Do you know what Dads need? Music. They need the kind of music that reminds them that beyond their roles as fathers, husbands, colleagues and/or leaders of men… they are dynamic, complex individuals capable of appreciating art that steps out of the mainstream and reflects their individual aesthetics and sensibilities. There’s plenty of “kid music” in the world, but personally I’ve found that my kids get a lot of enjoyment out of the music I listen to — and that by exposing them to a rich and wide array of musical styles, they’re developing an appreciation for music that far exceeds anything I knew at their age… even as that appreciation helps me see music I already know and love through their eyes, and enjoy it even more. That’s not to say my kids love everything listed below, but they’ve heard it all… and while it might surprise you, they’ve found something to love in almost every case.

With that in mind, check out the following 5 extraordinary albums. You probably don’t own ’em – hell, you’ve probably never heard of most of these folks – but for my kids and me, they played a big role in defining the year that was.

Geneva – Russian Circles
Okay… technically, it came out in ’09, but I didn’t get my hands on it until early this year. Subsequently: this is my post-rock album of 2010. Russian Circles is a post-rock trio from Chicago that brings a more aggressive, metal-based approach to the soaring, epic all-instrumental workouts generally associated with bands like Explosions in the Sky… and on Geneva, they introduce a new element that raisea their already-exceptional music to new levels: strings. They’re not on every song, and certainly some of the non-string songs (the title track in particular) blister and rage like the the best music Pelican never recorded, but when Russian Circles seamlessly blends that aesthetic with the slow ache of cellos and gentle horns to create the kind of gradual build and ecstatic release you find on the closing “Philos”… honestly, it’s tough to imagine anything more gorgeous.

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