1) Touche Amore - Stage Four
Holy shit. This album, similar to Pianos Become The Teeth’s - Keep You, has an unfair advantage in that I can relate to the source material on a deeply personal level. Stage Four is about the loss of singer Jeremy Bolm’s mother to cancer, and it absolutely slays me every time I listen to it. I lost my father almost 12 years ago today, and it’s still the most impactful thing that has ever happened in my life. This album so perfectly encapsulates every singe feeling I’ve ever had during the 12 years since. It’s hauntingly beautiful, and easily Touche’s best so far.
2) Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
I’m so thankful this band is back, that they are writing some of the best music of their careers, and that I got to see them live this year in what was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Thrice is an amazing band, and this record is maybe the best of their career. If you check out one record on this list, let it be this one. It’s been out since March and is still in heavy rotation when I’m listening to music.
3) Gates - Parellel Lives
Man what an album. I’ve been a fan of Gates for a very long time. A friend introduced me to them when they were an unsigned band with an EP out and I saw them play some killer sets over the last couple of years. This album is easily the best thing they’ve done so far and huge step up for them sonically. It’s heavy and soft and beautiful and a great listen all the way through.
4) From Indian Lakes - Everything Feels Better Now
This is was such a logical step for this band in the evolution of their music. Their fourth album now, Everything Feels Better Now is a beautifully mellow masterpiece. While it’s tough to say this is my favorite release from this band, I really love the direction they took on this and hope they continue with the evolution they have made from album to album.
5) Daughter - Not To Disappear
At this point, I’m convinced Daughter is a master of writing some of the most gorgeously heartbreaking music in the world. Everything Daughter has put out has been absolutely amazing and this album is no exception. I loved their last release, If You Leave and truly thing this album is even better. From top to bottom this album just brings you in and makes you feel every emotion and by the end you’re left wanting more.
6) Saosin - Along The Shadow
Here’s a band I never thought I’d see in my top 10 again. 2006’s self-titled album was a great release but after that this band really fell out of favor with me. Their second album was at best, not good, and there was a period where, without a singer, no one was sure if there was ever going to be music from them again. However, in a huge surprise, the band announced former singer Anthony Green was returning and he brought with him a new life for this band. I really didn’t expect to love this album as much as I have, but it’s phenomenal.
7) Norma Jean - Polar Similar
How is this band still so consistently good? Somehow, on their seventh studio album, The Almighty Norma Jean is still writing captivating music and pushing themselves further while still maintaining what has always made them so good. This album might be my favorite of theirs and so far.
8) Run River North - Drinking From A Salt Pond
This is the first band on this list that has never been in a Top 10 list of mine before. I’m not exactly sure who I found out about this band, but I’m so glad I did. The first half of this album is absolute perfection if you enjoy good upbeat indie rock, and the last half shows their maturity and skill in being such a large band and working together so well. This is one of my most listened to albums this year, especially when I’m in a good mood.
9) Dance Gavin Dance - Mothership
What a surprise of a record. I have always been a casual fan of Dance Gavin Dance, but a litany of drama, lineup changes, and ebbs and flows in quality have kept me from truly loving this band. This is their seventh album, and their third with singer Tilian Pearson, and easily their best. It feels like they have finally found their place with this lineup, and it’s a great place that sees them putting out some of the best work of their career.
10) Frightened Rabbit - Painting Of A Panic Attack
Here’s another new addition in terms of never making it on my top 10 before. I’ve always been a fan, but nothing of theirs really hit me like this album did. I also had the chance to see this band live for the first time this year and they really put on a hell of a show. I’ve listened to this album a ton now, and it’s really perfect during this winter months. I’m not sure why none of their previous album really struck me like this one, but I’m certainly thankful this one did.