Yep, it's that time of year when writers all over the world produce their "best of" lists. Unlike other news outlets such NPR, Pitchfork or Paste, you won't find Kanye, Arcade Fire or Justin Timberlake on my list (mostly because I cover the western Massachusetts/southern Connecticut indie music scene). In no particular order, here they are:
Daphne Lee Martin, "Belly" - The lead single off her Moxie release gives me a boner. Enough said.
Speedy Ortiz, "Pioneer Spine" - There's something heartening about reliving the height of the Matador Records-era all over again. Sadie Dupuis and band-mates deliver the goods on their first full-length, Major Arcana, with this quiet/loud opener.
Mercy Choir, "Waaybaayo" - New Haven's Paul Belbusti is Mercy Choir. He released two albums this year, the instrumental Apostrophe Music and the singing-heavy His Noiseless Ball, His Boxwood Rattle. If you're a fan of Mark Linkous' Sparklehorse, you'll dig this.
And the Kids, "Neighbors" - Whether busking on the streets of Northampton or playing to a rapt audience at this summer's Green River Festival, And the Kids blew it up.
The Grimm Generation, "The Next Indie Boy" - The Big Fame gave us this: Tasty licks, Carmen Champagne and Jason P. Krug's witty wordplay and a memorable collection of unforgettable pop tunes.
Lys Guillorn, "Yemaya" - Winged Victory is a tour de force. Guillorn rules. Enough said.
Mark Mulcahy, "Bailing Out On Everything" - Mulcahy hit it out of the park with Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You and got some much deserved love from NPR's Fresh Air host Terry Gross.
Peyton Pinkerton, "The Three of Me" - Former New Radiant Storm King guitarist and Pernice Brother's sideman kills it. Do Modern Rock stations still exist?
Lord Russ, "Love Song Trilogy" - Flamboyant is as glamboyant does. Lord Russ is no stranger to the rodeo. Here's some serious shredding.
Bunny's A Swine, "I Wanna Be A Califone" - Why aren't there more bands that sound this good? Why?
That's it. Have a happy whatever.