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Top Indie Albums of 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Top Indie Albums of 2010

If you're an avid reader of Jesusfreakhideout.com and all it has to offer, then you know we have two different classifications for the artists we cover: major label artists and independent artists.  For a little over a year, I've been the main "writing guy" for the indie section (aka, the State of Independents - a nice little name I came up with....okay it was actually John who came up with it, but I liked it).  Ahem.

Earlier in the month, we posted our top ten albums and songs for 2010.  This year, I thought I'd get with some of the other staffers who listen to a lot of independent music and post our lists of the top indie albums we got to hear this year.  Some had big lists, some only picked a few.

Now, it's obviously not possible to have heard every stinkin' indie album put out, so if you don't see an album in any of our lists, it's not necessarily because we didn't like it.  It may just be because we didn't get a chance to check it out - though there is the possibility that we have heard it and none of us liked it ;).  With that being said, I'll kindly ask those who read this: please do not post comments getting angry at us, berating us or threatening our mothers because we didn't list an album or artist.  On the other hand, I do encourage anyone to post their own lists if you so desire.  I'd love to hear what you guys have been listening to this year.  When you do post your comment, keep a few things in mind:

1) the artist has to be an independent artist.  This includes any artist that does not have major/national distribution of their album, regardless of whether they're signed to a label or not (for instance, labels like Come&Live!, Eden Records, Much Luvv Records, etc., despite being legitimate record labels, are considered indie labels due to the fact that they don't have nationwide distribution).  In other words, if you wouldn't find the album in retail chains like Best Buy, Lifeway, WalMart, etc., they are indie. (NOTE: artists like Showbread and Playdough made this list because, despite having been previously signed to major labels, they released albums independently this year)
2) the album has to have been released in 2010 (or late December 2009) to qualify for the list.
3) I know a lot of readers aren't exclusively Christian music listeners, myself included, please keep the lists to Christian artists.  Thanks:)

I know this is getting ridiculously long, and you're just wanting to read the lists.  So I apologize.  Without further ado, here are a few of Jesusfreakhideout's top indie albums of 2010!

Scott Fryberger:
Abel - Lesser Men
-A very strong, and surprising, indie rock record.  Going the independent route didn't seem to hurt them one bit.

Bella Vita - Flight Patterns EP
-Not a perfect album, but good for fans of folk/indie music.  Keep an eye on these guys.

Blood and Water - In Character
-Blood and Water's sophomore album is a fun mixture of pop punk and ska.  With a little more refining, they could easily fit in with the bigger names of the genre.

Bradley Hathaway - A Thousand Angry Panthers
-Deeper and darker (and shorter) than previous Hathaway releases, this may be some of his best work yet.  Very heartfelt and emotional.

dropsci.GIANTS - littleONES
-Four fairly underground emcees come together to create a pretty decent debut EP.  A good offering for fans of Tunnel Rats style hip hop.

The Ember Days - Finger Painting EP
-A gorgeous instrumental landscape, with honest and profound worshipful lyrics mixed in perfectly.

I Am Alpha and Omega - The Roar and the Whisper
-It was a long wait, but this album's arrival was refreshing.  IAAAO gets better with each release.

Listener - Wooden Heart
-Beautiful, passionate, intense - there's almost nothing I don't like about this album (not too fond of the fact that it ended).

Manchild & Jaq - You Don't Know Jaq EP
A short EP showcasing the newfound chemistry of DS5/Mars ILL emcee Manchild and Scribbling Idiots producer Jaq.  Nice little intro to the duo.

Playdough and For Beats' Sake - Writer Dye
-The Dallas, TX, emcee is always at the top of his game, as proven by this generous free offering.  His mic skills and For Beats' Sake's beats will keep you coming back for more.

Preson Phillips - Weep...He Loves The Mourner's Tears
-Skilled with the acoustic guitar and holding nothing back lyrically, this is a worship album to keep on repeat.

Showbread - Who Can Know It?
-Completely different than anything we've ever heard from the raw rock geniuses, but oh so fulfilling and amazing.  Is there anything Dies and company can't do?

Sons of God - The Genesis Prologue EP
-Only three songs, but so so good.  Their very first full length next year is one of my most anticipated.

Your Heart - Autumn
-Some of his best material to date.  Ten songs that capture the overall feel of autumn, and make you want to listen to the album all over again as soon as you're finished.

Sam Schaumberg:
Blood and Water - In Character
By adding an excellent variety of influences to the pop punk sound, Blood and Water presents an impressive album with both fun and thoughtful messages.

Listener - Wooden Heart
When you first listen to Wooden Heart, you catch yourself falling into a period of deep thought. Expect to feel like life is suddenly moving in slow motion.

Playdough – Bible Bus Mixtape
With great flow and tight lyrics, Bible Bus Mixtape further establishes Playdough’s hip-hop talent.

Playdough – Writer Dye
Of his two independent offerings this year, Playdough’s Writer Dye is a great collection with excellent beats and an interesting concept.

Quiet Science - [With/Without]
[With/Without] is a stellar album with a unique sound and a slight techno influence. Multiple listens only improves its quality.

The Wedding – Distance EP
The Wedding has already clearly established their sound, and this year’s independent release further recognizes their ability to create quality rock music.

Willet - Teeth of a Lion, Fangs of a Lioness
Willet has been consistently putting out quality worship music with a soft rock edge for a while now, and this year’s release is one of their finest.

Garrett DeRossett:
Bradley Hathaway - A Thousand Angry Panthers
On Bradley Hathaway’s newest offering, the bar has been raised on every level. Only comprised of four songs but containing the heart of many more, A Thousand Angry Panthers will have you singing, crying, and shouting along with the words before the closing notes are through.

Christie DuPree - EP
Attempting to make it in the independent music world is tough enough without having to follow in the footsteps of your family, especially if your family happens to be in a band called Eisley. In all honesty, though, Christie DuPree’s lovingly handmade EP is a piece of pure gold; simple, airy, and charming, if you can track down this recording at a live show, you won’t be disappointed.

Damien Jurado - Saint Bartlett
Damien Jurado’s newest has been a sleeper favorite for many fans of the indie folk scene, as well as for myself. Picking up Saint Bartlett was a smart move, to say the least; the textures and melodies contained within its twelve tracks are some of the most beautiful I've heard in a while.

The Farewell Drifters - Yellow Tag Mondays
In a world where the bluegrass genre is being left to the old men in overalls, it's refreshing to see the “young folks” picking up their mandolins and banjos and strumming their hearts out with fervor. Yellow Tag Mondays will make you smile the entire way through with an appeal that only a group of extremely excited twenty-somethings with fun instruments can bring.

Fort Christmas - Fort Christmas
As a multi-instrumentalist from my hometown with a hand in projects ranging from Sleeping At Last to MuteMath to an official Switchfoot remix, Jeremy Larson is one of my very favorite artists. His newest side venture, Fort Christmas, documents the story of his recent engagement and will fill your headphones with the catchiest pop sounds this side of the Beach Boys.

Olympians - You Were My Inspiration
It takes quite a bit to compel me to invest in an album by an artist I’ve only seen live, but after attending each of Olympians’ daily performances at Cornerstone, I knew this was a wise purchase. Full of post-rock goodness and a flair for the dramatic, You Were My Inspiration will suit fans of nearly any genre.

Ryan Barbee:
Dustin Ruth – Learn How to Love Someone
Probably one of the more overlooked artists but Dustin Ruth is masterful minstrel of melody.  While not everyone’s taste, the album is truly a treat for simple yet sweet love songs.

The Ember Days - Finger Painting EP
Hands down one of the most methodical offering of music put out for all to hear. From the well thought out instrumentation to the almost liquid flow of vocals, this is the album to get!

Showbread – Who Can Know It?
Controversial and convicting! With a lower tone and softer sound the fellas in Showbread have not dulled the message of the love of Christ; they’ve embraced the Gospel’s double-edged sharpness. Some might get offended...but that’s okay – so were the Pharisees.


Now it's your turn!  Tell us what independent albums you loved in 2010!

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Comments

1. Matthew Walker said...

The Agreement by Lakes was amazing. I think that counts as an independent album.

2. Nick Fitchpatrick said...

Sons of God - The Genesis Prologue = Best Indie Album of the Year! I bought the physical copy and it came with a bonus track. I am stoked for their full length...gonna be one of the best of 2011 for sure.

3. Bill B said...

THREE indie artists that I recommend:

1-Phil Francis album Illuminate Me (My highlight songs: Rewind, Everyone Comes In, Invisible)

2-Joshua Rosen album Inside My Skin (My highlight songs: Inside My Skin, To The Son, Prayer)

3-Sandra McCracken album In Feast Or Fallow (My highlight songs, Justice Will Roll Down, This Is The Christ, In Feast Or Fallow, Faith Review & Expectation(Amazing Grace)

4. Brett said...

Here are mine:

1.Aneirin - The Family Canvas

2.Solia Tera - Diamonds, Dirt, Iron Pyrite, and a Pearl of Great Prize

3.I Am Alpha and Omega - The Roar and The Whisper

4.A Billion Ernies - Split EP w/ Informant

5.Abel - Lesser Men

6.Caleb - Trouble

7.Judges - Sleepless

8.Showbread - Who Can Know It?

9.Switchfoot - Eastern Hymns for Western Shores EP (it was released on Lowercase People, so it counts as an independent release for this reason)

10.Mojo & October Light - Everything Will Be Made Right

5. James said...

I liked;

Karaoke Night - John D'Agostino
The House Call - EKG
White Noise Revised - DJJR
A.D.H.A - K.A.S
We in the Building VOL. 1 - E Tizz
Hard Labor: The BirthWrite Prequel
Bible Bus Mixtape - Playdough
Precipitaion: The Soundcloud Collection - Xperiment
Dozens, Nay, Severals of DJ Nerd42 Fans can't Be Wrong - DJ Nerd42
Mixtape for the Kids - Holy Smokes
It's Prounoucned Fourty-Two - DJ Nerd42
Writer Dye - Playdough
Get You Some - 737

6. Todd said...

Sarah Kelly anybody? Her independent release of Midnight Sun is a gem.

7. Jamie said...

Willet wins here. It's easily one of the best indy releases I've heard in a long time. I'm glad you guys noticed this amazing band. Plus live they kill.

8. Jay Rubenstein said...

Southlen put out an EP earlier this year ("Stay" I think it's called) that I thought was pretty amazing. I saw them play w/Leeland & Phil Wickham in May and have been hooked ever since. They're pretty sick live too...

Also on my best of list:
Sleep For Sleepers "What Has Been Done..."
A Rotterdam November
Renacer (if you like Christian rock en español)

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