This Swedish duo put out a powerful album focusing on self-reclamation with sensational stripped-down guitar-play coupled with proper percussion and synth throughout. Tuva Lodmark’s vocal are sweet and savage all at the same time providing a strong back-bone of self-love throughout this album.
Son Lux – Brighter Wounds
This album is a living entity. Through an incredible arrangement of sound it delivers a severely honest and urgent message to be more aware of our surroundings inside and outside our being. Ian Chang’s percussion sets pace and a firm foundation that nothing is real, Rafiq Bhatia’s riffs warp and weave through time and space, while Ryan Lott’s vocals haunt in the best way someone can be haunted.
Bloc Party – Four
It seemed like after ‘Silent Alarm’ this group of sensational artists were at odds with each other constantly. By the time ‘Four’ released it was well-known this’d be their last album together. To me, this album did not disappoint. It was finally a mix of all the artists tendencies. For the first time Gordon’s savage bass and Russell’s amazing prowess on the lead guitar overtook Kele’s vocals for a change in this almost-heavy-metal feel throughout (Matt Tong’s drumming is and always will be my favorite part about this band).
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Annie Clark put herself in Madonna’s company with this self-titled released. Her current take on all-things-honest-and-weird about our reality was put on prime display throughout this album. Her vocals are supremely confident stated as quietly as can be which makes her even more savage and there just isn’t enough space here for me to talk about her amazing talent on guitar.
Arcade Fire – Suburbs
An indie-masterpiece. I still remember when this album released and being blown away by ‘Rococo’s’ sounds. This was the first album I felt like I was listening to through an adult’s ears and finally felt like I was okay being one because we can still possess a purpose and passion for doing good things in this world.
Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
If you took all my UK-music love for Radiohead, Foals, Bloc Party, and Muse (among many others) over this past decade and stuffed them into a sound it’d be this entire album end-to-end. Everything Everything came along earlier in the decade and allowed the above to flourish and then came back around to me at a good time in Life with this album.
Kiasmos – Kiasmos
Anything Olafur Arnalds touches is gold but his duo with Janus Rasmussen as ‘Kiasmos’ must possess Midas’ envy. This Icelandic duo creates a stunning spectrum of how Nature would sound if it was pulled and twisted through electronic devices.
IDLES – Joy As An Act of Resistance
This album came about at the right time in our reality. It put everything good and right about our potential as humans on the offensive for a change as Joe Talbot put on notice an ugly culture of male toxicity, xenophobia, and pent-up aggression plaguing our society. “Long Live the Open Minded”.
Pumarosa – The Witch
This album draws from the elements of air, earth, fire, and water and manifests them through a sound that is foreign yet familiar and fills the immense space they create with clean articulate lyrics, lolling wails, and neoteric instrumentation. Isabel Munoz-Newsome has conjured Janis Joplin’s early strength and fiery power and has applied her own ethereal qualities in what we hear. Pumarosa’s debut album is natural and pure and ancient, the definition of a witch in my mind. This album is ‘rock’ without needing a word preceding it in order to better define it.
Foals – Total Life Forever
This Oxford gang is pretty much my heartbeat since discovering them during their ‘Antidotes’ days. But they quickly pivoted from their frantic math-rock picking to an album in ‘Total Life Forever’ that sounds like it was recorded underwater creating a vast expanse within their complex yet calming songs; they took a risk and went all-out on this album and absolutely nailed it. Foals has always had a bit of funk to their beat but on this album there’s so much it’d make George Clinton proud. Looking back on this album through the lens of 4 subsequent albums over 9-years since this I’m at peace putting this album at the top of countless other albums/artists I admire.