2. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Sounds like: Kinda like if Pavement was fronted by a brainy Australian woman. Barnett's lyrics are consistently brilliant, and she has a gift for juxtaposing mundane, funny details with heartbreaking lines about trying to keep your head together.
3. Beach House, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars
Sounds like: Gorgeous shoegaze music built around electric organ drones and airy guitar arpeggios. The band put out two albums this year: Depression Cherry, which leans a bit more ethereal, and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which sounds a little more grungy and scuffed up.
4. Beach Slang, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us
Sounds like: If you need your emo revival itch scratched, Beach Slang does it with aplomb. Think loud power chords lifted by anthemic sing-along vocals that (almost) make up for the fact that Japandroids didn't release an album this year.
26. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
Sounds like: If Explosions in the Sky make soaring instrumental music for the movie version of your life where you win, Godspeed make soaring instrumental music for the movie version of your life where you lose. And this time around, it's a truly crushing defeat.
Sample track: "Peasantry or Light! Inside of Light!"
46. Of Montreal, Aureate Gloom
Sounds like: Kevin Barnes finally finished his multi-album nervous breakdown, got a divorce, got a new band, and still can't help but feel angsty AF. But as always, his angst is also funky AF.
64. Veruca Salt, Ghost Notes
Sounds like: The majestically rocking Veruca Salt you might remember from the mid-'90s, back with a vengeance. Also, with a fresh perspective on the anxieties and insecurities that led to them breaking up the first time around.
66. Jimmy Whispers, Summer in Pain
Sounds like: Some guy inviting you over to his place, and he pulls out some instruments and plays some songs just for you. And like, it's a little awkward, but the songs are actually really good!
67. Wolf Alice, My Love Is Cool
Sounds like: The graduates of a version of Hogwarts where instead of wizardry, the kids master every variation of '90s alt-rock, from the Smashing Pumpkins and Pixies to PJ Harvey and Hole. And the lead singer is Hermione, of course.