1. Beach House - Teen Dream
Instant calm, peace, and relaxation. Oh and, as Gorilla vs. Bear mentioned in their list, “it has the best songs.”
2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
I loved so many different songs on this album. First “Ready To Start,” then “Sprawl II,” these two are predictable. The more I listened though, the more I loved songs like “The Suburbs,” “Empty Room,” “Rococo,” etc. But as a whole, it’s not the same listening experience as Teen Dream. The Suburbs may have better singles, but the sum of Teen Dream’s parts is greater as far as my ears are concerned.
3. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
This is just a fun album. Psych-rock rooted in an instantly recognizable throwback style, however, they put their own unique spin on this familiar, classic rock sound. Similar to Beach House, the album flows incredibly well, each song an integral part of the mix.
4. Wavves – King of the Beach
Finally an alternative rock album that I can actually rock the F out to, it’s been a while.
5. Robyn – Body Talk
I really am surprised to be putting this album up here, but honestly it could have been even higher. There isn’t a better collection of 15 songs that came out this year, but since it’s more of a greatest hits collection for the year, it doesn’t feel like an album. In the end, that really doesn’t matter.
6. The Morning Benders – Big Echo
A beautifully laid back, grand album that can’t help but have greatly benefited by Chris Taylor’s (of Grizzly Bear) production. Just like GB, every little note, voice or prick of an instrument seems expertly aimed at creating a different mood for each song, an attention to detail that is rare to hear.
7. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Speaking of “grand” albums, this one may take the cake. But it’s BSS and they can basically do no wrong. Any number of songs on this album may be considered favorites among fans, for me I always enjoy “All to All,” but tracks like “Highway Slipper Jam,” “Ungrateful Little Father,” and especially “Sweetest Kill” really stand out.
8.Caribou - Swim
This album was self-described as “Underwater Dance” music, and is a completely new direction for Daniel Snaith (who is Carbiou), yet somehow he makes it seem like he’s an old pro at creating electronic dance music. Undoubtedly, this still feels like a Caribou album, and its the allure of the mystical north that he somehow intertwines in his music that keeps me coming back for more.
9. Avey Tare – Down There
Another album described as “underwater,” Down There is a much darker journey than Swim. On “Heather In The Hospital,” the bass begins by mimicking your own heart beating, but soon takes a chase-scene pace, propelling your heart rate forward with it, "It brings me down / machines of modern magic keeping folks above the ground / a nurse's scribbling pad, shadow, shape / a mother going mad."
Really not fun stuff to be singing about, but this mood pervades the entire album. While you may think that would just be depressing, it only strengthens the cohesiveness of some of the most interesting (and enjoyable) songs to be released this year.
10. Crystal Castles – S/T
Tracks like “Doe Deer” and “Birds” make this album for me. There are standouts like “Celestica” that most people can get down with, but if you enjoy the songs that string the singles together, these dirt-covered gems that chug by, chewing glass along the way, then you really will rock out to this album.
11. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
12. Delorean - Subiza
13. Of Montreal – False Priest
14. Spoon – Transference
15. The Radio Dept – Clinging To A Scheme