1. The Coathangers – The Devil You Know (Suicide Squeeze, Rock)
Although we won’t be able to play “F the NRA” on the airwaves, knowing that we have The Coathangers latest opus is comforting information. “Bimbo” will have to do in the meantime as it coats (pun intended) the bands usual sardonic punk in a delicate pop drive. “The world’s got other plans,” they say at the chorus, but it’s fortunate that they’re part of it.
RIYL: Hunx & His Punks, Shannon & The Clams, Ramones
2. Durand Jones & The Indicators – American Love Call (Dead Oceans, Soul/R&B)
“Is this on Daptone?” is a question that begs to be asked when listening to American Love Call. Incidentally, this is another fantastic get for Dead Oceans, and manages to capture a classic soul sound without ripping off the greats. The best part is Jones’s voice, which dances around the production on “Circles” as he croons his way around the line “What am I but just a fly on the wall to you?” It’s obtuse without being uninviting.
RIYL: Charles Bradley, Otis Redding, Harlem
3. Meat Puppets – Dusty Notes (Megaforce, Rock)
Though nothing will ever beat that first time you heard The Meat Puppets, probably when you were in a dingy basement in college, Dusty Notes is a reminder of why the band have been around as long as they have. This record dances between seasick dirges and post grunge goodness, albeit in a more cleaned-up fashion than we’re used to. If all rock bands aged this well we’d be seriously lucky listeners.
RIYL: Ween, Modest Mouse, Silver Jews
4. Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs (Secretly Canadian, Rock)
Donnelly’s delivery is by far the greatest piece of her alternative puzzle. She’s able to effortlessly turn a beautiful guitar song into a biting and timely satire while magically maintaining grace on songs like “Old Man.”
RIYL: Angel Olsen, boygenius, Ian Sweet
5. Delicate Steve – Till I Burn Up (Anti, Rock)
As well as touring with some major indie acts, Delicate Steve is always sure to push his personal boundaries forward. Coming from a line of Grateful Dead-worshiping tunes, Steve is now tackling the vaporwave trend in a 180 degree turn. The result is a stylish and faux-futurist experimental goodness.
RIYL: Ratatat, Tron Legacy-era Daft Punk, College
6. Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien (Merge, Electronic/World)
Hot off the heels of 2017’s brilliant Uyai, one of modern music’s most innovative genre-blenders are back again. Less sample-inspired and more straightforward electro, the newest record is their punchiest and most digestible to date. They know how to throw a party, but mostly importantly they know who to invite to make it memorable.
RIYL: Technotronic, Songhoy Blues, Fela Kuti
7. The Faint – egowerk (Saddle Creek, Electronic/Rock)
Saddle Creek’s trademark weirdos never stopped being good. After their Danse Macabre reunion tour a few years ago, they could easily have fallen into the pit of has-beens, but instead have chosen to pen songs so fantastic you’ll want to dance while you cry. “Child Asleep” is one of the best pop songs of the last year.
RIYL: The Rapture, Late of the Pier, Icky Blossoms
8. CHAI – Punk (Burger, Rock/World)
In a time where most bands get a pass for lacking the element of fun, CHAI saturate their music in catchiness. This takes the form of rock, pop, electro, and thoroughly fantastic vocal performances. Sung in Japanese and never boring, their second record in as many years isn’t worth missing.
RIYL: Kero Kero Bonito, Sleigh Bells, King Tuff
9. Jayda G – Significant Changes (Ninja Tune, Electronic)
Jayda G is just the electronic producer Ninja Tune needs. While the world continues to discover just how much women have to offer the world of house, ambient, and club music, Jayda G smoothly makes an appearance with pensive yet fun sound collages that invite pop collaboration as much as they do nightclub memories.
RIYL: Actress, Helena Hauff, Kedr Livanskiy
10. These New Puritans – Inside the Rose (BMG, Rock)
Secretly one of the best experimental bands in the last ten years, it’s no surprise that duo These New Puritans take so long to record albums. Every detail is explored and perfected to its logical end, and each extended cut finds meaning even in the most basic repetition. Few bands can mix such heavily-treated synths with untreated pianos so well.
RIYL: Wild Beasts, Bark Psychosis, Radiohead