Before I could start enjoying the beginning of a new year in music I had to get this over with and share some love for some of my favourite albums of the year that passed. I may be 15 days late with publishing this list but hey it’s better late than never. So in the famous words of the late Heath Ledger, here we go.
51. Amok- Atoms For Peace
The textures and layers of the production create a very fluid and moving experience.
50. No Blues- Los Campesinos!
A fun, quirky, self-abasing party, one can’t help but dance to.
49. Modern Vampires of the City- Vampire Weekend
Better songwriting and less juvenile than their latest efforts. Definitely their best record yet.
48. Victim of Love- Charles Bradley
Soul man, this album’s got a ton of soul.
47. Muchacho- Phosphorescent
Matthew Houck soars to new heights, and discovers new depths, with his most ambitious album yet.
46. 8 Miles to Moenart- Tall Black Guy
A 33-minute cruise around the streets of Motown, and it’s good.
45. Flourish//Perish- Braids
Where Native Speaker fails, Flourish succeeds, creating a more engaging listen from start to finish.
44. Holy Fire- Foals
Oxford rockers most complete statement yet, more enticing, more enjoyable than their last two records.
43. Run the Jewels- Run the Jewels
A straight-up straight fire project, a must listen for all hip-hop fans.
42. Is Survived By- Touché Amoré
Passionate, panic-induced, tormented, and it doesn’t ask for your sympathy.
41. My Friend Called Fish- Diane Coffee
With elements of glam rock and a dash of doo-wop, My Friend Fish feels somewhat out of place in today’s music, and I appreciate that.
40. Clash the Truth- Beach Fossils
Though it feels safe, it’s a very contagious record that is highly accessible.
39. Melophobia- Cage the Elephant
An infectious album through and through, I was pleasantly surprised.
38. Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze- Kurt Vile
Hits a cool, relaxing rhythm from the opening track that flows seamlessly throughout.
37. 12 Reasons to Die- Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge
The production on this album is stellar; it flows so eloquently and at the same time ferociously with Ghost’s absurd tale of love, revenge, and mortality.
36. Push the Sky Away- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Dark, lush, brooding and at times harrowing, Push the Sky Away has an undeniable energy that is hard to ignore.
35. Acid Rap- Chance the Rapper
Took a few listens to fully get it, but once I did I could not stop listening to this very fun and addicting mixtape.
34. Psychic- Darkside
An oddly hopeful experience, that shimmers with alluring textures and rhythms.
33. Drenge- Drenge
It’s messy, loud, and unsettling at times, but all in all it’s one of the best rock albums of the past year in my opinion.
32. Day of the Dog- Ezra Furman
Such an overlooked gem that is as wild as it is endearing. Reminded me of the Gun Club in some respects.
31. Light Up Gold- Parquet Courts
Parquet Courts prove that when you take a bit of Talking Heads, add some Television, and throw in a dash of Sonic Youth you create a winning formula.
30. Soft Will- Smith Westerns
A solid indie-rock effort, that is filled with songs that just grab your attention without being obnoxious.
29. Howl- This Routine Is Hell
A 21-minute sprint that comes with a lot of blood pumping and fist throwing, a very well thought out hardcore album, whatever that means.
28. Woman- Rhye
In a word: seductive.
27. San Fermin- San Fermin
A well-constructed record filled with great vocal performances and memorable moments.
26. Torres- Torres
The tones and the emotions that emanate from Scott’s voice and guitar are so intimate and sincere she made me feel like she wrote this album for me and me only.
25. Julia With Blue Jeans On- Moonface
Spencer Krug strips everything away except his voice and piano, and in doing so he creates his most personal, vulnerable record to date.
24. Blood Donation- Mariam the Believer
An enchanting listen, that is not necessarily dark but at times can feel like an unsettling spiritual undertaking, which I found absurdly serene.
23. Sunbather- Deafheaven
Deafheaven uses an unconventional formula of post-rock and black metal and in doing so they create one of the years more beautiful and hopeful albums.
22. Once I Was An Eagle- Laura Marling
The tenderness of Marling is hard not to fall for as she carries herself with a quiet yet convincing wisdom throughout this somewhat depressing record.
21. Race Music- Armand Hammer
Emcees Billy Woods and Elucid, come together to create a hard hitting, tough as nails, hip-hop album that deserves multiple listens.
20. Days Are Gone- HAIM
Every song is so damn catchy and their hooks just grab you, it’s almost impossible not to dance along with. Definitely one of the best pop albums of the year.
19. Fetch- Melt-Banana
This album is akin to the birth of Abraham Lincoln, misunderstood, sporadic, incomprehensible, but let’s face it it’s the most fun you can have on a Sunday afternoon.
18. General Dome- Buke and Gase
Buke and Gase continue to develop their eccentric brand of indie rock, by fine-tuning their sharp guitar riffs and experimental idiosyncratic songwriting.
17. Silence Yourself- Savages
A phenomenal debut album that is so tough, so ballsy, and so in your face, it forced it’s way into becoming one of the hardest hitting rock albums of the year.
16. The Next Day- David Bowie
It’s a big record in terms of ambition and sound, but at its core there’s the heart of a true artist, that still bleeds over his craft. David Bowie I love you.
15. Reflektor- Arcade Fire
I think this is a great record overall, and I appreciated the direction Arcade Fire went with this project, but if this list was Gotham, Reflektor would be Two-Face. Side 1: not my favourite. Side 2: I absolutely loved it.
14. The Knight’s Gambit- Ka
The Knight Gambit shows Ka is not afraid to be completely vulnerable and real with his listener, and that makes him an artist to pay attention to.
13. Nobody Knows- Willis Earl Beal
The passion that moves Beal is so evocative and undeniable, you can almost smell the smoke filled bar room that he is singing in.
12. Immunity- Jon Hopkins
Jon Hopkins uses his complex palette of fluid sounds and gorgeous textures so methodically and candidly, that he creates one of the most emotional and gripping electronic albums of the year.
11. m b v- My Bloody Valentine
With gorgeously woven textures and tones My Blood Valentine shows that they still have some beauty to offer the world. Welcome back friends, you were dearly missed.
10. Shaking the Habitual- The Knife
The vision of Shaking the Habitual is so uncompromising and raw, that it may take a while to fully appreciate what the Knife is doing at times, but once you do it’s hard not to find enjoy.
9. Loud City Song- Julia Holter
Loud City Song is a truly cinematic record. It’s grand in scale and reaches into stratospheres that are beyond noise, but at the same time remains down to earth and as approachable as anything else released this year.
8. Doris- Earl Sweatshirt
There’s a lot to love about Earl’s long-awaited studio debut LP: the dark melodic production, the flow of his stark delivery, the wordplay he methodically deploys, and the fact each track is straight bar after impeccable bar.
7. Dream River- Bill Callahan
The sounds and instrumentation Bill Callahan uses throughout this album give each song it’s own identity, but due to his warm welcoming vocals, it all flows down the same melodic river. (FF: Small Plane is my favourite song of the year)
6. Cupid Deluxe- Blood Orange
If you break this album down to its core elements, take away its smooth rhythms, and the sultry vocals, what your left with is an awkward, ashamed, and abandoned artist searching for acceptance. And isn’t that what music is all about?
5. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon- King Krule
King Krule brings such a unique energy to music, from his particular approach to songwriting, his harsh rugged vocal performances, to even the way he dresses on stage. Everything about him is fresh and exciting, including this fantastic debut LP.
4. Spaces- Nils Frahm
The most compelling aspect about this album is not Frahm’s exquisite piano abilities (as impressive as they are), but it’s the human connection between him and his live audience, it plays out like an intimate conversation between strangers.
3. Trouble Will Find Me- The National
A flawlessly sequenced album that coordinates itself through lush elegant progressions and arrangements, as well as Berninger’s heartbreaking cynicism so intrinsically, that it feels like a constant wave of poetry and cathartic beauty.
2. Virgins- Tim Hecker
Canadian electronic musician, Tim Hecker, creates a stunning and brilliant collection of tracks, that are so confrontational and haunting, they evoke in the listener a sense of fear and despair. However that fear is so primal and fervent by nature, that there is an overwhelming sense of wonder flowing throughout this album.
1. Bowler Hat Soup- Kiran Leonard
The most endearing element (and I found many) of Kiran Leonard’s debut album, is that it is filled with so many different emotions, sounds, colours, and textures that every track has it’s own distinct personality. But it’s the passion and the spirit that Leonard creates his music with that keeps this album connected and engaging.
And that’s all she wrote . . . well I wrote it actually, but you get the point.