- Apparat – The Devil’s Walk
Legitimately creepy, emotionally claustrophobic, uplifting.
- Austra – Feel it Break
Some people think anything in a minor key is ‘dark’ – Austra is peppy and upbeat, a bit dramatic, but fundamentally happy dance music.
- Balam Acab – Wander/Wonder
- Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
Looped and layered choral voice-scapes. Cleaner production than her earlier stuff brings this into Brian Eno territory: background music you can also pay full attention to.
- Cloud Nothings – Cloud Nothings
Exuberant, simple, frustrated bedroom punk. Reminds me why I started writing songs and playing guitar.
- Jeff the Brotherhood – We are the Champions
Think early Weezer. Smile.
- Kleenex Girl Wonder – Secret Thinking
Graham Smith’s songwriting is always top-notch, but this is the strongest set in years, with driving guitars and an urgent energy. “Let’s put the ‘hot O my’ back in our dichotomy.”
- Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
Headphones, 3am, lights off.
- Peaking Lights – 936
Hazy, mellow summertime beats.
- Quilt – Quilt
Reverby lo-fi jam-band with folsky harmonies… is the Velvet Underground ever out of style?
- Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces
Polmo Polpo producer takes on hi-fi space psych. I can listen to “Wolfman” on repeat all day.
- Tape – Revelationes
Another electronic act turned live, with mind-blowing results. Best sound aesthetic of the year, hands down.
- Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
The converse of the Austra argument: transcribe these songs and you’ll find cheerful major-key rock; listen and you’ll feel fuzzy & out of sorts, like fluorescent-lit shoe shopping with a hangover.