined with a new EP that’s just as fantastic. All in one!

2. Mouth of the Architect – The Violence Beneath
My favorite sludge band. Unfortunately this will be their last release for a while (hopefully not ever). Everyone nerds out about the title track (which is really damn good), but I think Buried Hopes is the best song on the release. Also, they played my birthday party this year… which doesn’t have anything to do with anything, other than How fucking awesome is it that I managed to get one of my favorite bands to play my birthday party? Don’t deny it: that’s totally awesome. And you would totally mention it if it happened to you.

3. Admiral Angry – A Fire to Burn Down the World

4. Iron Thrones – The Wretched Sun
See my post “It’s Good to Have Friends (Who Make Great Music).”

5. Cloudkicker – ]]][[[ (remixed and remastered as A New Heavenly Body), You and Yours
Dude is prolific! What can I say? Just like last year: I realize this is actually two releases (technically it’s three)… but they’re both really good. And did you notice he also has a fucking full-length from this year in my Top 10 albums as well?? And all of them are available for free download! It’s absurd. Go get them.

Honorable mention: How to Destroy Angels

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