As this year nears a close, I’m feeling rather objective to many of the releases this year. Standouts and favourites were very few and the following list was rather difficult to order since most existed in equal prominence. Nonetheless these albums left a large impression on me.
- Beach House – Devotion
This Baltimore duo have made some of the most luscious, dreamy psych-pop gems this year. Devotion holds your hand and takes you on the most wondrous journey ever. Before you know it’ll hold your heart too. It is simply beautiful.
- Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Justin Vernon’s retreat into discovery, heartache and isolation manifested into the debut album of the year. Vernon presents a vulnerability so sincere and evocative through his falsetto and bare instrumentals. For Emma, Forever Ago is a romance in reality.
- No Age – Nouns
With the contrasting styles of Randy Randall and Dean Spunt, No Age are certainly a band worth hearing. Nouns is a kick to the gut, knees, face and ears. Stemming from an entire subculture, No Age have certainly travelled long and far to get to where they are now. Finally a band that actually doesn’t give a fuck.
- Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna
Saint Dymphna is a record of surreal landscapes but delivered with potency and strong conviction. Its rather confusing if a record makes you physically twitch. So on that alone, it must be something special … I hope.
- Glass Candy – B/E/A/T/B/O/X
Disco has been riding high on my radar this entire year and technically this album shouldn’t be here because its release date was last year. However, if repetition was a factor in determining the ranks of these albums, B/E/A/T/B/O/X should’ve come first. B/E/A/T/B/O/X is pure dance floor gold.
- Mount Eerie – Lost Wisdom
Phil Elverum’s (predominantly) duets with Julie Doiron produce some of the most heart-tugging songs this year. Simply stunning.
- High Places – S/T
The Brooklyn duo have risen from no where with some fascinating instrumentals this year. Experimental in approach, technically resolved on record, High Places’ self-titled release is an exploration into sound and imagery.
- Thao Ngyuen & The Get Down Stay Down – We Brave Bee Stings and All
If only Katy Perry put a sock in it, we might see someone like Thao Ngyuen surface to prominance. Ngyuen has a talent for crafting the most adorable pop tunes and if Perry can beatbox like Ngyuen, I will happily withdraw the earlier statement.
- Hercules & Love Affair – S/T
Another primary disco album that is as smooth as the milk in your morning coffee. With its beats varying from tribal to funk, Hercules & Love Affair’s self-titled release is an album of thorough joy.
- Pivot – O Soundtrack My Heart
They could be the best export this land has to offer right about now. O Soundtrack My Heart thumps and provokes you in the most delicate and alluring of plagues. O Soundtrack My Heart is a revelation for Pivot.