10. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago, provided a beautiful, sparse snapshot of a lonely Wisconsin winter. With his followup record, Justin Vernon took some risks, and they all paid off. Ditching the acoustic guitars for synths, Vernon made a completely different album, with a fuller, less raw sound, while maintaining the paralyzing beauty of For Emma. If his first record was winter, Bon Iver is spring.
9. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
I wouldn't say I believe in miracles, but the completely random meeting of Joy Williams and John Paul White at a songwriter's conference is about as close as you can get. Their voices, extremely different, yet both flawless, combine to form something much greater than the sum of its parts. The duo, one of the best live acts of the year, has an unmatched chemistry. The songwriting here is great, but what jumps out is the sheer beauty of two incredible voices interacting, entwining. It's mesmerizing.The Civil Wars-"I've Got This Friend"
8. Bright Eyes - The People's Key
Bright Eyes-"Jejune Stars"
7. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
6. The Belle Brigade - The Belle Brigade
The Belle Brigade-"Losers"
5. The Black Keys - El Camino
The Black Keys-"Gold On The Ceiling"
4. Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune
Nice, Nice, Very Nice, and roughs it up a little bit. With a beautifully gruff voice not unlike Glen Hansard, Mangan has hit his stride with this surprise masterpiece.
Dan Mangan-"Starts With Them, Ends With Us"
3. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
Manchester Orchestra-"Simple Math"
2. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
The Decemberists-"June Hymn"
1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Fleet Foxes-"Helplessness Blues"
City and Colour - Little Hell
Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong
Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing
The Dodos - No Color
Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest
Grieves - Together/Apart
James Vincent McMorrow - Early In The Morning