Aubin is a news editor at Punknews.org - ed.
My favourite records of 2010
After a few albums of inconsistent quality, Against Me! took an artistic left turn with White Crosses, but one that paid off with mature, heartfelt songs and tons of love for the Replacements.
Another "mature" album from a pair of punk rock noisemakers. A difficult album for those coming from the band's prior, easily accessible albums, but a rewarding one in time.
Like Against Me! with White Crosses, Gaslight continue to dig into their American origins for inspiration, bringing everything from the obvious (Bruce Springsteen, the Replacements) to the surprising (Van Morrison, Exile-era Rolling Stones) It's a shock how much this band has grown and accomplished since 2007's Sink or Swim.
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma
Broadening his sound after the astounding Los Angeles, experimental musician Steven Ellison continues to expand the vocabulary of instrumental hip-hop. The most interesting producer in the genre since DJ Shadow.
While not as cohesive as 2008's The Midnight Organ Fight, Mixed Drinks shares that album's ability to find uplifting anthems in heartbreaking moments.
Season of Mist
Static Tensions was awesome but Spiral Shadow is extra-awesome.
Yes, everyone loved this album, from indie rock snobs to punk rock purists. There is a good reason and you should check it out and find out why.
Comeback albums are supposed to be a nice gift for long-term fans, but rarely add anything meaningful to the discography. Majesty Shredding avoids this trap by writing songs just like they did a decade ago. Hooks, velocity and a ton of fun.
Bad Religion celebrate their 30th anniversary by embracing the brilliant experimentation and "kitchen sink" approach of Recipe for Hate.
Great songs from one of the most promising bunch of songwriters active today.
The cleaner production, smoother vocals and label were controversial, but you can't argue with the results. Everything you love is still here: self-loathing, brilliant hooks and Ryan's twisted brain.
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I'm going to take some shit for this one, but rarely have I been so surprised by a hip-hop album. While I can't claim to be one of the many writers who have lauded West since 2004's The College Dropout and I didn't entirely "grasp" 808s & Heartbreak, the sheer ambition and execution of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is astounding. Kanye is arrogant and outspoken but he's also overflowing with talent.
The Black Keys: Brothers
A surprising breakthrough but a well-deserved one.
Stripping down their sound and taking notes from albums like Quicksand's Slip lead to their heaviest and best album since 1997's Around the Fur.
Everything one could hope for in a 2010 punk album: aggression, melody, honesty and conviction.
Japan's Envy continue to blow me away with their grasp of melody, dynamics and darkness. Their mix of post-rock and Gravity Records-style screamo and hardcore is as potent and moving as ever.
An album that has received nearly universal critical and fan acclaim and with good reason. While many critically acclaimed indie rock and post-punk acts become almost sterile in their experimentalism, the National continues to write bleak, heartfelt songs and yet manage to push their sound further than anyone could expect.