Nailgun’s Top Albums of 2010

December 26th, 2010 · 12 Comments · By

Happy Holidays readers! We’ve managed to get our act together and line up some year-end treats for you, starting tonight with our picks for Top Albums of 2010. Here’s five from each Nailgun contributor:

From Sarah:
1. Woods – At Echo Lake
2. Super Vacations – Thicker Milk
3. Harlem – Hippies
4. Future Islands – In Evening Air
5. Beach House – Teen Dream

From Gary:
1. Pat Jordache – Future Songs
2. Future Islands – In Evening Air
3. D.B.B. Plays Cups – Eau de Toilette des Etoiles
4. Beach House – Teen Dream
5. The Walkmen – Lisbon

From John:
Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
Marnie Stern – Marnie Stern
Eternal Summers – Silver
Jack Rose – Luck in the Valley
Wild Nothing – Gemini

From James:

Chris Corsano – “Another Dull Dawn”
raw, reckless, bite-size solo-bedroom recordings of all stripes by a tremendously talented “noise” drummer (here playing half-kits, toy gamelans, a clarinet mouthpiece on a metal pipe, and a 2×4 with guitar pickups on it, often simultaneously.) people who don’t recognize this as “jazz” inevitably have shitty taste in jazz. Recorded ’08, released ’09, but I bought it in December so we’ll give it a pass

Emeralds – “Does it Look Like I’m Here?”
unexpectedly bloopy / arpeggiated outing from this outfit previously known for their droning ambience; by channeling their inner 1982 video game nerd / new age guru, they’ve somehow made their best record yet. I haven’t smoked weed in about 10 years, but if you could fit that experience onto one of those old Apple IIe floppy disks I’m pretty sure it would sound like this. Absolutely sublime.

Oval – “Oh” / “Ringtones” / “O”
after 9 years of silence, Markus Popp suddenly releases an EP, a double-album, and a bonus download EP – nearly 100 songs worth of new material, and easily his best stuff yet. almost all electronic chirping and pinging sounds, sometimes mixed with live drums. sounds like a laptop eating a harpsichord, like gamelan beats from a SNES Zelda game, like a Fennesz Xmas album running on 78rpm. perfect

Invisible Hand – “Sinister Hand”
not on here just because they’re local, and certainly not because I designed the cover art… no, I’m including this because I listened to it over & over & over again in my car all summer long, and am now convinced that the A-side has the finest 3-song lead-off of any rock record since “With the Beatles.” it’s far superior, more scrappy and more vital, than their polished self-titled LP of the same year

Happy Birthday – s/t
as perfectly sloppy as Pavement, as charmingly naive as Beat Happening, as embarassingly retro as Ariel Pink, and as faux-stupid as the Ramones! Exists in an eternal beer-buzzed summertime afternoon. Their slackerish ballads about being lonely and unemployed are just barely ironic enough to be so funny that you don’t understand why someone just doesn’t fuck / hire these folks already

From Jacob:

1. Julian Lynch – Mare
In truth, this is pretty much the only thing I listened to this year. So sick. Stream it here.

2. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
Provided one takes the time to absorb it all, the knottier, denser, and more drawn out Joanna Newsom is allowed to get — and a triple-LP gives her a lot of room to be — the richer and more rewarding the material becomes. One could mine this record basically forever and hear new, interesting things.

3. Invisible Hand – Invisible Hand
Okay, I’ll admit I was wary when those guys told me they were going into a big fancy studio with a professional producer, where the likes of Jack Johnson have recorded their albums. I honestly thought crisp, clean production just wouldn’t be the right fit for a garage-psych-rock outfit like the Hand. Boy was I wrong. This is a masterpiece, and a true culmination of everything this band has been working towards the last few years!

4. Stephen Steinbrink & French Quarter – It’s Not Just Kissing
Anyone who’s been following Stephen Steinbrink’s various EPs, full-lengths, and digital releases for a while knows that he’s been incredibly prolific, especially for his years. So ‘It’s Not Just Kissing’ plays more like a Best Of album than a standalone full-length. Bedroom pop perfection.

5. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I’m aware that it’s ridiculously trendy for this album to be appearing on Best Of lists this year, but goddammit if I can’t stop listening to it! Not only is it packed with, like, a billion hooks, but it’s also lyrically gritty and the production is completely schizophrenic (in a good way). Also, Nicki Minaj!

And as a bonus, here’s John’s Top 10 Songs from 2010:
1. Joanna Newsom – “Does Not Suffice”
2. Jack Rose – “West Coast Blues” (Blind Blake)
3. Eternal Summers – “Disciplinarian”
4. D.B.B. Plays Cups – “And Come Home for the Festival”
5. Kanye West – “Runaway”
6. Joanna Newsom – “Good Intentions Paving Company”
7. Invisible Hand – “Death Bellows 45″ (split 7” w/ The Alphabet)
8. Twin Sister – “Lady Daydream”
9. Wild Nothing – “Summer Holiday”
10. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Round And Round”

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back tomorrow with our Top Live Shows of 2010. Stay tuned!

Tags: feature · site news

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jon bray // Dec 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    1. Women – Public Strain
    2. Kanye West – MBTDF
    3. Philip Glass
    4. Whatever those dudes put on in the van
    5. Philip Glass

    that’s pretty much all i listened to this year.

  • 2 bailee // Dec 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    i dont know when a lot of these albums came out but its what i listened to this year

    dangerous ponies full length
    mgmt oracular spectacular
    invisible hand self titled
    vampire weekend contra
    skeletonbreath eagles nest devils cave
    dirty projectors bitte orca
    ra ra riot the rhumb line, and the orchard

    more like the last 6 months of 2010, but still. major jams!

  • 3 Carianne // Dec 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I agree with James about the Hand tape vs. their s/t. Who listens to the Hand to have their shoes shined? I go to them when I need to feel like a rascal.

  • 4 James // Dec 27, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    thanks for the backup, CK.

  • 5 James // Dec 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    for what it’s worth, I had to pick 10 for WTJU, so the ones that didn’t QUITE make the cut were:
    Charanijat Singh – “Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat”
    White Noise Sound – s/t
    Ryan Garbes – “Real Sugar” / “the Light” 7″
    Cloud Nothings – “Turning On”
    Andrew Cedermark – “Moon Deluxe”

  • 6 mattU // Dec 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    1 – kanye – (duh)
    2 – tie: grinderman’s part II and anika’s S/T

  • 7 jon bray // Dec 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I like em both! Our next jam piece is gonna be recorded with Mr. Justin wolf(and possibly some other fine gents), which I think will sound like the best of both worlds

  • 8 Sarah // Dec 27, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I preferred the tape, too. Aubade is one of the Hand’s best songs and it didn’t quite make it on the s/t. Weird exclusion.

  • 9 adam brock // Dec 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    i both agree and disagree with many of you….but either way its nice to be argued about…

  • 10 witchmondylan // Dec 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    every Lil B “tha based god” mixtape that has come out this year.

  • 11 coogan // Dec 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    in no particular order:

    rhythm bandit “death to the rhythm bandit” (converted me to the tape format revival)

    rafter “animal feelings” (on asthmatic kitty (“no fucking around” chekkit))

    Ólöf Arnalds “Innundir skinni” (on one little injun)

    the knife “tomorrow, in a year”


    cee-lo “fuck you”/”fox news”

    borrowed beams of light “party at the end of the world”

    janelle monae “tightrope” (amazing video:

    olsen twins “gimme pizza slow”

  • 12 bailee // Jan 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    “whipped cream like waaaaateeerrrr ffffffaaaaallllllllssssss”