1. Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again
Inhabiting a hazy other-world, this shape-shifting retro folk has the ability to transport you in the same way that Astral Weeks did decades earlier.
2. Port St. Willow – Syncope
This brooding epic may well reveal itself to be a masterpiece. Haunting falsetto vocals soar above gentle drones and static-flecked soundscapes as shifting textures flow together to form a cohesive and utterly compelling whole.
3. Frog – Kind of Blah
Sitting somewhere between Dylan’s amphetamine-fuelled metaphorical dissections of America and a hoedown where someone’s spiked the moonshine, the Brooklyn duo created a rare beast with Kind of Blah. Read my full review here.
4. Destroyer – Poison Season
The horn stabs, the lush orchestration, the soft rock posturing and the delicious precision with which Bejar delivers each and every perfectly-pitched word makes Poison Season a worthy succesor to Kaputt.
5. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
After the discontented snarl of Monomania, Bradford Cox seems happier here as he harnesses disco rhythms and his Atlas Sound atmospherics to paint the world in all its ugly-beautifulness.
6. Benjamin Shaw – Guppy
On Guppy, Shaw expertly assembles a diverse range of drones, found-sound and samples to create compositions that range from the eerie to emotive whilst always managing to be engrossing.
7. Joanna Newsom – Divers
Dense, literary and lush beyond compare, Divers arrived like an elaborately wrapped gift – endless layers needed to be unravelled, but inside there was something very, very special waiting.
8. Ought – Sun Coming Down
It may be easy to mimic Talking Heads and Television, but to consistently construct taught and intelligent songs that are as good for dancing as intellectually satisfying is a much rarer achievement altogether.
9. The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman –
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
The piano hooks of The Bad Plus are elevated exponentially by Joshua Redman’s triumphant saxophone – this collection of contemporary jazz plays to everyone’s strengths and comes out something close to remarkable.
10. Joey Fourr – To the Floorr
Brilliant blue-eyed indie-funk where an abundance of bouncey basslines and leftfield pop hooks make for an addictive package.
11. Trust Fund – No One’s Coming For Us
Big hooks, big grins, wittily observed details of the everyday, this is what Indie is meant to be. Ellis Jones seems so self-assured on this debut that it’s hard to not get caught up in its charm.
12. Sunns & Jerusalem In My Heart-
Suuns & Jerusalem In My Heart
Radwan Moumneh adds some spice to the beat-heavy psyche of Suuns in a collaboration that reaps rewards and pushes both artists into new sonic territory.
13. Olaf Arnalds & Alice Sarah Ott – Chopin Project
For someone as talented and adventurous as Olafur Arnalds, Chopin seemed too safe and well-trod an option. Yet with the help of Ott these rich and sensitive takes on the Polish master reveal new subtleties.
14. Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?
Majical Cloudz are a musical trojan horse – you are all too happy to let their sparse arrangements and direct lyrics wash over you but soon the melodies delve deeper, a phrase lingers and before you know it you find yourself deeply shook and very vulnerable.
15. Advance Base – Nephew In The Wild
Owen Ashworth aka Casio Tone for The Painfully aka Advance Base has created an album of superlative storytelling where sharply observed details find a sensitive musical world in which to shine.
16. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
17. Doldrums – The Air Conditioned Nightmare
18. Matthew E. White – Fresh Blood
19. Bob Dylan – Strangers in the Night
20. Battles – La Di Da Di
21. Max Richter – Sleep
22. Byron Westbrook – Precipice
23. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
24. William Basinki – Cascade
25. Miley Cyrus –
Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz