10. Cut Copy - Free Your Mind
listen: We Are Explorers
9. Charli XCX - True Romance
She played at Schubas this year, a venue she will never play again. This girl does Lady Gaga so much better than Lady Gaga ever did, she paved the way for Lorde to be dark, young, and poppy, and is kinda insanely hot. Her hit of 2013 was disguised as an Icona Pop song, but everything on True Romance is just as compelling, with even more emotion and dynamic songwriting.
listen: What I Like
8. Classixx - Hanging Gardens
Chill out and dance. Does that make sense? It will when you listen to Hanging Gardens. Instead of relying on those ridiculous time cutting build-ups that every ridiculous DJ does, these two guys structured their electronic music like a well-paced Fleetwood Mac single. It's easily my 'summer album' of the year. But, it still sounds pretty chill late into the year too.
7. Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
6. Mark Mcguire - Along the Way
listen: In Search of the Miraculous
5. Toro y Moi - Anything in Return
listen: So Many Details
4. Run the Jewels - self-titled
listen: Get It
3. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
2. Phoenix - Bankrupt!
1. Haim - Days Are Gone
Surprised? Yeah, me too. But after turning on Days Are Gone for the hundredth time in less than a month I started to think, "oh, I guess I really like this album." I listened to my heart, and my heart told me that this is the one. It really shouldn't be a surprise either. This is the best pop album I've heard in years. And honestly, I don't care that they're all girls, a family, or whatever. That's fine and all, but what I really care about is the guitar solo during the bridge of "Falling," the quiet vulnerability of "Honey & I," and the Shania Twain meets Amy Grant audacity of "The Wire." Haim found the sweet spot in 2013. For the past few years we've seen artists like Grimes, Destroyer, and Bon Iver take ironic swipes at pop music with a tongue-in-cheek fondness for their subject matter. Haim did grow out of that same soil, but without the irony. This is pure, sincerely emotive pop-rock. The electric guitars are not winking. This is music to love. And, I do.
"Always keep your heart locked tight."
listen: The Wire