Note: I'm linking to each album on Amazon, which is where I buy them. The links are not referral links.

  • "Between Here and You" by BT

    BT has paid his dues and earned his accolades, now he's at the point in his career he can do whatever he wants. And what he wants, apparently, is a deep, melodic soundscape somewhere between his usual style and that of Brian Eno. It's beautiful, I love it. It's 52 minutes and 44 seconds long, and I wish it went on for hours. Listening to it, I feel as if I'm living in a planetarium, as if I'm swimming through the cosmos.
  • "DSVII" by M83

    All that I just said about BT's new album? Well maybe him and M83's Anthony Gonzalez were tapped by the same muse, because while I haven't cared much for the past few M83 releases, DSVII is another deep, melodic wash of harmony imbued with a mystical sense of wonder. Fans of M83's flirtation with pop music likely won't care for this album, but if you come from their earliest albums, this newest release is a perfect return to form – not mimicking their early style, but a natural growth from it after a foray appealing to pop sensibilities.
  • "Sound & Fury" by Sturgill Simpson

    I don't know anything about country music; I had never heard of Sturgill Simpson when buying this album. All I know is that I like the way this album sounds – its big, noisy sounds that you can sink into, its post-rock jams, its fluency with electronic noise. Country music may be foreign territory for me, but apart from the marketing (and Simpson's image) I don't know that this album even is country. In any case, all those labels are irrelevant: this album is addictively fun and just my style.
  • "Fear Innoculum" by Tool

    You don't need to come to my blog to hear that after 13 years Tool finally released a new album. But what you need to know is how awesome this album is – this is Maynard is his finest form. Almost every band that first rose to fame in 90's alt-rock-radio peaked at that time. Tool is the exception. This isn't a radio album: six of the tracks are over 10 minutes long, each filled with his distinctive guitar sound. Don't be dissuaded by the long wait for this release, this is just the Tool album we all needed: no grand gestures, no attention-seeking gimmicks, just pure Tool.
  • "Dark All Day" by Gunship

    With Dark All Day, Gunship is proving to be the most adept member of the retro-80s synthwave scene. A full sound, mature lyrics, and tracks that ooze with style (especially "When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies" and "Drone Racing League" but also "Cyber City") define this album. Memorable songwriting is punctuated mid-album with a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", which Gunship pulls off even better than Lauper (oh yeah I said it). In a sub-genre plagued with albums having more exciting album art than songs, Gunship proves here that he at least must be taken seriously.

Those are my five recommendations. There were a few other notable albums, "honorable mentions". Front Line Assembly released "Wake Up the Coma" which was pretty good (the cover of "Rock Me Amadeus" was not, though). The Chemical Brothers returned with the solid "No Geography", a step up over their last few. Rotersand released another remix album called "Hey You" which of course I like, but wouldn't recommend to non-fans. Les Claypool and Sean Lennon (but not Bill Leeb) are apparently in a band together called the Claypool Lennon Delirium which release their second album "South of Reality" which has its moments. Maps finally released another album, "Colours Reflect Time Loss", which was OK. The Faint also returned from hiatus to release "Egowork", which I would recommend to fans of the Faint. And completing the trio, Ladytron is back with a new self-titled album, which I'd again restrict in my recommendations to "fans only". Danger Mouse teamed up with Karen O to release an album called "Lux Prima" which is actually really good, but which I never remember to listen to. And other bands released other albums but if they're not on this list then they don't matter.