In no particular order. So many this year!
If I had to pick 10, they’d be Midlake, Rachel Zeffira, Savages, Emika, Jon Hopkins, Janelle Monae, Disclosure, Rhian Sheehan, Locust and Minilogue
Rock and Metal
- Midlake – Antiphon [Bella Union] By far my favorite rock/psych record of the year
- Palms – Palms [Ipecac] – My annual guilty “Sounds like Filter/Deftones/Alt-Metal” choice, with the added bonus of it being made up of members of ISIS with Chino Moreno on vocals
- Device – Device [Warner] (Dave Draiman from Disturbed and Geno from Filter do nu-metal)
- Bring Me The Horizon – Sempternal [Sony/Epitaph] – Yes I know their last record made them kind of a joke, but I’m really digging this one.
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter at the Feast [Abstract Dragon/Vagrant] – Their best in awhile
- Mogwai – Les Revenants [Sub Pop] – I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys, but this album may have turned me around
Pop and Folk
- Rachel Zeffira – The Deserters [Paper Bag Records] – Lovely Tori-ish Dream/Chamber Pop. Just so so good.
- Savages – Silence Yourself [Matador] – Plenty has been written about this record. For me it brings up good Siouxsie/Catherine Wheel-ish memories
- Rudimental – Home [Warner UK] / Disclosure – Settle [Island] / Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune [EMI Australia] – These three seemed to scratch the same itch for me. Dancey-housey-80sy but not dumb.
- The Mavericks – In Time [Sanctuary] – I will never not love Raul Malo’s voice, and I’m happy they’re back.
- Caitlin Canty – Golden Hour [self-released] – Classic intimate girl-with-guitar coffeeshop stuff. She has a project with Peter Bradley Adams called Down Like Silver which I love, too.
- Joseph Tawadros (with Bela Fleck, Richard Bona, James Tawadros) – Chameleons of the White Shadow [self-released] – Bluegrass and so much more
- Soft Location – Fools [self-released] – Kinda Kate Bush-y
Electronic and Shoegaze
- Emika – DVA [Ninja Tune] – LOVE this / Maya Jane Coles – Comfort [I/AM/ME] – Another pair of albums that feel similar to me. They’re both dark electronica, though Emika is more explicitly gothy and MJC has more of a trip-hop edge (and a track with Tricky on guest vocals).
- Locust – You’ll be Safe Forever [Mego] Dark and IDMy but with a distinctly warm, organic crunch
- Jon Hopkins – Immunity [Domino] – Every album he’s released has been on my top 10. This beautiful, broken cinematic half-loud half-quiet masterpiece is his best yet
- Minilogue – Blomma [Cocoon] – One disc of FSOL-y/Underworldy proggy dance music (with LONG tracks), One disc of epic slow chillout stuff. Each apparently improvised and recorded in a single take. Delicious
- Sigur Ros – Kveikur [XL] – A welcome return to form, after the meanderings of the last two. Also closer to Jonsi’s solo stuff than most of their other works.
- Joseph Trapanese – TRON: Uprising [Disney] – Obviously not as stellar as the Daft Punk Tron:Legacy score, but a fulfilling followup.
- C2C – Tetra [Mercury] The first album from the turntablist and DMC winners reminds me a lot of people like Soulwax, The Avalanches and Basement Jaxx
- Minilogue – Endlessness EP – More long tracks with lovely samples that are never tiring
- Olafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter [Mercury Classics/Decca]
- Rhian Sheehan – Stories from Elsewhere [Darla] – This one wins my ‘epic cinematic ambient/post-rock with strings’ award that i usually give to Hammock (their release this year was disappointing to me)
- Message to Bears – Maps
- Ben Lukas Boysen – Gravity [Ad Noiseam] – Also known as industrial noisemaker Hecq. Gurgly dark underwater stuff.
- Main – Ablation [Editions Mego] – Creepiest ambient I’ve heard in awhile and a welcome return for Mr. Hampson
Hip-Hop and R&B and Jazz
- Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady [Bad Boy/Atlantic] – Leaves her first record (which I was not impressed by) in the dust
- Oddisee – The Beauty In All [Mello Music]
- Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Conscious
- Eldar Djangirov Trio – Breakthrough [Motema]