I (Steve - @thebarnpresents) have added some additional selections, and some one-liners of my own, at the end of the post. You should also check out Alex Wood's massive album list and thoughtful descriptions of his top ten selections HERE.
Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle - Perils from the Sea In some ways, this album proves the theorem that if executed correctly, less is more. This is one of three different albums from Kozelek this year. Lo-fi, minimalist electronic music is not something I reach for typically, but this album is strangely beautiful.
Also check out:
Anders Osborne - Peace Anders continues his incredible hot streak with a superb collection of new tunes that have both tender and intense sides.
Lumerians - The High Frontier High flying, dynamic West Coast psychedelia that covers tremendous amount of ground. Get your weird on.
Pond - Hobo Rocket Members of Tame Impala set aside the rounded song-oriented curves of Lonerism and find more angular, noise-drenched spacees as Pond.
William Tyler - Impossible Truth Tyler finds plenty of new ground in these guitar set pieces thanks to his great patience and limitless vision.
Wood Brothers - The Muse An engaging and precise jazz-like musicianship underlies heartfelt songs of love and life, beautifully rendered. Their best album yet.
Mavis Staples - One True Vine Staples' voice is always something to be reckoned with, but with Tweedy production and great tune selection, this album soars.
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Made Up Mind Derek Trucks simply can't be contained. You couldn't "package" the man better, though, than on these wonderful blues and soul songs amidst a sea of super talented players.
Dumpstaphunk - Dirty Word Easily the funkiest album of the year. Dirty is right there in the title.
Yarn - Shine the Light On Blake Christiana seems to reel off great tunes with an uncanny nonchalance. Could have been on a year-end 'best-of' list with just "Take Me First" and 45 minutes of silence.
Snarky Puppy - Family Dinner Volume 1 Best I can tell Snarky Puppy operates by a few simple rules: Love what you do. Be beyond great at what you do. Break every rule.
Dr. Dog - B-Room I think Dr. Dog might see the three-minute pop song as a challenge - a quest to see how much ground they can cover while hitting sweet spot after sweet spot with clever instrumentation, warm vocal harmonies and unassailable hooks.
Jonathon Wilson - Fanfare Folk-based singer songwriters, even psychedelic leaning ones, rarely have that big fat transportational guitar tone. But, oh, JW does and it's glorious.
Best Archival Releases
Three all-time great bands captured at just about the peak of their powers...