1. Rolling Stone announces their 30 Best Albums of 2010. The good: high nods for Kanye West (#1), Arcade Fire (#4), The Black Keys (#2) and The Dead Weather (#11). The not so good: reading their list of albums and realizing that John Mellencamp, Elton John, Kid Rock, Peter Wolf and My Chemical Romance released albums this year.
2. The AV Club’s list of their 25 Top Albums is much, much better. In fact, I don’t really have anything snarky to say about it. Probably because they reveal how the list was put together.
We ask 16 writers who regularly contribute record reviews to the site to disperse 100 points each over no more than 15 albums. No album can receive more than 15 points or less than one point from any given contributor. Then we tally, and you hopefully post your favorite albums of 2010 in the comments section.
3. Pop Matters takes a stab at breaking down “indie rock” and mostly use that term as a signifier for loud guitar rock. Okay, sure. Their list is a good one. Not surprising, but solid top to bottom. Nice nods to Spoon (#10), Titus Andronicus (#3) and Wolf Parade (#7).
Bands like the National and LCD Soundsystem made good on their earlier successes to become true titans of the genre, gaining well-deserved success outside of the often-insular indie world. On the other hand, groups like Beach House and Deerhunter reached heights of popularity and acclaim that even their beloved previous records likely never suggested. Belle and Sebastian and Sufjan and even Swans came back. So did the Walkmen. A bevy of promising newer talents, from Titus Andronicus to Wild Nothing to Future Islands, gave us hope for the coming decade. The most exciting thing about all of these groups? When taken together, it’s astonishing to stand back and behold the diversity in sound, style, aesthetics, influences, and so forth. Indie, for all the blog backbiting and pretense that remains, has finally become an admirably all-inclusive musical landscape.
4. Say what you will about Spin’s dubious selections (and there are a handful) or their pageview grabby annoyingness, the writing is still top-notch.