1. Grizzly Bear – Shields
In my eyes, this band can do no wrong. Grizzly Bear's excellent brand of eerie indie rock has been going from strength to strength with every album they release. I could honestly listen to this album, or anything by them, on repeat all day and not get bored. I love how Grizzly Bear can keep producing music that keeps their sound and yet isn’t samey. Speak in Rounds, Sleeping Ute, Gun-Shy and Yet Again are personal favourites of mine, but the whole album is just brilliant.
2. Willy Mason – Carry On
This album is great and shows how much Will Mason has grown musically, with new influences such as dub and reggae embedded into the country-folk-blues-acoustic thing he has going on. As his third album, this works to further establish the sound he has developed so far. In my opinion he is unique and so talented, and you can tell he still has so much to offer. Also, I Got Gold is one of the smiliest songs I’ve heard in a while.
3. Beach House – Bloom
This is just lovely. I really like Beach House, I find them so relaxing; I don’t mean this in a bad way AT ALL, but they are a great band to have playing in the background. So chilled, and Victoria Legrand’s voice is so silky.
I first heard of Michael Kiwanuka after fellow contributor James reviewed this album. I checked it out and was completely blown away; this guy is bloody talented. I subsequently bought it for my mum’s birthday and she loved it too, and one of the main reasons I like Home Again is because it reminds me of home, funnily enough. Highlights: the whole album.
5. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
I first heard Alt-J play Breezeblocks on Jools Holland several months ago and was hooked. Their album proved to be just as good, with their lyrics referencing really cool (or at least I think so) stuff such as the film Leon and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
6. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Deftones are nu-metal at its finest: this album is brilliant because it captures their core sound without being all crappy 90s nu-metal, and instead being laden with alt-rock and experimental. I love the way they’ve evolved through the years, developing their influences and yet still sounding as badass and intense as ever.
7. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
I absolutely love this: he’s a multi-instrumentalist, his music is so intricate and weird, and he’s absolutely brilliant. This album is utterly charming (as are his other albums) and I love how layered the songs are. Perfect.
8. Lana del Rey – Born to Die
I went through a phase earlier this year of playing this album over and over again, it’s so good. Say whatever you want about Lana del Rey, but don’t deny that this chick can make a damn good pop song: so soulful and she has such a nice voice.
9. Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
I can’t believe everyone forgot this one. You’re all missing out. It’s really quite good. Not as good as other Smashing Pumpkins stuff, but a decent effort which shows the new direction they seem to have taken.
10. Drive – OST
What a film, and what a soundtrack. It’s arguably the best soundtrack of the year; it fits the film so well and I love the 80s/electro feel it has to it. Really makes me wish I had a car… If I did this would be my go-to driving CD.