Top 25 albums of the year

Scott Murphy, News Editor

25.) White Suns – Totem

Key Track: “Carrion”

Straddling the line between complete chaos and discordant genius, White Suns emphasize the “noise” in noise rock with unrelenting and unsettling results.

24.) Whirr – Sway

Key Track: “Mumble”

A transition to a moodier and more spacious sound allows Whirr to create atmospheres that envelope the listener in shoegaze bliss.

23.) Kayo Dot – Coffins on Io

Key Track: “Library Subterranean”

Genre benders Kayo Dot return with yet another sonic experimentation, this time catapulting into the cosmos for a distinctly unique take on progressive rock.

22.) Xiu Xiu – Angel Gut: Red Classroom

Key Track: “Lawrence Liquors”

Bizarre and fearless as always, Jamie Stewart leads Xiu Xiu through another album of obscure compositions that pervert art rock, synthpop and post punk.

21.) Monarch – Sabbracadaver

Key Track: “Mortes”

Splicing together Pallbearer and Sunn O))) and adding tortured female vocals is an apt description of Monarch’s brand of drone metal, which is exactly as enticing at it sounds on paper.

20.) Botanist – VI: Flora

Key Track: “Stargazer”

Replacing guitars with hammered dulcimers allows Botanist to craft some of the most original and ethereal black metal that the genre has to offer.

19.) King Dude – Fear

Key Tack: “Cloven Hooves (Of Fear)”

TJ Cowgill describes his work under the King Dude name as “Rock n’ Roll for Lucifer,” which he backs up with an eerily gothic tinged approach to various strains of American folk music.

18.) Griefloss – Ruiner

Key Track: “łłł”

If the blackgaze approach of Lantlôs was made rawer and more youthful, the fantastic final product would resemble Griefloss’ bleak but beautiful sound.

17.) St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Key Track: “Birth in Reverse”

St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark’s ode to the digital age solidifies her place as one of the most talented artists in indie and art rock.

16.) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon

Key Track: “Simple and Sure”

Purity is truly the best way to describe the musical landscape of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, as each track embodies the joyous and carefree emotions of a gorgeous summer day.

15.) Grouper – Ruins

Key Track: “Clearing”

Haunting piano melodies surround Liz Harris’ vulnerable voice on her most straightforward project yet under her pseudonym Grouper.

14.) Wreck and Reference – Want

Key Track: “Apologies”

The emotionally taxing industrial soundscapes that Wreck and Reference stitch together provide thorough evidence that sampling can be repurposed into something new and refreshing.

13.) Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

Key Track: “I’m Not Part of Me”

Indie rock darlings Cloud Nothings return with another batch of confessional and devilishly catchy tunes that are equal parts cathartic and melodically satiating.

12.) Woods of Desolation – As the Stars

Key Track: “Ad Infinitum”

Black metal from Australia sounds much more warm and inviting than its typical Scandinavian origins, which Woods of Desolation proves with gorgeously cinematic blackgaze anthems.

11.) Thou – Heathen

Key Track: “Free Will”

With tracks caked in sludge and agony, Thou’s take on doom metal succeeds at being both musically and emotionally heavy.

10.) Swans – To Be Kind

Key Tack: “Oxygen”

Though not as strong a release as their comeback album The Seer, veteran experimental rock act Swans once again creates some of the greatest music of their storied career without heeding to the confines of any musical precedent.

9.) Pyrrhon – The Mother of Virtues

Key Track: “White Flag”

Pyrrhon bash death metal furiously over the head with copious amounts of mathcore and aggression with a release that seemingly has no concept of restraint or desire to offer the listener any respite.

8.) Planning for Burial – Desideratum

Key Track: “Where You Rest Your Head at Night”

Perpetually soothing, Planning for Burial’s latest offering is able to find a remarkable balance between being both calming and engaging within its melodic shoegaze drones.

7.) Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World

Key Track: “Burial Society”

After a six year hiatus following the release of their acclaimed debut Deathconsciousness, the tortured combination of shoegaze, industrial, ambient, drone and post punk signature to Have a Nice Life’s style returns for a more than worthy follow up.

6.) Godflesh – A World Lit Only by Fire

Key Track: “New Dark Ages”

Newly reformed and clearly back with a vengeance, Godflesh return to the eighties and their groundbreaking industrial metal roots for an album that puts many of their younger peers to shame.

5.) FKA Twigs – LP1

Key Track: “Lights On”

As uninteresting as the title of her debut album as FKA Twigs is, Tahliah Barnett’s style of trip hop and contemporary R&B is immensely revitalizing and captivating.

4.) Pharmakon – Bestial Burden

Key Track: “Intent or Instinct”

Margaret Chardiet penned her latest album as Pharmakon shortly after a nearly fatal medical emergency, and the result it a horrifying death industrial romp that provides immaculate sonic encapsulation of the fragility of the human body.

3.) How to Dress Well – What Is This Heart?

Key Track: “Words I Don’t Remember”

One of the strongest voices in contemporary R&B, the latest How to Dress Well project from Tom Krell is as inventive and infectious as has come to be expected of his music.

2.) Panopticon – Roads to the North’

Key Track: “Chase the Grain”

Incorporating folk elements into black metal is a common practice within the genre, but Panopticon’s utilization of influences from American folk and bluegrass establishes a signature style that helps to craft utter sonic triumph.

1.) Run the Jewels – RTJ2

Key Track: “Close Your Eyes and Count to F*** (Feat. Zach de la Rocha)”

By far one of the best hip-hop releases of the decade thus far, El-P and Killer Mike demonstrate collaborative excellence with their latest Run the Jewels project and set a standard for all emcees that follow them.