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.
1. Sleigh Bells — Treats
The most exciting new band in a very long time, this duo sounds like the Ronettes harmonizing with a chainsaw backstage at a Beastie Boys concert circa Licensed To Ill, with the resulting audio blasted through a blown speaker.
2. LCD Soundsystem — This Is Happening
A walloping record, and the last word in the dance-rock revolution James Murphy helped launch. The nine-minute opening track, “Dance Yrself Clean,” is an album unto itself.
3. jj — No. 3
Our lukewarm review makes some good points, and the band was apparently awful at SXSW, but I still have a soft spot for this Swedish duo’s dreamy pop, which always seems to have darkness lurking beneath its gauzy surface. The band’s cultural reference points (hip-hop, especially) are a constant out-of-context pleasure.
4. Vampire Weekend — Contra
The band’s fanbase seemed to get younger on this album, which is weird, because Contra is by any standard a step toward maturity. It’s more expansive sonically, and just as smart as the debut album that tastemaking scenesters loved the first time around.
5. Kate Nash — My Best Friend Is You
As mentioned in this space earlier in the year, the saucy piano-pounder’s latest album is obsession-worthy, a raggedy pop album with casually brilliant melodies — especially the ecstatic single “Do-Wah-Do.”
6. Phosphorescent — Here’s To Taking It Easy
To me, it’s a better—funnier, catchier, more relatable—version of Neil Young’s Harvest.
7. Pantha Du Prince — Black Noise
Welcome to microhouse, the genre you never knew you needed. It’s minimalist electronic music that pulses and chimes with a debt to Steve Reich. This accessible, addictive disc is the headphones-album of the year.
8. Rusko — O.M.G.!
This may be the only dubstep record you’ll ever need. But you do need it.
9. Frightened Rabbit — The Winter of Mixed Drinks
A torrent of burly anthems from one of the best rock acts going. The band’s previous album, The Midnight Organ Fight, was so good that the Scotsmen seemed unlikely to match it. They went right ahead and did it anyway.
10. Hot Chip — One Life Stand
This slower, more lovey-dovey set stands on par with the single-ir Made In The Dark. And it spawned one of the most stupendous videos you’ll see all year.