Album: Creep On Creepin’ On
Artist: Timber Timbre
Label: Arts & Crafts
Sounds Like: A more soothing folky version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Reason It’s the Best: Did you just make a horror film? GUESS WHAT? I have the perfect soundtrack for you – this album! (What? You didn’t get me anything? Rude.) Swelling strings, I’m-gonna-get-ya drum beats, whistling-scary-screamy sound effects, creepy-yet-lovely wavering male vocals, and lyrics like, “Please break this spell you have me under, every heart is a lonesome hunter,” all make this a great, spookey album. The band has a refreshingly unique sound that stands out in the sea of indie-folk, and this album continues the stroke of genius seen on their self-titled album.
Album: Feel It Break
Label: Domino Records
Sounds Like: Indie-electro-pop with haunting female vocals
Reason It’s the Best: Austra seems to be at the forefront of a musical style that’s been slowly bubbling up to the brim of indie music this year. Austra, New Look, Zola Jesus, Purity Ring, Bell, etc. are all experimenting with this female-fronted, understated (sometimes dark), dancy indie-electro-pop. But there are two reasons that Austra has been rising to the top of the pack: first, Katie Stelmanis’s beautifully haunting voice; second, they made a record so smooth it plays like one really awesome song with changing but catchy melodies. (Oh, also their music video has boobs in it.)
Album: The Magic Place
Artist: Julianna Barwick
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Sounds Like: A one-woman church choir
Reason It’s the Best: The Magic Place will take you on a beautiful, spiritual journey lead with grace and innocence by Julianna Barwick’s unique, haunting voice. Though there’s more instrumentation on this album than her last, she mainly makes music through looping many tracks of her own voice.
Album: Black Up
Artist: Shabazz Palaces
Label: Sub Pop
Sounds Like: Digable Planets meets Flying Lotus
Reason It’s the Best: Wordsmith Palaceer Lazaro (formerly “Butterfly” of Digable Planets) links up with multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire to bring us some positively futuristic sounds, word-combos, and flows that could only have been inspired by several trips in a Delorean. Rather than releasing a music video for a single from the album, SP have decided to make a short, beautiful, impressionistic film collage that incorporates all the songs from the album – rock!
Album: No Time for Dreaming
Artist: Charles Bradley
Label: Daptone Records
Sounds Like: Profound soul music, halfway between Percy Mayfield and James Brown
Reason It’s the Best: 62-year-old Charles Bradley’s first album is seismical. Charles has the strong and gritty voice of a man who has nothing to loose. Both anachronistic and timeless, No Time for Dreaming is a collection of honest soul songs that you will find impossible not to love.