Here’s part two:
10: Common Grackle – The Great Repression. Absolutely unhinged western swing/rockabilly. I listened to this for a couple weeks straight when I first heard it.
9: Hoodie Allen – Leap Year. The indie-rock-appropriating beats float the cleverest lyrics I’ve heard all year. “Soul on Fire” and “James Franco” blow my mind.
8: Braids – Native Speaker. The most mesmerizing album I listened to all year. Raphaelle Standell-Preston can make even curse words sound beautiful and delicate.
7: Typhoon – A New Kind of House. Strings! Horns! Choirs! Acoustic guitars! Melodies! Emoting! I saw them in a huge church!
6: Brine Webb – O You, Stone Changeling. Morose, beautiful, touching. “Too Small to Pray For” and “rrose hips” are excellent.
5: Generationals – Actor-Caster. The best indie-pop songs of the year, hands down.
4: Laura Stephenson and the Cans – Sit Resist. There’s not a single bad tune on this album, you can sing along to almost all of them, and they pull off the “multiple genres but overarching mood” thing perfectly.
3: Jenny and Tyler – Faint Not. Their cute pop turned into churning folk-rock overnight, and the effect is hair-raising and goosebump-inducing. There were few moments as dramatic as the full-band entry in “Song for You” this year; Faint Not was the only album that made me write the sentence “I forget to breathe.”
2: The Collection – The Collection EP. The melodies and instrumentation seem effortlessly perfect on this folk album. David Wimbish’s lyrics and deft and quick, delivered in a vastly adaptable voice that seals the deal. “Stones” is just a wonder.
1: Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. This album just blows my mind. It is beautiful, haunting, terrifying, elevating, artsy, powerful, surreal and hyperreal (you can hear him clicking the keys) at the same time.