In less than two months, 2010 has already seen a lot of great music.
The album I've been playing the most is definitely "Contra" by Vampire Weekend. I initially was underwhelmed by the lead track "Horchata", but the quality of the following tracks, particularly "Taxi Cab" and "Giving Up the Gun", disarmed my cynicism towards their new direction. VW has outgrown their Ivy League frat house, but thankfully not infectious pop music.
The Album Leaf has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard their enchanting cinematic music in the old Quills. Although "A Chorus of Story Tellers" never leaves familiar territory, innovation is not a necessary component of a compelling album. In this case, Jimmy LaValle proves you can find a new story exploring the same pages.
"Teen Dream" by Beach House completely blew me away. When Victoria Legrand's haunting contralto bemoans, "More, you want more, you tell me/ More, only time can know you" on "Walk in the Park", it's all goosebumps. Lush synthesizers and flourishing strings provide bewitching incongruity. It's definitely an early contender for album of the year.