10 all-time favorite albums (as if I could limit it to ten), in no particular order. Albums that really made an impact and are still on your rotation list, even if only now and then.
If there's one album on this last that you take the time to listen to, this is the one I'd recommend. I'd never even heard of this band when I went to see a SxSW showcase at Red-Eyed Fly. I was there to see Stellastarr*, who were excellent, but it was the band who went on before them who really blew me away. They played a spectacular set and closed with an instrumental that built into a locomotive of guitar-pop goodness.
Based on the band order listed on a sheet of paper, I assumed I'd seen The Unicorns. It wasn't until I found a band listing in a newspaper and checked out the music on...was it YouTube then? I'm not sure, that I learned the band I'd seen was Ambulance LTD. Bought the album the next day and it's been in heavy rotation since.
This is, start to finish, about as close to perfect as any album I've ever heard. Every song is wonderful (assuming you like indie guitar pop). It wanders between dreamy, folksy, straight-ahead rock and even a hint of post rock with an ease that shouldn't be possible on a debut album.
Unfortunately, it was also their last. Label troubles ensure that we would get only one more EP out of Amulance LTD (the good but not perfect "New English") and then nothing more. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist Marcus Congleton can't perform as Ambulance LTD or use the band's name for promotional purposes. He's currently a member of Drug Cabin, along with ex-Pretty Girls Make Graves' Blake Thelen. Every now and again, you can hear some of that Ambulance spark in the music, but it's not LP. In fairness, nothing else this decade is.