(A list in no particular order by Tim, with input from Chris and Mei Yau)
The Visitor (Drag City)
Beautiful, subtle, shifting pop symphony from Jim.
Is And Always Was (High Wire/Eternal Yip Eye)
Broadcast and The Focus Group
Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age (Warp)
An engrossing collaboration that’s like a slow trip through a haunted radio dial.
Fever Ray (Mute/Rabid)
Great solo album by Karin Dreijer Andersson from the Knife that sounds exactly like the Knife.
Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (Drag City)
The Joanna Newsom Breakup Record!
Personal Train (Elefant)
Watching Fitness Forever was a highlight of this year’s Indietracks festival, and the album is a peach.
Bonnie Prince Billy
Au Revoir Simone
Still Night, Still Light (Moshi Moshi)
I do love their cymbal sound.
Good Evening (Human Ear)
Amazing, woozy 80s funk/Italo disco grooves, recorded at home onto cheap analog multitrack.
Super Furry Animals
Dark Days/Light Years (Rough Trade)
Hors D’ourves (Paw Tracks)
Not quite as good as her fantastic debut record, but I can’t put my finger on why. It’s still compellingly weird and dreamy.
From An Ancient Star (Ghost Box)
The most poppily tune-filled Belbury Poly album yet.
Toeachizown (Stones Throw)
P-Funk, G-Funk, Boogie-Funk, Electro-Funk and every other kind of funk all come together in perfect harmony on this mammoth album that brings melody and optimism back to ‘urban’ music.
Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey)
Tomorrow Today (Loaf)
Ex-members of Broadcast and Plone create an understated album of retrofuture pop.
My Maudlin Career (4AD)
The Transactional Dharma of Roj (Ghost Box)
The Broadcast connection continues with an album of atmospheric horror movie pieces by their former keyboard wizard.
Villainess (Frog Man Jake)
Torch songs about Mario Bava and Delphine Seyrig. Rarely does such intense emotion and drama come so elegantly packaged.
Yours Truly, The Commuter (Anti)
Merriweather Post Pavillion (Domino)
It’s not perfect, but this album contains some incredible moments.
This concludes my self-indulgent look back over 12 months of new music, but these weren’t the only great records that came out this year. Navigation by Arthur and Martha, Begone Dull Care by Junior Boys, Bird-Brains by Tune-Yards, Eating Us by Black Moth Super Rainbow and 21st Century Man by Luke Haines were all wonderful too, and there’s a big list of interesting stuff that I still haven’t listened to…
I’d love you to recommend any you think I’ve missed in the comments.