This year saw the rise of “chillwave,” throwback beach songs filtered through haze and electronic dance pop. Full on guitar bands were pretty non-existent and everyone seems to be drugging the hell out of their sound. Cacophony abounds. Here are my favorite tracks of the year…these aren’t any any particular order, per se. And it was really hard to figure out which were the best…

Hopefully, there will be a best albums of the year post coming soon… but in all honesty, great FULL albums are few and far between these days. For all the reasons you can imagine.

Dirty Projectors “Useful Chamber”

“Useful Chamber” starts with a flat and droned out electronic beat, and synths, then veers into an acoustic guitar picked transition. It’s back to the synths and drones, female vocals that imitate the synths, and back to acoustic picking. And it builds and builds and then cuts to just a drum beat. Longstreth sings a few lines in a flat tone and then boom! The song gets louder, a guitar squeals and there’s a melody that brings you through all the glorious muck. Another cut. This time, the normally angelic vocals of Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle come in, harshly. They turn pretty, miraculously.

In perfect call and response, Longstreth’s wavering vocals return.

I’m caught up in a storm
That I need no shelter from

He needs no shelter because even though he’s in a storm, it’s not scary, not uncomfortable. It’s just strange and complicated. And you won’t believe this. The song cuts out again and we’re onto the third distinctly different section. To conclude, weave the three sections together. (Taken from my review of Bitte Orca.)

Dirty Projectors: Useful Chamber

Mountain Man “Animal Tracks”

I think i’ve said enough about this song by now. These girls make me feel completely intoxicated, even when i’ve injested nothing. This is music that sounds modern and ancient at the same time.

Mountain Man: Animal Tracks

Real Estate “Fake Blues”

Perfect pop from New Jersey that sounds like The Allman Brothers, (I just figured that out yesterday, how right is that?). Seriously though, it’s been a long time since a band made music that is so easy to listen to, yet so rich with innuendo, love and devotion.

Real Estate: Fake Blues

Discovery “Osaka Loop Line”

This album came out of nowhere, and took my head by storm. This is definitely the best track off of it, and the patterns, time changes and jagged sounds will leave you spinning.

Discovery: Osaka Loop Line

Tanlines “Bejan”

Tanlines is Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm- and their music is nothing short of a cocktail, part full-time high, part energy drink. This is the stuff made for life’s fun moments. “Bejan” is particularly good if you’re at the gym and you really don’t want to be there. In other words, these beats can make anything fun.

Tanlines: Bejan

Ecstatic Sunshine “Turned On”

Ecstatic Sunshine was the best electronic/rock band of the ’08s and haven’t gotten too much love lately… but this track “Turned On” is hypnotic in the best of ways. It was inspired by The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” too, which is awesome.

Ecstatic Sunshine: Turned On

Ducktails “Wishes”

Matt Mondanile could be the musician of the year. He has his guitar licks down pact, as evidenced by his work in Real Estate. He adds so much richness you think you might have a heart attack. In Ducktails, Mondanile weaves tapestries of sound that you can literally lose your mind trying to find your way out of it.

Ducktails: Wishes