Julianna Barwick, The Magic Place (Asthmatic Kitty)
A world unto itself, The Magic Place is the year's most evocative and outright gorgeous album. Built almost entirely from Barwick's hushed vocals, her wordless sound sculptures are entirely transcendent.
Destroyer, Kaputt (Merge)
Fifteen years on, one of Canada's greatest current songwriters is still surprising his audience. Delivering detached self-reference and pop pastiche over revisionist soft-rock, Dan Bejar has never sounded so calm and approachable.
Panda Bear, Tomboy (Paw Tracks)
Equal parts majesty and mystery, Tomboy is a triumph of sonic adventurousness and a record ripe with introspective tendencies. It is an earnest record from an artist whose unique vision is always striking.
Shabazz Palaces, Black Up (Sub Pop)
Bizarro hip-hop with otherworldly production and lyrics from the outer limits of the psyche. With subtle wordplay, killer instincts and sheer inventiveness, Shabazz hit all the pleasure centres on this weeded-out, madcap masterpiece.
tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l (4AD)
Conviction is the major attraction with Merrill Garbus' tUnE-yArDs project. Complex, funky, schizophrenic, excitable, revelatory, obnoxious, provocative; w h o k i l l is impossibly inventive, bursting with powerful personality and daring creativity.
James Blake, James Blake (A&M)
Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
Bill Callahan, Apocalypse (Drag City)
Nicolas Jaar, Space Is Only Noise (Circus Company)
John Maus, We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (Ribbon)
Real Estate, Days (Domino)
At least twice a week, is told by a stranger he resembles Clark Kent. Because it got stuck in his VCR when he was 17, can now recite the entirety of That Thing You Do! from memory. According to iTunes, has listened to Dinah Washington's "What A Diff'rence A Day Makes" 63 times in the last 12 months.