These are the 15 albums I lived in. Each was distinct and at times, in a somewhat new dynamic this year, a breather from the daily gem mining that leads to much of our content. This is an LPs only list, and a “personal favorites” one at that (not to be confused with what is “best”). S&S generally celebrates the future seen in a track or EP (and loves doing it), but here is that annual chance to presently appreciate those who transported me using the sacred art of the album.
15. Clive Tanaka y su orquesta – Jet Set Siempre 1°
Experienced on cassette and later neon blue vinyl, the two retro futuristic, Trans channeling dimensions of Jet Set Siempre 1° (Side A “For Dance”, Side B “For Romance”) were really “For Anywhere” escapes.
14. RxRy – Ω
The most active of RxRy’s three albums (in one year), ΩMEGA culminated his ambient mission, filling headphones with fireworks, meeting all the orbiting matter that had been foreshadowed, head-on.
13. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
All well-balanced music relationships should have a land to go like Innerspeaker, where everything can be torched in psychedelia, broken down to dirt, and rolled around in.
12. Perfume Genius – Learning
Bare, fragile, tragic, these 28 minutes were called upon sparingly but to immense effect.
11. How To Dress Well – Love Remains
To access Love Remains, was to fight through fog in search of a television streaming R&B videos of the past. Exact whereabouts I could never pin down, but that echo still drenched the air, and seemed far more haunting this time around.
10. Foxes in Fiction – Swung From The Branches
As mentioned previously, it seems that each year (if lucky) there’s one recording that can stop all concept of time. This was a dream.
09. Mark McGuire – Living With Yourself
Like the images of Mark above, Living With Yourself felt real. And unlike the images of Mark above, this album’s kaleidoscope of guitar expressions share a familiarity, a childhood I could recall.
08. Coma Cinema – Stoned Alone
Where most of my experiences in isolation were centered around prettiness or melody, Stone Alone was held together by lyric (often dark, always genius) and bold instrumentation (often raw, always gorgeous).
07. Toro Y Moi – Causers of This
Just right in so many stimulating ways, Causers of This could loop for hours (weeks, months, years) without ever fading.
06. Julian Lynch – Mare
Mare was a quiet but loyal companion to summer, and then somehow changed with the leaves, gaining life as the days got shorter. There’s an intensity to Lynch’s ‘mellow’ intricacy, and it took a few autumn drives for me to fully understand.
05. Candy Claws – Hidden Lands
Inventing mind territory like a boundless video game map, expanding at will, recycling and reshaping its own audio property, Hidden Lands was my imaginary carnival forest and the most fascinating record I’ve heard in years.
04. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Less of a place, more of a sonic achievement to marvel, Halcyon Digest seemed impossibly warm, textured, paced, and realized.
03. Baths – Cerulean
Beneath the tremendous beat-swirling wizardry lies a beating heart of gold and I think that element of LOVE is what took Cerulean from thrilling electronic journey to downright masterpiece.
02. Future Islands – In Evening Air
In Evening Air was theatre for the ears, drama for the dance floor, essentially a book on tape, read by its own heart-wrenched underdog author, with inflections so heavy and genuine, my speakers nearly bled at each play.
01. Beach House – Teen Dream
With all my visits to Teen Dream, it’s still that first one that did it. “Zebra” was an immediate fade to pink, brighter on every cymbal crash, farther on each Legrand croon; the destination was pop heaven, too perfect to ever leave.
Looking forward to hearing yours.