In no particular order:
The Knife, Shaking the Habitual
The only tracks I don’t like on here are the auditory experiments. My favorite track, which also seems the least Knife-like, may be “A Cherry on Top.” Haunting, yet compelling, like a body horror film re-imagined for your ears.
Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels
El P and Killer Mike. And, though El P does lay down some great lyrics (second verse on “Job Well Done” is near perfect), Mike is just on fire. This is from one of his verses on “Sea Legs”: There will be no reprieve for the thieves / There will be no respect for The Thrones / No master mastered these bones / Your idols all are my rivals / I rival all of your idols / I stand on towers like Eiffel, I rifle down all your idols. Go home, everyone else. Go home.
Autre Ne Veut, Anxiety
This is some space-age R&B music to have sex with robots to and features a falsetto that will crack the windows of your flying car.
Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time
I have had this album on repeat since it came out. Pitchfork’s Carrie Battan writes, “it’s one of the most pleasingly conventional and cohesive pieces of pop-rock to come along this year.” Couldn’t agree more.
Tim Hecker, Virgins
This is a record full of spectres and fog and candlelight. I recommend listening with headphones in a dark room while you reflect on how little time you have left on this earthly plane.
Natasha Kmeto, Crisis
Dance. Emote. Dance some more. Have a drink. Check the melody. Emptiness and love can coexist. Now dance a little more.
Jon Hopkins, Immunity
Glitches and twitches and all sorts of sound wavy sickness. This album creates quite an atmosphere for me to melt right into.
Fuck Buttons, Slow Focus
This album was my biggest surprise of the year. The opener, “Brainfreeze”, dug into me and didn’t let up. The whole thing is an experience. I’d like to see them do this record live from start to finish.
Arcade Fire, Reflektor
Yep, it’s a winner (although the song “Reflektor” is pretty icky). I think I like it overall better than The Suburbs but don’t feel there is any track as strong as “Sprawl II” from that earlier work and, admittedly, I haven’t spent as much time with it yet as I’d like to.
Charli XCX, True Romance
I truly am a sucker for (overly?) crafted pop. Help me.
I thought Give Up the Ghost was great and I think this record is even better. The vocals are a bit more comprehensible and the songs tighter. Good, good stuff.
Here is a link to the Spotify playlist.
You can (and should) download Run the Jewels for free here.
Aaaaaaaaand I think Yeezus is dumb.