Badbadnotgood - BBNG2
Porcelan Raft - Strange Weekend
Burial - Kindred EP
10. Orbital - Wonky
Looking to make a comeback? It's tough to do it much better than Orbital, who returned the rave/techno scene after an eight year hiatus sounding like they'd never left. The brothers Hartnoll display their ability to set a beat, incorporate dub elements, and even successfully remix/remake an old classic. Even if it takes another eight years for a followup, something tells me it'd be worth the wait.
8. Eluveitie - HelvetiosYou mean to tell me folk metal masters Eluveitie have put out a concept album about a Gaulish war, told from the viewpoint of an Irish tribe? People have grown mutton chops for less. Unlike many metal bands, Eluveitie aren't confined to just guitar and drums. Bagpipes, accordions, flutes, and much more are called in to create a compelling sound. You may not be able to pronounce their name, but you can tell it spells awesomeness.
6. Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance
5. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
Shame on me for sleeping on Ms. Apple. With The Idler Wheel... she has released a gut churning collection of avant-garde pop. As always, her lyrics cut through to the heart of her condition. She sounds pretty emotionally and psychologically exhausted here. If not, she's putting on one hell of an act.
4. Cloud Nothings - Attack on MemoryWhen you're ready to kick things to the next level, you'd best go all out. That seemed to be Dylan Baldi's mantra as he worked on Cloud Nothings' breakthrough album Attack on Memory. The Cleveland indie/punker teamed up with famed producer Steve Albini to produce a collection of songs that range from bitter and acerbic to bouncy and free spirited. Few can claim to approach the craft with near as much fervor or sincerity as Baldi.
3. The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now
There's nothing flashy about what Kristian Matsson does, and he doesn't go out of his way to break new ground. What he does do is make music for the soul. His sound is always rich, vibrant and outward looking. With just a simple acoustic guitar and a scratchy voice, Matsson says the things we've always wanted to say but never knew how.