Sun Structures is one of those rare records I liked from the first note. After that, I liked each song better than the one before it and a hundred or so listens has done nothing to blunt that first thrill. It's big hooky Brit-rock, but dirty, and full of fun musical references to bands from way before any of these lads were born.
War on Drugs
Lost in a Dream
Here's a case where the people's voice was dead on. The album topped every respectable year-end list, and for good reason. It's a bit of a grower. At first, one doesn't see what the big deal is with what sounds like a Springsteen cover band, but the deeper one goes into the dream, the more the album's patience and musicality reveal themselves.
Brothers and Sisters of Eternal Son
Pretty much every year that Damien Jurado releases an album, it makes my Best-Of list. No two of them are really alike, some heavy rock, some country-folk, some space-age pop. I love every single one out of all proportion. If I had to pick one artist to listen to, to the exclusion of all others (horrid world, that) I wouldn't hesitate to select Jurado. This album is psychedelia--not my usual cup of tea--and it took a month or so to understand what was going on here. Now, I think about this record even when I'm not listening to it, wondering how its doing and how long we'll have together.
They Want my Soul
I've loved Spoon since 2002's Kill the Moonlight, but between that record and this, though I've adored some of the singles, none of the albums caught me quite right. This one brings it all back home: the swagger, but also the joy. This album is a band in top form. It's like watching Achilles in battle; not only like they won't miss a step, but like they can't somehow.
This album defines my time in London more than any other. I rode the tube for at least two hours every day, so I listened to tons of music, including most of the albums on this list, thanks to the new deep-bench streaming services. I started listening to Singles before I knew anything at all about the band, finding it compelling--oddly confident, throw-back lounge music but somehow unmistakably of-the-moment. Then I saw the band's beautiful performance on Dave Letterman and was hooked.