Our Favorite Local Albums of 2010

, Staff

2010 was another great year for local music. It seems every day that another awesome new album from a New England band arrived in our mailbox. It’s a true testament to all the superbly talented bands that make up the local music scene. From brand new bands’ debut efforts to established Boston bands, it was tough to select but here are our favorite full-length albums of the year. We also added a handful of EPs that were worthy of praise. Check them out and go support local music! (Listed in no particular order)

Full-Lengths

Kingsley Flood – Dust Windows: You probably have heard this year’s BMA winners for “New Artist of the Year” even if the name doesn’t sound familiar. “Cul de Sac”, the standout track off their debut album, was used in commercials for WBZ-TV. Pick up the full album, though, and you will not be disappointed. We certainly were not. Other favorite tracks include “Roll Of The Dice” and “Cathedral Walls”.

Oranjuly – Oranjuly
: This power-pop outfit soars with beautiful Beach Boys-like harmonies on their debut album. The band has been compared to Weezer and we have to agree. The album is a real enjoyable listen, like the perfect compliment to a summertime drive. Standout tracks include “Her Camera” and “I Could Break Your Heart.”

Shadwell – Clarity: The winners of the 2009 BMS Battle of the Bands delivered a gem in this Brit-pop flavored album. Soaring vocals combine with great musicianship for an album that was constantly on repeat. Standout tracks include “Everybody” and “Chemical Weapon”.

Viva Viva – Viva Viva: After impressing crowds across the Hub with an energetic live show, the band have finally released their self-titled debut. Their website simply states “Viva Viva is Rock & Roll”. Simple and easy enough, but these guys are highly talented and definitely know to deliver infectious power-pop tunes with a tinge of 60/70’s vibe. Standout tracks include “Keep Lookin’, Good Lookin’” and the harmonica-laced “Sympathy for the Devil’s Little Helper”.

Autumn Hollow Band – Love Letters and Ransom Notes
: It took two years to complete but the wait was well worth it for this debut album from the local Americana favorites, who have helped spearhead the New England American series. Infectious songs that boast great harmonies and pedal steel (come on, when was the last time you saw that in Boston?). Standout tracks include “First It Rains” and “The War of Northern Agression”.

The New Collisions – The Optimist
: After an impressive 2009, this was one of the most highly anticipated releases on the local scene. The band does not disappoint with their full length debut, which was recorded mostly in live takes with producers Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie (The Pixies, Radiohead). Sarah Guild’s shiny vocals soar over songwriters Scott Guild and Alex Stern’s dark lyrics. Standout tracks include “Dying Alone” and “Over”.

Mello Bravo – Strut
: A good old straight up rock and roll album. The band delivers a classic rock sound with a bolt of energy driven by standout tracks “Must Be My Woman” and “Hard Timin'”.

Ryan Montbleau Band – Heavy On The Vine: 2010 was quite a year for these veterans, who have built a rabid following in the Northeast. Produced by Martin Sexton, the new album features the band in a more stripped down atmosphere, while retaining their diverse range of influences. Standout tracks include “Songbird” and “Chariot (I Know)”.

Peter Wolf – Midnight Souvenirs
: The J. Geils Band frontman’s first solo release in the past eight years was a true triumph. Backed by a band of ace sidemen, Wolf reclaims his magic with help from Shelby Lynne and Neko Case, who shine in standout tracks “Tragedy” and “The Green Fields of Summer”.

Guster – Easy Wonderful: The Tufts-bred veterans returned with their first album in four years. Though longer than what we had hoped for, the wait was well worth it. The album title perfectly describes this album, which features standout tracks “Do You Love Me” and “Bad Bad World”.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves – Come and Get It: Boston’s soul star has been all over the globe over the past couple of years and with his sophomore effort/Capital Records debut, things are bound to only get better. Backed by an impeccable band, Reed’s vocals soar with his signature throwback Motown feel. Standout tracks include “Come and Get It” and “Time Will Tell”.

Street Dogs – Street Dogs: On the band’s latest effort, frontman Mike McColgan sings, “Well they say punk rock has died away, I don’t believe a word they say. Sing for tomorrow, sing for today, we all need a little punk and roll”. So true. Thankfully, Boston’s Street Dogs keep the torch burning with another great album filled with fist raising anthems. Standout tracks include “Punk Rawk And Roll” and “Rattle and Roll”.

EPs

Dom – Sun Bronzed Greek Gods: Powered by the hit single “Living In America”, this group from Worcester seemingly came out of nowhere and quickly gained national acclaim. Astralwerks will re-release the EP in early 2011.

Mission Hill – Beautiful Addiction: One of our “Top Ten To Watch in 2010”, we recommend that you continue to keep an eye on these local favorites as its only a matter of time before they become a Top-40 hit. This seven-song release is filled with radio-friendly anthems like “Crazy”, “Dancing With Her Eyes Closed” and “Beautiful Addiction”.

Life On Hold – The Run-Around: Another band from our “Top Ten To Watch in 2010”, this young outfit has loads of potential – think Paramore. This 7-track EP displays the band’s progression with standout tracks “Forever and Always” and “The Go-Getter”.

This Blue Heaven – Spinning and Shining: These great power-pop rockers return with a collection of five catchy tunes that are filled with vibrancy. Standout checks include “Nova Love” and “Slow Dance Slow”.

The Cinnamon Fuzz – Cruise of the Century
: Five songs from one of Boston’s best new bands and one that we think we’ll be hearing a lot of in 2011. The band excels with a power-pop/new-wave vibe on standout tracks “Reboot My Heart” and “Now I Know”.

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