this took some deliberation. includes blurbs!
  1. Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete
    surprise, my fave artist is #1. non-sarcastic surprise: how well grunge gets folded into his undulating waves of primitive CGI 4-dimensional figures and samples as emotionally charged as they are difficult to place.
  2. Grant - The Acrobat
    dub techno the way they used to make it. analog grit combines with the precision of a thousand DAWs for a sublime low-key feast that uncurls like smoke from the last cigarette in the ashtray.
  3. Future - Dirty Sprite 2
    we love to watch people burn out in the spotlight, and oftentimes that fire is lit by the intensity of the public gaze. Dirty Sprite 2 keeps it out of maudlin territory and instead turns to staring down the abyss. it stares back at us, and eventually we always blink, but the view on the way down is stunning. despite the dim atmosphere and hazy recollections, Future remains clear-eyed on his target the whole time.
  4. Joanna Newsom - Divers
    medieval recorders, harp, piano, lyrics about waiting for your Love (capital L) to return from the sea... don't let the descriptors fool you. for an hour Joanna Newsom weaves spells and stories and pure songwriting magic out of thin air. it's her most accessible work to date, the one you can imprint your own memories and emotions on.
  5. Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION
    the finest work to ever live up to the zeitgeist and then some, period.
  6. Pinkshinyultrablast - Everything Else Matters
    remember when music made you feel? still with me? remember when it made you feel like the future was open, a clear sky filled with every opportunity and the potential for millions more? this album does that over and over and over again.
  7. DJ Richard - Grind
    ominous, but not in a fog-soaked night kind of way. this is mysterious and heavy music for the middle of the day when the sun's at high noon, when the existential terrors with no shape or name are the scariest.
  8. Rezzett - Goodness
    twisted, layered, and soaked in groove for weeks, Goodness is three tracks of dance music stretched out like Nico Jaar's compositions but remaining focused on the fuzzed-out core serving as the engine.
  9. Gaussian Curve - Clouds
    music that would have been filed under 'new age' five years ago is making strides, no doubt thanks to looser restrictions of genre and taste, but watering down has become an unfortunate habit. but Gaussian Curve makes the case that concessions shouldn't be made, and that smart musicians can, in fact, make incredibly compelling and emotional music by making the cerebral approach the dominant one.
  10. Cheatahs - Mythologies
    smart, sticky shoegaze that's light on its feet and doesn't overwork anything. these guys have the instrumental chops and musical ears needed to execute their trickier ideas. one can only imagine what happens when they start taking real risks.