When I originally created this list, it was significantly longer, essentially ranking every album I've listened to this past year. After some trimming and clipping though, I've managed to narrow it down to the top 25 albums of the year. I present them to you now:
25. Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman: Descension
Coheed's second half of their double album, The Afterman, is the stronger of the two, finding the band rooting themselves in their prog-rock melodies.
24. The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation
The Wonder Years have grown up significantly over three albums, now reaching a point where they can reflect back on life and being an adult. It's a truly refreshing disc in the pop-punk scene and a mature one at that.
23. Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
Pearl Jam's return with Lightning Bolt is a welcomed one. While not being as big of a standout as their earlier albums, Lightning Bolt is crisp and features some instant classic Pearl Jam songs such as "Mind Your Manners" and "Sirens."
22. Anamanaguchi - Endless Fantasy
Anamanaguchi's Endless Fantasy could be considered their first proper "full" album, and it is a lengthy one at that. Driving drums and 8 bit leads fill the album with cheery chip tune rock that is the perfect soundtrack to any video game fan's life.
21. Grouplove - Spreading Rumors
Spreading Rumors proved that Grouplove can overcome the dreaded sophomore slump. While expanding their sound from their first album and using more electronic techniques, the band is becoming much more refined in their sound.
20. Turnover - Magnolia
Turnover created an album that was immensely refreshing among the younger crowd this year with an LP that had a distinct sound and style. Being one of the few bands who play straight up alternative rock in their respective "scene," Turnover's latest album is focused and melodic across slightly distorted rock.
19. Crywank - Tomorrow Is Nearly Yesterday And Everyday Is Stupid
Crywank's first album as a duo proves to be a success with minimalistic drums strewn across the tracks. The lyrical content is as sad as ever and songs range from ballad-esque to fervent strumming on acoustic guitar.
18. Tile - You Had A Friend In Pennsylvania
Allentown's Tile play some of best sludge/noise-rock around and their new album demonstrates that full throttle. Never ceasing or restraining, the band delivers pounding, heavy rock track after track.
17. Sainthood Reps - Headswell
Sainthod Reps' Headswell may not be as heavy as their first album, Monoculture, but it is just as melodic if not more. The band has a tighter sound and feels much more focused on their music.
16. Their / They're / There - Analog Weekend
Their / They're / There have two EPs on my list, with Analog Weekend being the shorter of the two. The short, three song EP packs a punch though, with angular guitar playing alongside driving drums and Evan Weiss' melodic vocals.
15. Into It. Over It. - Intersections
Evan Weiss shows up again here with his latest full length, Intersections, a much more mature approach from Proper. Songs are more mellow but more well constructed with complex arrangements and some amazing building rhythms.
14. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Whenever, If Ever
TWIABP&IANLATD have released their debut album to critical acclaim, being one of the most unique sounding albums of the year. An epic, thematic disc featuring multitudes of instruments, Whenever, If Ever keeps you on your toes with ever-changing directions throughout its length.
13. HRVRD - From The Bird's Cage
HRVRD's second album improves their sound past their already solid debut. Being a much more focused album, From The Bird's Cage is an inviting album from the southern group.
12. Their / They're / There - Their / They're / There EP
T/T/T show up again here with their first EP. The 6 track self-titled EP features the perfect blend of Evan Weiss and Mike Kinsella's worlds in a dream EP for fans of both artists.
11. A Great Big Pile of Leaves - You're Always On My Mind
AGBPOL's second album is more defined and condensed than their first, but has a much stronger idea and theme throughout. Bringing back memories of youth and summer night, You're Always On My Mind is a great album from a talented band.
10. Deer Widow - Deer Widow
Deer Widow's first EP is akin to the older days of emo music, when melodic rock had sentimental aspects. For fans of The Promise Ring and The Get Up Kids, Deer Widow are hopefully a band to stay.
9. Radical Face - The Family Tree: The Branches
Radical Face's second part of his trilogy of albums "branches" out into a more fuller sound. Gone are days of singularity and minimal acoustic guitar, as Radical Face finds himself creating a much more organic full-band sound.
8. Deafheaven - Sunbather
Deafheaven's Sunbather is such a fantastic album that even the big-business magazines and sites are recognizing it. A melodically amazing metal album that is equals parts beautiful as it is brutal, Sunbather is a huge step for the metal genre and is only going to open more doors for the band.
7. Tiny Moving Parts - This Couch Is Long and Full of Friendship
Tiny Moving Parts' debut album is a well-needed math-rock / emo disc that was needed this year. Amongst many other forgettable type albums, Tiny Moving Parts have gone above and beyond.
6. Blue Cranes - Swim
Blue Cranes' Swim is one of the greatest jazz albums I have ever heard. It's experimental, engaging, and completely modern in every aspect. The songs may lack lyrics, but they are among some of the most emotional tracks I've heard in quite a long time.
5. The Front Bottoms - Talon of the Hawk
The Front Bottoms have matched the fun and energy of their debut with their sophomore album Talon of the Hawk. Featuring an expanded lineup and more instruments, the band has grown with their sound. Brian Sella's words are as sharp as ever as he punctuates each song with meaning and intensity.
4. Owen - L'ami du Peuple
Owen has once again created a fantastic album that truly displays his talent and honesty. While speaking of his personal life and family, Mike Kinsella invites you inside his head and has creating an album about growing and getting older that can be appreciated by anyone who has had to face the hardships of adulthood.
3. Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavelle - Perils From The Sea
Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek and The Album Leaf's Jimmy Lavelle have collaborated to create one of the most interesting albums of the year with Perils From The Sea. Kozelek's natural knack for storytelling and heartache bleeds through the minimalistic electronic score of Lavelle's work to create sweeping soundscapes.
2. Drake - Nothing Was The Same
Drake's third album finds him locating his sweet spot between hip-hop and R&B, with the rapper leaning towards singing more than rhyming. Although his lyrics are are personal as ever, Drake holds strong in the hip-hop world while also dabbling in the soulful, R&B area.
1. Slow Warm Death - Slow Warm Death
How much more could I say than I already have on this masterpiece of an album? John Galm's Slow Warm Death is the furthest departure from his roots. He has completely unleashed a torrential barrage of distorted, untethered rock. Covering all aspects of garage and alternative rock, Slow Warm Death worms itself it your brain with a furious tendency. The albums peaks at the midway, sludge-anthem "Kill You," which is one of the hardest hitting, heaviest songs you'll hear for a long time. The band just played their last show, which is a total heart-break, but left the door open for a future reunion.