William Tyler, Impossible Truth (Merge). 1. Take 100 bong hits. 2. Go to the mountains. 3. Contemplate everything while listening to Impossible Truth. When you return, reflect on the genius of this young guitarist. Heavily layered and reminiscent of both early Americana and Indian sitar music, this instrumental album is the only one you need for your next vision quest. — MS

The Underachievers, Indigoism (Self-released). Rarely has heady, esoteric rap been as easy to listen to as it is on Indigoism. Production from the Entreproducers is invigorating and perfectly echoes the mystical atmosphere the Underachievers effectively build. MCs AK and Issa Gold are completely in sync as they muse on auras, metaphorical space shuttles and the nature of evil. — NH

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City (XL Recordings). Modern Vampires of the City does what Vampire Weekend's first two records couldn't do: It mixes studio polish and heartfelt emotion in a way that feels new, and the privileged Columbia grads come off as profound musicians and poets. There's little in the way of slickness here. The record shows real poetry and true depth. — AG

Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze (Matador). Kurt Vile brought back his brand of nostalgic, road-tripping rock on this album. He says that he made a mixtape for his production crew to get them in the right mindset for making this record; he wanted to invoke "loose/good vibes." With yawning, breezy guitar licks and lyrics like "chillin' on a pillowy cloud," Vile totally nailed that one. — AR

Washed Out, Paracosm (Sub Pop). Like his friend Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi, Washed Out's Ernest Greene reinterpreted the best sound ideas from synth-pop bands of the past to inform his latest work. Greene fully embraces the sense of wonder and emotional expansiveness of that era and imbued it with modern sensibilities. — TM

Wax Idols, Discipline & Desire (Slumberland Records). Heather Fedewa once played in the garage-rock-inflected Bare Wires. But her project Wax Idols and this album, especially, prove that she had greater sonic ambitions. A brooding but propulsive collection of dark post-punk, akin to the Chameleons and Siouxsie & the Banshees, Discipline & Desire crackles with defiant energy and a sense of conviction. — TM

Wayne Shorter Quartet, Without a Net (Blue Note). On his albums over the last decade, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who turned eighty this year, has shown that he's still a vital force in jazz, both as a performer and a composer. The daring live disc Without a Net finds Shorter and his long-running quartet in superior form as they run through six new original compositions as well as fresh renderings of older songs like "Orbits" and "Plaza Real." — JS

Weekend Nachos, Still (Relapse). Still would be a grindcore/punk gem even if it was released the first week of January. Fans who were kicked in the teeth by this album are still recovering from its release last month. — BL

Kanye West, Yeezus (Def Jam). As abrasive and polarizing as Kanye West himself, Yeezus has been praised and criticized relentlessly since its release before finally settling as the consensus rap album of the year. A far cry from the soulful and thoughtful Kanye we were introduced to originally, Yeezus seeks to frustrate its listeners to the degree that Kanye has been frustrated by his hate-love relationship with America. — NH

White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown). Southern psych-rock never sounded so good. White Denim has created its best album yet. Heavier on the Southern than the psych this go-around, Corsicana Lemonade lets singer James Petralli shine as he belts in true soulful R&B style. Of course, the guitar is still front and center, with guitarist Austin Jenkins screaming out melodic riffs and creating all kinds of general mayhem. — LS

Widowspeak, The Swamps (Captured Tracks). Singer Molly Hamilton undoubtedly evokes the hazy, ghostly draw of bands like Mazzy Star, a sound that forms the solid base of Widowspeak's preceding albums. The Swamps, however, was inspired by the band's Southern touring routes, and it seems that Widowspeak found the perfect home in the Delta blues and swamp landscapes of its muse. — SA

Winds of Plague, Resistance (Century Media). Most metal reviewers won't even consider an album from this band in their top twenty, let alone top ten, because it is politically correct for metal fans to hate Winds of Plague. Ultimately, Resistance compares to the intensity of the act's 2008 debut and loses the jock factor found in its last release. — BL

Chelsea Wolfe, Pain Is Beauty (Sargent House). Equally embracing acoustic and electronic elements while crafting these deeply haunting and evocative songs, Chelsea Wolfe brings together neo-folk with the brooding menace of late-era Swans. Her voice has a stirring resonance to it that, when coupled with the music, sounds a bit like Julee Cruise fronting an adventurous black-metal band. — TM

YC the Cynic, GNK (Self-released). If there was any question that hip-hop could still produce cohesive, high-minded albums, GNK is a convincing response, meditating on the nature of man with regard to racism, unlimited power and more. YC may be a cynic, but he's an engaging one, and although his album is easy to listen to, it's difficult, but rewarding, to digest. — NH

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1 comments
mcramahamasham
mcramahamasham

You guys should also post the local acts "moovers & shakers" online.

 
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