Bullz-Eye’s Favorite Albums of 2010: Senior Editor David Medsker’s picks

Having children has had a profound impact on my musical tastes. Will it make them cry? Will it teach them naughty words? Will it bore them? Then it doesn’t get played around the house, which has resulted in my sharp turn towards the poppier side of modern. And really, once you’ve seen your three-year-old completely lose his shit when hearing a song with a chorus of “Na, na na na, na na na, na na na na na na na,” it’s hard to push anything on him that doesn’t come armed to the teeth with the pop hooks. Mind you, I think the Ramones are a pop band too, so I’m painting with a pretty broad brush here. But make no mistake – these bands are pop bands, of varying stripes and shapes. If you fancy yourself a hipster, you’d be best to move on and check out one of the other writers’ lists. I gave up being hip a couple years ago, and let me tell you: it’s extremely liberating.

Note: Some of the notes at the end of the write-ups will offer suggestions of which songs to check out. Others actually offer the songs. If you see “Click here for a free download…”, those songs are on our server, meaning you won’t be dragged off to some site that asks you to give up your email address for a song. These puppies all come with no strings attached, so please download away.

Top 10 Albums of 2010

1. Mark Ronson: Record Collection
Ahhhhhh. If I get to heaven, this is what the radio station will sound like. Tasteful drum beats paired with even tastier synth tracks, highlighted by brilliantly chosen guest contributors from Q-Tip and D’Angelo to Simon Le Bon and a devastating performance by Boy George. Definitely gonna ride this bike until we get home.
Download these: “The Bike Song,” “Somebody to Love Me,” “Record Collection”

2. Hey Champ: Star
I’m a sucker for any band that justifies my love for New Order and the Buggles, and this Chicago trio threw down synth pop/rock that, in an ideal world, would have Passion Pit opening for them, not the other way around.
Click here for a free download of Hey Champ’s “Neverest”
Click here for a free download of Hey Champ’s “Cold Dust Girl”

3. Prefab Sprout: Let’s Change the World with Music
Man, what a sweet surprise this was. Originally scheduled to be the follow-up album to 1990’s Jordan: The Comeback, the album was scrapped despite Prefab leader Paddy McAloon already finishing studio-quality demo versions of every song. Eighteen years later, the songs finally see the light of day, and the result is instant nostalgia. He supposedly has dozens more albums on his shelves from the same period. Please don’t make us wait 18 years for the next one, Paddy.
Download these: “Let There Be Music,” “Ride,” “God Watch Over You”

4. The Hours: It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish
This one is knocked down a few rungs on a technicality, in that it’s a Franken-album consisting of the best songs from the band’s two UK-only releases. But hot damn, are those songs good. Shimmering, sky-high, piano-driven pop that addresses the darkness in people’s lives but strives for hope and change. No wonder Nike used one of these songs for their unforgettable “Human Chain” ad earlier this year. Favorite lyric: “I can understand how someone can go over to the dark side, ’cause the Devil, he’s got all the tunes.”
Download these: “See the Light,” “Big Black Hole,” “Come On”

The Hours – “See The Light” 2010 Edit from Adeline Records on Vimeo.

5. The Silver Seas: Chateau Revenge
I’m still pissed about this one. I got a sneak peek of the record months before its release because our publicist is tight with the band. We played the daylights out of it, and couldn’t wait to sing its praises when it came out in April…only April never happened. Then it was July, and when it came out, the damn thing was buried. Why, why, why? Not enough irony or cynicism? I see no reason why the Shins can sell millions while the Silver Seas still toil in obscurity. The phrase ‘criminally underrated’ was written about bands like this.
Click here for a free download of the Silver Seas’ “The Best Things in Life”

Read the rest after the jump...

Me, Myself, and iPod 7/21/10: Elefants with guitars, robots with out holes

esd ipod

Hesta Prynn – Can We Go Wrong
Formerly of “female Beastie Boys” Northern State – and the author of this great couplet: “If you got a sweat suit and you’re dripping in diamonds / Tell me, are you a rapper, or a mom from Long Island?” – the girl her mom calls Julie Potash goes the indie pop route on her debut EP of the same name as this song.

Yacht – Nausea
Their 2009 song “Afterlife” beat every other synth-pinking wannabe act all to hell, and as they prepare to make their next record, they’ve recorded an X song, just in case we didn’t already know that they get the ’80s in ways that most other bands only dare to dream.

Diego Garcia – You Were Never There
Forsaking the full-blown glam of his previous day job Elefant for something closer to his heritage, Garcia delivers a gorgeous acoustic gem that sounds like a modern-day “Walk Away Renee.” Man, we hope the rest of his first full-length album, due next year, is on par with this.

PVT – Window
We will confess to being new to the band formerly known as Pivot, but if their new material has the drive and flair of this song, we’re in.

Radio FreQ – Where You Been
New York ’80s synth pop with a bit more…fabulousness, if you catch our drift. And look, more silly capitalization. We get it, Eq, blah blah blah, but still, enough already. Just spell the damn name in a manner that doesn’t give people splitting headaches. And while we’re on the subject of band names…

Shit Robot – I Found Love (TBD Remix)
Naming your band is a lot harder than people think. It’s your invisible handshake, the first impression that makes people decide whether or not they wish to get to know you better. The name needs to be something catchy but not annoying, and no matter what kind of music you play, the name should still maintain a sense of accessibility.

Which is why we laughed out loud when we learned that someone concluded that the best possible name for his band was Shit Robot. Well played, sir.