1. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Arcade Fire’s follow-up album to their Grammy-award winning album, The Suburbs, is dark yet surprisingly danceable. The band knows how to take risks and challenge themselves all while keeping with their signature style. Reflektor is Arcade Fire’s most musically complex effort to date.
2. HAIM- Days Are Gone
The debut album from the California sister-trio is the perfect mix of nostalgia and modernity. It’s refreshingly bold yet familiar, boasting influences from Stevie Nicks and Wilson Philips. Days Are Gone is melodic and a real treat for any ’90s child.
3. Cecile McLorin Salvant – WomanChild
Pulling inspiration from jazz legends like Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, Salvant offers something fresh and original all while steeped in tradition. Her technical ability, tempo and charisma displayed in WomanChild are evidence that she is far from a novelty act, but a true original in a re-emerging genre.
4. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
With their third album, Vampire Weekend have finally shed their ivy-league peppiness and demonstrated their full potential. Modern Vampires of the City is their most concise work and displays a sense of confidence and playful sophistication that was lacking from their previous albums.
5. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Random Access Memories was well worth the eight years since the last studio album from French electronic duo, Daft Punk. Boasting a mix of dance, electronic, soul and disco, the lead single, “Get Lucky,” was in heavy rotation all summer.
6. James Blake – Overgrown
With his sophomore release, James Blake is stepping out of his electronic shell and revealing his humanity. Overgrown showcases a raw and soulful side to the minimalist post-dubstep sweetheart. With several tracks produced by Brian Eno and a strong focus on songwriting and melody, Blake’s sophomore release is experimental yet accessible.
7. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
In between writing songs for Sky Ferreira, Solange and Britney Spears, the Essex born street punk turned Brooklyn hipster recorded his sophomore album. With a clear influence from early ‘90s Prince, new wave, dance and R&B, Cupid Deluxe was inspired by the alienation and heartbreak of the New York underground LGBT community.
8. Emilíana Torrini – Tookah
Tookah showcases the essence of who Emilíana Torrini wants to be as an artist. Atmospheric synthesizers soar over her folky indie pop melodies to create a richly layered, evocative experience.
9. M.I.A. – Matangi
Initially reworked because it was deemed “too positive,” the fourth studio album from the outspoken English-Sri Lankan is creative and playful. The songs are chaotic and fly by at a brisk pace, creating the sense of excitement and exoticism that we’ve come to expect from M.I.A..
10. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Having previously worked with Coldplay, Imogen Heap and Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins certainly knows a thing or two about versatility. With his fourth studio album, we are immersed in Hopkins’ intriguing fusion of modern classical, techno and ambient musical styles. Immunity is both energetic and contemplative.