Talkhouse Music Contributors’ Top Albums of 2014

Lauren Mayberry and Iain Cook (Chvrches), Scott Devendorf (the National), Meshell Ndegeocello, Spencer Tweedy and more vote in the 2014 Talkies.

Welcome to the 2014 Talkies, Talkhouse Music’s year-end writers poll. The thing about the Talkies is, all our voters are musicians, so the poll, just like Talkhouse Music itself, is an index of the music that musicians are actually interested in. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the 2014 Talkies Top 25, and thanks to everyone who voted.
— The editors of Talkhouse Music

1. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Turnstile) 48
2. Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal) 32
3. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian) 29
3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent (Loma Vista) 29
5. Swans – To Be Kind (Young God, Mute) 28
6. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (Pax AM) 26
7. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There (Jagjaguwar) 25
7. Amen Dunes – Love (Sacred Bones) 25
9. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar) 24
10. Caribou – Our Love (Merge, City Slang) 23
11. FKA Twigs – LP1 (Young Turks) 22
12. Parquet Courts – Content Nausea (What’s Your Rupture?) 20
12. Future Islands – Singles (4AD) 20
13. Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather (Paradise Of Bachelors) 19
13. Brian Eno and Karl Hyde – High Life (Warp) 19
16. Taylor Swift – 1989 (Big Machine) 18
17. Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita (Polyvinyl) 17
17. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (Columbia) 17
19. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun (Reprise) 15
19. Hospitality – Trouble (Merge) 15
19. Peaking Lights – Cosmic Logic (Weird World) 15
22. The Minus 5 – Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Horror (Yep Roc) 14
22. Dirty Beaches – Stateless (Zoo Music) 14
22. Wild Beasts – Present Tense (Domino) 14
22. Glass Ghost – Lyfe (Western Vinyl) 14
24. Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp) 13
24. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble) 13
25. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (Warp) 11


Contributor Ballots

Zohra Atash (Azar Swan)
It’s been a great year for music, whittling down this list to just ten was a bit of a really, really, really low stakes Sophie’s Choice.  I really loved my Handmade Birds label-mates Weeping Rat’s record Tar.  I also really enjoyed the Om Live record, the Aimee Mann and Ted Leo collaboration was fantastic, the production on the FKA Twigs record was phenomenal, Pink Floyd’s Endless River was super, Xiu Xiu’s Angel Guts: Red Classroom was a thrill, as was the Omar Khorshid And His Group Live in Australia. And that Perfume Genius and Clark record…. but I was asked for ten.  And while yes, some of these folks are friends of mine, they made my list because I really genuinely enjoy the music.

1. Rowland S. Howard – Pop Crimes (Liberation)
One of my favorite vocalists and guitarists off all time.  Rowland S. Howard was – sad emoji! –  one of those singular talents that can take something like the “Be My Baby” drum beat, you know, that boom cha boom bap! ‘you’ll pull the stuffing out of your head with your bare hands if you have to hear it again’  drumbeat, and turn it into something that feels like entirely new ground. Flawless record.

2. Swans – To Be Kind (Young God, Mute)
The World Music Inn is one of my favorite places in New York City. The dude who owns the place has mad scientist vibe, glasses askew, disheveled, with an encyclopedic knowledge of very specific things.  He fixed my father’s rhubarb and told me he played in an Afghan jam band in California in the ’70s.  The inside of the place is cluttered and you can’t pivot without touching or plucking or banging something.
Listening to this record, it’s everything I love about making music. It fills my belly up with fire. Vibraphones and harpsichords and lap steels, and synths, and bells and violas and mandolins and dulcimers and Gira’s voice which needs no description.

3. Daniela Casa – Sovrapposizione di Immagini (Finders Keepers)
This collection of songs plays out like a lucid dream, in that your pulled from one bizarre scene to another and you’re generally and genuinely pretty titillated (but still confused) by the landscape.  At times it has an electronic exotica feel, like you’re on an island in the future but in that same way the future looked in the past – all rectangular and metallic.  You’re then catapulted from West Indies to East, then to a track that vaguely sounds like The Voyage of the Mim theme song.  It’s a beautiful transportive experience.

4. Kayo Dot – Coffins on Io (Flenser)
It’s always impossible to categorize Kayo Dot records, so I won’t bother trying. Maybe the most fun way of talking about Coffins on Io would be to say that it’s really well-titled. Mysterious, sexy, dark, futuristic, totally the moody freak show it sounds like it would be. Toby from Kayo Dot lived with Josh from Azar Swan for a couple years and I swear having heard his records from before and then this, it sounds like some of Josh’s dark essence must’ave accidentally seeped into Toby’s brain from across the hallway.

5. White Lung – Deep Fantasy (Domino)
Sometimes you’ll see a powerhouse punk band live, and you think, “Wow, that’s sick.” Then you listen to the record and it leaves you cold cos it’s as if a tin can started some shit with a dribbling basketball.  Deep Fantasy is no polished affair, but it captures the band’s frenetic, mercurial essence. It’s best if you listen to it full blast, in the dark, by yourself, while you jump up and down punching the air.

6. Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove – Firstul of Desert Blues (Rustblade)
I remember watching a Diamanda Galas compilation when I was younger, where she prefaces her cover of “GloomySunday” by saying that the record company made Billie Holiday add a verse in the end of the song to give the listener a more optimistic experience.  Galas then adds, “I don’t do it that way, of course.” A Fistful of Desert Blues is heartbreak and desperation, loss and lust.  Lydia’s voice grips with coos and hisses amidst flourishes of lap steel and mandolin. A wildly underrated record.

7. Bryan Ferry – Avonmore (BMG Rights Management)
Avalon is a favorite of mine. Avonmore fittingly answered my “I want more” Avalon with more Avalon in Avonmore. I could do this all day.

8. Function & Vatican Shadow – Games Have Rules (Juno)
This collaboration brings to mind the immersive, textural soundscapes of Raime and Haxan Cloak not because the sonic palette or feel is the same but because these records are very experiential. It seems like the only thing you know to expect from Dominick is the sound of an artist genuinely exploring possibilities of his art. This record makes you feel as if you’re participating in that exploration.

9. Martial Canterel – Gyros, Lassu (Dais Records)
Not gonna waste a bunch of time repeating what everyone knows, that Sean McBride is a virtuoso and an innovator, etc etc. I’ve always really enjoyed the Martial Canterel project because it’s the first thing I ever heard back in the earliest days of Wierd before the label.  He once showed me how some of his synths work, and it was so out of my range of understanding.  Sean’s a rare talent.

10. (tie) Dum Dum Girls – Too True (Sub Pop)/Cult of Youth – Final Days (Sacred Bones)
There are songs that just shimmer and feel melancholic and simultaneously joyful; stuff like “Just Like Heaven” and “Bring on the Dancing Horses” and “Shadowtime” and “Heaven or Las Vegas” and “Just Like Honey” and “Sunday Morning” and “Ship Song”.  These songs short-circuit my body because I want to dance and cry and all the sudden I get swept up in a memory because there’s something inherently nostalgic about them.  Tracks like “Too True to Be Good” and “Are You Okay” have that same effect on me. Then there’s the post-punk imbued “Rimbaud Eyes” and “Lost Boys and Girls Club” which are just bangers. There’s a lot to love here.
Another aggressive and beautiful record – I’ve always loved Sean Ragon’s voice.  He’s like a really sensitive pirate singing shanty-like burners with a super handsome and talented crew.  I plan to die before Jasper McGandy, and I’m hoping he’ll  play “Roses” on grave and Christian Kount should bring those beautiful chimes on “Dragon Rouge.”  And it would be cool if they released some doves at the end of the song, but not necessary.

Nat Baldwin (Dirty Projectors)
1. Spenking – Bad Blood, Good Blood (Drag City)
2. Battle Trance – Palace of Wind (New Amsterdamn)
3. Dead Rider – Chills on Glass (Drag City)
4. Angel Olsen – Bury Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
5. Butcher Boy – Rhubarb (Pretty Purgatory)
6. Ryan Power – Identity Picks (Western Vinyl)
7. O’Death – Out Of Hands We Go (Northern Spy)
8. Alexander Turnquist – Flying Fantasy (Western Vinyl)
9. Cuddle Magic & Phyllis Chen – Cuddle Magic & Phyllis Chen (FYO)
10. Family Planning – John Wayne Frankenstein (Pretty Purgatory)

Rafiq Bhatia (Son Lux) (unnumbered list)
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty (Sub Pop)
John Coltrane – Offering: Live at Temple University (Impulse!/Resonance)
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead (Warp)
Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal)
Bing & Ruth – Tomorrow Was the Golden Age (Rvng Intl.)
Ben Frost – Aurora (Mute, Bedroom Community)
yMusic – Balance Problems (Bandcamp)
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso (Partisan)
Young Fathers – Dead (Anticon, Big Dada)
Oneohtrix Point Never – Commissions I (Warp)

Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God)
1. Nothing – Guilty of Everything (Relapse)
2. Floor – Oblation (Season Of Mist)
3. EYEHATEGOD – s/t (Housecore)
4. YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot)
5. Swans – To Be Kind (Young God, Mute)
6. The Acacia Strain – Coma Witch (Rise)
7. Josef Van Wissem & SQÜRL – Only Lovers Left Alive Soundtrack (ATP Recordings)
8. Sleep – “The Clarity” single (Adult Swim)
9. Cloudkicker – Little Histories EP (Bandcamp)
10. Mogwai – Rave Tapes (Rock Action)
I spent the majority of 2014 by myself writing a book by the sea. The music that came out this year that I enjoyed the most matched my physical & mental environment: slow, heavy, and abrasive (with moments of extreme beauty). It was a dissonant and disconnected year for me, but an oddly glorious one as well.

Benjamin Booker
1. Parquet Courts – Content Nausea (What’s Your Rupture?)
2. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (High Top Mountain)
3. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)
4. Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams (Arts & Crafts)
5. Swans – To Be Kind (Young God, Mute)
6. Iceage – Plowing into the Fields of Love (Matador)
7. PC Worship – Social Rust (Northern Spy)
8. Fugazi – First Demo (Dischord)
9. Ought – More than Any Other Day (Constellation)
10. Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like a Bell (OWSLA)

Norman Brannon (Texas Is the Reason, New End Original, 108, Shelter, and Resurrection)
1. Take That – III (Polydor)
2. Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal)
3. Embrace – Embrace (DGC)
4. Tycho – Awake (Ghostly International)
5. Golden Youth – The Cabin (Slospeak)
6. The Notwist – Close to the Glass (Sub Pop)
7. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (Pax AM)
8. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble)
9. Betty Who – Take Me When You Go (RCA)
10. Guy Gerber & Puff Daddy – 11 11 (Soundcloud)

Louise Burns (Gold & Youth, Lillix)
1. Various Artists – Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock and Country 1966-1985 (Light in the Attic)
2. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There (Jagjagwar)
3. Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal)
4. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
5. Beyoncé – Beyoncé (Columbia)
6. Tinariwen – Emmaar (ANTI)
7. White Lung – Deep Fantasy (Domino)
8. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjagwar)
9. Yo La Tengo – Extra Painful (reissue) (Matador)
10. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)

Iain Cook (Chvrches)
1. Caribou – Our Love (Merge, City Slang)
2. Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp)
3. Taylor Swift – 1989 (Big Machine)
4. Wild Beasts – Present Tense (Domino)
5. Eno/Hyde – High Life (Warp)
6. Max Richter – Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (re-composed) (Deutsche Grammophon)
7. Warpaint – Warpaint (Rough Trade)
8. Clark – Clark (Warp)
9. Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – Soused (4AD)
10. Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal)

Scott Devendorf (the National)
1. Jordan de la Sierra – Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose (reissue) (Numero Group)
2. St. Vincent – St. Vincent (Loma Vista)
3. Hospitality – Trouble (Merge)
4. Wild Beasts – Present Tense (Domino)
5. Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin (Merge)
6. Museum of Love – Museum of Love (DFA)
7. The War on Drugs – Lost in a Dream (Secretly Canadian)
8. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There (Jagjagwar)
9. Bryce Dessner – St. Carolyn by the Sea (Deutsche Grammophon)
10. Richard Reed Parry – Music for Heart and Breath (Deutsche Grammophon)
11. Mina Tindle – Parades (Believe Recordings)
12. Bear in Heaven – Time Is Over One Day Old (Dead Oceans)

Gavin Dunbar (Camera Obscura)
1. King Creosote – From Scotland With Love (Imports)
2. Francois and the Atlas Mountains – Piano Hombre (Imports)
3. James – La Petite Mort (BMG/Chrysalis)
4. Bis – Data Panik Etcetera (Do Yourself In)
5. Vaselines – V for Vaselines (Rosary)
6. The War on Drugs – Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)
7. Beck – Morning Phase (Capitol)
8. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots (Parlophone/Warner Bros./XL)
9. Withered Hand – New Gods (Slumberland)
10. Half Man Half Biscuit – Urge for Offal (Probe Plus Records)

Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz)
1. Two Inch Astronaut – Foulbrood (Exploding in Sound)
2. Vertical Scratchers – Daughter of Everything (Merge)
3. Mitski – Bury Me at Makeout Creek (Double Double Whammy)
4. Hospitality – Trouble (Merge/Fire)
5. Bluffing – Sugar Coated Pills of Wisdom (Bandcamp)
6. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
7. Final Club – Final Club (Bandcamp)
8. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)
9. Palberta – Shitheads in the Ditch (bandcamp)
10. Ex Hex – Rips (Merge)

Dale W. Eisinger (Yvette)
1. Amen Dunes – Love (Sacred Bones)
2. Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty (Sub Pop)
3. FKA Twigs – LP1 (Young Turks)
4. Swans – To Be Kind (Young God, Mute)
5. The Body/Haxan Cloak – I Shall Die Here (Rvng Intl.)
6. Future – Honest (Epic)
7. Vessel – Punish Honey (Tri Angle)
8. Tristan Perich + Vicky Chow – Surface Image (New Amsterdam)
9. Grouper – Ruins (Kranky)
10. Excepter – Familiar (Blast First Petite)
11. Everything – GODMODE (Sonic Bleed)

Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance)
1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble)
2. The Homeless Gospel Choir – I Used To Be So Young (A-F Records)
3. Neil Young – A Letter Home (Third Man)
4. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again (Epitaph)
5. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun (Reprise)
6. La Dispute – The Rooms of the House (Better Living/Staple Records)
7. Science – 20XX (Bandcamp)
8. Tony Molina – Dissed and Dismissed (Slumberland)
9. Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien (Warner Bros/Reprise)
10. The Murder City Devils – The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again (Murder City Devils)

Jessie D. Leach (Killswitch Engage, Times of Grace, The Empire Shall Fall)
1. Hollie Cook – Twice (Mr. Bongo)
2. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun (Reprise)
3. Evil Conduct – Today’s Rebellion (Six Feet Under)
4. The Horrors – Luminous (XL)
5. Madball – Hardcore Lives (Nuclear Blast)
6. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (Pax AM)
7. Everytime I Die – From Parts Unknown (Epitaph)
8. Unearth – Watchers of Rule (Entertainment One Music)
9. Wovenwar – Wovenwar (Metal Blade)
10. Wye Oak – Shriek (Merge)

Channy Leaneagh (Poliça) 
1. Spank Rock – The Upside EP (Bad Blood Records)
2. RONiiA – RONiia (Totally Gross National Product)
3. Lolawolf – Calm Down (Soundcloud)
4. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)
5. Jim Airis – Wild Birds (Totally Gross National Product)
6. Allan Kingdom – Future Memoirs (bandcamp)
7. Tetrahedron – Leisure Birds (Totally Gross National Product)
8. Dead Fader – Blood Forest (Robot Elephant)
9. Movement – EP (
10. Blood Death – Blood Death 

Sondre Lerche (songs only)
1. “Passing out Pieces” – Mac DeMarco (Captured Tracks)
2. “Just out of View” – Blake Mills (Verve)
3. “Second Chance” – Caribou (Merge)
4. “Inside Out” – Spoon (Loma Vista)
5. “Lonely Void” – Mica Levi (Milan Records)
6. “Love Never Felt So Good” – Michael Jackson (Epic MJJ)
7. “Racy” – Horray For Earth (Dovecote)
8. “Against the Moon” – Iceage (Matador)
9. “Do It Again” – Royksopp & Robyn (Dog Triumph)
10. “Carissa” – Sun Kil Moon (Caldo Verde)
11. “The Passions” – Owen Pallett (Domino/Secret City)
12. “Rhythm of Devotion” – Sisyphus (Asthmatic Kitty/Joyful Noise)

Teeny Lieberson (TEEN)
1. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)
2. Ramona Lisa – Arcadia (Terrible)
3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent (Loma Vista)
4. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack (4AD)
5. Brian Eno and Karl Hyde – High Life (Warp)
6. Amen Dunes – Love (Sacred Bones)
7. Glass Ghost – Lyfe (Western Vinyl)
8. Klaus Johann Grobe – Im Sinne der Zeit (Trouble In Mind)
9. Leon Vynehall – Music for the Uninvited (3024)
10. Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine (Chimera Music)

Zachary Lipez (Freshkills, Publicist UK)
Generally speaking, I hate end-of-year lists. I’ve been saying for years that I won’t do one but, like most things that are less moral or ideological issues than me still holding anger from years of, say, not being included on any end of year lists, I don’t really care anymore. So fuck it, with some caveats, I made a list.
Caveat #1: I listened to Total Control, Swans, Sleaford Mods and Iceage a lot. But, through a combination of talent, history, and/or solid PR teams, they’re on enough lists. Good records though. You already know that.
Caveat #2: My favorite album of 2014 is Azar Swan’s …And Blow Us a Kiss. Mama didn’t raise me to date no junk.
Two other albums I also loved, Too True by Dum Dum Girls and Deep Fantasy by White Lung have enough contributing members that I’ve gotten drunk with that I feel weird putting them on this list (not that the rest of the list is horrifically nepotism-free, but I’m trying to make a point here…). But I fucking loved both records. I also wanted to mention them together because they, along with the Azar Swan record, illustrate a lot of what I dislike about music writing. Zohra’s issues were eloquently explained here in the Talkhouse. Coverage of the other two albums, while positive, irritated the living fuck out of me. Dum Dum Girls’ coverage, again while still appropriately positive, took on a vaguely patronizing edge when the band altered their image to a more rocker/goth vibe and less… someone who would potentially date a critic. At end of the day, a lot of male (and, hell, a lot of female) writers like their female artists aggressively wounded and twee, not Chrissie Hynde-ing about in black pleather. People can be real wimps. And if I read one more review of White Lung that refers to “hype” or Deep Fantasy as their second album (three albums, a number of 7”s, constant touring with deep, DEEP roots in various punk communities) I will kill a motherfucker with a shiv carved from their own unused Google button.
OK. Sorry. All that aside. A list of music that came out that I enjoyed. Not really in any order. I’ve talked enough so I didn’t write much about ‘em. Ask me on Twitter.
Oh yeah, after I submitted this list, I listened to Seeds by TV on the Radio. It’s wonderful. Like English Beat at their most romantic (high praise, obvs). Thank you, kind Talkhouse editors, for letting me add this sentence.

1. Armand Hammer – Furtive Movements (Backwoodz Studioz)
I love Sleaford Mods but it’s weird that you fuck with them and not with this, perfect for both fans of “golden age” rap and “golden age” Mark E Smith, Billy Woods/Elucid project. I’m just, as the kids say, saying. Also, Armand Hammer’s collaboration with Willie Green and Curl Castro “Suite For Souled People” was one of the year’s most moving artistic responses to Ferguson. After I saw its premier on Impose, I sent it to various editors. Didn’t hear back.

2. The Both – The Both (Superego)
Been down with Aimee Mann since GangGreen’s cover of “Voices Carry” and Ted Leo since Chisel made me pretend to like the Who for a couple months. Great, great record.

3. Crimen – El Problema Eres Tu (MMM)
The perfect Blitz Oi!/deathrock album that the deathrock revival promised and failed to deliver. Obviously, they broke up.

4. Doomsday Student – A Walk Through Hysteria Park (Skin Graft)
5. Noura Mint Seymali – Tzenni (Glitterbeat)
Probably the album I’ve listened to the most besides those listed in my introduction.

6. Tercer Mundo – Ser Nosotros Mismos (Cintas Pepe)
7. Sheer Terror – Stand Up for Falling Down (Reaper)
8. Museum Mouth – Alex I Am Nothing (Self Aware)
Xiu Xiu fronting Smoking Popes so you don’t have to re-buy the Clueless soundtrack. Handy.

9. Ibibio Sound Machine – Ibibio Sound Machine (Soundway)
10. Downtown Boys – “Downtown Boys” 7” single
11. Coup Sauvage & the Snips – “Sneaks” (Paroxysm)
Cheated with an “11” and a “12” but you know, gods, masters, correctly numbered lists…

12. Anatomy of Habit – Ciphers + Axioms (Relapse) AND Raspberry Bulbs – Privacy (Blackest Ever Black)

Lauren Mayberry (Chvrches)
1. Taylor Swift – 1989 (Big Machine)
I am a sucker for a great pop record and this, to me, is a great pop record. The production is insane, the hooks are off the chain, and Swift’s vocal is undeniable. If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the karaoke drunkenly covering the ballads for the whole of the holiday season.

2. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager (Warner Brothers)
As a life-long Lewis fan, I was really excited about this album coming out and am happy to say it delivered. Sticking to the Lewis formula (simple but effective instrumentation; a knack for telling tales in the lyrics), this felt like a growth – a more mature Lewis dealing with whatever is affecting her today.

3. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
I grew up loving alt-rock and anything in the wider circle of that but had found it difficult to get excited about a lot of recent releases in that genre until I found Olsen. Such a consistent record with loads of interesting ideas on it. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

4. Caribou – Our Love (Merge)
Production god. End of.

5. St. Vincent – St. Vincent (Loma Vista)
St. Vincent is irrevocably an individual and I think she really took her writing to the next level on this album, as well as in her live shows this year.

6. FKA Twigs – LP1 (Young Turks)
It’s really exciting to see original and innovative music from the UK making it out into the wider world and I love FKA’s approach to her performances and image, pursuing her own path and redefining the idea of what women in music should be doing.

7. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There (Jagjaguwar)
Such a beautiful album. So perfect live. So many feelings. So few words.

8. Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks)
A great live band, fronted by a musician who actually has something to say and isn’t afraid to say it. That shouldn’t be a novelty but sadly I think often it is.

9. Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp)
It might not have been the “classic” Aphex record a lot of people had been banking on but it was really interesting, and I completely admire the growth and inventiveness.

10. Hannah Lou Clark – Silent Type EP (Gravy/Quatre Femmes)
Not quite an album but my favourite discovery from the latter part of the year. Lyrically on the cusp of heartbreaking.

Andy McCluskey (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)
1. Future Islands – Singles (4AD)
2. FKA Twigs – LP1 (Young Turks)
3. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)
4. Wolf Alice – Creature Songs EP (Dirty Hit)
5. Peaking Lights – Cosmic Logic (Weird World)
6. Caribou – Our Love (Merge)
7. Glass Ghost – Lyfe (Western Vinyl)
8. Lily Allen – Sheezus (Regal/Parlophone)
9. Nisennenmondai – N (Bijin Record)
10. Woman’s Hour – Conversations (Secretly Canadian)

Sean McGuinness (Pissed Jeans)
1. Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather (Paradise of Bachelors)
2. Ex Hex – Rips (Merge)
3. Peaking Lights – Cosmic Logic (Weird World)
4. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – Party Jail (Infinity Cat Recordings)
5. Luluc – Passerby (Sub Pop)
6. Watery Love – Decorative Feeding (In the Red)
7. RiFF RAFF – Neon Icon (Mad Decent)
8. Total Control – Typical System (Iron Lung)
9. Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp)
10. Obnox – Louder Space (12XU)

James McNew (Dump, Yo La Tengo)
1. Xetas – “The Knife” 7″ (12XU)
2. Do or Dangle – Sloppy Heads (Babes In Arms)
3. Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal)
4. Shintaro Sakamoto – Let’s Dance Raw (Zelone/Other Music)
5. Knyfe Hyts – K Is for Knyfe (dropbox)
6. Spray Paint – Clean Blood Regular Acid (Monofonus Press)
7. Amps for Christ – Canyons, Cars and Crows (Shrimper)
8. 75 Dollar Bill – Olives In The Ears (bandcamp)
9. Rob Sonic – Alice In Thunderdome (OK47)
10. Oneida/People of the North – Brah Tapes vol. 1-4 cassettes (Jagjaguwar)

Rick Moody (the Wingdale Community Singers)
1. Jolie Holland – Wine Dark Sea (ANTI-)
2. John Lurie National Orchestra – The Invention of Animals (Amulet)
3. Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin (Merge)
4. Brian Eno and Karl Hyde – High Life (Warp)
5. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (Columbia)
6. Meredith Monk – Piano Songs (ECM)
7. Concern – Misfortune (Isounderscore)
8. Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – Soused (4AD)
9. The Haden Triplets – The Haden Triplets (Third Man)
10. Cuddle Magic and Phyllis Chen – Cuddle Magic and Phyllis Chen (FYO)

Kevin Morby (the Babies)
1. Amen Dunes – Love (Sacred Bones)
2. Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather (Paradise Of Bachelors)
3. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
4. Hurray for the Riff Riff – Small Town Heroes (ATO)
5. Frankie Cosmos – Zentrophy (Double Double Whammy)
6. Fresh and Onlys – House of Spirits (Mexican Summer)
7. Jennifer Castle – Pink City (No Quarter)
8. Sharron Van Etten – Are We There (Jagjaguwar)
9. Woods – With Light and with Love (Woodsist)
10. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)

Meshell Ndegeocello
1. The Weather Station – What Am I Going to Do with Everything I Know (You’ve Changed Records)
2. Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers (Modern Love)
3. Mohammad – Som Sake Offs (Pan)
4. Ian William Craig – A Turn of Breath (Recital)
5. Dirty Beaches – Stateless (Zoo Music)
6. My Brightest Diamond- This Is My Hand (Paper Bag)
7. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence (Interscope)
8. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead (Warp)
9. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Matador)
10. Jef Barbara – Soft to the Touch (Club Roll Music)

James Rickman (People Get Ready)
1. Blonde Redhead – Barragán (Kobalt)
2. Teen – The Way and Color (Carpark)
3. Dirty Beaches – Stateless (Zoo Music)
4. Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita (Polyvinyl)
5. St. Vincent – St. Vincent (Loma Vista)
6. TV on the Radio – Seeds (Harvest)
7. Gabriel Kahane – The Ambassador (Sony Masterworks)
8. Midnight Masses – Departures (Superball Music)
9. Beverly – Careers (Kanine)
10. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else (Carpark/Mom + Pop)

Adam Schatz (Landlady)
1. Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita (Polyvinyl)
2. Perfume Genius – Too Bright (Turnstile)
3. Aby Ngana Diop – Liital (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
4. Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty (Sub Pop)
5. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso (Partisan)
6. Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy
7. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time (Olsen Records)
8. Chris Gethard – My Comedy Album (Don Giovanni)
9. Celestial Shore – Enter Ghost (Hometapes)
10. D’Angelo – Black Messiah (RCA)

Tim Showalter (Strand of Oaks)
1. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (Pax AM)
2. Sharon van Etten – Are We There (Jagjaguwar)
3. Eagulls – Eagulls (Partisan)
4. Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (Secretly Canadian)
5. Ice Dragon – Seeds from a Dying Garden (Bandcamp)
6. Marissa Nadler – July (Sacred Bones)
7. Earth – Primitive and Deadly (Southern Lord)
8. Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore)
9. Sun Kil Moon – Benji (Caldo Verde)
10. Spoon – They Want My Soul (Loma Vista)

Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding)
1. Parquet Courts – Content Nausea (What’s Your Rupture?)
2. Goat – Commune (Sub Pop)
3. Euros Child – Eilaaig (self released)
4. Opeth – Pale Communion (Roadrunner)
5. Courtney Barnett – A Sea of Split Peas (Milk! Records)
6. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (Columbia)
7. The Minus 5 – Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Horror (Yep Roc)
8. Dean Blunt – Death Metal (Rough Trade)
10. Mike Oldfield – Man on the Rocks (Virgin/EMI)

Spencer Tweedy (Tweedy)
1. Avi Buffalo – At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop)
2. Twin Peaks – Wild Onion (Grand Jury)
3. Foxygen …And Star Power (Jagjaguwar)
4. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
5. Michael Cera – true that (self-released)
6. Juan Wauters – N.A.P. North American Poetry (Captured Tracks)
7. Outrageous Cherry – Digital Age (Burger Records)
8. Morgan Delt – Morgan Delt (Trouble In Mind)
9. Run the Jewels – RTJ2 (Fool’s Gold/Mass Appeal)
10. Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita (Polyvinyl)
Uh oh… All but three of these records are debuts or near-debuts from young artists. I’m not an ageist, I swear. These are just the records I found and loved in between catching up on the classic canon (which you can never complete) and, bizarrely, listening to a lot of albums from 2012 (it was a good year!). If this list doesn’t do the trick, there’s an album called Sukierae that you might like…

Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean and Britta)
1. Ultimate Painting – Ultimate Painting (Trouble In Mind)
2. Papercuts – Living Among the Savages (Memphis Industries/Easy Sound)
3. Brian Jonestown Massacre – Revelation (A Records)
4. Jack & Eliza – No Wonders EP (Yebo Music)
5. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (Milk! Records)
6. David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights – End Times Undone (Merge)
7. Ariel Pink – pom pom (4AD)
8. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
9. White Fence – For the Recently Found Innocent (Drag City)
10. Foxygen  …And Star Power (Jagjaguwar)

Liam Wilson (the Dillinger Escape Plan)
I’m not really one for rating music as if it’s a contest with “winners”
and “losers,” so I’ll rank this stuff in loose terms based on how many
times I think I listened to these recordings this year.
1. Daniel Lanois – Flesh and Machine (ANTI-)
2. Thantifaxath – Sacred White Noise (Dark Descent)
3. Closure in Moscow – Pink Lemonade (Sabretusk)
4. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (High Top Mountain)
5. Wovenhand – Refractory Obdurate (Gitterhouse/Deathwish)
6. Lost Origin Sound Series – Nawa: Sacred Voices of Syria, Vol. 1 (Lost Origin)
7. Abraxas – Psychomagia (Tzadik)
8. Ishraqiyun – Perichoresis (Web of Mimicry)
9. Mariachi el Bronx – Mariachi el Bronx (Swami)
10. Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us (Season Of Mist)
Honorable Mention: YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend  (Neurot). This one was released too late for me listen enough to consider it an “album of the year” but if I had more time with it I’m sure it would rank as high as any of these.

Steve Wynn (the Dream Syndicate, Gutterball and the Baseball Project)
1. The Minus 5 – Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Horror (Yep Roc)
2. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
3. The Black Keys – Turn Blue (Nonesuch)
4. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (Pax AM)
5. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (Columbia)
6. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye (Reprise)
7. Tamikrest – Tisnant an Chatma (Glitterbeat)
8. Beck – Morning Phase (Capitol)
9. Sun Kil Moon – Benji (Caldo Verde)
10. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador)