It's that time of year. With only a few short days left in 2010, we here at SKOA wanted to recap with you all of the albums that the SKOA staff enjoyed the most this year. To give you time to absorb all of these (in case for some unknown reason you missed a few), we're going to be giving you a handful each day this week along with little tidbits as to why we chose the albums we did.
It has been our honor to share all the things we love with you guys and we hope you enjoy all of these albums as much as we do!
On to 25-21!
25. The Radio Dept - Clinging To A Scheme [Buy CD]
Swedish indie pop band The Radio Dept. has had a fairly low-key profile over the course of their twelve year existence. With a devote following and a dreamy sound that is on par if not better than any indie pop out there, it is hard to believe they’ve never really broken into the mainstream. That low key image seems to work for the band, though, and it becomes apparent when listening to the music they’ve created. Since 1998, the trio has amassed tons and tons of EPs and albums, and their third official studio album, Clinging to a Scheme, shows how well the band has perfected their sound. Each song on the album is masterfully crafted, with each and every sound coming together to create an almost ethereal musical atmosphere; Clinging to a Scheme is easily The Radio Dept.’s most polished work to date. - Adrian
With three previous studio albums under their belt, Hot Chip’s latest, titled One Life Stand, comes together to be the cleanest, and best, record the band has ever put out. Every track perfectly blends the unique vocals of Alexis Taylor with greatly refined electropop beats. The band clearly knows what they’re doing and One Life Stand is the perfect representation of the energy and care that these Londoners put into their music. - Adrian
Despite a lot of buzz surrounding Canadian indie rockers Tokyo Police Club’s A Lesson in Crime EP back in ‘06, their debut album Elephant Shell felt fairly underwhelming. This year, though, they stepped up their game significantly with their sophomore LP, Champ. The energy that the quartet brought this time around far outshines their previous releases, producing a record that feels polished and more enjoyable. With greatly improved instrumentation, the band seems much more comfortable with the music they are making, and that shows throughout the entire album. The name of the album makes it clear enough that these guys are on top of their game. - Adrian
It seems fitting that when Beach House stepped outside the boundaries of their usual melancholic, dreamscape world with the release of Teen Dream, they finally showed how much more potential they have as a band. The incredible voice of Victoria Legrand was, in the past, the focus of Beach House’s music, and still is. This time around, though, the elements that were previously background noise are now in the forefront alongside Legrand’s stunning vocals. Guitarist Alex Scally brings his skills to a more prominent level, adding a much needed depth to the beautifully mysterious sound that Beach House has become known for. With each new album, Beach House’s lo-fi, minimalist sound is becoming more and more solid, and Teen Dream represents a huge step forward for the duo. - Adrian
When a band releases it’s third, it’s fourth or in this case their fifth album the bar can be set quite high by previous material. The National and their album High Violet leaped over that bar and dusted it off on their way over! The album is as introspective and dark as you’d of come to with Matt Berninger’s brooding voice dominating both guitar chugging tracks such as “Little Faith”, along with crowd favourites like “Terrible Love”. This album is the bands most ambitious, tantalising, gripping release to date, wearing their hearts on their sleeve and delivering a captivating album from cover to cover. If their progression from album to album is anything to go by, album 6 would have to be near on perfect to conquer High Violet. - Shey