1. Superchunk – Majesty Shredding - Hard rocking indie-pop legends come back from a nine year hiatus with arguably their best record yet.
2. Neil Young – Le Noise - Veteran iconoclast starts his 6th decade as a recording artist with his most committed batch of songs in a very long time.
3. Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever - Their 5th full-length finds this Brooklyn band more powerful than ever and Craig Finn continuing to evolve as both a singer and lyricist.
4. Torche – Songs for Singles EP - Heavy Metal with hooks and brains and heart.
5. Hotrats – Turn Ons - A throwaway covers record by two thirds of now defunct Supergrass that is as pleasurable a listen as any record this year.
6. Figgs – The Man Who Fights Himself - What I initially suspected to be a stop-gap measure by these veteran rockers has grown in my estimation to be one of their most accomplished and mature (in a good way) records yet.
7. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks - Like the Hold Steady, Ted Leo has reached a point in his career where he can stop worrying about defining himself and concentrate on perfecting his craft. Artful, bittersweet pop-punk.
8. Maserati – Pyramid of the Sun - Instrumental rock as hypnotic and mesmerizing as anything I heard all year.
9. Spoon – Transference - Only songs this solid can hold up to the type of bare bones arrangements Spoon continues to perfect.
10. Ryan Adams – Orion - Hyperactive multi-hyphenate songwriter composes his ‘Sci-Fi Metal Rock Opera’ and stumbles upon his best batch of songs in many a year. A damn fine joke