|25. OLGA BELL
About: I love artists who can experiment with
their sound on each record but the music
always remains true to her voice.
|24. CHOCOLATE GENIUS
Album: Truth Vs. Beauty
About: One of the few artists where it honestly pisses
me off more people don’t know his work.
Man doesn’t make bad records.
Album: United Crushers
About: Politically conscious, percussive
overload, and dance-able, finds a way to be
meaningful, sexy and make one feel.
22. CROSS RECORD
Album: Wabi Sabi
About: Intense. Cross Records’ singer Emily Cross
teams with Dan Duszynski for a record that sounds
like Eastern philosophy reads. Deep and spiritual.
|21. TIM HECKER
Album: Love Streams
About: Beautiful and subdued, especially
when compared to 2013’s “Virgins” and
2011’s “Ravedeath, 1972”
|20. LEONARD COHEN
Album: You Want It Darker
About: We all wish we still had the
great wisdom of Cohen around for these
trying times, but he left us with a gem.
|19. DANNY BROWN
Album: Atrocity Exhibition
About: One of the most original
rap vocalists. His voice goes well
with the surreal nature of his music.
Album: A Seat at the Table
About: A breakthrough for Solange.
A record about race and its many
complexities and intricacies.
|17. FRANK OCEAN
About: I dig Frank Ocean letting himself
go and finding more space to create
outside of the R&B crooner vibe.
|16. TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Album: We got it from Here…
About: 18 years later I shouldn’t have been
surprised to hear TCQ as vital as ever, confronting
Trumpism: “All you Mexicans, you must go.”
|15. BON IVER
Album: 22, A Million
About: Maybe experimenting is the
new trend this year. Justin Vernon pushes
the limits of his craft here and succeeds.
|14. MARGARET GLASPY
Album: Emotions and Math
About: Strange, idiosyncratic and not
in a mood to take any shit. This is a
woman’s world, men. Take note.
13. FRANKIE COSMOS
Album: Next Thing
About: A marvelous musician sculpting
little, concentrated diamonds of the mind.
Finds marvel in the mundane.
About: I’ve never been a big Beyonce fan
until this record. She’s spread her wings, made
a statement about race and relationships.
|11. BIG THIEF
About: All anyone needs to do is watch this
band play “Real Love” live via opbmusic on
YouTube. Adrianne Lenker destroys like a rock goddess.
About: Anohni is so hard on Obama on this
record, but one can’t help be moved by the
totality of the humanism. It’s gorgeous.
Album: Puberty 2
About: Heartbreak, lovelorn, confidence,
beauty all wrapped up into this shimmering
record that has something for everyone.
Album: A Moon Shaped Pool
About: Radiohead proves once again that
its here to say — for the long haul. The band
daydreams, but also finds time for “Burn the Witch”.
|07. KANYE WEST
Album: The Life of Pablo
About: Say what you will about the man
himself. Kind of a shame really. But between
“Ultralight Beam” and “Friends”, this LP is great.
|06. KENDRICK LAMAR
About: Kendrick is continually setting the bar,
even it what in this record that he’s tossed
out like it was an afterthought. (But it’s not.)
|05. DAVID BOWIE
About: Thank the god we got one
more record from the maestro. It’s a
cipher and symphony.
About: “Work”, “Desperado” and “Woo” are crazy
good. But to follow those songs up with “Needed Me”
and “Same Ol’ Mistakes” is just savage.
|03. ANGEL OLSEN
Album: My Woman
About: Okay, so the general story is this is
Olsen’s move from folk to a band. But it’s much bigger
than that. She’s found a distinct second voice.
About: A surprisingly incredible record
from a band I’d never heard of before. The
style, the melody control, the variation. Superb.
01. JULIA JACKLIN
Album: Don’t Let the Kids Win
Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin has created a brilliant record with “Don’t Let the Kids Win”. Her pretty, wispy voice, stunning songwriting and melody mastery make her an easy prey for comparison to Laura Marling. But where Marling’s dark “Once I Was An Eagle” sounded like something conjured after a deal made at the crossroads, Jacklin’s is clearly peopled by the thoughts of a young girl trying to figure things out. It’s equal parts Waxahatchee, Sharon Van Etten and Eleni Mandell— and most importantly — it’s flat-out stunning.