10. Doug Gillard – Parade On
Doug Gillard (Death of Samantha, Guided By Voices, Nada Surf) has been a staple of indie rock for 30 years and yet no two albums of his ever sound the same. His latest is his best solo album to date and sets the benchmark for 21st Century power pop.
Top Tracks: “Parade On” and “Ready For Death”
9. Spoon – They Want My Soul
The most consistent band makes another consistent album. After their long hiatus, in which Britt Daniel was making music with Divine Fits and playing bass for Split Single; he makes the likeliest comeback of the year with a rejuvenated band. Hopefully there will not be another four year break before the next Spoon album.
Top Tracks: Rent I Pay and Do You
8. Fucked Up – Glass Boys
How do you follow up one of the most beloved modern hardcore albums, 2011’s David Comes to Life? It seems like a daunting task but Fucked Up managed to make a great album without the album length storyline of its predecessor. There had been talk of singer Damian Abraham exiting the group but luckily this has not happened yet, although with his excellent Podcast (Turned Out A Punk) it seems like it could become a reality in the near future.
Top Tracks: “Touch Stone” and “Warm Change”
7. Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit/Cool Planet
The unexpected demise of the most prolific indie rock band left more questions than answers. But at least we were left with two great albums. Both albums contain the vintage GBV format: quick and catchy tunes that leaves their fans wanting more. They might not be their best albums but it is respectable if this really is the end.
Top Tracks: “The Littlest League Possible” and “Vote For Me Dummy,” “All American Boy” and “Pan Swimmer”
6. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
To say that Against Me! had a good year would probably classify as a major understatement. After releasing the mostly disappointing album White Crosses back in 2010, their status seemed to be up in the air. During the band’s hiatus, Against Me! left their major label home, replaced the rhythm section, and Laura Jane Grace revealed herself to be a transgender woman but none of this interfered with them making one their best albums to date.
Top Tracks: “True Trans Soul Rebel” and “Drinking With The Jocks”
5. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
It seems fitting that a Damon Albarn solo album would feel so isolated. When he wasn’t playing in Blur reunions or with Gorillaz or composing opera’s or any other of his many other projects he found the time to record these incredible songs. Many will continue to haunt you long after you’ve finished listening while you continue to hold out hope that Blur will come to play in your city soon.
Top Tracks: “Lonely Press Play” and “Hollow Ponds”
4. Aphex Twin – Syro
Another long awaited comeback album, Richard D. James gave us his first proper LP in 13 years. The songs seem to flow seamlessly from track to track; if I had been listening on a computer or CD player rather than on a record player I probably would not have even noticed them beginning or ending. It is easy to see why many electronic composers are still trying to catch up with what James has been doing for years as he continues to evolve as an artist.
Top Tracks: All of them, this is an album that should be experienced as a whole.
3. OFF! – Wasted Years
Keith Morris and company proved they are one of the best current punk bands with their second LP. Showing no signs of slowing down and recording their first song that crosses the two minute mark, this is an album that I have listened to repeatedly since it’s release back in the spring. To some it may come across as more of the same but there is really nothing wrong with that.
Top Tracks: “Hypnotized” and “Death Trip On The Party Train”
2. Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin
Along with Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Ramones, and The Replacements there probably isn’t any artist or band that shaped my taste as much as Bob Mould. My life seems to have grown alongside his music as I’ve discovered more and more of it. His latest album is one of his heaviest solo albums to date but still has that classic Mould sound that fans of Sugar will love.
Top Tracks: “I Don’t Know You Anymore” and “Fix It”
1. Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal
While they do wear their influences on their sleeves the third LP from Parquet Courts proved that they were not just another Pavement imitator. Their songs seem to be running at a constant pace and do not seem to run out of steam. At the pace they have been releasing albums I would expect this band to get bigger and bigger with each one.
Top Tracks: “Black & White” and “Sunbathing Animal”