Bahamas – Earthtones

Alfi breaks his mould and creates a whole new musical territory that didn’t exist until this album.

Caroline Rose – Loner

Rock and pop blended so well. Rose got more hooks than a tackle box.

Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed

A return to his folk form and or former territory, but it’s coloured masterfully by his last few experimental albums.

Dead Tongues, the – Unsung Passage

A folk lover’s paradise. Genuine and familiar, yet new and authentic enough to stand out in this folked-up world.  Top Track:

Decemberists, the – I’ll Be Your Girl

Admittedly not their best album ever, but that’s because they’ve released so many great ones. The best songs on here shine like the stars they are.

Django Django – Marble Skies

Toe-Tapper of the year. Catchy stuff. They wrote it seeing a marbled sky, and the metaphor of being powerless witnesses to changes in the world around them.

Eric Bachmann – No Recover

Beautiful, dressed-up, dark folk.

Erika Wennerstrom – Sweet Unknown

Frontlady from Heartless Bastards goes solo. It’s a big spacious mellow rock sound with hints of country flare.

Herman Dune – Sweet Thursday

It’s all over the place in the realm of folk, country, and rock; yet cohesive and catchy.

Horse Feathers – Appreciation

They’ve always had their own spin on folk music. On Appreciation they plug it in and explode the genre.

Illuminati Hotties – Kiss yr Frenemies

She calls herself “Tenderpunk,” and sounds like Courtney Barnett high on Partner. But with more range and versatility than either.

J Mascis – Elastic Days

It’s achey & mellow enough to give you the Feels, but it’s a big, stacked, fulsome sound that won’t put you to sleep.

Jeffrey Lewis – Works by Tuli Kupferberg

A fabulous, rowdy, catchy offering from Anti-folk pioneer and king of the genre, Jeffrey Lewis.


John Prine – Tree of Forgiveness

No songwriter from the 60s and 70s is still writing at the top of their game. Except John Prine.

Kurt Vile – Bottle It In

Only slightly over-hyped, Kurt Vile is the coolest, most distinct sound in rock right now. People have finally caught on.

Lord Huron – Vide Noir

Lively music is not dead, and Lord Huron is keeping it fresh. Plus, the slow jams on here are A+.

Maps & Atlasses – Lightlessness Is Nothing New

Quirky, Jangly rock sound with weird guitar.

Phosphorescent – C’est La Vie

Album of the year.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs

Gritty, hook-heavy, UK-style pop-punk.

Saintseneca – Pillar of Na

Like Neutral Milk Hotel, but with more voltage and personality.

Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up

Shakey Graves had boxed himself in with a sound. His goal here was to bust out of it. Mission accomplished.

Shannon & The Clams – Onion

It’s like Buddy Holly came back to life as an old-souled cool kid looking to nail a niche.

Tomberlin – At Weddings

Moody, evocative, mellow music written while living in her baptist-dad’s house, and not identifying with that life.

Tune-Yards – I Can Feel You Creeping into My Personal Life

Outrageously innovative rock and pop sounds by a modern innovator of musical genres.


Valley Maker – Rhododendron

The kind of music you feel as opposed to just hear. Mellow but full of backbone and energy.