List: Top 100 Albums of 2010 – 40-31

Part four of my best albums of 2010 list. Here’s 40-31…


Thread Pulls
New Thoughts

New Thoughts is unlike most everything else you may have heard in 2010. From the wailing and the brass in the opener ‘How to Talk’ to the trashing highs of closer ‘No Sound’, you’ll be shaken from pillar to post, but never bored. It’s a hodge-podge of ideas that should not work, but somehow the whole thing holds together into an unsettling, coherent whole.


The Roots
How I Got Over

With their other, more publicised album this year, it’s easy to forget that the Roots started 2010 with the creation of their excellent ninth studio record (finally released in June). We had heard the title track the previous summer, and that only teased at the lyrical brilliance of the rest of the album, along with some of the finest guest appearances yet on a Roots record.



The music of Nick Cave has never really appealed to me. I just didn’t find it captivating. That was also the case with the first Grinderman album. However, something on their second album just clicked with me. At just over forty minutes in length, the record never outstayed its welcome. Cave’s lyrics were infinitely playful, and the music ostentatiously dirty, it was just a joyous, filthy mess of a record. But a heck of a ride.



Stephen Shannon has been around a while, and has impressed in many areas (Halfset being the standout so far), but his first solo album under the moniker Strands, was a pleasure to hear for the first time. A really well produced record, it bears all the hallmarks of being the creation of an experienced composer, and is Shannon’s most confident work to date.


The Infamous Stringdusters
Things That Fly

Bluegrass gets little or no attention on this side of the pond. It’s a very rare treat when someone like Chris Thile comes to town (he did so with Punch Brothers two years ago), and it’s even rarer to hear bluegrass on the radio. That’s why it’s very likely that many of my readers have never heard about this record before now. Whether you’re a bluegrass fan (and if you liked the O Brother soundtrack, you may already be one) or a newcomer to the genre, this is a fantastic album. It’s traditional bluegrass with a contemporary twist, and that’s why it works so well. If your wary about trying it out, have a listen to their cover of U2′s ‘In God’s Country’. You’ll soon be converted.


Oliver Cole
We Albatri

Sometimes us bloggers get it wrong. Initially we can love something so much we fail to see the flaws, this was the case with the debut solo album from former Turn frontman Oliver Cole. It’s a great pop record, showing Cole’s knack for a great hook, but perhaps not the groundbreaking masterpiece I first thought. That said, it’s still perfect for warming up a cold night.


Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses
Junky Star

Not only did he release the best country song of the year in the Academy Award-winning ‘The Weary kind’ (taken from Crazy Heart), but in 2010, Ryan Bingham also released his best studio album yet. His third album in four years, Junky Star shows Bingham coming of age, perhaps in part thanks to tricks and tips he picked up from with T-Bone Burnett. At just 25, there’s a lot more fantastic americana left in this boy yet.


Cap Pas Cap
Haunted Light

Full of wonderful textures and interesting sounds, the debut album from Cap Pas Cap is an energetic thrill-ride, marking the band out as the Irish answer to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Produced by Strands’ Stephen Shannon, it’s a work of heart, with everything poured into it’s 34 minutes and 10 tracks. It’s the funkiest music you can dance to this year.


The Mighty Stef
TMS and the Baptists

Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, the Mighty Stef. What have they all got in common? They write excellent protest songs, like ‘We Want Blood’, the standout track on the new album from the Mighty Stef. The album itself is a marked improvement on his previous works, and sticks two fingers to the man in the most charming way possible. You can’t help but be won over.


Bill Coleman
You Can’t Buy Back Your Life

The best-packaged album of the year was a treat for all the senses. The hands and eyes felt out a wonderfully hand-crafted work, while the ears heard a polished pop-rock album from one of Ireland’s most underrated singer-songwriters. Highlights from his coloured EPs (check out Black and Blue particularly) are re-presented here, and fit in wonderfully alongside the passionate new tunes. Lyrically captivating, it’s one of the most infectious pop albums of the year. He’s not just another singer songwriter.

Read more:

Related posts:

  1. List: Top 100 Albums of 2010 – 50-41
  2. List: Top 100 Albums of 2010 – 100-76
  3. List: Top 100 Albums of 2010 – 75-51
  4. List: Irish Acts’ own favourite Albums of 2010 Part 2
  5. List: Irish Acts’ own favourite Albums of 2010 Part 1

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