10. Lil B | Hoop Life | BasedWorld
Without the slightest hint of editing, Lil B dropped 33 songs of D-League dreams, NBA TV commercials, positive energy, an A+ hype-track game, non sequiturs and occasional straight-ahead rhymes.
9. Twin Peaks | Wild Onion | Grand Jury
With excellent garage jingles and a terrible name, Twin Peaks has teenage glamor and sloppy pop on lockdown on Wild Onion. Their three singers, trading off between tunes, show a similar stoned promise as the early Black Lips, but with considerably more chops.
8. Grouper | Ruins | Kranky
Liz Harris packs ambient sounds, an accidental microwave alarm and lonely piano into Ruins, her most astonishingly beautiful Grouper release to date.
7. Jason Moran | All Rise | Blue Note
MacArthur genius Jason Moran calls All Rise a "Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller," but delivers more of a shut-down-the-streets block party. On piano and organ, Moran revises the songbook of the stride jazz master with a rowdy contemporary spin—complete with A$AP Rocky octave drops.
6. Pharmakon | Bestial Burden | Sacred Bones
After a near-death cyst laid her bedridden for weeks, noise artist Pharmakon returns with a haunting exploration on the body, its limits and its inevitable failure. You've never heard a human scream like this before.
5. Bones | Garbage | Self-released
Bones' videos look like the intro to a lo-fi and crackling VHS snuff film. The music isn't much brighter—a deep opioid trap punctuated by Bones' slurry rhymes. Amid the flurry of mixes he released this year, Bones comes in full force on Garbage. Best track name: "IfYouHadaZuneIHateYou."
4. Pallbearer | Foundations of Burden | Profound Lore
Pallbearer's sophomore album is a pompous and well-executed take on doom metal, fit for old school metalheads, amp-worshippers, stoners and newcomers to the genre.
3. Aby Ngana Diop | Liital | Awesome Tapes From Africa
Before her death in 1997, Aby Ngana Diop was an icon in Senegalese music, with her elated takes on mbalax, the musical gumbo of Senegalese rhythms and Western influences. This Awesome Tapes From Africa reissue attests to her star power, fury on the mic and an enchantress' ear for polyrhythm.
2. Perfume Genius| Too Bright | Matador
Too Bright is a record that rewards habitual listens, as each instrument sounds so individually gorgeous that it takes awhile for the full spectrum to settle in. As Perfume Genius, Mike Hadreas' outsider chamber pop rattles with vibrato and rich texture.
1. Le1f | Hey | XL
In a year monopolized by the DJ Mustard "Hey" sample, Le1f uses it with winking restraint on the eponymous cut of his EP. "Ask a gay question, here's a black answer," he posits, showing that you can't pin down this Manhattan emcee.