The Best Rock ‘n Roll and Indie Rock Albums of 2010

2010’s been a great and terrible year for rock music. We’ve got some great new music but it’s also brought us some unfortunate music tragedies. Wolf Parade, Poison The Well and Slipknot are on hiatus. Haste The Day, Crime in Stereo and The Fall of Troy are dead. And Lady Gaga came out with a new remixed album. Yikes. But this year has also brought us a lot of laughs, smiles, circle pits, and sore necks from airborne crowd surfers. Below, we select our favourite rock ‘n roll and indie rock album releases of 2010.

Billy-Shane’s Top 5 List

High Violet — The National

The National is an absolutely kickass rock band from Ohio. The band’s been around for 11 years and put out five albums, the most recent being this one: High Violet. While not their most rockin’ album, it makes for great chill music. It’s romantic in a calm and maybe even sad kind of way. I wouldn’t call it happy, but I feel nice when I listen to it. It’s great music to put on before bed, when relaxing, when on a date, and sometimes I’ll even listen to it while working — although rarely, because it’s a bit of a downer, and I design better when dancing around to more upbeat music.

Interested? Check out the video for “Bloodbuzz Ohio.” The singer does a pretty good job of pretending to be a drunkard (is he pretending?) and the song gives me chills. I’d say it’s my favourite track of the year. You’ll love it.

I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone – Crime in Stereo

This one brings a tear to my eye. When I went to go see Lifestory:Monologue, one of my favourite local bands a band I had never heard of — Crime in Stereo — was the headlining. They had great live performance, weird haircuts, great upbeat punk rock music and lots of energy. I loved them. I was so happy to have found them . . . and then they broke up. A week after I heard of them they were gone.

They’ve got a wicked upbeat punk rock sound with a couple slow tracks. Lots of singing and yelling (no screaming, mind). Not a fan of hardcore or punk music? You’ll probably still like these guys. Check out the track “Not Dead” and Small Skeletal. The whole CD’s great. I highly recommend you grab it.

Sea of Cowards – The Dead Weather

This is my gritty rock ‘n roll pick of the year. The Dead Weather has a gritty groovin’ sound all their own. They’re an American alt-rock band formed in Nashville. Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) teamed up with Alison Mosshart (The Kills, Discount), making it a “supergroup”.

How’d that happen? By accident, really. When Jack lost his voice during a live performance Alison, a member of one of the opening bands, filled in for him. It went damn well, so they decided to team up for a 7-inch. That went well too, so they decided to form a band. And Hell did that ever go well.

Their fist album, Horehound, is great. “Treat Me Like Your Mother”, the hit single, is absolutely amazing. I racked up 200 plays in a week. Their single for the new album is pretty badass too. More girls should wear black lipstick.

Expo 86 – Wolf Parade

Wolf Parade is an indie rock  band from Montreal. The album’s full of great guitar textures, tons of keyboards and the music is upbeat and fun. Ghost Pressure is my favourite track, but the whole album’s rad. I’ve got a lot of respect for Wolf Parade — and not just because Dan Boeckner (lead vocals / lead guitar) married my cousin Alexei. Their latest album is pretty incredible. Expo 86 has a rather interesting and somewhat embellished backstory to it. Sadly I hear this may be their last album, as the band is on an indefinite hiatus.

Year of the Black Rainbow – Coheed & Cambria

I can’t help but love Coheed and Cambria’s music. I’ve tried not to like it but it never sticks. I always come back to them. Their albums are a little geeky. I Googled them and now know that they tell the story of “The Amory Wars”, a science fiction storyline written by the vocalist Claudio Sanchez. Year of the Black Rainbow fits into the storyline as a prequel to the other 4 albums. My favourite track, Far, just seems like a run of the mill (but nice) love song. I never would have guessed it was part of an epic story that takes place on 78 planets and involves saving Heaven’s Fence from the supreme tri-mage. I suppose I should have guessed from the videos.

Crystal Castles came out with a pretty rad album too.

Jared’s Top 5 List

Emarosa – Emarosa

For those who don’t know – allow me to introduce Jonny Craig. The American-raised Canadian singer says his influences are gospel music and Boys II Men. Anytime someone lists Boys II Men as an influence I immediately head to Myspace to check them out. Jonny Craig used to be the singer of Dance Gavin dance until he was kicked out. The members of Emarosa are super talented and seem to be the perfect fit for Craig’s unique style. Some people worry he’s taking too much on (solo project, Emarosa, Isles & Glaciers, and…Dance Gavin Dance…again) but he shows no signs of slowing down. I just wish he’d ditch the New Era cap. Fred Durst did.

Bring Me The Horizon – There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen it. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret.

There was a time when I really disliked BMTH mainly because the Oli’s vocals were nearly impossible to listen to … the other reason was because their fans were generally 14 year old scene girls. It wasn’t even all that long ago but the last two albums they released have made it hard not to be a fan of the British hooligans. The lyrics feel a lot more personal than ever and the while the riffs are less technical (some would call this an improvement…) they build up well and create a lot of energy. Besides, Josh Scogin and Lights are featured on it. And everyone likes Lights. Right?

A Day To Remember – What Separates You From Me

I’ve been listening to A Day To Remember since they were on Indianola Records (way back). They originally couldn’t decide whether to be a hardcore band or a pop-punk band – so they became both. I always enjoyed a few of their songs but their songs never really tied together into a great album. ‘What Separates You From Me’ was a big turnaround for the band. Their heavy parts got heavier and their catchy parts became catchier. They really pulled it together this album – every song is worth listening to. ‘All I Want’ and ‘2nd Sucks’ are incredible songs that cater to both types of listeners. Check it out above.

The Chariot – Long Live!

Warning: Don’t listen to this unless you like your music heavy. The band originally famous for being fronted by Josh Scogin (ex Norma Jean) and for having way too much feedback – has come out with another spectacular album. Somehow this band keeps shattering band norms with unparalleled live performances with every show upstaging their last. ‘Long Live!’ reminds me most of an evolution of their original debut (even right down to the monotone silver ink album artwork) which is fine by me. Recorded mediums will never do this band justice. The video above is from their old CD but you can check out this video to get an idea of what you’ve been missing.

Alexisonfire – Dog’s Blood

Although this is just an EP, it was a welcomed change from Alexis. While I’ve enjoyed all of their releases, it was nice to hear Alexis playing something more reminiscent of the old days…a little harder, more emotional, and progressive – the original reason they were loved in the first place.

Honourable Mentions…

Crystal Castles (2010)
A Rose By Any Other Name – One For My Master, One For My Dame
Deftones – Diamond Eyes

Have something to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Rebecca Leach on March 29, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I must admit… I tried the black lipstick after reading this post. I was in love until I found out how easily it smudges 🙁

    very good post 🙂

    • W. Shane Duquette on March 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Aw I say stick with it! Just don’t use your lips when you go out 😉

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