This is the music I most loved over the past year. I doubt too many of these have made any other end-of-year lists:
Tegan and Sara (CAN): Heartthrob.
This list in not in any order, but Heartthrob might be my most favorite album of the year. I was stunned at how these two former folk-rock sisters were able to complete an entire album of big pop songs that were breathtakingly moving, musically literate, and full of crowd pleasing hooks:
My Bloody Valentine (GBR): m b v.
m b v proved to be neither greater nor lesser than their legendary 1993 album, Loveless, but it is a brilliant new stage in their career after a 20 year pause. It stands on its own as a masterpiece of scorched beauty.
Sleigh Bells (USA): Bitter Rivals.
Their sound has smoothed out since their first album, and they may have lost some of their unpredictable edge, but I think their songwriting is becoming more solid:
Whinnie Williams (GBR).
I'm so impressed and inspired by how Jade Williams executed her vision of an almost hermetically tight world of style, sensitivity and dry humor. Can't wait for the album:
Little Boots (GBR): Nocturnes.
Victoria evokes club, house, and disco without ever raising a bead of sweat. Perfect and pure, smooth as glass:
Annie (NOR): The A&R EP.
Annie has an infallible sense of what pop should be. Her infrequent releases only appear when she has crafted a work of perfection:
Oh Land (DNK): Wishbone.
Oh Land's debut was technically impressive. On Wishbone, she brings a little more grit and funkiness into her sound:
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (JPN): Nanda Collection.
Kyary released her third album of frenetic insanity and hysterical beauty this year:
If appreciating Kyary requires a little more background, this little video might help novices:
Cults (USA): Static.
I really liked their first album, but I loved Static. They extend what they were already doing while bringing in some more contemporary influences, without losing their charm.
Selebrities (USA): I was convinced this band was from Europe until I found out they're originally from Florida, which is just - weird! They lovingly emulate the whole post-punk, Factory Records era, but still sound fresh.
Cate Le Bon (GBR):
Here's someone I can't quite figure out, but this girl from Wales has my attention. Kind of folk/pop/rock with an eccentric sense of melody and rhythm; a bit reminiscent of the softer side of Broadcast.