25. Bjork | Utopia
Bjork is back! This is a romantic, almost giddy album of “being in love” songs. And it’s pretty great.
24. Phoenix | Ti Amo
Phoenix makes really great dancey album and this latest one doesn’t fail in that respect either. A great collection of quick hitting tunes clocking in at a brisk 36 minutes.
23. Beck | Colors
My favorite Beck albums are Sea Change and Morning Phase, the sad ones. So this album is good, not great in my mind. I love, love the song Dreams. The rest is just not my cup of tea.
22. Spoon | Hot Thoughts
It’s been three years since Spoon’s last album, so it’s pretty great to have another quality release from these guys. They just have a great style and attitude to their music.
21. Iron & Wine | Beast Epic
Sam Beam got back to what made Iron & Wine great right out of the gate: beautiful acoustic songs on a small scale. It’s a great little album.
20. The National | Sleep Well Beast
This is a great guitar album, which is becoming a rarity these days. Lots to love on the latest from Matt Berninger and company.
19. Feist | Pleasure
Feist has been on a 6 year hiatus of sorts, so when this album was announced I was really happy that she was recording again. It’s a sad album that feels very personal.
18. Wolf Alice | Visions of a Life
I loved Wolf Alice’s first album. Here they get a little more experimental, eschewing a cohesive album style in favor of trying some new sounds. Dreampop, punk and 80’s pop are all here. Not everything works, but I love Don’t Delete the Kisses so much.
17. Stars | There is No Love in Fluorescent Light
Stars is such a great band and this is probably their best album in the last 6 years. It’s danceable and happy with a ting of sadness underneath, which is pretty much the band’s calling card.
16. The New Pornographers | Whiteout Conditions
The NP are back with their best album in years! Great harmonies, prickly lyrics and fun arrangements featuring synths and hooks. Carl Newman and Neko Case are awesome.
15. Mew | Visuals
For some reason I keep expecting Mew to break up since they’ve undergone some personnel changes in the last few years. But Visuals shows that they still have some edge and some new ideas.
14. Derek Webb | Fingers Crossed
I need to write up some long-form thoughts on this release. It’s musically gorgeous and lyrically heartbreaking. Derek loves writing riddles and letting people untangle them. Here, he pulls no punches as he articulates his loss of faith and love. Beautiful art out of shocking pain.
13. Slow Meadow | Costero
It’s another beautiful release from Slow Meadow, full of ambient keys and strings that are tilted towards classical music. I have spun this many times while walking or reading.
12. Broken Social Scene | Hug of Thunder
How about a comeback from a 7 year hiatus with maybe your best album ever? That’s what BSS just did. Hug of Thunder is a wonderful group effort that is equal parts political record and friendly jam session.
11. Julien Baker | Turn Out the Lights
Julien Baker is turning into a pretty great voice in the music scene. Her Elliott Smith-style approach is so lovely and her personal, emotive lyrics are sung with such passion you can’t help but start to feel her feelings with her.