1. LOWER DENS - Escape From Evil
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    Tight upbeat pop tunes with much darker undertones. This is definitely my favorite album of the year, and my appreciation for it became much more intense after seeing them play at a small local venue. So many good tracks, but "Ondine" is probably my favorite song of the year.
  2. D'ANGELO & THE VANGUARD - Black Messiah
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    A little funk, a little soul, a little R&B, all fucking incredible. I didn't know I was such a huge D'Angelo fan until this year.
  3. JENNY LEWIS - The Voyager
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    I've always loved Jenny Lewis' voice but could never get into any of her stuff, besides a handful of Rilo Kiley songs. Not sure what compelled me to give this album a shot, but I immediately loved it. Solid pop/rock tunes with some emotionally charged lyrics.
  4. KENDRICK LAMAR - To Pimp a Butterfly
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    Kendrick continues to make true, real hip hop. This album departs from all of the usual trappings of what a rap album should sound like. Kendrick's lyrics are as dense as a great novel, and the production almost achieves the same depth. The album is a little too long and a few tracks could be cut, but this socially conscious concept album is a thoughtful and important piece of art.
  5. MAC DEMARCO - Salad Days
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    Based on his name, his face, and the attention he gets on Pitchfork, I thought this guy was a goofy indie rapper. Then I randomly heard "Chamber of Reflection" on a Pandora station at work. I was blown away. So great. It's still my favorite song by him, but this whole album is filled with awesome low-fi stoner pop tunes.
  6. JOHN WIZARDS - John Wizards
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    Some cool Afro-funk/pop weirdness. Callan's favorite song is on here so it gets a lot of spins. He dances every time.
  7. PANDA BEAR - Vs. The Grim Reaper
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    When it comes to Animal Collective, I tended to lean more towards the Avey Tare tracks. I enjoyed PB's last record, but this one is a lot more upbeat and it made me appreciate his overall style a lot more. I didn't realize what an amazing voice Noah Lennox has until I got into album.
  8. GRIMES - Art Angels
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    I'm honestly a little disappointed by Grimes' latest release. I knew she was attempting to make a radio friendly pop album, but I was hoping for it to be a little more subtle. The released demo for "Realiti" nailed the sweet spot and I was looking forward to more of the same. That said, there's still a handful of fun tracks on here. And the fact that Claire Boucher wrote, created, played, produced, and engineered every aspect of the album herself, makes me appreciate it even more.
  9. WALTER MARTIN - We're All Young Together
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    An old friend sent me this on vinyl when C was born. It is not merely "kids music" but a fun and at times beautiful record that everyone can enjoy. Karen O adds sweet vocals on my fave track "Sing 2 "Me."
  10. WILL BUTLER - Policy
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    Honestly, I didn't expect much and perhaps that's why it was so good. Sort of all over the place, but that's part of why it rocks.
  11. Runner Ups
    HOP ALONG - Painted Shut // COURTNEY BARNETT - Sometimes I Sit... // ELEANOR FREIDBERGER - Last Summer // TAME IMPALA - Currents