10. Disclosure: Settle
Dance music has trouble in the album format because of its repetitive nature. Disclosure can use similar pads and drums, but they still manage to subvert this problem due to their ear for pop sheen. I'm not going to be able to bring the skeptical UK dance crowd to the light, but I am not concerned. When it’s 4AM and I’m screaming ‘White Noise’, I cannot hear the haters.
9. Kurt Vile: Wakin On A Pretty Daze
He’s truly a great musician, and ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’ is a perfect end product to represent his worthiness on ShufSounds’ albums on the year. It’s the realisation of someone who has slowly but surely become one of our great singer songwriters.
8. Jon Hopkins: Immunity
‘Immunity’ is an album people listened to from start to finish. There are as many favourite moments as there are favourite songs. Hopkins demonstrates an innate ability to instill something human in the most artificial of tools. He creates an album that is expressive, long-lasting and musically masterful.
7. DARKSIDE: Psychic
This is a safari ride of sound but not one with closed gates. The final seconds of closer, ‘Metatron’ are emotive and delicate. Harrington’s guitar whimpers over the the leftovers of Jaar's synthesized throbs and a year of heavyweight returns is arguably upstaged by something people truly had never heard before.
6. Arcade Fire: Reflektor
At thirteen tracks long it is capable of providing groove with pathos, the two discs tracking a multitude of genre, whilst providing similar scope in reflection. It wins as a testament to human interaction and conversation; screaming, shouting and working it out. This is not art as social commentary, this is art as therapy.
5. Chance The Rapper: Acid Rap
This candid and lyrically frank response sits well against the colourful and juvenile production. Through such deftly applied and catchy hooks, Chance is able to somehow anesthetize and then invigorate his listeners; catching them unawares with an album that is both a humble beginning and a victory lap - the night out and the hangover.
4. Rhye: Woman
It showcases an in-depth intimacy that is communicated through polished, almost cinematic production. ‘Woman’ is a crack in the mould of romantic song-writing. It’s a record where the most personal feelings become communal and celebratory in absolutely effortless fashion.
3. Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires Of The City
Vampire Weekend have effortlessly displayed their munificence here, dishing out musical bounty for tweens and more refined listeners alike. From the bouncy melodies of 'Diane Young' to the grizzly love-song-prayer-combo of 'Ya Hey'. An invaluable guidebook to the highs and lows of life as a Modern Vampire.
2. The National: Trouble Will Find Me
The Ohio-via-Brooklyn based rockers have sat comfortable on their throne as one of the finest indie rock bands of the twenty-first century for a considerable amount of time now and with the release of ‘TWFM’, they have every reason to remain at ease. Sincerely honest music that has never been easier to absorb.
1. Kanye West: Yeezus
His undying commitment to new frontiers is what makes Kanye West the most exciting artist in the world and what makes ‘Yeezus’ such a deft execution of his new world order. The misshapen punk that races through ‘Black Skinhead’ and the chauvinistic vandal of the American dream on ‘Bound 2’ are all facets of his persona. Each chapter of ‘Yeezus’ is painted masterfully with no-frills production, alienating lyricism and a war between self-hate and self-obsession that is extremely real and truly captivating. Kanye (obviously) isn’t really God but the victory is in the boldness, the triumph is in the enterprise and the repercussions remain unwritten.