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Halfway Home: The Top 10 Albums of the Half-Year

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2010 probably won’t go down as one of the greatest years for music.  Usually reliable artists like The Hold Steady, Band of Horses, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, and Josh Ritter seem to have taken a step back with their newest releases.  Furthermore, there have been very few notable debut albums released in 2010.  The result is a year that is without a truly great album at the halfway point.  However, there have been several very good records released this year.  Here are my 10 favorite albums of the past six months.

10. Product Details The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt The Swedish Bob Dylan tops his fine 2008 debut Shallow Grave.  Best song: “King of Spain.”

9. Product Details Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me The only triple-album of harp-driven indie-folk you’ll ever need.  Best song: “Good Intentions Paving Co.”

8. Product Details Vampire Weekend – Contra Buzz band lives up to the hype with their second album of intelligent, bouncy pop.  Best song: “Taxi Cab.”

7. Product Details Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions  Stark, somber third album from Rhode Island singer/songwriter John McCauley.  Best song: “Mange.”

6.  Product Details Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame Philadelphia band adds The Flaming Lips to their potent mix of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Band.  Best song: “Shame, Shame.”

5.  Product Details Surfer Blood – Astro Coast  Easily the best debut album of the year to this point.This Florida band has released the second best Weezer album ever.  Best song: “Swim.”

4. Product Details The Morning Benders – Big Echo Guitar-driven pop backed by a “wall of sound” that would make Phil Spector proud.  Best song: “Stitches.”

3. Product Details Spoon – Transference This isn’t their best album, but it’s still better than almost anything else released this year.  Best song: “The Mystery Zone.”

2. Product Details The National – High Violet If you like your rock moody and literate, I’d like to introduce you to your new favorite band.  Best song: “Bloodbuzz Ohio.”

1.   Product Details The Black Keys – Brothers Career highlight for the Ohio-based blues/rock duo.  The most complete and enjoyable album released this year.  Best song: “Everlasting Light.”