Such a great year, so many great albums! I had to leave quite a few off just to keep this list to a reasonable amount. So here they are, the faves, again in no particular order:
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
One of my favorite Decemberists albums so far! They took a sabbatical, regrouped, and released this beauty.
Former Supergrass leader with a sumptuous, tuneful outing.
Formed in 1989, catching the tail end of the "Madchester" scene, these Manchester lads have matured nicely.
The Juliana Hatfield Three
Whatever, My Love
A veteran, and survivor, of the grunge/indie rock movements, the spirit of the 90's is alive.
Hand. Cannot. Erase
Ex-Porcupine Tree leader releases another sublimely bleak, yet beautiful album, including this jazzy prog-style masterpiece.
Born Under Saturn
Catchy as hell, bouncy indie pop/rock goodness.
The Minus 5
Speaking of 90's survivors, Scott McCaughey (of Seattle's Young Fresh Fellows) soldiers on with indie rock side-project (all-star?) band The Minus 5. I think it's my favorite of theirs so far. ("Dungeon" refers to the basement studio in which they record.)
What a jammin' band! These guys make music you can dance in your pajamas to, or in my case, running around a track with headphones on.
A rare thing indeed: A Mexican rock band with international appeal. Haunting yet rocking, this song ("No Borders") captures the mesmerizing majesty of their sound, and their message of international peace and cooperation.
And from Northern Ireland, we have Ash, chugging along since 1992. I saw them in Portland this year, and they are still rocking hard. Kablammo!
This band is huge, and deservedly so. Huge choruses, huge hooks, huge musicianship, huge imagery. Mega!
Former (and original) drummer for metal pioneers Black Sabbath, Bill Ward has been through Hell and back, and lived to tell the tale. His solo albums are a bit quirky, and their heaviness comes from a more personal place than the latter-day Sabbath efforts. I love this album.
Last of Our Kind
When the UK's The Darkness began in the year 2000, people laughed. Well, they're still laughing, but they're also still listening and singing along. Fun stuff! Maybe the last glam rock band, enjoy them while you can.
Everything Else Matters
From St. Petersburg, Russia, this shoegaze band makes beautiful noise.
One of the first successful grunge bands, formed in 1993, Veruca Salt hadn't released an album since 1996, but 19 years later, they drop this wonderful album. I miss this kind of rock music!
Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die
Detroit's Electric Six, rockin' non-stop for almost two decades now, continue their incredible work ethic (releasing about an album a year for the last 12 years. This is as good as any of their others. I love the way Dick Valentine sings the word "evil." And this song's got whistling, too!