Here we go with another edition of my favorite albums of the year. Unlike how I felt last year, this year was full of great music. This year had a bit more of a female flavor, which is just fine with me.
- Lady Lamb, After – One and two are pretty interchangeable in my book. I pushed Lady Lamb into the top spot for a couple reasons. Mastermind, Aly Spaltro is from Brunswick, Maine, so I have to root for a local artist! Second reason is that my two beautiful six year old twins girls love her as much as I do. Check out Cal and Mal singing Violet Clementine CalNMal sing Lady Lamb.
- The Staves, If I Was – I didn’t know much about these ladies until I read that Justin Vernon was producing their new album. I took some time to listen to Dead & Born & Grown. I instantly fell in love with their harmonies. Based on my Last.FM account The Staves outplayed the next artist on my list by over 150 scrobbles. That must say something…
- Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Discovered Miss Barnett via a NPR’s live stream from this years Courtney Barnett – SXSW Music Festival Down in Austin Texas. This raw performance and amazing lyrics drew me in. Her Aussie drawl also adds another small piece that makes this record so cool.
- Screaming Females, Rose Mountain – Sometime big things come in little packages! That is certainly the case with Marissa Paternoster, the petite lead singer of this trio. I had the pleasure of catching them live at the Space Gallery in Portland. I was blown away by both her powerful vocals as well as her impressive guitar skills.
- Sleater-Kinney, No Cities To Love – This was certainly a return I was excited about. I had previously dabbled in the world of SK, but No Cities To Love enabled me fall completely in love with these ladies. The first time my girls heard them, I told them about SK being an all female lineup. They both just looked at me with puzzlement in their faces. I then gave them a short and sort of basic lesson in the Riot Grrrl movement. It all starts somewhere!!
- Florence and the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – My wife had already referred to Florence as “your girl” whenever a song of hers came on. Well ‘my girl’ put out probably my favorite record yet! Such a good mix of songs that sometime pull at your emotions and other times just make you want to dance.
- Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color – Again another strong entry from a band I had previous love for. A lot of people rave about how powerful Adele’s vocals are, but I personally think that Brittany Howard blows her away.
- Will Butler, Policy – Will finally breaks the girl party that is my top seven. (other than a few band members) This was one of the records I grew into a bit. Of course coming in the shadow of big brother Win Butler isn’t exactly easy. (Will is a member of his brothers band, Arcade Fire, for those out of the loop)
- Joanna Newsom, Divers – This is another album that probably needs multiple listens to really open up. I’m still unwrapping this one otherwise it might have actually pushed itself higher on the list.
- Wilco, Star Wars – In another year an album this strong would be near the top. Mr. Tweedy surprised us with another strong record. But then again Jeff might just have the Midas touch!
Lower Dens – Escape From Evil, The Myndabirds – Lover Know, Noun – Throw Your Body On The Gears And Stop The Machine, San Cisco – Gracetown, Metric – Pagans in Vegas, The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn, Bjork – Vulnicura