40. Patrick Watson – Adventures in Your Own Backyard – Patrick Watson is gaining steam with lush orchestrated indie-rock / folk songs that seem to float and quiver over this excellent album that was remarkably recorded in the singer’s apartment. There are vast sounds coming from every angle, and Watson uses his voice to fog over these orchestrations creating a huge sound that will delight you from every angle. Check out Into Giants, a very Simon & Garfunkel(y) sound as well as the title track that will spin your head.
Listen: Patrick Watson – Into Giants | Buy: Adventures In Your Own Backyard
39. Carolina Chocolate Drops – Leaving Eden – This album plays like a backyard hootenanny, as these string folksters built a bucolic record that transports you to a footstomping mood. “Ruby, Are You Mad at Your Man,” jumps right out you with all the twang and click clack expected out of this sound, and is filled in amazingly with Rhiannon Giddens’ fantastic vocals. The record weaves the old timey sound with a little bit of modernity and is filled with banjos, fiddles, and percussions, the true star that was outed on this record is Giddens’ voice, and it rings especially so on “Country Girl.”
Listen: Carolina Chocolate Drops – “No Man’s Mama” | Buy: Leaving Eden
38. Tennis – Young & Old – Husband-wife duo, Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley teamed up with the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney to make this record, and it shows. This time around, the tunes are just as delightful, just as fuzzy, using atmospheric acoustics, hand-clapping percussion and uses Moore’s sugar sweet pop vocals to draw the listener to this bedroom styled project. They’ve proven themselves to be more than just a band that can write about the open sea, but a retro pop band with a lovely future. Listen: Tennis – My Better Self | Buy: Young & Old
37. Glen Hansard – Rhythm & Repose – If crooning Irish folk singer songwriter was a genre, Glen Hansard would be the king of it. Finally releasing his own solo record after catching fame as a busker in the movie “Once” in which he wrote the music for and touring with his band the Swell Season he ultimately embarked solo with one of the best records of the year, an emotional tour de force album that coalesces his acoustic folk styling with his rough and bristly voice.
Listen: Glen Hansard – Philander | Buy: Rhythm And Repose
36. Saint Motel – Voyeur – LA’s Saint Motel put together a great album in Voyeur, it chains together introspective pop music, big band / swing, & rock and does so without feeling like its a mashup. They do so by contemporizing each genre and making it their own. Songs like “At Least I have nothing,” “Benny Goodman,” or “1997,” are total earworms, but theres much more to this record. Look for this to be a launchpad for more great music in the future.
Listen: Saint Motel – 1997 | Buy: Voyeur