1. Let England Shake by PJ Harvey. Polly Jean Harvey has been my favorite musician since I was about 22 and first discovered Dry. Blew. My. Mind. Except for White Chalk, I think I have loved everything she’s ever done. But this album is first class and deserves all the critical acclaim it has received this year.

2. SBTRKT by SBTRKT. This album is rad. I think the song Hold On (collaboration with Sampha) is one of the most beautiful songs of the year.

3. The Big Roar by The Joy Formidable. I just thoroughly enjoy listening to this album. Not much more to it than that.

4. Strange Negotiations by David Bazan. I was never a big Pedro the Lion fan, but I have to say that I love this album. The music and vocals are good, but the thing I love most about it are the lyrics. There are so many good lines in these songs it’s hard to pick my favorite. Maybe “you can’t be right about the future when you’re wrong about the past” from Future Past.  Or these from People “when you love the truth enough you start to tell it all the time. When it gets you into trouble you discover you don’t mind.” I could go on, but I think every song has at least one lyrical nugget.

5. Sea of Tears by Jessica Ketola. Jessica is a friend of mine and her story about how this album came into being is inspiring. I picked this album for a few reasons. First, it’s so brave. Second, it’s so beautiful. Third, because I want everyone to buy a copy.