[NOTE - totally forgot to add the Poirier record which is easily my favorite dance record of the year. See below)
Okay, I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible. I've submitted my top 20 to UMFM, and thought that I should post it on here. To be honest, I'm not one to obsess over lists like these that terribly much (I much prefer reading other peoples). So, if you were to ask me in an hour what my top 20 records of the year are, with the exception of the top 5, it would most likely be pretty different. The top 5 here though are records the rest don't even really come close to. If you want a mix, please don't hesitate to ask.
Here goes nothin'
Records that just missed the cut:
Titus Andronicus, (The record is about 8 songs to long to crack the top 20). Salem, Books, Baths, Little Women, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The National, Dave Holland Octet, Chicago Underground Duo, The Bad Plus, Vex'd, Badawi, The Bad Plus, Mount Kimbie, Frog Eyes
If they were not EP's they would definitely be here:
Kurt Vile - Square Shells, Destroyer - Archer on the Beach, all of the James Blake releases.
20.) Tomboyfriend - Don't Go to School
19.) Teengirl Fantasy - 7AM
18.) The Shining - Black Jazz
Norwegian free-jazz group goes prog-metal. What's not to love. (if you watch the video you have to at least wait until the 3:30 mark - is that a saxophone I see?)
17.) Owen Pallett - Heartland
16.) Warpaint - The Fool
15.) Future Islands - In Evening Air
14.) Freeway and Jake One - Stimulus Package
13.) Land of Talk - Cloak and Cipher
12.) Actress - Splazsh
11.) Ariel Pink's Haunted Grafitti - Before Today
10.) Forrest Swords - Dagger Paths
Probably had the best chance of the bottom 15 records to eventually crack the top 5, but it's still too young for me to have it any higher. A great cousin record to Gang Gang Dance's Saint Dymphna.
9.) Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise
Sweet melodic techno that builds well off of one of the genre's finest releases This Bliss.
8.) Oneohtrix Point Never - Returnal
7.) Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
6.) Christian Scott - Yesterday You Said Tomorrow
Awesome post-Katrina New Orleans Jazz. Scott's concert here this past June was easily the best show I saw all year (all decade??).
5.) Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
This may be a little bit backlash related, but as much as I love this record (and I really do), the record is really not deserving of all the hype. I can't help but think that it's the collaborations that make this record work as (with the exception of the whole Sarcophagus - esophagus line) Kanye's performance on this record is not necessarily his best (and Jay-Z's appearance is borderline brutal). Nicki Minaj steals the show clearly (EVERY TIME she raps, not just on "Monster"), and Rick Ross, the Rza and that dude from Bon Ivery do a fine job as well. But outside of the guest spots, the record is really only good, not great. That said, from "Power" through to "Monster" is some of the best pop music you'll ever hear.
5. 1.) Poirier - Running High
Proving yet again that as much as I like to rock out, I like dancing even more.
4.) Women - Public Strain
I haven't loved a rock record this much in ages. "Eyesore" is particularly beautiful. I think I've said enough about this record elsewhere.
3.) Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Carl Wilson recently criticized this record for its lack of editing. Honestly I can't find a song on this record I would want to take out. If I were to rank this records in accordance to the number of times I've played them, Have One On Me would win by a country mile.
2.) Janelle Monae - The Arch Android
I can't help but see/hope Afro-futurism becoming the next big musical genre. Especially considering how awesome this record. I mean seriously, the record is 70 minutes long and, with the exception of the misguided Of Montreal collaboration "Make the Bus", the record really never loses my attention. Plus, how can you not help but love someone as ridiculously awesome as Janelle Monae?
1.) Darkstar - North
This is the record I've been waiting the Junior Boys to make since Last Exit. A perfect blend of dubstep, wonky, synth pop and crooner vocals. I could listen to this record a 100 times and it would surprise me every time. Here's their wonderful cover of The Human League's "Gold".