Bear in Heaven - I Love You, It's Cool (Dead Oceans)
Death Grips - The Money Store (Epic)
Dunes - Noctiluca (PPM)
Kindness - World, You Need a Change of Mind (Polydor)
Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim (Modular)
Andy Stott - Luxury Problems (Modern Love)
Technicolor Teeth - Teenage Pagans (Let's Pretend)
Teen Suicide - I Will Be My Own Hell Because There Is a Devil Inside My Body (Self-Released)
Violens - True (Slumberland)
White Fence - Family Perfume Vol. 1 (Woodsist)
10. Sic Alps - Sic Alps (Drag City)
Finally, Sic Alps created their masterpiece. This is their White Album. It's only a half hour long but it's filled with psychedelic jams and classic sounding cuts. Listen to "Rock Races" and try not to cry, I dare you. The violins get me every time. This is their first record where they recorded in a studio instead using the same ragged 16-track Tascam, but they still sound like the same ol' Sic Alps. Just more polished and godlike.
9. Ringo Deathstarr - Mauve (Club AC30)
I really don't get why this band gets shit. Okay I understand, they sound an awful lot like My Bloody Valentine and of course they're not as great but we've been aching for another MBV record for the past like, 20 years now? Mauve is their second release, following their 2011 debut, Colour Trip and they got some serious monumental tunes this time around. Tracks like "Girls We Know", "Slack", and "Nap Time" will make you not feel so bad that Kevin Shields will probably release the next MBV record till 2025.
8. Mac DeMarco - 2 (Captured Tracks)
With 2, Mac DeMarco created a pleasant jangle-pop album. These Breeze FM jams stray away from his slacker/lo-fi past if you recall his first band, Makeout Videotape. Gary approves.
7. Collage Party - Suki and Me (Self-Released)
Alex Calder's project Collage Party is one of my favorite discoveries of this year. He had a Bandcamp with albums, each filled with lo-fi pop gems that deserve more than just a simple listen. Suki and Me shows Calder's brilliant songwriting and his potential to be more than just an obscurity.
6. Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance (Kranky)
Lockett Pundt's project never seems to get as much recognition as it deserves. Spooky Action at a Distance is a huge step from the Ableton recordings of The Floodlight Collective. Here, he went straight into a studio and recorded each track all on his own. Pundt is not just a member of Deerhunter, but a musician who is capable of creating beautiful soundscapes effortlessly.
5. Death Grips - NO LOVE DEEP WEB (Third Worlds)
An album cover with a huge cock on it has to make you wonder what the fuck you're going to get yourself into when downloading it at 2 in the morning. That was my discovery of this record when Death Grips released it at midnight back in October. NO LOVE DEEP WEB is a 45-minute ride of ear-melting tracks that don't even deserve a listen through a set of small earbuds. You blast this in your room when your parents are having dinner downstairs talking about the latest episode of Storage Wars.
4. Tame Impala - Lonerism (Modular)
"Am I getting closer? Will I ever get there? Does it even matter?" Lonerism is all about the idea that real life is just something else. Kevin Parker is the mastermind behind Tame Impala and is without the doubt, the most talented musician right now. He records alone in his bedroom and captures the feelings of endless daydreams and escaping real life in his music. Each track on this record is nothing short of pure bliss.
3. Merchandise - Children of Desire (Katorga Works)
I first got into Merchandise last year and the last song I drove home to on New Years Eve was "I Locked the Door". It's a 3-minute track with a hypnotic 80's drum beat and crooning vocals awash in an ocean of haze. I always hoped they would come back with another record and sure enough they did. Children of Desire is one of the finest releases and undoubtedly the most underrated of this year. There are only six tracks on this record, two of them being 11 minutes long each. The one that hits me harder than any other song I heard this year is called "Roser Park". I remember listening to it while driving back home from Madison with a friend and we could not get over how beautiful it was. Till this day, I still can't.
2. Mac DeMarco - Rock and Roll Night Club (Captured Tracks)
This is the Mac DeMarco I fell in love with. The sleazy, glam-rock singer who spends his evenings at the Rock and Roll night club, searching for his boogie-woogie woman. Just look at that cover for godsakes. I spent the majority of 2012 listening to this record more than anything else. Of course I do enjoy 2 a lot, but the tracks on here hit me more than the smooth jangle-pop perfections. Sorry Gary.
1. DIIV - Oshin (Captured Tracks)
We all remember when "Doused" came out and how excited we were for the release of Oshin. For some it was a disappointment upon release, for me it was perfect. I would spend endless nights listening to it, dreaming of better days with no fears or worries. Their songs have hit me in my highest and lowest of points in life. For me, DIIV are one of those bands that I never want to let go of, no matter how much I fall in love with something more.