30. James Blake (James Blake)

Working off of the momentum he gained from his EPs and iconic singles such as “Limit to Your Love” and “Wilhelms Scream,” James Blake released his self-titled debut album. The 23 year old year old British singer is known for mixing his dubstep production with soft, soulful piano and vocals. I don’t know what’s more enticing about this album; his “found him playing in a little bar” charm or his velvety smooth beats. -Kelly Mincey

 

 

29. Civil Wars (Barton Hollow)

The debut album from The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow, shows only the beginning for a band with much potential. The pair of singer/songwriters, Joy Williams and John Paul White, show extreme versatility in style ranging from swampy blues in the song “Barton Hollow” to moving emotional pop in  “Poison & Wine.” -Joe Winner

 

 

 

 

 

28. Cloud Nothings (Cloud Nothings)

Cloud Nothings were one of my bands of the year. Initial composed solely of Dylan Baldi and made when he was 19, his outstanding talents were showcased amazingly in one of the most energetic albums of the year. A heavy pop-punk feel makes it almost impossible to sit still while listening to this album. Be sure to check out their next album, out in a little over a month. -Kyle Rogers

 

 

 

 

27. Black Lips (Arabia Mountain)                                  

Each album the Black Lips learn how to play their instruments a little bit better, Arabia Mountain is finally the invigorating creativity of previous albums, with added instrumental complexity and a little less reverb.  True to their style, the goofy lyric style mimics those found in their albums of yore.  -Anais Binkowski

 

 

 

 

 

26. TV On the Radio (Nine Types of Light)

Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio followed up 2008’s epic Dear Science, with Nine Types of Light, a record that further moves them away from their static-sounding punk of old, and into a more refined, patient sound. Light is essentially an introspective love record, filled with ballads that are sprinkled with imagery and lust. On lead single “Will Do,” lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s howling croon is refreshed and the band as a whole seem to have found their niche in the world of “art rock.” -Jose Tamayo

 

                                                           

25. Feist (Metals)

Feist’s third album took on a much darker tone then the past two, there was no cheerful  “1 2 3 4” in this album, but the difference only makes Metals seem like an entirely different brand of amazing. The songs all have a deeper sound that makes this album the perfect album for certain moods. -Joe Winner

 

 

 

 

24. Cults (Cults)

Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion put together one of the dreamiest albums of the year with Cults by Cults.  “Go Outside” is one of the year’s best tracks, with wonderful vocals laid over electronic synths and that unforgettable bell line that starts the song off.  Overall, the album is a great and definitely deserves it’s spot on our top 40 list. -Boswell Hutson

 

 

                             

23. St. Vincent (Strange Mercy)

Following the 2009 release of her 2nd album, Actor, St. Vincent (also known as Annie Clark) stunned us once again with Strange Mercy. Although her lofty and floating vocals still remain, Clark brings to this album more fantastical and inventive guitar playing, ditching the naivety of her former albums and creating her most potent release yet. -Lise Graham

 

 

 

 

22. Vivian Girls (Share the Joy)

The Vivian Girls really reveal a lot of their roots in this album, a mix of more streamlined sixties doo-wop even adding some surfing vibes, and a harder edge of fractured guitar lines, and edgy singing styles.  The range in this album makes it interesting to listen to over and over again; careful, you might get hooked! -Anais Binkowski

 

 

 

 

21. Iron & Wine (Kiss Each Other Clean)                

Three years after the brilliant The Shepherd’s Dog, Iron & Wine gave the world a much more layered album with Kiss Each Other Clean in 2011. Just take a listen to “Me and Lazarus” and soak up the funky beat that weaves perfectly with Sam Beam’s angelic voice. Not many artists can match Beam’s heart-felt and honest lyrics. Iron & Wine’s constant musical experimentation and the delicate care in making an album makes it a true work of art. -Natalie Wontorczyk

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