I know this is embarrassingly late, but better late then never, I guess. It’s still timely, some of these albums are still pretty new. And while the critics get tired of talking about the same jams over and over, that doesn’t mean I’m tired of listening to the same jams over and over. Here goes.

10. After Dark – Various Artists: This is a magnificent compilation of dark, modern dance music. Featuring the likes of Glass Candy and Chromatics, it’s great for that meandering night drive.

9. Untrue – Burial: Even after I turn this album off, I can still hear it ringing in my head. It’s like you’re being haunted by this guy. And nobody really knows who he is, but he’s just made an album I think is fair to call definitive.

8. Strawberry Jam – Animal Collective: Animal Collective is finally doing what Animal Collective has been trying to do forever. “Fireworks” and “For Reverend Green” are weird, psychedelic anthems that will forever remind me of this summer.

7. – Justice: Justice are obviously the heirs to Daft Punk. That isn’t a bad thing despite what some people might tell you. This album begs to be danced to. It’s earned a permanent place on my “we’re driving to a party at night” playlist. And it’s welcome to stick around for the party itself, too.

6. Asa Breed – Matthew Dear: I’ve heard a couple people say that in 10 years people are going to be trying to do what Matthew Dear did in ’07 on this record. I couldn’t agree more. Dear is in his element.

5. In Rainbows – Radiohead: These guys still pack a pretty serious punch. They’ve finally made an accessible album that is distinctively Radiohead, and the way the album was released, I thought, was really beautiful. “Reckoner” still makes me want to cry whenever I hear it.

4. Person Pitch – Panda Bear: It’s been kind of a creepy, psychedelic year. Sometimes I still get creeped out about where this album goes, but I’m always glad I went there after I’m done.

3. Lon Gisland EP – Beirut: This was the first music I listened to after the sun rose over New York City after the night I almost died. Though The Flying Club Cup is a pretty solid album, I think this EP is a much better record. “Elephant Gun” is my #1 played track on iTunes for a reason.

2. All Hour Cymbals – Yeasayer: The first album from an obnoxious hipster band out of Brooklyn was totally shock-and-awe: they released the first single in the spring for free on the internet and I waited the whole summer with bated breath for the album. It delivers. It’s beautifully produced, sweeping, epic, deeply influenced by psych-folk and 70’s-era rock, but distinctly modern at the same time.

1. Drums and Guns – Low: This is an album that saved my life this spring. On top of its significance for me, personally, I think it’s a great work of art and a telling example of what this band is capable of. Everything is stripped down, and everything is as essential as bone. It really boggles my mind that this album hasn’t shown up on more peoples’ top lists. Not even in any top 50s!


Honorable mentions, in no particular order: Neon Bible – The Arcade Fire; Andorra – Caribou; Spiderman of the Rings – Dan Deacon; Liars – Liars; Cryptograms – Deerhunter; Mirrored – Battles; Kala – M.I.A.; The Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem; The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn – CocoRosie; Banging Down the Doors – Ezra Furman and the Harpoons; Friend Opportunity – Deerhoof.

Well, there it is. I mean, it’s totally subject to change. The one thing I never get is how you can definitively say you’ve found the top music of a year. I know I haven’t.