Critically judging albums for their “worth” or “merit” is inherently ridiculous. What one person loves another will undoubtedly hate. Yeah, I really like all the records on this list, but putting them into some sort of order presents a challenge especially when including multiple genres. What do you think? Comments? Questions? Concerns? Ok.
40. Rocky Votolato – The Brag & Cuss (Barsuk)
MP3 | Postcard From Kentucky
Rocky’s whiskey-soaked voice has the ability to tear right through you and his earnest working-class country-tinged acoustic rock is full of sincerity and honesty. With the heart of a punk-rocker it is easy to see how his poetic words can cut straight to the bone. Read the full post here.
39. Battles – Mirrored (Warp)
MP3 | Atlas
For the sake of comparison, this post-rock supergroup sounds something like a cross between the craziest moments that Blur has committed to tape and Black Dice. Experimental, glitched, and complicated but exhibiting a new “pop” side and a technical prowess that most bands can only dream of. Read the full post here.
38. Sundowner – Four One Five Two (Red Scare)
MP3 | This War Is Noise
The first solo album from Chris McCaughan of The Lawrence Arms finds him sounding like a cross between Blake Schwarzenbach and Bob Dylan; something of an urban folk troubadour. The album’s rough-but-charming folk-rock is perfect for late nights with friends and reminiscing about the good old days. Read the full post here.
37. Low – Drums And Guns (Sub Pop)
MP3 | Hatchet
Drums And Guns (like most Low material) is deliberately and unsettlingly slow. It is almost painfully drawn out. On the record Alan and Mimi’s mournful harmonies drift atop sparse instrumentation that includes organ, piano, drums (both electronic and real), and the occasional guitar creating sorrowful almost hymn-like dirges. Read the full post here.
36. Avett Brothers – Emotionalism (Ramseur)
MP3 | Die Die Die
Emotionalism at times sounds like it could have been written 60+ years ago and at other times sounds like it could have been last week. Its slightly bluegrassish and bittersweet rootsy alt-country pop-rock touches references like The Beatles, The Burrito Bros. , and The Soggy Bottom Boys and wears its heart on its sleeve and somewhere deep inside has a little punk in it. Read the full post here.
35. Paul Duncan – Above The Trees (Hometapes)
MP3 | Country Witch
Paul Duncan’s latest is full of dark and meandering pedal steel soaked Americana that wraps around you like a warm blanket on the coldest of winter days.
34. Dinosaur Jr – Beyond (Fat Possum)
MP3 | This Is All I Came To Do
This is the first new Dinosaur Jr. album in 10 years and it sounds as if the classic lineup of J, Lou, and Murph haven’t missed a beat. Sure it sounds remarkably like the Dinosaur Jr. albums we all have grown to love, but since we love ‘em is that such a bad thing? Progress schmogress. Read the full post here.
33. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)
MP3 | Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
I blame this one on my wife. She introduced me to this album full of irresistible indie-disco post-punk-funk jams that blew me away. Forget Prozac and all the other anti-depressant drugs and just listen to Hissing Fauna… instead as you dance away your blues. Read the full post here.
32. Every Time I Die – The Big Dirty (Ferret)
MP3 | No Son Of Mine
According to the Ferret Records website, “Listening to this record will make you awesome. Please avoid direct contact if you are not ready to rule.” Well said.
31. Pinback – Autumn Of The Seraphs (Touch & Go)
MP3 | Barnes
Autumn Of The Seraphs is bursting with bouncy propulsive and catchy-as-hell indie rock that somehow managed to fly under the radar all year. Energetic but not spastic and driving without truly rocking. Read the full post here.