There were a lot of albums by old favorites that I wanted to like a lot better than I did (I'm looking at you Franz Ferdinand, Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam).
Honorable Mentions: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Specter at the Feast; Josh Ritter - The Beast in its Tracks; The Lone Bellow; Rogue Wave - Nightingale Floors; Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City.
10: Phoenix - Bankrupt!
I don't really have much to say about this album other than that the band has maintained its ability to entertain with catchy tunes. A pretty good album to listen to while running. Which reminds me, I ran a half marathon and completed a triathlon this year. I need to figure out another race to sign up for so that I'll start exercising again instead of becoming a fat slob again.
9: Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse
I don't think I could ever get tired of the song lyrics these guys come up with. Brutally honest. "Let's tell every girl we marry that we'll always love them when we probably won't." Maybe I'm jaded, but I prefer this kind of realistic attitude to the sappy love songs that clog the airwaves.
8. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Sometimes life isn't fair. Like this summer when I had to choose between seeing these guys for $5, or seeing My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and Bob Dylan perform. Of course I chose the latter concert, and I don't regret it, but I heard that The National killed it. I suppose there are worse problems to have in life. Still, it would've been nice to make it to both shows.
7. Eels - Wonderful, Glorious
This year I read E's autobiography 'Things the Grandchildren Should Know.' I read it right after a break-up, which probably wasn't the best move since it's quite depressing. (I was warned: Do not read this when you're depressed!) Not sure how that he hasn't killed himself with the life he's had. Take home message: Life sucks, but the good can outweigh the bad, and when it does, it's beautiful. Truth.
6. Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Kurt Vile is awesome. That is all. Not many people can pull off nine minute songs that I never get sick of hearing, but he's done it here. Perfect music for winding down at the end of a long busy day. For reals.
5. Dawes - Stories Don't End
I was working in the lab one day when I got a text from a master's student I'd trained who had graduated and started a PhD program in Oregon: "Have you heard the new Dawes? Just My Luck seems like it was written specifically for you." I downloaded it. He was right. "Just my luck, I never said I loved you. Just my luck, it completely slipped my mind."
4. Blitzen Trapper - VII
3. Phosphorescent - Muchacho
This album has my favorite song of the year: Song For Zula. It's beautiful. One morning, I listened to it on repeat while watching the sun rise over the Sea of Cortez. You can't beat that type of experience (when the beauty of the world syncs up with art). You just can't. I'll go back to that beach sometime this summer, but won't be able to capture that moment again. Hopefully there will be a new, similar moment.
2. The Strokes - Comedown Machine
If it's not obvious from my last blurb, I spent some time in Mexico this year. 5 1/2 weeks to be exact. One night, after we'd finished processing samples from a field site, we went to a bar next to our hotel. The bar owner played this entire album while we played pool. I suck at pool, btw. I don't suck at making requests though. Even if I don't speak the language.
1. Empire of the Sun - Ice on the Dune
Before this summer, I'd only heard one song by this band. I went to their concert anyway. It was only $5, and a group of friends were excited about it. It was the best show I saw this year, and that's saying a lot considering it topped The Flaming Lips, and the My Morning Jacket/Wilco/Bob Dylan show. I couldn't stop listening to this album for like six weeks. The only bad thing is that it's now permanently associated with my move to Iowa. Probably not the best association to have. (Although I will say that the people there are great, my new boss is totally awesome, and I get to spend a few months a year in Mexico, so life is pretty good right now. That's all.)
I hope that 2014 treats you all well.