i think this gets harder and harder for me every year. my list this year contained 34 (!!) entries to start out.
i narrowed it down to 20.
from there i had a really hard time. so rather than obsess over this for days i’m just going to order my top 10 based off of last.fm plays. i realize this is kind of unfair to albums that came out later in the year vs those that came out earlier. after looking over my top albums chart (and removing those that didn’t come out this year) it actually lines up pretty well to what i feel is how i would’ve ordered them if i could have actually narrowed it down to just 10 on my own.
i’m going to go ahead and write a little blurb too about each album, just cause i can and why the fuck not (plus i’m phoning it in by using last.fm so i might as well do some thinking about these albums). also, the number in parenthesis is the number of listens that album had on last.fm. i’m pretty sure album listens actually = songs played from an album, but that’s good enough for me.
previous year’s top 10s are here
with that said, here’s my list:
1. lo-pan – salvador (319)
yeah yeah. i’m friends with the band/fanboi/etc etc etc but really this album totally rocks. i haven’t been able to get enough of this from the first time i’ve heard it, and it’s still in fairly heavy rotation to this day. also, i love the subtle pun of the album cover and title.
2. *shels – plains of the purple buffalo (305)
i’ve been a fan of these guys since they were called mahumodo. granted *shels isn’t all the same players but it’s got the singer and drummer. this shit is “atmospheric” metal at it’s best. the quiet moments are some of the best on this release.
3. mastodon – the hunter (283)
this album absolutely slays from beginning to end. the drumming is completely out of control. creature lives might be the best thing mastodon has ever written. it’s like if mastodon did post rock, that’s what it would sound like. i guess, maybe they did post rock with that song. whatever it fucking rules. it came on sirius one day while i was driving a rented ford escape around peachtree city, ga this past fall and it completely made my day!
4. junius – reports from the threshold of death (275)
this is a band i wish i had heard about earlier, but i’m glad i did find them. this album is pretty awesome. it reminds me of a cross between spacey deftones and type o negative (weird i know). this album has a very overt death theme (if the title didn’t give that away already) and was kind of stylisticly the polar opposite of another death themed album i listened to constantly this year (the black sleep of kali’s our slow decay — which came out last year but i didn’t get my hands on until this year, sadly)
5. mogwai – hardcore will never die, but you will (258)
two words: RANOOOOOOOOOOO PANNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO
6. jesu – ascension (234)
i’ve been a big jesu fan since i first heard the silver ep. this one is a return to form for them (well him really). when i first read that he was going to split out the more “electronic” parts in to another group (pale sketcher) i was disappointed, but after hearing this album i think it might have been the right thing to do. the music has more force and drive on this one than on the past couple jesu releases.
7. red fang – murder the mountains (210)
red fang is a band i like. this one is a real rocker from start to finish. great live band as well.
8. jim guthrie – sword & sworcery lp – the ballad of the space babies (166)
i debated whether or not to include this album on the list, but i did really enjoy it so i’m going to leave it here. this is a strange album from one of the strangest mobile games i’ve ever played (is an ipad game mobile? i think so). the music had a lot to do with the game itself, i think. after playing the game my interest was piqued regarding the music, so i went and got the album. i’m glad i did.
9. will haven – voir dire (164)
my first listen to this album i was kind of disappointed. the second listen i thought “oh i’m starting to get it.” by the 3rd listen i was completely in love. not as dynamic as some of their earlier works, but i think it’s a very good summation of their output up to this point. i just hope they don’t go on “hiatus” again.
10. the roots – undun (161)
of anything on my top 10 list this year, this album is probably the one that is most hurt by the late release. if it had come out in the spring or summer it probably would be closer to number 1 on the list. considering it was only added to my library at the beginning of this month and it climbed all the way to number 10 (out of 471 total albums listened to this year), i think that says a lot. this might be the best roots album since the tipping point.
honorable mentions (in alphabetic order):
akron/family – s/t II: the cosmic birth and journey of shinju
backwoods payback – momantha
battles – gloss drop
beats antique – elektrafone
big black delta – bbdlp1
the black keys – el camino
borracho – splitting sky
cake – showroom of compassion
childish gambino – camp
dredg – chuckles & mr squeezy
east of the wall – the apologist
explosions in the sky – take care, take care, take care
giant squid – cenotes
graveyard – hisingen blues
hail mary mallon – are you gonna eat that?
herder – herder
idaho – you were a dick
radiohead – the king of limbs
russian circles – empros
tombs – path of totality
washed out – within & without
windmills by the ocean – II
yob – atma
yuck – yuck