Grace Potter and the Nocturnals -- The Lion The Beast The Beat
Hands down my favorite rock album of the year. It's the first album I've ever purchased as an LP.
Father John Misty -- Fear Fun
Highly memorable gentle indie rock sound.
Rachel Kurtz -- Broken and Lowdown
This is Rachel's break-out album, great mix of blues and rock and gospel and more.
Otis Taylor -- Contraband
This is like "trance" blues. Highly memorable and unique.
Rodrigo y Gabriela -- Area 52
I have rarely if ever heard a guitar duo with such chops, intensity, and musicality.
Calexico -- Algiers
My favorite ambient rock group, and this one recorded in Algiers across from New Orleans.
There were so many absolutely fantastic albums that came out this year, I list the rest without ranking, simply indicating a set of albums I think are worth a listen.
The XX -- Coexist
An experiment in how spare you can make rock.
Sleigh Bells -- Fear Fun
When you are ready to bang your head and dance.
Leonard Cohen -- Old Ideas
Cohen keeps bringing it.
The Shins -- Port of Morrow
I end up in Shins mood once a month or so. This is a great installment.
Jonathan Rundman -- self-titled
A collection of 20 of his best songs. If you've never heard Rundman, start here.
Cloud Nothings -- Attack on Memory
Grungy greatness. Loud and in your face.
Grimes -- Visions
Huh. I don't know how to describe it, but I like it.
Metric -- Synthetica Reflections
Synth pop to groove to.
The Avett Brothers -- The Carpenter
Great story telling southern rootsrock.
Dr. Dog -- Be the Void
The hardest working rock band there is. If you've never heard them, you have to.
Laura Veirs -- Tumble Bee (children's)
This is a lovely children's album. Great for the parents too.
Fun. -- Some Nights
What a voice. Poppy goodness.
THEESatisfaction -- awE naturalE
Cosmic math rap. Yes, that's what I said.
Still on the way (but much anticipated):
Rickie Lee Jones
Mumford and Sons