Year Candy: The top 25 local albums of 2010

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It was a great year for music in Seattle and there were hundreds of albums released by talented local musicians in 2010, which means there are many local records from 2010 I haven’t had the pleasure of listening to (see albums by: Perfume Genuis, Demien Jurado and many, many others). That also means this is not a definitive list of the best records to come out of the greater 206 area for the year 2010, rather it is a ranking of the 25 local albums released this year that resonated with me the most during the past 12 months.  I encourage you be adventurous and click play on a few, or all, of the tracks below to get a feel for just how good the first year of this new decade was for the local music scene. I hope some of this music brings you as much pleasure as it does me. Enjoy.

Air 2 A Bird at CHBP 2010. Photo by Jason Tang

Air 2 A Bird – Hip Hop Rules The World

25.  Air 2 A Bird Crow Hill

Gabriel Teodros’ latest project is some of his best work yet.

24.  Viper Creek Club Letters

The remix masters shine on their latest full-length album.

23. State of The Artist Seattlecalifragalisticextrahelladopeness

The  third-wave of local hip-hop is well represented on this cameo-laden album with the dopest title of the year.

22. Drew Grow & the Pastor’s Wives S/T

A nice mix of noir, gothic folk and rock all jumbled into one nine-song package.

21.  Young Evils S/T

A sunny, summery folk album with pretty harmonies and catchy songs

20.  Brad Best Friends?

The fourth time is a charm for this Pearl Jam side project

Mad Rad – Caveman

19.  Mad Rad The Youth Die Young

The raunchy rappers return with a solid, dance-friendly sophomore release.

Daniel G Harmann and the Trouble Starts – The Horse and the Sistine Chapel

18.  Daniel G Harmann and the Trouble Starts Risk

An awesome heartfelt rock record.

Wild Orchid Children – Gasoline Rainbows (Jesus Is A Black Man)

17.  Wild Orchid Children Wild Orchid Children Are Alexander Supertramp

Crazy, drug-fueled, psychedelic and creative rock ‘n’ roll.

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo – Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk

16.  Brent Amaker Please Stand By

A fun and unique country-western record from one of the most fun and unique performers in Seattle.

15.  Fences S/T

Chris Mansfield’s debut album was well-worth the wait.

Mt St Helens Vietnam Band – In A Hole

14.  Mt St Helens Vietnam Band Where the Messengers Meet

MSHVB ditches some of its progressive tenancies and switches its focus to songwriting for its sophomore release.

13.  Rusty Willoughby Cobirds Unite

Every song on this album is a winner.

The Redwood Plan – How the Game is Played

12.  The Redwood Plan Racing Towards the Heartbreak

The best new local band from 2009 delivered one hulluva full-length debut.

11.  Past Lives Tapestry of Webs

Best. Blood Brothers. Offshoot. Period.

10.  Jake One and Freeway The Stimulus Package

The local producer extraordinaire teams up with a Philadelphia rapper for some great hip-hop.

09. The Lights Failed Graves

A mishmashing of rock subgenres blended into an excellent stew of punk rock potpourri.

The Posies – Licenses To Hide

08. The Posies Blood/Candy

The Posies made one of the best records of their near 25-year career.

Helladope – Just So You Know

07. Helladope S/T

Fun, party-rocking hip-hop by two of the city’s most promising young MCs.

06. The Head and the Heart S/T

Beautiful harmonies, instrumentation and songs soar on this stellar debut.

Victor Shade – Autograffiti

05. Victor Shade S/T

Aggressive beats paired with the flow of Common Market’s Ra Scion are a winning combination.

04. Moondoggies Tidelands

Campfire rock in its finest form.

Hobosexual – Penthouse Lover

03. Hobosexual S/T

Loud, dirty, bluesy garage rock done right.

02. Unnatural Helpers Cracked Love and Other Drugs

Blissfully loud, aggressive and punchy punk rock goodness.

01. Head Like a Kite Dreams Suspend Night

If this record doesn’t make you dance then you have no pulse.

Sleepy Eyes of Death at Neumos. Photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

Honorable mentions:

Sleepy Eyes of Death Towards a Damaged Horizon

Instrumental space rock that could easily be the soundtrack for a darker Tron sequel


These youthful kids from Kelso do rock the right way: fun, spunky and spirited.

Death First Fiction Turning True

An all-around excellent modern rock record.

Minus The Bear OMNI

A little less mathy and a lot more synthy

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.