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Coachella is only 44 Days away. That’s less than a month and a half! Are you getting excited yet? I sure am. To pass the time, here is a video from each of three artists performing at this year’s sold out Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to get your fix until then.

Interpol released their fourth studio album in 2010. Interpol builds upon the band’s well-known Joy Division-influenced sound. The New Yorkers will take the desert stage on Day One, April 15th.

Gogol Bordello is a gypsy punk band formed in New York. The ethnic backgrounds of members include Ukraine, Russia, China, Israel and more. The variety of members adds to the eclectic sound of the band. One of the better live bands today, they will take over the desert for the third time (2007, 2008) on Day Two, April 16th.

High Contrast is a drum and bass DJ from Wales. He’ll perform on Day Three, April 17th.

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Coachella Lineup. The Real One.

Friday, April 15th
Kings of Leon, the Black Keys, Interpol, the Chemical Brothers, Caifanes, Robyn, Sasha, Lauren Hill, Brandon Flowers, Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man, Erick Morillo, Cee-Lo Green, Cut Copy, Cold War Kids, Sleigh Bells, Boyz Noize, Afrojack, Flogging Molly, Warpaint, Ozomatli, Tame Impala, Nosaj Thing, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, A-Trak, !!!, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Kele, Marina and the Diamonds, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Monarchy, Here We Go Magic, Klaxons, Titus Andronicus, Cold Cave, the Drums, the Morning Benders, Kleinenberg, Glasser, Moving Units, Excision, OFWGKTA, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, the Aquabats, Skrillex, Brandt Brauer Frick, Scala & Kolancy Bros., Gypsy & the Cat, 12th Planet, Breakage, Hurts, Clare Maguire, the Rural Alberta Advantage,  Beardyman, Mount Kimbie, Jakes, Kyle Hall, Emicida

Saturday, April 16th
Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, Mumford & Sons, Bright Eyes, Empire of the Sun, Big Audio Dynamite, Steve Angello, the Kills, the London Suede, Broken Social Scene, One Day as a Lion, Erykah Badu, Paul van Dyk, Fedde Le Grand, Scissor Sisters, the New Pornographers, Gogol Bordello, Cage the Elephant, the Swell Season, Shpongle, Laidback Luke, Elbow, Daedelus, Delta Spirit, Two Door Cinema Club, Jenny and Johnny, Foals, Fat Freddy’s Drop, the Tallest Man on Earth, Cults, the Radio Dept., Chuckie, Raphael Saadiq, Lil’ B, Yacht, Wire, Electric Touch, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, the Joy Formidable, Phosphorescent, Francis and the Lights, the Love Language, Gayngs, DJ Hype, DJ Marky, Joachim Garraud, the Henry Clay People, Freelance Whales, Mariachi El Bronx, the Twelves, EE, Bomba Estéreo, Andy C, SBTRKT, the Felice Brothers, Trampled By Turtles, Mary Anne Hobbs, Alf Alpha

Sunday, April 17th
Kanye West, the Strokes, Duran Duran, the National, PJ Harvey, Death From Above 1979, Wiz Khalifa, Ratatat, Nas & Damian Marley, Jimmy Eat World, Axwell, Sven Väth, Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77, Chromeo, Duck Sauce, Neon Trees, the Presets, Leftfield, Best Coast, Lightning Bolt, She Wants Revenge, Jack’s Mannequin, Green Velvet, Fistful of Mercy, HEALTH, Jack Beats, CSS, MEN, City and Colour, Foster the People, Angus and Julia Stone, Yelle, Delorean, Trentemøller, Phantogram, Twin Shadow, OFF!, Tinie Tempah, Plan B, Caspa, Riva Starr, Joy Orbison, Menomena, fun., Good Old War, Ellie Goulding, Rye Rye, Eliza Doolittle, Los Bunkers, High Contrast, DJ Zinc, New Pants, Thunderball, Gord Downie, Tokimonsta

For details on tickets, visit coachella.com.

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  1. Jan 21: Parachute with SafetySuit at In the Venue, Salt Lake City, UT
  2. Jan 23: 30 Seconds To Mars at Park City Mountain Resort, Park City, UT
  3. Jan 27: King Niko at Sidecar, Park City, UT
  4. Jan 29: Brand New with Manchester Orchestra at Salt Palace, SLC, UT
  5. Feb 2: Nouvelle Vague at Urban Lounge, SLC, UT
  6. Feb 10: Matt Hires with Jason Castro at Kilby Court, SLC, UT
  7. Feb 27: Fanfarlo at Urban Lounge
  8. Mar 18: Vampire Weekend at In the Venue
  9. Mar 28: Fishbone at the Canyons, Park City, UT
  10. Apr 5: Muse at the E Center, West Valley City, UT
  11. Apr 8: Passion Pit at In the Venue
  12. Apr 10: Miike Snow at Urban Lounge
  13. Apr 16-18: Coachella at Empire Polo Field, Indio, CA
  14. Apr 22: Train at Gallivan Center, SLC, UT
  15. May 8: U92 Cinco de Mayo Show – Tech N9ne, New Boyz at USANA Amphitheater, West Valley City, UT
  16. May 8: 30 Seconds To Mars with Mutemath at the Rail Event Center, SLC, UT
  17. May 10: Paramore with Fun. at E Center
  18. May 11: Needtobreathe with Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Seabird at In the Venue
  19. May 21: The Cool Kids at W Lounge, SLC, UT
  20. May 22: Local Natives at Kilby Court
  21. May 27: Far with Dead Country at Urban Lounge
  22. Jun 2: The Black Keys at the Depot, SLC, UT
  23. Jun 20: Cage the Elephant at the Depot
  24. Jun 21: Local H at Urban Lounge
  25. Jul 8: Modest Mouse at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  26. Jul 11: Seth MacFarlane at Washington Square (Salt Lake Jazz Festival), SLC, UT
  27. Jul 15: Girl Talk with Memory Tapes at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series)
  28. Jul 19: Kings Of Leon at USANA Amphitheater
  29. Aug 5: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with Jamie Lidell at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series)
  30. Aug 11: The Temper Trap at the Depot
  31. Aug 12: Matisyahu at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series)
  32. Aug 13: Primus with Gogol Bordello at the Rail Event Center
  33. Aug 14: Deftones at the Rail Event Center
  34. Aug 19: Big Boi with Chromeo at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series)
  35. Aug 26: She & Him at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series)
  36. Sep 2: Vampire Weekend at In the Venue
  37. Sep 17: King Niko with Muscle Hawk at Bar Deluxe, SLC, UT
  38. Sep 23: Phoenix at In the Venue
  39. Sep 28: Band of Horses at In the Venue
  40. Oct 8: Surfer Blood with the Drums at Urban Lounge
  41. Oct 19: Hot Chip at In the Venue
  42. Oct 22: Sleigh Bells at Urban Lounge
  43. Nov 2: Best Coast at Urban Lounge
  44. Nov 13: Melodramus at Club Vegas, SLC, UT
  45. Dec 6: Tokyo Police Club at Kilby Court
  46. Dec 17: Royal Bliss with King Niko at Liquid Joe’s, SLC, UT
  47. Dec 31: Long Distance Operator at Bar Deluxe

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Each of the last two years we’ve done a top ten with a handful of honorable mentions. This year we decided to expand the Top 10 to a Top 20 and dump the honorables. If an album wasn’t good enough to be in the Top 20, it won’t get a mention. Which means there are a lot of good albums left off this list. If you’re looking for more good music, check out our Twenty-Some lists.

If you’re so inclined, you can check out our top ten lists from 2009 and 2008.

This list is compiled completely by GrantRuby.com. These are our favorite albums of the year. This list isn’t full of pretention, we really like all of these albums, and we think you will like them, too. If you think we missed something, if you think one or more of these simply doesn’t belong, or there is some other egregious error, feel free to leave a comment.

20. MNDR E.P.E. – Released in April, the first release from MNDR (according to Wikipedia, pronounced “mandar”) features four great songs, three of which are club bangers and a ballad for good measure. The duo, comprised of Amanda Warner and Peter Wade, were featured in “Bang Bang Bang,” the first single from Mark Ronson’s third album, Record Collection. The band is rumored to be working on their debut full-length, to be released in 2011. We are very much looking forward to that release as this EP has really set the foundation for some great music from this group. All four tracks here are great, but “Fade To Black” and “C.L.U.B.” are definitely the best.

19. Various Artists The Twilight Saga: Eclipse OST - The third soundtrack in this series of terrible movies is far-and-away the best of the bunch. Featuring amazing songs from the likes of Muse, Beck, Florence + the Machine, The Dead Weather, Vampire Weekend, Cee-Lo Green, Metric, and others, this is one of the most complete soundtracks of modern music in years. Nearly all the music on this collection is exclusive to this release which serves to make the soundtrack that much more engaging. The Twilight series, while a terrible set of literature and movies, continues to set the tone for compilations and soundtracks for this and the following decade. Our favorites are Florence + the Machine’s “Heavy In Your Heart,” Cee-Lo Green’s “What Part of Forever,” and Beck with Bat For Lashes’ “Let’s Get Low,” but just about every song is at the very least listenable, if not something you’d want to hear again and again.

18. Sufer Blood Astro Coast – We recently featured this band in our Twenty-some, Vol. 6 post. As we stated then: “Their sound is a smooth amalgamation of Weezer, Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr and Pavement. At times wispy, at times charging, but always grooving.” There isn’t much to add to that, really. Give this album a listen and just try not to like it. We dare you. Best songs here, in our opinion, are “Swim,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Floating Vibes.”

17. Ratatat LP4 – We are long time fans of this band. Since being introduced to them in 2007 with their sophomore release Classics. Since then they have put out two more amazing albums, including this year’s LP4. Many of the songs here are from the same sessions that produced their previous album, and the similarities are obvious. As we said in Twenty-some, Vol. 5: “Probably their best album to date. The band put voice on their album for the first time, but not lyrics. There are clips of people talking in several places on the album, but the songs remain strictly instrumental.” Our favorite song on the album remains “Drugs,” but “Neckbrace,” “Mandy,” and “Bare Feast” are all excellent, as well.

16. Delta Spirit History From Below – Another album we featured in Twenty-some, Vol. 5, this album simply does not get old. As we said then, “The band’s unique mixture of indie and southern rock help set it apart from peers like Kings Of Leon, who are more straight ahead southern-arena rock. Delta Spirit hasn’t jumped to writing arena-sized anthems yet.” This San Diego quartet writes such strong songs that this album is the kind where our favorite song changes every couple weeks. We still love “White Table,” but currently “Bushwick Blues” is our favorite. Other stand outs include “Vivian,” “Golden State,” and “Salt In the Wound.”

15. The Drums S/T – We fell in love with this band upon hearing their infectious song “Let’s Go Surfing.” Marco Collins posted the song on his Twitter feed and we immediately downloaded their EP. The album builds on that Beach Boys-meets-Brooklyn sound and adds a touch of emotion to the mix. Opening song “Best Friend” is an ode to lead singer Jonathan Pierce’s best friend who has passed away. The music is very indie-surf rock while the lyrics are very Joy Division. It may seem like an odd pairing, but it works quite well. We saw the band open for Surfer Blood this year and they completely stole the show. Our favorites from this album include “Let’s Go Surfing,” “It Will All End In Tears,” and “I Need a Little Fun In My Life.”

14. Chiddy Bang The Preview – This hip hop duo, comprised of Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, burst onto the scene with The Swelly Express, a mixtape that included the song “Opposite of Adults (KIDS),” which samples MGMT’s song “Kids.” The refreshing flow of Anamege combined with the indie-rock influenced beats of Beresin are a beacon of hope in a genre that is muddied by far too many egos that can’t rap about anything but money, girls, drugs and violence. The album samples MGMT and Passion Pit, they have a song co-produced by Pharrell, and Q-Tip sings the refrain on one song. If that alone doesn’t make you want to listen to this then there may not be anything that will convince you. Our faves are “Opposite of Adults,” “Here We Go” featuring Q-Tip, and “Nothing On We.”

13. Atmosphere To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EPs – Some groups put out double albums, Atmosphere puts out a double EP. Don’t call it an album, because the group is working on their sixth album. According to their website, this release is meant to “hold you over until their next official album”. As per usual Slug’s dark lyrics and surprising twists settle nicely over Ant’s decidedly down-tempo beats. Slug may very well be the best storyteller in hip hop today. They may never have a hit, but they will always be making better music than most of what you hear on your local urban top 40 radio station. The highlights of this double EP include “The Best Day,” “Hope,” the pseudo-title track “To All My Friends,” “Shotgun,” and “Scalp.”

12. Gogol Bordello Trans-Continental Hustle – So many bands, especially punk bands, ruin themselves by jumping to a major label. These gypsy punks managed to keep their soul, and actually got better, in the jump to American Recordings. One reason why they managed to not ruin themselves is by having Rick Rubin (who heads American Recordings) produce the band’s fifth album. As we’ve previously stated: “The songwriting continues to mature, but the energy hasn’t diminished at all since their SideOneDummy debut.” The band also continues to have ridiculously high-energy live shows. We saw them open for Primus this year (the fourth time we’ve seen the band) and they have only improved in that area, too. Stand out tracks on this album include “My Companjera,” “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher),” “Pala Tute,” and title-track “Trans-Continental Hustle.”

11. B.o.B The Adventures of Bobby Ray – Like Chiddy Bang, Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr is part of a group of young rappers that are infusing some originality and real artistry into hip hop. His debut single, “Nothing On You,” was a smash. The follow up, “Aeroplanes,” nearly matched the success of the former. The album includes cameos from Bruno Mars (“Nothing On You”), Hayley Williams of Paramore (“Aeroplanes”), Lupe Fiasco, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, and Eminem along with several others. B.o.B’s emotionally charged lyrics generally eschew hip hop’s common themes of drugs, money, women, etc and instead tell stories of heartbreak, distress and prejudice. The best tracks, in our opinion, are “Nothing On You,” “Past My Shades” featuring Lupe Fiasco, “Aeroplanes, Part II” featuring Eminem and Hayley Williams, and “Ghosts In the Machine.”

(more…)

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Part six in this series has some real gems in it. Songs in bold are featured after each review for your listening pleasure.

Surfer Blood Astro Coast
This West Palm Beach indie rock band garnered quite a bit of attention in 2009 with the release of their first single, “Swim.” Pitchfork named it the 37th best song of the year on their 100 Best Songs of 2009 list. They then released their debut album, Astro Coast, in January of this year and have been steadily increasing the public awareness of their band ever since. When I finally discovered them this summer I was aghast that I hadn’t heard of them before. They’re just that good. Their sound is a smooth amalgamation of Weezer, Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr and Pavement. At times wispy, at times charging, but always grooving. The band made the jump to Warner Bros., from Kanine Records (Grizzly Bear, Chairlift), in September and have been touring the US this fall. Be sure to give a listen to “Swim,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Floating Vibes.”

Free Energy Stuck On Nothing
I’m still not fully sure whether I like this album. They also sound like Weezer, Pavement, and other nerd rock bands, but they don’t really stand out against their predecessors or their peers (like Surfer Blood does). There are only a couple of songs on this album that really stand out against their own music, for that matter. While Rolling Stone, SPIN and Pitchfork all gave this album favorable reviews; I just don’t quite see it. Most of the album is decent filler, but “Bang Pop” is a great track, and is the one that sounds most like Dinosaur Jr. on this album, and the catchiest, as well. The band shows promise with this album, and that is why I present it to you. Other good songs here are “Dark Trance” and “Light Love.”

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Where The Messengers Meet
This folk-inspired indie-rock band from Seattle, WA has garnered some attention since the release of their 2009 self-titled album, and continue to build on the buzz in 2010 with the release of their sophomore effort, Where the Messengers Meet. Lead singer Benjamin Verdoes creates an eerie atmosphere with his vocals that match quite well with the plucky riffs and rolling bass lines. Never getting to high or too low, the band digs out a very solid foundation in the middle-ground area that many indie-rock bands before them have occupied. However, very few have done so with such a wispy and light feeling while also showing depth and soul. “Hurrah” is my favorite track on the album, but you would do a disservice to yourself if you didn’t also check out “In a Hole,” “At Night” and “Cadence.”

Jaill That’s How We Burn
Some bands, while they didn’t start a genre still have a sound that embodies and defines said genre. That’s how I feel about Jaill and “indie.” There are a lot of other bands that define the sound of this genre, but Jaill is on the list. They are just catchy enough to keep your attention, but not poppy enough to be considered mainstream. The vocals are just off-key enough, but not so much as to be an annoyance. The production is just muddled enough to sound like it was done on tape, but not so much as to sound like it was done in a garage. This is also one of my favorite covers of the year. I really like that photograph. “Everyone’s Hip” is my favorite song on this album, but I also really dig “The Stroller,” “She’s My Baby,” and the acoustic “Summer Mess.”

Francis and the Lights It’ll Be Better
He’s befriended Kanye West, has toured with Drake, received accolades from many blogs and print publications, and been featured on several hip hop songs. His brand of R&B, soul, pop is unique and refreshing. From the unapologetic funk bass line of “For Days,” to the straight up R&B soul of “Tap the Phone,” to the downtrodden, soulful lyrics of the title track, to the minimalist beats of “In a Limousine,” Francis Starlight deftly maneuvers the cross-genre sound with aplomb. This album will no doubt end up on my end-of-year list. It’s not feel-good music, but not everything needs to be. His voice, songwriting and look combine to create an artist that should be around for a long time. “For Days” and “Tap the Phone” are my favorites, and you should also check out “In a Limousine” and “It’ll Be Better.”

Plenty more great albums after the jump. (more…)

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  1. Jan 21: Parachute with SafetySuit at In the Venue, Salt Lake City, UT
  2. Jan 23: 30 Seconds To Mars at Park City Mountain Resort, Park City, UT
  3. Jan 27: King Niko at Sidecar, Park City, UT
  4. Jan 29: Brand New with Manchester Orchestra at Salt Palace, SLC, UT
  5. Feb 2: Nouvelle Vague at Urban Lounge, SLC, UT
  6. Feb 10: Matt Hires with Jason Castro at Kilby Court, SLC, UT
  7. Feb 27: Fanfarlo at Urban Lounge, SLC, UT
  8. Mar 18: Vampire Weekend at In the Venue, SLC, UT
  9. Mar 28: Fishbone at the Canyons, Park City, UT
  10. Apr 5: Muse at the E Center, West Valley City, UT
  11. Apr 8: Passion Pit at In the Venue, SLC, UT
  12. Apr 10: Miike Snow at Urban Lounge, SLC, UT
  13. Apr 16-18: Coachella at Empire Polo Field, Indio, CA
  14. Apr 22: Train at Gallivan Center, SLC, UT
  15. May 8: U92 Cinco de Mayo Show – Tech N9ne, New Boyz at USANA Amphitheater, West Valley City, UT
  16. May 8: 30 Seconds To Mars with Mutemath at Rail Event Center, SLC, UT
  17. May 10: Paramore with Fun. at E Center, West Valley City, UT
  18. May 11: Needtobreathe with Steven Kellog and the Sixers, Seabird at In the Venue, SLC, UT
  19. May 21: The Cool Kids at W Lounge, SLC, UT
  20. May 22: Local Natives at Kilby Court, SLC, UT
  21. May 27: Far with Dead Country at Urban Loung, SLC, UT
  22. Jun 2: The Black Keys at the Depot, SLC, UT
  23. Jun 20: Cage the Elephant at the Depot, SLC, UT
  24. Jun 21: Local H at Urban Lounge, SLC, UT
  25. Jul 8: Modest Mouse at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  26. Jul 11: Seth MacFarlane at Washington Square (Salt Lake Jazz Festival), SLC, UT
  27. Jul 15: Girl Talk with Memory Tapes at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  28. Jul 19: Kings Of Leon at USANA Amphitheater, West Valley City, UT
  29. Aug 5: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with Jamie Lidell at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  30. Aug 11: The Temper Trap at the Depot, SLC, UT
  31. Aug 12: Matisyahu at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  32. Aug 13: Primus with Gogol Bordello at the Rail Event Center, SLC, UT
  33. Aug 14: Deftones at the Rail, SLC, UT
  34. Aug 19: Big Boi with Chromeo at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  35. Aug 26: She & Him at Pioneer Park (Twilight Concert Series), SLC, UT
  36. Sep 2: Vampire Weekend at In the Venue, SLC, UT
  37. Sep 17: King Niko with Muscle Hawk at Bar Deluxe, SLC, UT
  38. Sep 23: Phoenix at In the Venue, SLC, UT
  39. Sep 28: Band of Horses at In the Venue, SLC, UT

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