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Best Music of 2010 (So Far): Austin L. Ray, Web Editor

June 24, 2010  |  7:00am
Best Music of 2010 (So Far): Austin L. Ray, Web Editor

To celebrate the half-way point of 2010, this week Paste staffers are counting down their favorite albums of the year (so far). Check out all of our lists here, and share your own favorites in the comments.

Like any year, 2010 finds me delighted by newer acts, reinvigorated by older ones and completely overwhelmed by the never-ending glut of stuff coming out. It’s a good problem to have, but also the reason why, unfortunately, I’ve yet to listen to new stuff from The Roots, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Rhymefest, The Melvins, Caribou and so many more. But hey, we’re halfway there, and for now, there is still all this fantastic stuff:

10. Slices – Cruising
Probably the most brutal band I’ve listened to this year, Pittsburgh’s Slices have created a triumphant record that, when not shaking you to your very being with breakneck hardcore, gives you—thankfully!—ponderous moments of ambient noise during which you can catch your breath. If you like Fucked Up, you’ll love this.

9. Drake – Thank Me Later
There isn’t much I can say about the Biggest Rapper In The World that hasn’t been tweeted, blogged, re-blogged, picked up by a magazine, tweeted again and then re-reported by another blog, so I’ll direct you instead to my cohort Michael Saba’s review of this album.

8. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
Leave it to Patrick Stickles, fantastic tour journalist, professional Weezer appreciator and epic beardo, amongst so many other things, to craft a Civil War-themed album of truly massive proportions. The Paste review of The Monitor deems the album “phenomenal,” and I’m inclined to agree.

7. Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts
I was impressed with this UK trio at SXSW, but it was the band’s debut album that really sold me. For fans of No Age, Hüsker Dü and Vivian Girls.

6. Various Artists – Florida’s Dying Party Platter
Two and a half years in the making, this compilation from the Orlando-based distributor that bears its name is rife with infectious garage rock from acts both notable (Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx) and virtually unknown (Brian’s Dirty Business, Sexcapades). Giddy fun throughout, I get terrified just thinking about how much money I will be spending on the subsequent releases of the bands included here.

5. The Magnetic Fields – Realism
“This, the Magnetic Fields’ eighth album, provides yet another example of why Merritt belongs on the shortlist of America’s greatest songsmiths,” Matt Fink wrote in the Paste review of this album. Co. Sign.

4. Phosphorescent – Here’s to Taking it Easy
For whatever reason, I didn’t catch on to Matthew Houck’s glorious, modern-day take on classic country until he covered one of the genre’s finest, Willie Nelson. Now, I’m hooked, and Here’s to Taking it Easy isn’t helping me get over my addiction. Read the Paste review of the album.

3. Suckers – Wild Smile
“Can Suckers put out an album already?” I whined back in March, and here we are! Wild Smile cherrypicks from New York rock history, evoking Talking Heads here, TV on the Radio there, but slowly reveals itself more and more on each listen. Such a rewarding gem, this record.

2. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
If you can get past the clunker first track of this band’s sophomore effort, you’re in for one hell of a ride. It’s going to be such a blast watching these art rockers evolve over time. Yeasayer is about to hit the road for, like, ever, and I’d suggest you don’t sleep on it if they make it to your town.

1. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
It’s a bummer to think about how this might be the last LCD Soundsystem album, but if that ends up being the case, talk about going out on top! From slow-burner epics (“Dance Yrself Clean”) to party jams (“Drunk Girls”) to straight-up heartbreakers (“All I Want,” “Change”), James Murphy pretty much does it all here. Read the Paste review of This is Happening.

If you’d like to discuss (argue about?) any of the above, or read me gushing and/or bemoaning many more albums in 140-character-or-less bursts, you can find me on Twitter at @austinlouisray.

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