Blitzen Trapper

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Top 21? But weren’t there 25 last year? Well yes. And it was only 15 the year before that. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not that rigid around here – all we really care about is letting you know what we’re loving right now and that’s about it. If we only fall for one record next year then you can probably expect “WiAC’s Top 1 Album of 2011″. It’ll be a good one, though. We promise.

That said, this year was a great year for music. But it was great in a different way than the last couple years. In 2008 and 2009 we fell hard for debut records by new bands (Grand Archives and Harlem Shakes, respectively), but this year our top 5 went to nearly all familiar faces. In fact, I think when we look back on 2010 what we’ll remember most was how artist after artist that released an anticipated album just seemed to deliver - and not just by making good records, but often by making the record of their career. In a year where we listened to more music than ever, we just couldn’t deny that these were the albums we enjoyed the most. Period.

Finally, remember that this list represents our favorite albums of the year, and not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this list would probably look a little different. But we’re not critics, so we’re going to skip all the posturing and taste-making mumbo-jumbo. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year – the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. Basically, this is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2010…

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To get ready for the All Hallow’s weekend here’s a playlist of what we think are genuinely creepy songs. With only a few exceptions, they’re mostly low-key acoustic songs, the kind you might hear around a campfire, somewhere far out in the woods. Only a couple deal with “monsters” per say (one mummy and one vampire, respectively), the rest are centered around the real-life kind of monsters – bloodthirsty sociopaths on hellish road-trips, spurned-lovers who become violently unhinged, and nightmarish butchers who come for your children in the night. A lot of the tunes are pretty, but if you listen close, these songs will keep you up at night…

mp3: Elliott Smith – Son of Sam

mp3: Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer

mp3: The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song

mp3: Mason Jennings – Jackson Square

mp3: Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

mp3: Josh Ritter – The Curse

mp3: Joshua James – Farmer From The West

mp3: Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

mp3: A.A. Bondy – Oh The Vampyre

mp3: Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone

mp3: Kings of Leon – Joe’s Head

mp3: Okkervil River – For Real

mp3: The Decemberists – Shankill Butchers

mp3: Mason Jennings – Isabella Part II

mp3: Sun Kil Moon – Glenn Tipton

Also, on a less creepy note, here’s a Halloween-themed video for Jeremy Messersmith’s quite beautiful “A Girl, A Boy, and a Graveyard”. Happy Halloween!

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