We are separating our top 10 albums list into two categories this year, EP’s and full lengths. There were simply too many releases to try and combine them and compare them and rank them fairly. We’ve gone through about 15 different versions of this top 10 list, scratching through and re-ranking them. We’re happy with our top 10 and hopefully you will be too.
The Restoration didn’t just make an album, they made one of the most ambitious concept albums that ANYONE made in 2010 or recent history and did a fine job of it. The compendium included a 12 song full-length album along with a 47 page paperback book including lyrics, short story, map, family tree and shape note score of the opening track “Thy Sword, Thy Shield.”
These songs were crowd tested for months before the band hit the studio with a huge vision that became attainable. This album is a puzzle with each song being just as key as the other, masterfully intertwining a story of love, race and religion.
Toro Y Moi took the alternative music world by storm this year touring all over the world and hitting the fast track to popularity on the back bone of Causers of This and the world wide web. On a local level I think you’d say Chaz has done us proud. After making a highly proclaimed national album, Bundick embraces his roots here and still shows his face around town quite often. Lookout for this new album in February, you won’t be able to miss it.
Two years ago Dylan Sneed packed up his SUV in Texas with all of his belongings and took off for Hartsville, SC. What came out of it was Texodus, 12 wonderfully crafted songs recorded in a 100 year old farmhouse in the country of South Carolina.
Austin Crane has done it again. Last year he had the album of the year with his release Place at the Table. This year he is back under a new moniker with an album based on the book of Genesis. A monumental task pulled off lyrically and musically only the way that Austin Crane could. With the help of Amy Godwin, this album drew rave reviews from everyone that heard it.
Michael Trent will end up making his way into both of our top 10 lists in a way. As the other half to Cary Ann Hearst, Michael Trent went and made a fine album on his own. Well not really on his own, he had the help of Josh Kaler, Butch Walker, Cary Ann Hearst and more of Charleston’s finest musicians. Add this one to your collection today.
Coma Cinema is another South Carolina band that took the blogosphere by storm this year with free music and the endorsement of Toro Y Moi. Coma Cinema’s sophomore release Stone Alone features short crafted pop songs, jangly and at times strange, most similar to The Minus 5.
Vs. Evil Circles is a short full length that pounds you in the face with thick beats and chanting vocals and leaves you delightfully worn out at the end. If you give The Dirty White a chance you might like them. Sound-wise they are unlike any other band in our top 10.
This album is why you don’t post your top 10 on December 1. Mike Mewborne released The Limited Abilities of Man on December 21, and it is by far one of the best releases of the year. These songs sound so delicate, yet always retain a firm foundation. There are moments on this album that are simply beautiful.
Marshall Brown’s first full length album lacks the gloss found on other albums in the top 10, but makes up for it in vocal power, melody and the simple fact that the songs are outstanding. At times the album is loud and swirls around your head and at others is broken down to beautiful vocals and piano. An album that you can appreciate for how real it is in an age of replacing snare drum hits and tuning vocals during production.
Death of Paris rose from the ashes of This Machine is Me and released their first full-length album in 2010 after recording in Los Angeles with David Baker. What erupted from those sessions were 10 songs that mix emotive lyrics, keyboards, electronic beats and rock and roll.