Words by Braden Fletcher. Images copyright of their respective owners
Maximum Balloon – Maximum Balloon
With collaborations from everyone from Theophilus London to Karen O, Dave Stiek’s (TV On the Radio) solo venture is uplifting, funky and atmospheric all at the same time. The collaborations make this feel like what Mark Ronson would do if he liked LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and Caribou. So yes, this opens the top 15.
Listen to: Tiger, Communion, Groove Me
White Rabbits – It’s Frightening
The second album from New York 6 piece White Rabbits is a near faultless and solid record. Each album track has had the same attention to detail as the singles and even after the brilliant opening of Percussion Gun, the rest is no letdown. If you like powerful and yet laid back rock and roll, you’ll love this. Intricate rhythms and a great cross of electricity and acoustic instrumentation means this had to make this list.
Listen to: Percussion Gun, Rudie Falls, Company I Keep
B.o.B – The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Aaahh, a mainstream rap album from the man that made Airplanes. Fear not, because there’s so much more to this man and album. The debut brings collaborations from the likes of Eminem to Rivers Cuomo, and I’m not even sure it needs them all. BoB is both a competent singer and rapper with a nick for a good track. It’s my hip-hop album of the year, for lyrical brilliance and for mixing such diverse influences, even if it’s not completely consistent.
Listen to: Magic, Don’t Let Me Fall, Airplanes pt.2
Jonsi – Go
A fantastic solo album from Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi. Breaking away from collaborations for a straight up one man effort, the production and song writing of Jonsi is just phenomenal. If you’re relaxedly in awe of Sigur Ros, then you’ll probably just end up smiling to this. Most crimes would sound happy if soundtracked by this album, it could probably fix the recession.
Listen to: Go Do, Around Us, Boy Lilikoi
Coming before Jan 2nd 2011, 8-1!, Playlist of the year, Artists of 2010 and the IF 2011 watchlist. Watch this space and remember to be kind.