None of these are in any ranking order whatsoever.
Best Debut Artists
XX - The XX
After Robots - Blk Jks
Album - Girls
Albums of the Year
Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective
Two Suns - Bat For Lashes
Beware - Bonnie Prince Billy
Begone Dull Care - Junior Boys
Person To Person - Foreign Born
Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear
Everything Is New - Jack Penate
Post-Nothing - Japandroids
Sainthood - Tegan & Sara
I listened to A.C. and G.B. the most both enjoying and tearing apart. They both hold up, and they both tickle my fancy on every listen. If i'm tainted by critics and their reviews, at least they didn't let me down this year. Bat for Lashes, play the fucker loud by yourself and fight me, i dare you. Will Oldham with beware put out a record that brings together everything he's best at, without it being a best of. My mom, lee, and me went to a show and all enjoyed it thoroughly, how's that for a cross-demographic from a dude most people never give a shot? Jack Penate made me appreciate the random nature of my iPod and reiterated that i'm not insane for downloading so much music searching for nuggets. They pop up every now and then, and when they do, I don't know how i went on without it. Tegan and Sara, no brainer. Japandroids, likewise. Junior Boys, maybe not their best, but made me groove the most, so better than their peers this year and nothing to scoff at.
Best Heavy Shit
Crack The Skye - Mastodon
Blue Record - Barroness
New Junk Aesthetic - Every Time I Die
Hanging around Lee, was made aware of new stuff, and stuff i liked and had forgotten about. Special credit goes to Mastodon for getting me all super hyped again after two years of electro and hip hop, and started really digging deeper. Don't be fooled if lee doesn't rave about something, if he even mentions it it's because it's worth checking out. If he makes a list it'll be a must have of shit most of ya'll have never heard of.
Us - Brother Ali
Ghostdini - Ghostface
The Miseducation Of Freddie Gibbs/midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik mix tapes- Freddie Gibbs
Black Boy White Boy -Young Dro & Young LA
Escape2Mars - Gift of Gab
Kid Cudi didn't really do it all for me, Lil Wayne followed up last year's barrage with loads of horseshit. Bun B spent all his time on so so guest verses. Outkast still hiding. For me, this year was the shittiest in a long time for rap. Plenty of ok albums, but no hands down great ones. Mass Return of the Wu was good. Freddie Gibbs had the best mixtapes, but still hold more of a "can't wait for the big flashy debut album" feel. Young Dro & Young LA put out the goods, but no anthems. Gift of Gab takes it close to old Blackalicious greatness, but not quite. Brother Ali had the only great "Album". Solid story telling raps, a super distinct voice, and great beats. Four albums deep of consistant goodness and the dude still has that hungry energy. If you go for any of these, get Brother Ali.
Moondagger - Deastro
Horror Disco - Bottin
A Certain Distance- Lusine
Get Moondagger now. Crazy lush pop buried under mountains of shimmery splendor. I mowed the lawn to this several times and found myself stopped in the yard and dancing praying the neighbors weren't watching me. Immediately accessible, yet complicated enough you keep going back to deconstruct it. Just listen to it, you'll thank me.
Best Lo-Fi Lullabies
My Touch - Toro y Moi
Life of Leisure/High Times EP's - Washed Out
Psychic Chasms - Neon Indian
Call & Response EP's - Memory Cassette
Probably the genre highlight of the year, the lo-fi movement was less about generic shitty production like years past, and more about taking it back to basics to remind everyone that done correctly, it doesn't take much to stir it up in your gullet, but takes a whole lot, filtered through some shitty equipment on purpose. Make sense? Of course not. Until you listen to it. Get lost fools.
Best Complete Surprise
Devil's Halo - Meshell NdegeOcello
I'm sure everyone but rick ignored my post, but the fact that i forced him to listen while he fought me and won him over solely with the music should tell you something. Get it now so i don't get drunk and go on "i told you so rants" a year from now.