Top Records of 2010

This has been a tradition since I started this blog. While I have moved all of my music blogging to my tumblog and, I've continued to do a year end roundup on this blog. I used to do a top ten and I would post every day for ten days (sometimes eleven or twelve days), but I collapsed that to one post a few years ago. I'll do that again this year. Here are the records I enjoyed the most this year:

Sir Lucious Left Foot - Big Boi – This record is so much fun. In classic Big Boi/Outkast fashion, it combines hip hop and R&B into something unique and special. It's my favorite record of the year.

Brothers - Black Keys – I think this is the best record yet from the awesome blues rock duo from Akron Ohio. It was a close runner up for record of the year.

Teen Dream – Beach House – Beach House's dreamy music held sway in our home all year long. If you check out my profile, you'll see that this record got more listens in our home than any other this year.

Gorilla Manor – Local Natives – My favorite new band of the year, this indie rock band from LA has a great sound combining cool afro guitar and excellent harmonies.

Down By The Way – Angus and Julia Stone – We discovered this brother and sister duo from Down Under late in the year, but even so, this record was the eighth most listened record all year with only about six weeks of air time. It became our standard morning music late in the year.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West – @kanyewest got on twitter and got his mojo back and this record is on non stop in our family right now. This is another record that was in the top ten in listens this year with only a few weeks of air time.

The Wild Hunt – The Tallest Man On Earth – The "Swedish Bob Dylan" put out a great record that was another our morning music standbys.

This Is Happening - LCD Soundsytem – The Gotham Gal wasn't a fan and wouldn't let me play this much until she saw them live at ACL. After that, this record got more rotation. This record is pure fun, perfect for getting your energy up for a late night or anything else.

The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green – Almost perfect soul and R&B from the current master of the genre. 

The Suburbs – Arcade Fire – This was a hard choice as there were really solid records from some of our favorites this year. But on the strength of the outstanding Sprawl II, I am making this one my tenth and final top pick.

Other favorites – Come Around Sundown – KOL (Gotham Gal loves this record), Write About Love – Belle and Sebastian, High Violet – The National, Broken Bells – Broken Bells, Recovery – Eminem, Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons.

Mixtapes – All Day – Girltalk, I Am Taylor Gang – Wiz Khalifa, Vizzy Zone – XV

For the next ten days, until the end of the year, I will feature a track from one of my top ten records on and Check them out if you want to sample some of this music.

#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. jfccohen

    Fred -When we met, I was totally inspired by your thinking. Little did I know we share a similar taste in music! A couple of other artists you may love: Janelle Monae, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Yeasayer (I’m sure you know them).Have a great holiday and a fantastic trip.Jake

    1. Dave Pinsen

      “A couple of other artists you may love: Janelle Monae, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Yeasayer (I’m sure you know them).”From Fred’s post:The Suburbs – Arcade Fire – This was a hard choice as there were really solid records from some of our favorites this year. But on the strength of the outstanding Sprawl II, I am making this one my tenth and final top pick.

    2. fredwilson

      i will check out Janelle. i know the others wellthanks

      1. Leah | ohheygreat

        Here to second Janelle Monae – start with her EP, Metropolis: The Chase Suite.

  2. David Noël

    Been waiting for your list, it’s a great selection! Glad to see Tallest Man and Angus & Julia making the top.

  3. Camilla C

    Nice, Fred! Not surprisingly, a solid top 10 list… I think 2010 was a great year for some good, interesting music. I’m compiling my top 25 albums and songs lists and I’m sure I’ll have some overlaps with you. Oh, but no love for Sufjan Stevens’ The Age of Adz? Or Deerhunter’s Halcyon Digest? I probably had those 2 albums on repeat for a good chunk of this year!Happy holidays!~camilla

    1. fredwilson

      i could not get into the new sufjan. i really triedi need to give that deerhunter record a listen. i hear it is really good.

      1. reece

        new Sufjan was definitely a let down.

      2. Camilla C

        i adore the new sufjan… even more after i went to see the recent show up at the beacon. i think a few more listens is deserved.i’ve been meaning to check out the new Big Boi album… given it’s on the top of your list and the comments here, i’m motivated to download it today!

  4. theschnaz

    What? No Kid Cudi? How can that be?…I started listening to Kid Cudi last year because of blogs like this one!I’m a Kanye fan, but his new album is overrated.

    1. fredwilson

      the new Kid Cudi hasn’t roped me in yet. my son loves it though

      1. theschnaz

        It took a little while to rope me in, but I’m in now and it’s great. Keepgiving it a chance.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Kid Cudi Man on the Moon (first one) was on my son’s Christmas list — just ordered from Amazon. Between him and AVC/, I am being “enlightened.”

  5. Andy Rosenberg

    Love the nod to @kanyewest here. Pretty amazing how Twitter played a role in humanising Kanye after TaylorSwiftgate. Im’ma let you finish, but Twitter deserves a lot of the credit for this album’s success.

  6. CheetahDeals Blog

    (You may tell from my avatar that I love Yeezy.)You really think Brothers is the best–or even perhaps the best–BK album? I couldn’t stand it. Thickfreakness and Rubber Factory just destroy everything in their paths. The Leadbelly cover album was conceptually cool. But this latest album sounds kind of wane to me.

  7. Jack Bogdan

    If you didn’t hear it, ‘Further’ by The Chemical Brothers was amazing!

    1. fredwilson

      thanks, i have not heard it. will give a listen

  8. ShanaC

    My pop cultural knowledge is getting there – at least I recognize some of the names…

    1. Donna Brewington White

      That makes me feel better, Shana.Although, I must say that my musical tastes are expanding via AVC. Who knew that THIS is where I would find new ways to relate to my teen!

      1. ShanaC

        I’m weird, I can’t tel the difference between a lot of these bands (though I did fall in love with Wavves from here). If you asked me to descibe Nico Muhly, I could do so in a heartbeat…really odd for a 20 something…

  9. reece

    Awesome list – I’m with you on most of it, but no Stornoway, huh? “Zorbing” is fantastic. I thought they might sneak on there.Also, The Naked and the Famous album has caught on with me lately… “Young Blood” is so freaking catchy.

    1. Camilla C

      totally agree that “Young Blood” is quite catchy. cool video for the song too….

    2. fredwilson

      stornoway was on constantly when we are in london, but i haven’t listened since we got backi will check out the naked and famous

      1. reece

        funny how some music can really ‘stick’ to a certain time/place and beirrelevant afterward.

        1. David Noël

          Yep, seasons: I can listen to a song in the summer and remember: hey, I’ve obsessed over this during the winter.

  10. Tim Devane

    absolutely agree on Sir Lucious Left Foot. #1 grammy snub this year, overshadowed by Kanye.

    1. fredwilson

      the grammy’s are a joke most of the time

  11. George Howard

    Fred,Great list. Saw Big Boi at Moog Fest this year – unreal.I assume you’ve heard all the Local Natives riches on Daytrotter:…[disclosure: i do business affairs/marketing, etc. for Daytrotter).best,George

    1. fredwilson

      no i have not, but i will now

  12. BrianD

    No soundtracks ?This might interest you or distract.Fileplanet has a bunch of game soundtracks (ambient) for download. They are worth grabbing.

    1. fredwilson

      game soundtracks? cool, i will check them out

  13. Chipotle

    As always a strong list. I second the recommendation of Janelle Monae’s record. It’s excellent and she’s better live. I also recommend giving Lissie, Peter Wolf Crier, The Head and The Heart, First Aid Kit, and Sarah Jaffe a listen.

    1. fredwilson

      i know first aid kit, will check out the othersthanks

  14. Andrew Greene

    James Blackshaw – All is FallingFantastic 12 string guitarist!

    1. fredwilson

      cooli will check him out

  15. Kenny Johnson

    re Belle and Sebastian, Isobel Campbell (brilliant original member from their early records) & Mark Lanegan made a fantastic covers record called Hawk. Got more play than Write About Love for me this year. Checkout “Come Undone”.

    1. fredwilson

      thankswill do

      1. daryn

        The Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan album is fantastic, as were their previous releases together, as were Mark’s solo releases back in the 90s. Definitely worth checking out if you aren’t familiar.The Phosphorescent album would be on my top 10, especially after an amazing live show. Also, this year’s Deer Tick album, though both of those might be a little country for your liking.

  16. Andrew Greene

    I also have to give a plug to WFMU.orgSome of the music is hard to listen to, but they play music that’s not played on any other station. You will hear music from Madagascar, Gamelan, Irish hip-hop, Cumbia, free jazz, etc.Favorite DJs are: Trouble, DJ/Rupture, Irene Trudel, Jeffrey Davison, Billy Jam, Monica, Fabio, and Bryce.

  17. andyswan

    Antoine Dodson won 2010

  18. Mark Zohar

    For me, 2010 was the year of the EP. Most notably, “Broken Dreams Club” by Girls, “Color Your Life” by Twin Sister, “Go Outside” by Cults, “Wilderness” by Active Child, “Real Life Color” by Magic Man, “Valusia” by Zola Jesus, “Boyfriend” by We Are Trees, “Young” by Summer Camp and “TV Girl” by TV Girl.In terms of albums, in addition to some on your list, I’d add:Phosphorescent – Here’s to Taking it EasyDelorean – SubizaMenomena – MinesSurfer Blood – Astro CoastFirst Aid Kit – The Big, Bad and the BlueThe Radio Dept – Clinging to a SchemeAgnes Obel – PhilharmonicsWarpaint – The FoolThe Love Language – LibrariesLocal Natives – Gorilla ManorGold Panda – Lucky ShinerPerfume Genius – LearningHow To Dress Well – Love RemainsSharon van Etten – EpicLower Dens – Twin Hand MovementTamaryn – The WavesFrankie Rose and the Outs – Little Brown Haired GirlsS. Carey – All We GrowTwo Door Cinema – Tourist HistoryAnais Mitchell – HadestownBasically, it was a good year for new music!

      1. HearYa

        The Low Anthem’s new album is also pretty great.

        1. Mark Zohar

          Yeah, I saw them perform in a small church in Toronto this year. They cast a spell on their audience. I’m a big fan of theirs.

        2. Mark Zohar

          If “Ghost Woman Blues” is any indication, it’s going to be great. .

    1. rich caccappolo

      Good call on Two Door Cinema

    2. fredwilson

      I’m a huge fan of the EP movement. Less is moreThanks for the list. Begs for a playlist on 8tracks

      1. Gerald Buckley

        I can just imagine Brad and Albert flashing USV signs to each other in the hallway as they pass by listening to some of your jams. (That’s a fun thing… not a diss)

  19. rich caccappolo

    Fred, solid list – I agree with those on the list I’ve heard. I have not yet gotten into Gorilla Manor. I’m surprised you didn’t have Vampire Weekend on your list… Albums on my list: New Politics, Foals, Tokyo Police Club, Das Racist, Robyn, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (though this may have been a late 2009 release)…and Abe Vigoda, if only for their name

    1. fredwilson

      Abe Vigoda is the best band name everI OD’d on vampire weekend

    1. Mark Zohar

      Great list. Thanks for the link.

    2. Chipotle

      Funny running into you here. Hear Ya is excellent. I check it daily, and am pretty sure it’s where I found Peter Wolf Crier and The Head And The Heart.

    3. fredwilson

      Not sure to take that as a diss or a compliment :)Thanks for the link. I will check it out

  20. FlavioGomes

    Great List Fred! Any thoughts of adding some Xmas songs to the list? Ha no?Well I thought I’d send you a Video Christmas song instead of a boring old card. Thanks for a great Blog! some stuff I do in my spare time)I’d recommend checking out a band called pomplamoose. Best to go to youtube to find them. A great sound. Jack Conte Pioneered the VideoSong generation. Essentially the videos are live on the floor recordings…no lip syncing. If you hear it you will eventually see it.Cheers and good healthFlavio

  21. whitneymcn

    Taking this in a slightly different direction, this perfectly illustrates why Tumblr and ExFM now provide so much of my new music input.I know that you and I have a fair amount of overlap in musical tastes, but your 2010 list has very little overlap with my (entirely hypothetical) 2010 list; rather than feeding me music based on the music I’m already listening to, the idiosyncratic, eccentric beauty that is human taste points me to stuff that lies around the edges — music that’s related to what I already love, but in ways that may be hard to define.

    1. ShanaC

      but how do you get the music off That problem has driven me crazy (and discovery)

      1. whitneymcn

        The part of ExFM that can seem weird at first is that you *don’t* get themusic off of ExFM. It’s not particularly a tool for finding music todownload (though it ends up doing that, too), but rather a tool that keepstrack of all the music that you come across as you browse the Web and letsyou play that music — wherever the actual audio files may live — from yourExFM library.Discovery hasn’t been a problem for me because I tend to browse a lot ofmusic blogs in any case, so my ExFM library is pulling in a lot of new musicall the time; that said, I think that ExFM doesn’t yet do a great job ofhelping you get started finding sources for new music if you’re not a musicgeek to begin with.The social component (ability to “follow” other ExFM users and listen tomusic that they note within ExFM) introduced in the last release addressesthat issue to some extent, but I’d still love to see something that helpsnew users find other sources across the Web that post the kinds of musicthat you like:

    2. fredwilson


  22. Kevin

    I do not buy a ton of music. When I do it it typically on iTunes. When I clicked through to a few of these albums, they were all $5.00 on Amazon, so I checked iTunes just to see. Most were $7.99 there. That’s a huge difference.

    1. fredwilson

      I have never bought music on iTunes. One of the many things I detest aboutapple

  23. Grant Miller

    wow, i’m impressed… the inclusion of the Local Natives album is spot on. LCD is definitely an album that is appreciated more with a live performance tied to it. I agree with earlier mentions of Naked & Famous; Yeasayer; and I’ll have to add the new Twin Shadow & Broken Social Scene albums into the mix as it is one of my favorites of the year. And next year’s Local Natives is a SF band: Geographer, their album Animal Shapes is stunning.

  24. andrewpascoe

    Happy to see Angus & Julia Stone on the list! Saw them twice this, at a small venue and a more majestic one (both in London) and they were great both times – was worried the bigger venue would see them get lost but it wasn’t so.Have made a Spotify playlist of most the albums (The Arcade Fire don’t seem to be on Spotify) available here:

  25. andrewpascoe

    Also, the new album fron Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley fame) with her (I think) boyfriend John someone is growing on me – Jenny & Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now is the LP name.!/artist/

  26. NICCAI

    I would switch Broken Bells and Arcade Fire. 😀 (Always one of my favorite posts of the year – miss your music posts.)

  27. Travis Valentine

    Awesome list, Fred. I’ll have to check the others out. If you haven’t checked out Kanye’s Runaway movie, do so, even if it’s only for the remix of Power that he does about 6 minutes in. I wish he’d release that, personally. Can’t wait to see CDs from Wiz Khalifa, Andre 3000, Outkast, and even Dr. Dre in 2011.I’m not sure if you’ve heard the new Roots album, but it’s awesome. B.o.B and Wale are good listens too, if you haven’t heard those already. (Wale’s mixtapes are great.) The new Kid Cudi CD is okay, definitely different from his first, but still good.

    1. fredwilson

      I will check out all of these. The runaway movie sounds great

  28. Prokofy

    I look forward to looking all those up because I never heard of any of them at all except for Kanye of course.Funny how us old folks go on calling these things “records,” even though they aren’t those big plastic circular things any more they’re…they’re…well, you tell me. Bytes? What do you call “a cluster of bytes formed into a song”?My daughter asked me curiously what were these “big CDs” in the cupboard and how they could be played. That’s what she called my old 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. I’m afraid I’m old enough to remember the 76 RPM as well..She thought the cover art on them was so cool she took them all and hung them up all over her room. So that’s how my Sgt. Pepper’s got into less-than-mint condition. Ah, well…

  29. mstearne

    The Kanye movie looked so good. I definitely will check out the Sir Lucious Left Foot/Big Boi.

  30. Bryan J Wilson

    Fred, you know your tastes are hipper than most twenty-somethings’, right? I continue to be impressed. Happy holidays!

    1. fredwilson

      That’s because I live with three very hip kids and of course the Gotham gal

  31. Rich

    Fabulous to see some Australian and New Zealand tracks (Stones& The Naked and the Famous) getting a spot. Here’s some more names you might want to check out…Bluejuice (Broken Legs), Sarah blasko (Flame Trees), Kid Sam (Sunday Bus) …a mixed bunch

  32. Jake D.

    In full agreement with this list and many of the comments, but had to put in a plug for Jonsi’s “Go” which was neck and neck with Beach House for my favorite of 2010. Also the most spectacular live show I witnessed this year, last month at the Hammerstein Ballroom.Always love comparing lists with people who share the same taste as me – thanks for posting.

    1. fredwilson

      I should have given jonsi a mention

  33. Chris Kurdziel

    Fred,Great picks. Hadn’t given the Cee Lo album much thought until seeing it here, but really enjoying it now that I’ve taken it for a few spins. Thanks for the rec!

  34. Wills Hapworth

    Dig the music selection, would add Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses, Decemberists and Fleet Foxes to the list as well.Fred, you’re ahead of the trends in all categories…changing gears, what do you do to wrap present? Reason i ask is because I can’t stand the idea of using the same amount of materials that i just did, for the next X years of life on every Christmas…maybe better question is what’s on you Christmas list and what are you gifting out…

    1. fredwilson

      We don’t exchange presents anymore. My kids are grown up. We give each otherhugs now

      1. Wills Hapworth

        that’s the spirit!

    2. Mike

      I loved “cease to begin” but the new Band of Horses album didnt do much for me.

  35. markslater

    This is my fav part of the fw blog. you and i over the years have shared more comments about music than any other subject.The single finest piece of audio art this year is eminem. It’s a superb album. I don’t listen to a lot of hip hop I grew up in the rave era in London. This album has shown me not to judge before giving something a chance. It remains on very heavy rotationBest to you and yours Fred for the holiday season

    1. fredwilson

      Em and Kanye got their mojo back in 2010. It was a good year

  36. markslater

    For all u newer folks this blog used to dissolve once a week in to a huge music debate. Those were the days 😉

    1. fredwilson


  37. ericstern

    Happy to see Angus and Julia Stone on here. Been into them since a friend introduced me a couple years ago. Have you heard their first album, Book Like This? Really good – better than their new one, I think. They were in NYC in November but I missed them unfortunately…From Book Like This on Youtube:Silver Coin:…Mango Tree:

  38. Ahagan

    Who knew Fred was a hip-hop head. I am very impressed by his scope of music!! truly well rounded!

  39. BmoreWire

    I really think the Kanye West album is massively over-rated. I mean Pitchfork gave it a 10 and now you have it on your top albums of the year. Does itunes have their mp3’s mis-labeled or something because I’m hearing run of the mill mediocre hip hop….

  40. cgboyle

    If you have not already, check out for new stuff. Its hard to stay up with new acts (kids still at Wiggles age), so this provides a great window into new bands, including Local Natives. My other favorite these days is Dawes.

  41. kraximus

    Fred, great list once again. I love your yearly roundup in music. My only add would be Wolf Parade “Expo 86.” They put out an awesome album that was on constant repeat in June/July. Check them out if you haven’t already.

  42. Keenan

    Record? What’s a record?

    1. fredwilson

      A conscious choice of words to date myself

  43. walldawg

    +1 for the Black Keys, it was on my short list too. My fav album this year is Dark Light by Lovers.

  44. Derrick

    Great List. Maybe not your cup of tea, but I LOVED Titus Andronicus The Monitor. Great new punk with nods to Pixies, Bright Eyes and Springsteen.

    1. fredwilson

      I need to check that out

  45. Rick

    Interesting selection, will definitely check some of these out. Have a hard time accepting Kanye though because of the whole MTV music awards episode. Listening to him and purchasing his album, for me, somehow validates his behavior.

    1. fredwilson

      Follow him on TwitterYou can start to understand him

  46. spider09

    I remember a year ago being shocked at the number of overlap between our music of the year. This year’s no different. Here’s my list:1. Winter of Mixed Drinks — Frightened Rabbit (a couple of the songs here are downright entrepreneurial challenges of testing yourself!!)2. High Violet — The National3. The Suburbs — Arcade Fire4. Gorilla Manor — Local Natives5. Broken Bells — Broken Bells6. Treats — Sleigh Bells7. Here’s to Taking it Easy — Phosphorescent8. The Monitor — Titus Andronicus9. Lisbon — The Walkmen10. Sigh No More — Mumford and SonsHonorable Mention:Transference — Spoon (this was a VERY tough one to leave off the top ten list)Brothers — Black KeyesJonsi — GoAll Day — Girl Talk (I admit it; I’m a sucker for this stuff)My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy — Kanye West Delta Spirit — History from BelowContra — Vampire WeekendWhen We Were Wild — The Orbans (local — to me — band, but if you like hook-y Americana/rock, check it out)Thank you for all the great posts this year, and I wish you and your family a great holiday and a happy and successful new year.

  47. Yoseph West

    Sir Lucious Left Foot being your favourite album of the year is quite the endorsement. I’ll definitely check it out.Sorry about the two comments. I was trying to sign in to Disqus and the text I’d written had disappeared.. or so I thought :).

  48. Spencer

    The good news is you are not planning to leave the VC business on a whim that your real calling is finding music talent! Wheewww, thank goodness the Gotham Gal has a retractable leash thingy…But consistencies what we value about you Fred. In this case your record of “hits” in music closely approximates your ‘real’ track record in “The Business” of business…2 outta 10. Hooray for consistency…Now, regarding that ultimate entrepreneurial gene requirement…relentless persistence…keep workin at “it” (both!)ANd have a Happy New Year!

  49. Brandon Evans

    Love Beach House and Angus and Julia Stone, now in constant rotation. Thanks for those.

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