85. FRANZ FERDINAND AND SPARKS
1990s new wave weirdness, full of excitement and pent up energy.
84. JOANNA GRUESOME-Peanut Butter
Angry grrrrrl punk. Pure rage, and pure awesome.
83. YOUNG FATHERS-White Men Are Black Men Too
Forgive the clunky title, because the rap here is anything but awkward.
82. VAN MORRISON AND MICK HUCKNELL-Streets of Arklow
Van Morrison is one of the greatest singers of all time, period. His output in the 2000s hasn’t been great for the most part, but Duets is the exception
Continuing to prove that it’s the fans, not the labels, that make a band great, Wilco produced a “surprise” release (free download), that was easily their most accessible album to date, and they also released (also free) a terrific live “road case.” Get the entire live show here, and go to their site for Star Wars.
80. WHAT DO YOU MEAN?-Chvches (Justin Bieber cover)
In the year that Beiber released his johnson, Chvches released this really neat cover that redeems his otherwise treacly pop song.
Not be confused with the band called Yuck, whose single placed even higher on this list, Alpine are an Australian pop team that you could spend time comparing to other bands but why bother. This album is a simply awesome pop collection.
78. LYRICS BORN
He dropped a very nice original album early this year, and then he gave us “Now Look What You’ve Done,” a greatest hits collection that should remind everyone why LB is an underrated MC. He’s been around for over a decade and has consistently produced socially conscious, funny dance hits that would even make Eeyore cheer you up and bob his head. His original album is streaming below, but if you can only afford one start with his greatest hits.
77. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE-No Room in the Frame
No, it’s not as good as anything they’ve done before—but mediocre Death Cab is still better than most people’s best.
76. THE NEW ATLAS-Self Titled
Their whole album is free on Bandcamp, and it’s worth your time. But if you only listen to one song, check out the gentle breeze of Heart Talking.
Next: The countdown continues!