Best of 2010 - Justin's picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2010

Justin's picks (2010)

staff picks

Justin is the social media editor at - ed.


Does anyone really care what I write here? Or do you just wonder where White Crosses ended up? After the "twitter fight" that ensued between @Punknews and @TommyGabel (is it really a fight when one person just goes nuts and posts random slurs at the others?) I've realized how strange being an "internet music journalist" can be. I mean–who am I to write about music like I know what I'm talking about? And who are they to complain when someone makes their opinions about their music known?

Have a good one folks. Hold those you love tight.



Katy Perry: Teenage Dream


Good, fun, ridiculous pop tunes. There's an artistry to the amount of kitsch that Ms. Perry exudes. It's artfully manipulated and intentionally plays off of millions of pop culture references. Plus it's fun and you can dance to it.


Adam Haworth Stephens: We Live On Cliffs

Saddle Creek

We may never get another Two Gallants album, but this helps to dull the pain. I can't imagine seeing this played in a backyard in San Francisco (memories) but I can imagine playing this day in and day out for years.


Vampire Weekend: Contra


Still a good band. This time it sounds like like Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon playing a cover album of latter-day Clash tracks. It's nothing serious but it's damned fun.


Best Coast: Crazy For You

Mexican Summer

It's like Neko Case fronting a garage band playing in Phil Spector's abandoned old studio. I'm not sure what else really needs to be said. It's fairly simple, straightforward and you can hear it in any indie boutique clothing store you want! RIYL: reverb. Lots of it.




This is everything that #2 isn't. It's raw, it's punk as fuck and it makes no excuses–all while making sure to take some mellow breaks so you don't get worn out on ex-Latterman punk rock. "Cut the Cord" is the jam of the internet. Listen to it. Learn it. Love it.


Iron Chic: Not Like This

Dead Broke / 86'd

I'm pretty sure this has the best anthems of 2010 on it. Nothing that is 100% groundbreaking but it's 100% enjoyable. Iron Chic has cemented themselves as the Bouncing Souls of a new generation.


Ted Leo and the Pharmacists : The Brutalist Bricks


I'll be honest and say that Mr. Leo is a grower for me. It often takes me months to get into his albums. The Brutalist Bricks somehow grabbed me faster than his other works, though. It's quick, simple and to the point. It's off-kilter with his ever-odd voice grounding the melody over old-man pop-punk instrumentation. It's a Ted Leo album and that is good enough for me.


Fake Problems: Real Ghosts Caught on Tape

Side One Dummy

Toned-down instrumentation. Less ramblings about god and religion. More melody and whimsical songwriting. It's just plain better than what they've done before. It's bouncy when it needs to be, melancholic when it has to be and overall it sounds like Mr. Farren is aping less and innovating more in his delivery. It's a shame that they didn't get more exposure with this release.


Against Me!: White Crosses


This is everything that New Wave should have been. It's totally 100% over the top in every manner. While Tom will probably never pen "Walking Is Still Honest," why should he? We don't expect any other iconic songwriter to revisit the past. Once you're over this band's past you can embrace the total poppy goodness of an album like this. It's a 16-year-old's guide to punk rock politics and the lost soundtrack to an unmade John Hughes movie all in one. Why think about it any harder than that?


The Menzingers: Chamberlain Waits

Red Scare

Some albums feel like a culmination (The Greatest Story Ever Told, for example) and others feel like a beginning (The Bouncing Souls) and a very select few manage to balance these two feelings. Chamberlain Waits is one of the few that balance it and do it well. There is a sweet transitional feeling that sweeps over this whole album. It's not so mature as to make us bored, but not so juvenile as to have us rolling our eyes. Mr. Barnett and Mr. May carry their influences on their sleeves while managing to mash up Billy Bragg, Lucero, the Clash and a lot of dance rock drum beats (courtesy of Mr. Godino) into their own fully realized sound. Everything on this album clicks into place to position the band at a place where they can (hopefully) choose to go in any direction they want.



Chuck Ragan / Daren Gibson: Split

Poison City

More Chuck. More harmonica. More goodness.


John K. Samson: Provincial Road 222


In lieu of a new Weakerthans record I'll take this. It's basically a Weakerthans 7". Delicious


Bridge and Tunnel: Indoor Voices

No Idea

I love, love, love, love, love the sound of Pat Schramm's drums on this EP. I love the increased noodle in the guitars. Everything on this EP rules. They're taking a year off or so–hoping for an LP next year. Perhaps later in the year?


Restorations: Of Trees / Rosetta split / Strange Behavior

Evil Weevil / Cavity / Paper + Plastick

The trick to enjoying this band is to turn it up loud. Now louder. Now just a little more. Now double it. There you have it. A semblance of what it sounds like to get your head soundfucked when you're seeing them live. Three releases this year and more to come next year. They are incredibly bad at touring, though, so catch them when you can!


The Holy Mess: Benefit Sesh

Evil Weevil / Weird Skull

World class bonafide shitshow indeed. Is there an award for "most improved band"? So good. Classic, early '00s Fat Wreck punk rock taken from the playbooks of the Lawrence Arms, Lagwagon and Kid Dynamite. Killer tunes.


Next year I hit 30. I'm pretty stoked about it. There will be a bunch of good music and I'll find at least three more pop albums that I shouldn't enjoy that I think should make my top 10. Hopefully I'll be back for another installation of these lists. Hopefully you'll all still be reading. Next year do yourself a favor and get off the internet, though, okay? Go get some sunshine. You're looking kind of pale.