In no particular order. Don’t ask me to order these by preference, that’s just mean…
- Yuck – Glow and Behold – I love the sound of this band, and maybe that’s because it’s so evocative of the heyday of alternative music from my college years. For some reason I always think of Buffalo Tom’s “Taillights Fade” when I first start listening to a Yuck record. If you’re a fan of that late 80s early 90s alternative, pre-grunge sound, check these guys out, they will not disappoint.
- Jarwar Ma – Howlin – These guys hail from Australia and have a bit of that Cut Copy punk dance sound to them. They also evoke some of that trip hop drama that Alt-J has in their mix. When I first heard this record, I felt like the bands on a similar trajectory to Alt-J. I don’t think they’ll catapult as high, but still deserve the same attention.
- M.I.A. – Matangi – at first listen this felt like a more aggressive departure than MAYA, but on further listens there is a ton of accessible stuff here. I really want to see her live…Hip hop, dance, punk. FU!!! She’s a badass and she knows it, lives it, owns it and makes it sound amazing and fun.
- Arcade Fire – Reflektor – not my favorite record of theirs and I don’t think they fully utilized the talents of James Murphy. They could have been much more daring in their electronic exploration. That said, these guys don’t make bad records and there are plenty of super fun and gripping tracks here, as usual.
- Deerhunter – Monomania – you can find more about this band I cherish and this album in my Bumbershoot 2013 post, but I think if pressed, I’d put this at the top of my list this year. This just hits so many of my buttons – moody lyrics delivery, psychedelic leanings, puck aesthetic, I could go on and on. Love these guys and not sure they will release a bad record from here on out.
- Daft Punk – Random Access Memories – what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Or experienced over and over because it’s so fucking joyful. My humble opinion is that I’m glad they went a different direction. It’s an amazing, creative and daring record, whether it sounds like a Daft Punk record or not. Whatever that means.
- Rogue Wave – Nightingale Floors – maybe not the most daring record on this list, but great ear candy. Think Death Cab for Cutie with a few more surprises. They put on a great show and Everyone Wants to Be You is one of the great psychedelic explorations of the year. Built to Spill-esque guitar work on that track…More on them here.
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter at the Feast – great solid record from BRMC. These guys are just super consistent. Just now, typing this I felt I had to put on a BRMC record. Didn’t do that for any of the other above. No knock on the other records here, but these guys just strike this badass cord every time that makes you feel cooler than you might be. I need that…
- The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law – feel like these are all the tracks on the cutting room floor from their first record – The Big Roar. Some bands just have that much good material built up when they release a record that it’ll spread between two. I think that’s what happened here, given how closely the two were released. Means it might not vary much from the first record, but great stuff. Curious to see what they do next.
- The National – Trouble Will Find Me – can’t say anything sufficiently intelligent about this band to justify anything I would write here. I’m humbled by this band, they are truly artistic and interesting in a way that is cheapened by words and should just be experienced.