10. Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs
Chicago experimental scene mastermind and Sonic Youth member Jim O’Rourke offers up his latest in a series of pop recordings for Drag City. The album is half power pop, half labyrinthian genius and was recorded with a handful of musicians at his studio in Tokyo. If you’re familiar with his past work think of it as a combination of Insignificance and Eureka.
9. Toro y Moi – What For?
Chillwave paragon Toro y Moi is always surprising his listeners; on this excellent album he delivers an unexpected throwback to seventies era guitar music. Fun fact: Madison’s own Julian Lynch helps out on the closing track.
8. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
This album is the well-read singer-songwriter’s best work yet of vintage pop wizardry as well as a profound assertion on the insanity of present-day romance.
7. Sir Richard Bishop – Tangier Sessions
Both bold and serene, this meditative adventure through global and traditional European music is the product of the guitarist’s purchase of an extremely rare guitar and a lo-fi recording session in Morocco.
6. D’Angelo – Black Messiah
D’Angelo returns with a polished version of his ultra hip black music brew that focuses on social justice and love.
5. Hiatus Kaiyote – Chose Your Weapon
This Australian newcomer’s sophomore release of avant-garde R&B is a monster of an album in which amazingly complex dirty grooves mix with angelic vocalizations.
4. Björk – Vulnicura
Björk offers her best album in over a decade à la her immenseley influential and original orchestral electronica sound that in part defined the 90s. Yeezus contributer Arca and Haxan Cloak provide abyssal beats which fit perfectly with the album’s theme: where Vespertine was the thesis of her deep affection for Matthew Barney, this album is the antithesis taking form as a result of their seperation. The order of the songs on the album chronicles the parting in time starting a few months prior and ending a few months after.
3. Lighting Bolt – Fantasy Empire
The album celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the band and is their finest work since Hypermagic Mountain; like that release there is plenty of noise meets metal meets punk meets indie chaos but this time around features a higher quality of production.
2. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
The band returns from a lengthy hiatus with an album of sheer consummate compositional genius and sharp societal insight. It comes as no surprise members of Fugazi hailed it as their favorite album of the year.
1. Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Panda Bear delivers an exotic and all together out of this world opus on scale with Animal Collective’s Merriwether Post Pavillion that next to no one will be able to imitate. Expanding on the work of Person Pitch, this album features crisper sounds, less sampling and more put together songs. Lyrically, the theme surrounds aging and mental health.