My Favorite Albums of 2010

I know I'm a day late and a buck short on this one, but I like to do one every year. Here goes, in no particular order:

The Walkmen - "Lisbon"
I have faithfully followed The Walkmen's career since I was given "Bows & Arrows" some years ago. In that time, I've watched the band morph their New York garage rock fuzz into an easy countryside ensemble whose music unfurls at a leisurely pace. The band has settled into a sound sprinkled with chimey guitar tone, clanky piano, easy croons and even some New Orleans style horns. When I listen to this album, I'm in no hurry.

The Walkmen - "Angela Surf City"

Surfer Blood - "Astro Coast"
"Astro Coast" has a breezy carefree surf rock feel that seems so effortless. Each song has a youthful energy laced with extremely catchy vocal melodies, and just when you least expect it, a new section will sneak up and floor you before you can even figure out what happened. Tracks like "Harmonix" and "Slow Jabroni" don't grab you at first, but have refrains that tug at your heartstrings and evoke some sort of response. Hard to believe all this comes from a super young group of kids from Palm Beach.

Surfer Blood - "Take It Easy"

The Devil Wears Prada - "Zombie EP"

Even though this is only a five song EP, it carries the strength of a thousand albums. Themed as a zombie apocalypse story, this release finds the band expanding their sound further, darker and bigger, thanks in part to the spot on production by Joey Sturgis (Attack Attack!, We Came As Romans, Miss May I). Horror movie voice clips, broken piano arpeggios and haunting strings paired with the violent instrumentation of everyone's favorite post hardcore band makes for a thrilling ride. Album highlight: "Revive."

The Devil Wears Prada - "Revive"

Two Door Cinema Club - "Tourist History"
I couldn't help but fall for this album. The impossibly tight production. The gorgeous vocals and harmonies. The laser sharp dance drums with lo fi snare samples. The playful guitar work. It's almost as if Vampire Weekend and Foals had a baby. Makes me proud to be an Irishman.

Two Door Cinema Club - "This is the Life"

Delorean - "Subiza"
I put on "Subiza" everytime I got wanderlust this year. A desk can be a pretty dreary place when there's a mountain of work in front of you, so I let Delorean carry me away to a little beach in Spain where the dance party is always going strong. All I had to do was close my eyes and I could practically smell the coconuts and feel the sun baking my skin. A fun and uplifting listen with infinite replay value.

Delorean - "Endless Sunset"

The Ruby Suns - "Fight Softly"
I once saw the New Zealand psychedelic island pop group The Ruby Suns at a venue the size of a living room. The band played their sunny songs as a three piece with instrumentation and electronics. Since then, the band has slimmed down to just lead man, Ryan McFun, and honed the sound into more of an electronic vibe. It's impossible to capture the essence of the tropical synth mischief into words. You just have to listen. Album highlight: "Dusty Fruit"

The Ruby Suns - "Dusty Fruit"


A New Year / A New Life

With a new year comes new possibilities.

2010 was a year of building. Building songs. Building funds. Building strength.

2011 is the year of harvesting.

A Life of Science began in 2006, with a couple of friends casually writing some songs together in a rehearsal space in Phoenix, AZ. We didn't know what we were doing. We didn't know where we were going. We just knew that whatever was happening had to happen.

By 2007, our songs had taken shape and our sound was found... A schizophrenic blend of electronic rock. Slowly but surely, the songs began to tell a story, the likes of which had not been fully formulated, but which grew momentum and substance every day.

By 2008, the story had been articulated into a treatment. A full, cohesive story of a man's journey towards a fiery apocalypse. Our 10 songs were arranged to tell this story through music, lyrics and art. We recorded these as our debut album, The Apneist.

In 2009, we released the album. We accompanied the release with a comic book that explained the story's origins. We toured. We played comicons. We spread the word. We were met with a positive response.

In Fall 2009, we returned from tour a little bit different. Everything up until that point had been a planned sequence of events. We didn't know what came after.

In January 2010, it was time to move forward... Pretty much start over. We dove back in. This time, with purpose. I knew how difficult it was to let songs develop into a story, so I wrote out the new story treatment before I wrote a single lyric... A continuation of the story of The Apneist. As I wrote, I tried to envision it as a full scale major motion picture, and a high budget one at that. Once the treatment was done, I divided it into 10 segments of content and started pairing the demos we were working on with each segment based on style / feel and how those sounds would translate to each part of the story.

By May 2010, the demos were finished in their primitive state. We decided to sit on them for a bit while we figured out our situation. Meanwhile, we spent our evenings editing The Apneist novel, written by our dear friend and talented novelist, Josh Isaac.

Then, out of nowhere, we got antsy and started writing again. I had ideas for the third story treatment as well, so I began that process. By the time it was done, I found that we had the proper songs to tell that story as well. I broke up the treatment and started writing lyrics the exact same way. This time around, I had it down to a science, so the new demos were done in no time.

By the time December 2010 came around, we had recorded demos for 20 new songs... Two albums worth. At this point, it seemed silly to just record one record, so we booked up a full month in the studio in February 2011 (at the same studio, Mind's Eye Digital with Larry Elyea [Jimmy Eat World / Eyes Set to Kill]).

The last several weeks have been spent tweaking the demos to our liking. In 3 weeks, we will hit the studio. We are fortunate enough to have the insanely talented Ben Anderson (Digital Summer / Comfort for Change) recording drums on the album, a new addition since the last recordings.

In addition to having the second and third albums recorded, we will also have a new comic book and novel ready for release, as well as brand new video content. Once we have figured out a release schedule, we will begin putting all this new media out. To say that we are excited is a drastic understatement. We feel as though this massive undertaking of a project is finally starting to flesh out, and we are amped up to see what the future holds.

More updates to come from the studio :)