The best local discs of '10

By CHRIS CONTI  |  December 22, 2010

Eric, Dan, and Steve return with their first official full-length (following two EPs) and our favorite rock album of the year. "4th of July," "Argyle Satellite," and the radio-ready "You Had To Be There" (attention: WBRU) will satisfy the stoner cravings of those who still miss Silkworm, Pavement, and Hüsker Dü.

MARK CUTLER | RED (@ iTunes + 75orlessrecords.com)

Hands down the hardest-workin' six-string slinger on the live circuit, singer/songwriter Mark Cutler has carved out a 30-year career crafting some damn fine rock and roots music, and we can't imagine how he'll top Red. The whole disc is sublime, but we can't get enough of standout cuts "Vampires," "Jumpin' Time," and the cool-hand thumper "Doc Pomus."

JAY BERNDT | SAD BASTARD SONGS (@ iTunes + rustyknucklesmusic.com)

Sometime over the last few years, former Kilgore frontman Jay Berndt caught a bad case of the blues and, luckily for us, he can't shake it off. His return with the Revival Preachers and the Brimstone Assembly sets up his outstanding solo debut. Gospel and country nuances accentuate his growling baritone on "Requiem For a Heavyweight," '67 Serenade," and "Different Things."

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JOE FLETCHER & THE WRONG REASONS | WHITE LIGHTER (@ iTunes + cdbaby.com)

White Lighter was worth the wait and then some, as Joe Fletcher finally blessed us with the follow-up to the Wrong Reasons' 2007 debut Bury Your Problems. "Say What You Will" is a graceful beauty, and his Americana/roots expertise shines bright on "St. Vincent" and "The Drowsy Surgeon." But it's the screaming harmonica and train-hopping gallop of "Ambulances" that keeps us coming back.

KIM LAMOTHE | MYSTERY OF VIBURNUM (@ cdbaby.com)

Consider Kim Lamothe as the precocious, younger sister of good pal Allysen Callery, equal parts Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco. Lamothe is a take-no-shit spitfire who writes some of the most introspective and captivating acoustic songs we've ever heard around these parts. "8A," "Red," and "Rocky's" are special, and "Fool" will have you frozen to your headphones.

MAKEUPBREAKUP | SCENTS (@ iTunes)

The full-length debut from former members of post-punk outfit A Trillion Barnacle Lapse provides plenty of promise, from the fuzzy grooves of "Sexsomnia" and "My Way, To the Top" to SCENTS centerpiece "May Rx." The wheezing synth loop on "WOW" is ridiculously catchy. But don't let the electro-rock brand fool you, Makeupbreakup can drop the sonic hammer when ripping shit up onstage.

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SIX STAR GENERAL | SIX (@ 75orlessrecords.com)

The spaceship that blasted Six Star General to Planet Cookie a few years back has crash-landed in a swamp somewhere in Warren. Guitarist Kyle Jackson and bassist/vocalist Mark "Slick" MacDougall scooped up drummer Dan Ulmschneider (also of Coma Coma and the Propellers) and their latest release (album no. 6) is yet another masterful sludgefeast. This time around we're treated to zooted, psych-rock cuts ("Mark Janes Blues," "Face Hurts") and triumphant instrumental jams alike ("Guns n Moses," "George Brett's Pine Tar"). Tough to say if it tops last year's Take Your Teeth Out, but an indie-rock must-have nonetheless.

VULGARRITY | DANCE 2 THE GRAVE (@ iTunes + vulgarrity.com)

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