10. Husky – Ruckers Hill
Husky Gawenda is an Australian-kept secret. His organic folk songwriting charms its way on the singer-songwriter’s second album Ruckers Hill, drawing from the best aspects of the genre. Rich in storytelling, captivating melodies, Ruckers Hill is a worthwhile listening experience, and will be years to come.
9. Foals – What Went Down
Mercury Prize winning alternative rock group Foals have a done it again – their fourth album What Went Down can be seamlessly added to their list of intense, artistic alternative discography. The music takes up as much space as possible: crashing cymbals, belted vocals, and ringing guitars forces the listener to give all their attention. Hit singles “Mountain At My Gates” and the absolutely stunning “What Went Down” shift this album into the top 10.
8. Rain Over St. Ambrose – Still Waking Up
Some good ol’ East Coast rock n’ roll. Rain Over St. Ambrose are a sign of a bright future for the Canadian music scene. Their blistering power and natural intensity is a recipe of success, and their sophomore album Still Waking Up is deserving effort. With a relentless spirit from the opening track “29 Takes” to the final moments of “Talk, Talk, Talk”, the new album is best described as “bold, blistering, and beautiful”. Do yourself a favour and enjoy:
7. Florence + The Machine – How Big How Blue How Beautiful
How Big How Blue How Beautiful was more than just a contemporary rock album; it was an expression of Florence Welch’s soul and emotions, delivered through powerful performances and soul-touching lyrics. Best of all, it could hardly be contained through the medium of music, and instead combined with a stunning “odyssey” of Terrence Malik-esque music videos. Florence is an artist.
6. Tame Impala – Currents
Is there such thing as a bad Tame Impala album? With the addition of Kevin Parker’s third album Currents, the answer is no. If anything, his latest collection is his best yet, pushing himself further to manipulate his familiar psychedelic-lo-fi style into something bigger and better. Borrowing from ’70s electro-pop and disco, Currents has a bit of fun with experimentation (and his obvious influence from his work with Mark Ronson). Just “Let It Happen”:
5. Bright Light Social Hour – Space Is Still the Place
If you haven’t been blessed by the massive jam-session, southern rock experience that is Bright Light Social Hour, now’s your chance. Based out of Austin, Texas (that should be clue #1), the psychedelic rock group trumped their debut self-titled release with Space Is Still the Place. More alive than ever, the collection is tightly filled with stunning guitar solos, prolonged rhythms, and is a superb record to add to any collection.
4. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
As the lead singer of southern soul/blues/rock group Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard is the driving force behind the gorgeous collection Sound & Color. Reaching far above for the opening note of “Don’t Wanna Fight”, the sensation that arises from the piercing tone is a signal of great things to come. Groovy riffs, sun-soaked hooks, and just an overwhelmingly brilliant recording throughout, Sound & Color is a must-have.
3. Battles – La Di Da Di
Experimental rock group Battles ditched the need for vocals completely on their third record La Di Da Di. Fortunately, they’re better off without them. Allowing the connection between the drums, guitar, synthesizer, and bass to form, the melodic boundaries are pushed into the realm of virtuosic accuracy and deafening precision. Hypnotic from the get-go, the best way to experience La Di Da Di is to just let it happen.
2. San Fermin – Jackrabbit
Brooklyn-based ensemble San Fermin is essentially The National, an orchestra, and a spine-chilling novel combined. Jumping arrangements, misplaced sounds, and a perfectly paired male-female alternation of vocals make Jackrabbit a brilliant composition that sits comfortably between indie rock and cinematic pop.
1. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy
98 minutes, five moments, and one perplexing mind. Lead by singer, songwriter, and personality Patrick Stickles, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is the rock opera of this generation. Aggressively combining alternative rock, art-rock, punk, and mental disorders, it requires and deserves the patience of the listener. Now into his 30s, Stickles has spent the past decade dealing with himself since his 2005 album, and The Most Lamentable Tragedy is the best and only way into his mind.