Favorite Music: 2010

This post is a slight deviation from our normal posting of photos and a result of our goal to include more personal posts on the blog. Let us know what you think! As you may know, our studio is located in a giant old loft that gets a little too quiet (like, creepy quiet) unless we blast music at all times. Like any young, devoted business owners we spend entirely too much time in the office. As a result we buy a lot of new music to keep our eardrums fed with fresh vibrations (an essential part of our workflow that helps us retain our sanity.) Here's a rundown of our favorite albums from 2010. Each hyperlink will take you to iTunes where you can sample the albums and buy them if you feel inclined. We also included a video from each albums to give you a chance to listen to full songs (Thanks, Youtube!) Feel free to disagree with our choices - that's what makes music so darn cool. It's subjective, just like photography, and we think we can safely say that the music we listen to is a subconscious influence in our photography. Our selection includes a few albums that are on every major music publications "best of 2010" list, and a few albums that land themselves on the more obscure end of the musical spectrum. Whatever your tastes, we hope you find something you enjoy. You're welcome to leave your feedback in the comments!

(click "view full post" and let the fun begin)

Phantogram: Eyelid Movies

This two member band (guy/girl - both sing) write insatiable riffs backed with techno blips and bloops that we haven't been able to get enough of. It sort of satisfies our unfulfilled longing for new music from The Postal Service, but with a unique charm of its own. Here's a taste:

Motion City Soundtrack: My Dinosaur Life
We've been fans of MCS since our Freshman year of college and have ventured to see them perform multiple times. This album is easily their best yet. They've managed to create an audio representation of the mental state of our young over-caffinated/anxious/ADD/OCD generation. Plus the singer has wicked cool hair:

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
This is one of those albums that was relatively unexciting upon first listen, but multiple listens surprised us with the growing charm of its beautiful (and simplistic) instrumentation. It's probably the most critically acclaimed album on this list, which is the reason we bought it (and it lives up to the hype):

Lissie: Catching a Tiger
Raw, energetic, talented songwriting that is incredibly refreshing when contrasted against the overproduced music currently saturating the mainstream. And she's from the Quad Cities (where Alex is from)!

Stars: The Five Ghosts

These guys have a way with crafting songs that are hauntingly beautiful and dancey at the same time. Every album they've ever made is great, and this one is no exception:

Jonsi: Go
The first solo album from the lead singer of Icelandic genius's Sigur Ros. Most of the record is sung in Icelandic so we have absolutely no idea what he's saying, but his song-writing prowess is both musically brilliant and highly emotional. It sounds like nothing you've ever heard (unless you're a Sigur Ros fan), and that's what's awesome about it. We dare you to listen to this song all the way through without feeling warm and fuzzy inside:

Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record

Broken Social Scene's You Forgot it in People (2002) was a genre-forging masterpiece. We haven't really liked anything they're produced since. That is until we heard this album. Forgiveness Rock Record features complex layered instrumentals that musicians will dig into. It's also extremely catchy for the casual listener. Every time this song comes on Alex starts dancing:

Broken Bells: Broken Bells

The unlikely union of Danger Mouse + the singer from The Shins resulted in an album that surprisingly works really well. If you're a fan of either artist separately, you'll enjoy Broken Bells. If you're not ... enjoy Broken Bells anyway:

The Almost: Monster Monster

This is our straight up rock record of choice for 2010. Singer Aaron Gillespie (formerly of Underoath) has a unique approach to writing heavy songs that we thoroughly enjoy:

Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz

If you've never heard of Sufjan, you should probably buy his entire discography (he wrote the best Christmas album ever.) His new disc is very experimental (a far cry from his previous creations) with lots of electronics and layering. Most of the disc is probably far too weird for the casual listener to enjoy, but it contains a depth that's addicting and rewarding for those up to the challenge. Here's a track from the album that's universally enjoyable (prepare to give it your full attention):

Sleigh Bells: Treats

According to an interview we read, this duo chose their name because their music sounds like santa's sleigh on fire. It's a pretty accurate description. The sound is happy bubblegum pop infused with metal guitars and blown out dance beats. We put it on at around 2:30 in the afternoon when our coffee has worn off and we need a pick-me-up (which usually results in dancing):

Matt & Kim: Sidewalks

First, do yourself a favor and look these guys up on YouTube! Their music videos are wildly creative (like OK GO on a smaller budget.) Kim Drums and Matt keys and sings with a wailing voice that by traditional musical standards should be intolerable, but for some reason it fills you with happiness until you burst.  They don't have any music videos yet for the new album, but here's the audio of our favorite track:

What are your favorite albums from 2010?