20. Feist – The Reminder (Cherry Tree)
MP3 | One, Two, Three, Four
This is a beautiful and enchanting album of absolutely fantastic warm and airy Parisienne Americana (whatever that means) on which Leslie Feist’s vocals are subtle, fragile, and the focal point of the album. Read the full post here.
19. The Field – From Here We Go Sublime (Kompakt)
MP3 | Silent
Atmospheric minimal techno that is mesmerizing and meditative with bubbling pulses slowly pounding through the quietest din. As the looping ambient rhythms that lay just beneath the surface shift and swell, the bass drum beats life into what might otherwise be an exercise in icy droning minimalism. Read the full post here.
18. Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works (Relapse)
MP3 | Milk Lizard
Incorporating elements of glitchy IDM breakcore, jazz, art-punk, proggy pop rock, and (yes) brutally chaotic mathcore, the band moves from idea to idea like a junkie popping pills and strikes a near-perfect balance of challenging back-bending time changes, sonic experimentation, and head bobbing rhythms with pop hooks glued nicely atop. Read the full post here.
17. Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin (Sub Pop)
MP3 | Is There A Ghost
On Cease To Begin Ben Bridwell’s golden-throated drawl still rings out with an endless reverb that seems to coax gorgeous melodies right out of the moonlight sky and infuses the music with an almost ghostly atmosphere. It is grand, anthemic, and huge at times but is less bombastic than Everything All The Time and focuses on the more sprawling and quieter moments. Read the full post here.
16. Nothington – All In (BYO)
MP3 | The Last Time
Southern-tinged punk rock with gruff vocals, crunchy guitars, melodic basslines, and just enough twang that is comparable to Social Distortion meets Hot Water Music or (perhaps) like Lucero on steroids. The record is ferociously raw, unpretentious, rings out like a hammer smashing on the Liberty bell. Read the full post here.
15. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
MP3 | You got Yr Cherry Bomb
From the word “go” it is as if the indie rock’s untouchable hipster universe was infected with the virus of classic rock guitar riffs and the Motown soul grooves that sound remarkably like vintage post-London Calling Clash melded with the spry pop of (perhaps) Billy Joel. Read the full post here.
14. Broadway Calls – Broadway Calls (State Of Mind)
MP3 | Suffer The Kids
Snotty and stomping pop punk that flirts with political overtones but is bathed in upbeat West Coast cool and hopeful highway skies. Catchy-as-hell with a few rough edges left in tact, Broadway Calls is a valiant attempt at pop-punk perfection that might just turn even the most jaded critic into a believer. Read the full post here.
13. Minus Story – My Ion Truss (Jagjaguwar)
MP3 | The Way Beyond
My Ion Truss is filled with moments of ferocious noisemaking in between the quiet din of rural atmospherics and hook-laden indie rock crescendos. A banging wall of sound percolates from beneath delicate vocals are in a Built To Spill meets The Bends era Radiohead sort of way. Read the full post here.
12. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver (DFA)
MP3 | Someone Great
This record seems to be near the top of everyone’s list this year and (obviously) mine is no exception. This album finds Murphy mining the same great electro dance pop territory that he always has, but this time every track is spot on. Simply amazing. Read the full post here.
11. Parts And Labor – Mapmaker (Jagjaguwar)
MP3 | Fractured Skies
Frenzied and noisy indie-punk tunes wrapped up in waves of fuzzy distortion and screeching electronics that are somehow remarkably melodic. The band is reminiscent of a wilder and more out-of-control Husker Du, or even a little like Rogue Wave, but then there is the drumming. It is brain-rattling and could probably cause any volcano in the world to erupt within seconds. Read the full post here.