First Aid Kit – The Lion's Roar
The Soderberg sisters have grown up in a hurry and keep getting better. This alternately beautiful and haunting album doesn’t have a weak spot on it, and a guest appearance by the Felice Brothers (among many others) makes for a fun ending.
Dent May - Do Things
The album we all wish the Beach Boys had released this year, Do Things was the best album of the summer and, it turns out, one of the most fun records of the year.
Spider Bags - Keys To The City
The band that Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles calls the greatest in the world proves his devotion is well-placed. A 10-track, 35-minute barnburning mix of rockabilly and grunge, this album is easily the best of the Chapel Hill band’s three releases.
Bob Mould - Silver Age
Mould fans went from cautiously optimistic to completely ecstatic when the former Husker Du frontman released his best album in decades. A hard-charging kick in the face, Mould proves he can still rock better than anyone half his age.
Dan Bern - Drifter
The first of three (!) records that Bern released this year it’s also the best. A back-to-the-folky-basics album that features his fantastic band Common Rotation, Drifter showcases everything Bern does well (which is a hefty amount)
Tennis - Young And Old
A knock against Black Key Patrick Carney’s production style is that he makes every band he produces sound like the Black Keys. On other records that’s a mistake, but it works perfectly for the reverbed sound of Tennis.
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Kevin Parker has taken firm control over Tame Impala, and he brilliantly matches noise and perfect psychedelic fun throughout this amazing record.
Father John Misty - Fear Fun
Former Fleet Fox Josh Tillman’s eighth album and first under the name Father John Misty is a wonderful slacker ode to Los Angeles that, like the city, grows on you the more you’re immersed in it.
Great Lake Swimmers - New Wild Everywhere
The Swimmers’ fifth studio album and first to be recorded in a studio is a nearly flawless collection of acoustic music. Tony Dekker’s songwriting has gotten more confident as his career has gone on and this album is the apex of a great young career.
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Not just the best record of this year, but perhaps the best record of the past five years. An absolutely masterful cacophony of joy and celebration. It’s albums like this that make you glad to be a music geek.