OWTK Not Kids Music

My Favorite 2010-ish Music for Grown-Ups

My days of being hip to what indie music is hip are likely in the rear view mirror.  I guess you could say I traded for being hip to the freshest sounds in kindie rock.  I’m okay with that.  Really, I am.

So I wasn’t about to compile a top 10 grown up albums of ’10 list because I feared there might be only 3 CDs on it.  With all the awesome kid’s music playing around here, it’s kinda hard to squeeze in new adult rock-n-roll.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

In a recent Facebook “conversation” with a certain rad kindie rock bass player, I discovered that maybe I do have enough indie cred left to publish this kind of top 10.  As I thought more about it I did buy, listen to, and enjoy quite a bit more grown up music than I previously thought I had.  So, here goes…my favorite 10 albums of 2010…and mid-to-late 2009 (okay, so I need to extend the date range a bit to make this work – sue me!):

*note that after Dawes, these are in no particular order – the numbered list is such so my feeble mind doesn’t get confused*

1) DAWES “North Hills” (2009) & 2 Daytrotter sessions (2010) – my favorite working band right now, Dawes didn’t blast into my sphere but rather slowly crept in and before I knew it they’d overtaken the place.  I’m head-over-heels for this L.A. quartet, having already seen them 6 times in about 14 months.  Their debut album is rock solid, but it’s the new tracks (“Fire Away”, “How Far We’ve Come” (video below) & “A Little Bit of Everything” especially) that will make these fine fellas famous.  My entire gang sings along with Dawes, and the Bear & Mouse have seen ’em live already.

And here’s one more, because they are so freakin’ awesome (music starts at the 1 minute mark, but the opening is worth it for the sound guy’s comments)

2) ROBYN “Body Talk” (2010) – the most revelatory album I’ve heard in ages. I’m no fan of dance music, feeling it hollow and disposable, but “Body Talk” is substantive, emotional and mature – traits that frankly I didn’t know existed in the genre. Hell, the Mrs. and I are even going to see Robyn live in Philly next month (pending kid coverage, as per usual).

3) THE HEAD AND THE HEART s/t (2010) – a recent addition to the famed Sub Pop label, this Seattle band’s self-released debut is a glorious piece of dramatic orchestral piano rock that at times reminds me of an earnest, more gruff Coldplay with the haunting melodies of Midlake and the narrative of Josh Ritter.

4) RIVER CITY EXTENSION “The Unmistakable Man” (2010) –  This is the reason you always show up for the openers.  I was at the Note in West Chester, PA several months back to catch up with two old musical pals from my label-running days.  The opener was River City Extension and I’ve been listening ever since, and they’ve been touring with The Get Up Kids and a fella from Say Anything ever since.  RCE reminds me, right from the jump, of early Bright Eyes and Okkervil River. No wonder I love this raucous 8-piece band from Toms River, NJ so damn much.

5) THE BLOODSUGARS “I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On” (2010) –  Jason from the kindie duo The Pop Ups is the frontman for this dancey Brooklyn indie outfit.  The Bear digs the song “Happiness” very very much.  The entire album is super solid and totally worth checking out.

6) LOCAL NATIVES “Gorilla Manor” (2010) –  A favorite of many rock critics and upon 1st listen it’s pretty obvious why.  Extremely tight arrangements, abstract lyrics and perfect 3-part harmonies.  Plus, the W.B. Mason delivery guy is in the band.  There are many great songs on “Gorilla Manor”.  Here’s my favorite.

7) HEY MARSEILLES “To Travels and Trunks” (2009/2010) –  I believe this album was self-released in ’09 (when I bought it) and then re-released by the Onto label in ’10.   It is impossible not to love their song “Rio”.  No other song “On Travels and Trunks” soars quite this high, but many come close.  Enjoy the official video for “Rio”.

8) MY COUSIN, THE EMPEROR “A Long Way From Home” (2009) –  I know woefully little about this band, but the album is quite beautiful.  Hey, we’re down to #8 so that’s all you’re getting from me.  Okay: country-esque rock-n-roll from New York City, that better?

9) PEARL AND THE BEARD – “God Bless Your Weary Soul, Amanda Richardson” (2009) – Another NYC band I know little about but who’s debut long player I loved last year.  Download the stark, emotive disc’s best tune “O Death” free here.

10) RA RA RIOT “The Orchard” (2010) – Not music I thought I’d like initially (a little bit too pretty, a touch too 80’s) but like an ear infection at daycare, “The Orchard” is highly contagious and sticks with you longer than you’d like (wait, that sounds bad).  Oh never mind, it’s a stunning album.  And the bass line on “Boy” is boss.

Many of these find albums are only $5 via Amazon mp3 service.  Go forth and discover new (grown-up) music.  Cheers!

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