Dan Wilmer Poop ’10

cover of Black Keys - Brothers  Buy New or Used via amazon
Black KeysBrothers
I really thought the last Black Keys record, “Attack and Release,” was pretty darn good. But the Black Keys guys take it to the next level on “Brothers.” You’ve got three killer songs to start things off: “Everlasting Light,” “Next Girl,” and “Tighten Up.” This is followed by the stomp of “Howlin’ For You” and “Now She’s Gone.” And then you also get soulful tracks like “Only One” and “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The album closes with a “Little Wing” influenced “These Days.” Sweet.

cover of Arcade Fire – The Suburbs  Buy New or Used via amazon
Arcade FireThe Suburbs
What can I say? Win Butler is a genius and he comes back here with a record rivaling his debut. There are a lot of gorgeous moments on this. “Half Light II” and “Sprawl II” build perfectly on their intros. “Modern Man,” “Empty Room,” and “City with No Children” all stand up as solid singles while contributing to a unified whole.

cover of Free Energy – Stuck on Nothing  Buy New or Used via amazon
Free EnergyStuck on Nothing
I don’t know if any record in 2010 gave me more unadulterated rock n roll joy than this did. Sounding like a lost broadcast from WBAB’s classic rock rotation circa 1977, “Free Energy” borrows from the big guitar legacies of 70s bands like Thin Lizzie, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and Badfinger. It is mustache rock at its finest. The record was produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who makes it sound authentic to the period and current at the same time. More cowbell, please!

cover of Titus Andronicus – The Monitor  Buy New or Used via amazon
Titus AndronicusThe Monitor
“If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” This Abraham Lincoln quote begins a really neat concept album. “The Monitor” uses references to the Civil War to craft triumphant songs about morality, honor, war, and death. The combo of punk rock sentiment and historical storytelling would sound at home on any Pogues record. Great.

cover of Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer  Buy New or Used via amazon
Cee Lo GreenThe Lady Killer
Besides having the best single of the year in “Fuck You,” this album has great R&B singles like “Bright Lights, Bigger City,” “Wildflower,” and “I Want You.” It’s also has poppy Motown throwbacks like “Cry Baby,” “Satisfied,” and “It’s OK.” Cee Lo’s cover of “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses is a nice flourish on an album full of them.

cover of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - I Learned the Hard Way  Buy New or Used via amazon
Sharon Jones & The Dap KingsI Learned the Hard Way
Speaking of throwbacks, Sharon and the Dap Kings couldn’t sound any more authentic. Songs like “The Game Gets Old,” “I Learned the Hard Way,” and “Better Things to Do” all remind of Aretha, Etta, and other Motown greats. The backing band, The Dap Kings, shine on the instrumental “The Reason.” The album closes with the Doo Wop of “Mama Don’t Like My Man” which harkens to early girl groups like the Supremes.

cover of Francis and the Lights – It’ll Be Better  Buy New or Used via amazon
Francis and the LightsIt’ll Be Better
I can’t remember any band so faithfully revisiting the sound of 80s Billboard hits like Francis and the Lights. The lead singer, Francis Farewell Starlite, has a voice exactly like Peter Gabriel and they play it up to the hilt – surrounding him with 80s-style synthesizers and drum machines.

cover of Vampire Weekend - Contra  Buy New or Used via amazon
Vampire WeekendContra
This is absolutely my guilty pleasure. It reminds me of being in college and discovering new music and Docksiders and madras. “Horchata,” “Taxi Cab,” “Run,” and “Giving up the Gun” all have nice, mellow, mid-tempo grooves. I also love the wacky dub reggae treatment of “Diplomat’s Son.”

cover of Peter Wolf – Midnight Souvenirs  Buy New or Used via amazon
Peter WolfMidnight Souvenirs
The former frontman of the J. Geils Band delivers a great collection of songs with “Midnight Souvenirs.” It includes nice duets with Shelby Lynne, Neko Case, and Merle Haggard.

cover of Film School - Fission  Buy New or Used via amazon
Film SchoolFission
This makes the list because it had one of the catchiest songs of the year in “Heart Full of Pentagons” and my favorite recent guitar riff on “Nothing’s Mine” —a very Psychedelic Furs moment that stuck in my head for days.

cover of Wild Nothing - Gemini  Buy New or Used via amazon
Wild NothingGemini
Along with Arcade Fire and Film School, this was probably my favorite indie rock record of the year. Standout tracks include “Summer Holiday,” “O Lilac,” “Chinatown,” and “Drifter,” all of which have an ethereal, surf rock-meets-80s-alternative appeal.