Unlike previous years, there was no clear winner this year. Many good albums that I listened to a lot, but no clear winner. At various times, all the top five could have shuffled around.
- About Last Night, Sleeper Agent
Fun. A big step up from their first album, which I also enjoyed.
- Before the Waves, Magic Man
Not my usual style of music, but man, some of the songs are super catchy.
- The Both, The Both
I had no idea whether the pairing of Ted Leo and Aimee Mann would work. It does. And how can you not like a song (“Milwaukee”) that mentions The Fonz?
- Seeds, TV on The Radio
The first half of this album is up there with their best stuff. Gets mushier in the second half though. Still very good.
- Distraction, Bear Hands
The only real “debut” on the list is this one. A band to watch.
- After the Disco, Broken Bells
Not as good as the first album, but nearly every track is a gem.
- They Want My Soul, Spoon
Not many bands make one of their best albums 20 years into their careers, but Spoon did.
- Liberation!, Peter Matthew Bauer
The first album on the list from a band musician doing a solo album, this time the bassist from The Walkmen stepping out on his own. Liberation! is a great rock record, combining some mellower, Indian-tinged numbers with some rock out songs. Spiritual without being overbearing. Uplifting.
- Weatherhouse, Philip Selway
Radiohead’s drummer’s second album is atmospheric, bitter at times, and resigned. Perfect for rainy days and reflection. “It Will End in Tears” is such a brilliant song.
- Morning Phase, Beck
Beck at his Sea Change melancholy best. Heartbreaking. I don’t know who could fail to be moved by “Say Goodbye.” As always, Beck can do anything, drifting through genres (rock, folk, country, etc.) like a smoke through a forest.
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