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Reviews

From the classics to the latest, the greatest to the lamest, we put alternative albums under the critical griller. Weighed up for content, measured for artistry, and considered for longevity, we rate an array of indie-rock releases with unfailing honesty.

Tune Yards 'Nikki Nack'
Merrill Garbus's third Tune-Yards LP is riddled with self-doubt, but loaded with joy.

Real Estate 'Atlas'
New Jersey janglers Real Estate author another album of back-home nostalgia.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks 'Wig Out at Jagbags'
On his sixth post-Pavement LP, Stephen Malkmus sounds unexpectedly inspired.

Volcano Choir 'Repave'
On the first Volcano Choir album, Justin Vernon barely sung. His voice is all over 'Repave,' making for an album that inches closer to Bon Iver.

Blood Orange 'Cupid Deluxe'
Devonte Hynes' second record as Blood Orange is an album of wafty, early-'90s-inspired pop that turns pastiche into something personal and profound.

Moonface 'Julia with Blue Jeans On'
After years burying his cryptic lyrics in complex compositions, longtime Sunset Rubdown/Wolf Parade/Moonface oddball Spencer Krug releases an album in which heart-on-sleeve sentiments are set to solo piano.

Of Montreal 'Lousy with Sylvianbriar'
The 12th album for Kevin Barnes' long-running psych-pop jamboree finds the band in playful form.

Cass McCombs 'Big Wheel and Others'
After releasing two albums in 2011, McCombs returns with a double-album opus that feels more bloated than buoyant.

Luke Temple 'Good Mood Fool'
The latest solo LP for the frontman of Brooklyn's Here We Go Magic rifles through old soul, synth-pop, and reggae for a colection of odd stylistic dalliances.

Mazzy Star 'Seasons of Your Day'
In the same year that My Bloody Valentine return, Mazzy Star materialize with their first LP since 1996. And it sounds like classic Mazzy Star.

Braids 'Flourish // Perish'
The more-electronic second LP for Braids is another trance-out in repetitious figures and inscrutable moods.

Sebadoh 'Defend Yourself'
Back with their first album since the '90s, Lou Barlow and crew have made a loud, proud indie-rock record that should satisfy Sebadoh fans, even if it's ultimately unsatisfying.

Franz Ferdinand 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action'
Glasgow post-punkers Franz Ferdinand were once famed for their angular, uptight rhythms, but on their fourth album they play things straighter, and more relaxed.

Nedelle Torrisi 'Nedelle Torrisi'
Working with Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and summoning Sade, Nedelle Torrisi's first album under her whole name is a glorious soft-pop affair that may just make you cry.

No Age 'An Object'
On their fourth album, LA punks No Age strike a balance between noisiness and tunefulness.

Julia Holter 'Loud City Song'
The latest longplayer for the Los Angeles composer is an orchestral portrait of a shimmering metropolis.

Julianna Barwick 'Nepenthe'
On her fourth record, Julianna Barwick ventures to Iceland to record with members of Mum and Sigur Ros, and sounds as heavenly as ever.

David Lynch 'The Big Dream'
On his second album of Crazy Clown Music, the oddball filmmaker makes his own strange take on the blues.

Surfer Blood 'Pythons'
Surfer Blood's record ups the slickness, but loses the youthful charms of their debut in the process.

Young Galaxy 'Ultramarine'
On their fourth LP, Canadian indie-pop combo Young Galaxy conjure a nocturnal world of young dreamers, big cities, and the melancholy of growing older.

The Flaming Lips 'The Terror'
The Flaming Lips have made their name on the back of their joyous live-shows and a devotion to loveable weirdness. 'The Terror' goes for something, however, dark and disturbing.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'Mosquito'
The latest Yeah Yeah Yeahs album is the band's least rocking, most varied, and strangest record yet.

Blue Hawaii 'Untogether'
Blue Hawaii follow their debut, 'Blooming Summer,' with an LP that sounds like Hushed Winter.

Atoms for Peace 'Amok'
The 'supergroup' side-project for Radiohead's Thom Yorke sounds a lot like a record by Thom Yorke. Or Radiohead.

Autre Ne Veut 'Anxiety'
On his second Autre Ne Veut LP, Arthur Ashin hits his over-the-top-Alt-R&B stride...

My Bloody Valentine 'M B V'
22 years after 'Loveless,' it's thrilling to have My Bloody Valentine back in action. And, amazingly, 'M B V' manages to live up to two decades of built-up expectations.

Jim James 'Regions of Light and Sound of God'
On his solo debut, the My Morning Jacket frontman makes a near-narrative record of retrofuturistic, psychedelic soul.

Ducktails 'The Flower Lane'
The fourth Ducktails LP is a departure: Matt Mondanile's chillwavey solo project now a slick, synthy pop-band.

Toro y Moi 'Anything in Return'
On his third Toro y Moi album, Chaz Bundick gets smoother, funkier, and more dancefloor-friendly.

Yo La Tengo 'Fade'
Deep into their career, Yo La Tengo have never made a bad record, never made fans yearn for past glories.

Chad Valley 'Young Hunger'
In summoning the slickness and gloss of '80s pop, Hugo Manuel finds something unexpectedly personal.

Benjamin Gibbard 'Former Lives'
The Death Cab for Cutie frontman's solo debut is a loose collection of random songs trying on different styles.

Grizzly Bear 'Shields'
For their follow-up to 2009's beloved 'Veckatimest,' Grizzly Bear have made an LP that exchanges easy charm for a more difficult disposition.

Animal Collective 'Centipede Hz'
Animal Collective's follow-up to 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' recalls their more experimental past.

Why? 'Mumps, etc.'
After the downcast, piano-balladic 'Eskimo Snow', Yoni Wolf returns to rapping on Why?'s latest shrine to neurotic confessionalism.

The XX 'Coexist'
In the face of daunting expectations, The xx's second record preserves the minimalism of the first.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 'Mature Themes'
Ariel Pink's latest descend into the wobbly recesses of dated audio-tape confirms his indie-big-hitter status.

How to Dress Well 'Total Loss'
Three years after minting the 'indie R&B' sound, Tom Krell takes an evolutionary step with the second How to Dress Well LP.

Jens Lekman 'I Know What Love Isn't'
The Swedish crooner's first album in five years is a melancholy rumination on failed love.

Yeasayer 'Fragrant World'
While not as instantly enjoyable as either of its predecessors, 'Fragrant World' promises Yeasayer will always remain forever interesting.

Purity Ring 'Shrines'
Purity Ring's dark electronic music is simultaneously twee and terrifying; the buzz band building a shrine to the club then dousing it in blood.

Dirty Projectors 'Swing Lo Magellan'
Toning down the kooky concepts, Dirty Projectors' latest LP instead courts sincerity.

Best Coast 'The Only Place'
The second Best Coast record sounds like a just-fine successor to 'Crazy for You', but there's precious little magic at play.

Beach House 'Bloom'
Beach House's fourth album continues the Baltimore band's forward progression, sounding bigger, brighter, and bolder than ever.

M. Ward 'A Wasteland Companion'
Ward's seventh album lacks the enveloping, singular sound of past triumphs.

10 Classic Rough Trade Albums
London's legendary Rough Trade Records released countless classic indie LPs in the '80s.

Grimes 'Visions'
The third Grimes LP finds Claire Boucher exploring bright new realms of genre-transcending electronic pop.

Perfume Genius 'Put Your Back N 2 It'
Mike Hadreas' second Perfume Genius rolls out more stark, shivering confessionals set to forlorn piano and ghostly synths.

Julia Holter 'Ekstasis'
Holter uses blog-friendly synth-pop tools —old keyboards, layers of voice, bountiful reverb, hazy fidelity— to make music that sounds ancient.

Sharon Van Etten 'Tramp'
Sharon Van Etten's third record gains a sense of grandeur, but loses the intimacy of her first two LPs.

Chairlift 'Something'
On their second album, Chairlift ditch the pastichey feel of their first LP and settle on something striking.

Trailer Trash Tracys 'Ester'
Trailer Trash Tracys perform a minor miracle on their debut LP: making their atrocious band name charmingly meaningful.

Neon Indian 'Era Extraña'
Wherein Alan Palomo goes from chillwave to shoegaze without abandoning wonky, washed-out synths.

Real Estate 'Days'
Coming down from the blogosphere's eternal summer, Real Estate's second LP falls into a melancholy autumn.

Cass McCombs 'Humor Risk'
After the career-high peak of 'Wit's End,' McCombs second LP for 2011 feels like a bit of a comedown...

Atlas Sound 'Parallax'
The third Atlas Sound album finds Bradford Cox verily crooning amidst dreamy, death-obsessed lullabies.

St. Vincent 'Strange Mercy'
Listening to 'Strange Mercy' feels more like work than leisure.

Sleep ∞ Over 'Forever'
Sleep ∞ Over's debut album drapes romantic slow-jams in layer upon gauzy layer of billowing sonic fog.

Twin Sister 'In Heaven'
On their debut album, Twin Sister still suffer from sonic schizophrenia.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy 'Wolfroy Goes to Town'
Staging another conversation with God and his followers, Will Oldham is in prime form.

Dum Dum Girls 'Only in Dreams'
Kristin Gundred's fuzzy buzz band takes an unexpected turn towards the profound on the second DDG LP.

Megafaun 'Megafaun'
On their fourth album, Bon Iver's former bandmates sound ready for a breakout.

Girls 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost'
Attempting to sound like an important band, Girls authoring a self-conscious, disproportionately epic album where inspiration is seemingly absent.

Cant 'Dreams Come True'
Grizzly Bear's in-house producer goes solo with this stark set of synth confessionals.

Beirut 'The Rip Tide'
On the third Beirut LP, a now-grown-up Zach Condon quits his wanderin' ways, and finds a place to call home.

Active Child 'You Are All I See'
Pat Grossi's synthesized hymnals marry warbling choirboy vocals, Knife-like perversity, and Tears for Fears-esque stadium-synth sounds.

Memory Tapes 'Player Piano'
If Memory Tapes is a definitive chillwave act, why does 'Player Piano' sound so un-chilled?

The Horrors 'Skying'
The third Horrors LP builds big, synthy psych-pop of grand vistas and ascending repetition.

WU LYF 'Go Tell Fire to the Mountain'
WU LYF's debut LP strips away the mystery, revealing them as artful practitioners of ambitious, cinematic indie-rock.

Bon Iver 'Bon Iver'
A slick studio concoction working Justin Vernon's multi-tracked falsetto, the second Bon Iver LP makes a bold statement.

Handsome Furs 'Sound Kapital'
The third Handsome Furs album is filled with anthems for disaffected Eastern Bloc youths.

Death Cab for Cutie 'Codes and Keys'
Lacking direction, 'Codes and Keys' is an aimless album that sounds like a band spinning their wheels.

Tune-Yards 'Whokill'
A barrage of funky, feminist, genre-crossing jams, the second Tune-Yards record beckons imminent crossover.

Gang Gang Dance 'Eye Contact'
Brooklyn's kings of the mystical, pan-global freak-out deliver their biggest, bassiest rumpus thus far.

Fleet Foxes 'Helplessness Blues'
Fleet Foxes second LP is still warm and familial, but this time it's dorkier, more ambitious, and little uneven.

The Kills 'Blood Pressures'
In search of new horizons, The Kills abandon taut concepts and straight rock on their 4th LP. The results are mixed.

Julianna Barwick 'The Magic Place'
Barwick is a one woman choir, looping her wordless wails until they crest in cascading waves of sound.

The Vaccines 'What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?'
The dull debut from the English press's latest Great White Hope is all hype, no soul.

Julianna Barwick 'The Magic Place'
Barwick is a one woman choir, looping her wordless wails until they crest in cascading waves of sound.

The Luyas 'Too Beautiful to Work'
The Luyas build impressionist, exploded pop-songs from zither, wurlitzer organ, French horn, drums, and Jessie Stein's tiny voice.

Toro y Moi 'Underneath the Pine'
Chaz Bundick's 2nd TYM LP shows he's no mere chillwave bro, but gifted multi-instrumentalist and sonic stylist.

Destroyer 'Kaputt'
Destroyer Kaputt - Review of Destroyer's Album Kaputt

Bright Eyes 'The People's Key'
Abandoning both rootsy rambling and lyrical confession, the seventh Bright Eyes album is a clean, bright pop record.

Cloud Nothings 'Cloud Nothings'
Dylan Baldi's two-minute pop-punk jams are steeped in '80s alternative sounds and blessed with charming economy.

Jenny Hval 'Innocence Is Kinky'
On her second solo album, Norwegian singer/composer Jenny Hval makes a dark, dramatic record filled with experimental flourish and exquisite beaty.

The National 'High Violet'
Two years after soundtracking Hope and Change for Obama, The National try to come to grips with being a Big, Important Rockband.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 'Before Today'
The gloves are off, the lo-fi fog has lifted, and the world can now see Ariel Pink's pop chops in no uncertain terms.

Broken Social Scene 'Forgiveness Rock Record'
How much is all Broken Social Scene's bro-tastic excess a joy to listen to, and how much is it just a chore?

MGMT 'Congratulations'
After debuting as hit-single-toting, party-soundtracking ironists, MGMT have reinvented themselves as esoteric, casual-fan-ditching contrarians.

The Morning Benders 'Big Echo'
Hooking up with Grizzly Bear's Christopher Taylor, the Morning Benders have made an LP of sparklingly-produced indie-pop.

She and Him 'Volume Two'
The second time's a lot like the first for Zooey D. and M. Ward; only this time She and Him's charm seems more considered, less natural.

Broken Bells 'Broken Bells'
The debut Broken Bells album doesn't sound like a contrived supergroup. But it doesn't quite create its own standalone magic, either.

Joanna Newsom 'Have One On Me'
The warbling harpist's ambitious triple album cements her status as the most important artist of the 21st century.

Owen Pallett 'Heartland'
In Pallett's grand indie-rock-opera, the art wages war on the artist in a meta-fictional narrative taking place in a mythical, fantasy realm.

Yeasayer 'Odd Blood'
Exchanging dystopian futurism and echoey psychedelia for lovesongs and electronic anthems, Yeasayer are courting crossover potential.

Beach House 'Teen Dream'
On their third album, Beach House sound primed for a breakout.

Vampire Weekend 'Contra'
Vampire Weekend's second album joyously shakes off the backlash.

The Flaming Lips 'Embryonic'
For most, the double album is a place to harness one’s conceptual ideas. For Wayne Coyne, it's a chance to deliberately lose the plot.

Kings of Convenience 'Declaration of Dependence'
After five years apart, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe are back on record together, writing a love-letter to each other.

Michael Hurley 'Ida con Snock'
The latest LP for the progenitor of the New Weird America is familiar Hurley: simultaneously wacky and touching.

Built to Spill 'There is No Enemy'
Doug Martsch and co sound like there’s nothing they’d rather be doing than making this record.

Devendra Banhart 'What Will We Be'
Unlike recent Banhart records, here the ambling, genre-dabbling, pastichey feel isn't a product of lazy happenstance, but written into the album's ambition.

Dead Man's Bones 'Dead Man's Bones'
Clearly the greatest nightmare-doo-wop-with-children's-choir soundtrack to an imagined monster movie recorded by a Hollywood celebrity ever.

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions 'Through the Devil Softly'
Where the Mazzy Star starlet's ever whisper is as tangible yet elusive as the breeze.

The Big Pink 'A Brief History of Love'
In 2009, the emperor’s new clothes come in a hot new shade of Big Pink.

Fool's Gold 'Fool's Gold'
This Los Angeles-born Afro-Islamic-Hebrew jam-band is the music world's digitized global village made manifest.

Why? 'Eskimo Snow'
The master of the lyrical overshare, Yoni Wolf views the world as his "lit confessional marquee."

Gossip 'Music for Men'
Gossip's major-label debut sounds somewhere between stilted and self-conscious.

Majical Cloudz 'Impersonator'
'Impersonator' is a work of hushed, confessional minimalism, buoyed by Devon Welsh's bold baritone.

Julian Plenti 'Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper'
From Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines to Beyoncé Knowles as Sasha Fierce, the musical alter-ego has a long and pitiful history.

Yo La Tengo 'Popular Songs'
For their 14th-ish album, Yo La Tengo return to the 'variety show' format of 'I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One.'

Handsome Furs 'Face Control'
HF have authored an album as Russian travelogue, journeying deep into the dark heart of the neo-Soviet-Union.

Dinosaur Jr 'Farm'
Has there been a better rock'n'roll comeback than the return of the original Dinosaur?

Discovery 'LP'
Vampire Weekend + Ra Ra Riot + Copious Amounts of Auto-Tune = Discovery.

Tortoise 'Beacons of Ancestorship'
Five years since 'It's All Around You,' these slow-and-steady titans of mighty instrumentalism have picked up right where they left off.

Dirty Projectors 'Bitte Orca'
After years of toiling in the shadows of obscurity, Dirty Projectors' time to shine is now.

Sonic Youth 'The Eternal'
With their rocking 16th LP, the forever-noisy greybeards prove themselves to be the Eternal Youth.

Alternative Music Reviews and Recommendations - Top 10 Lists - Defini…
Reviews and Top 10 Lists to help you make sense of the sprawling alternative music realm...

God Help the Girl 'God Help the Girl'
The soundtrack to Stuart Murdoch's imagined musical doesn't measure up to a Belle and Sebastian album.

St. Vincent 'Actor'
Playing the part of St. Vincent, all the world's a stage for Annie Clark.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band 'Outer South'
If 'Conor Oberst' gave off the wafting aroma of a sausage party, 'Outer South' positively reeks of it.

Papercuts 'You Can Have What You Want'
The work of gifted producer Jason Quever, Papercuts' retro-pop records are mood in search of a tune.

Vetiver 'Tight Knit'
'Tight Knit' plays like the musical equivalent of building a model aeroplane: precious and painstaking.

Clues 'Clues'
Alden Penner's post-Unicorns outfit debuts with an album of dense, dark, distorted, '90s-ish alt-rock.

Grizzly Bear 'Veckatimest'
Grizzly Bear's glorious third album is wondrous in its grandest gestures and its smallest details.

Here We Go Magic 'Here We Go Magic'
After two albums of cold classicism, Luke Temple is getting warmer, warmer...

Phoenix 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'
Every time Phoenix releases an album, you're guaranteed a smattering of killer pop-songs.

Jeffrey Lewis ''Em Are I'
Once again, the anti-folk bard searches for the silver lining on a dark cloud.

Bat for Lashes 'Two Suns'
Natasha Khan's second Bat for Lashes record mixes its metaphors for duality.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'It's Blitz!'
The third YYY LP finds the band finally comfortable in their own commercially-accessible skin.

Crazy Dreams Band 'Crazy Dreams Band'
A joyous, jam-band racket that stumbles a line between classic-rock-approximation and shambolic capitulation.

The Decemberists 'The Hazards of Love'
Long live the rock-opera! So sayeth these ramblin’, politickin’, folk-pop purveyors of twee antiquity.

Various 'Dark Was the Night'
The National's Dessner brothers have solicited every indie act in existence to help them achieve one goal: making a charity compilation that doesn't suck.

Franz Ferdinand 'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand'
After three years on the sidelines, the gamine Glasgow art-punks come back with designs on the dancefloor.

Andrew Bird 'Noble Beast'
The Chicagoan multi-instrumentalist continues to forge further into his own unique take on Americana.

Animal Collective 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'
Releasing their third classic album in five years has cemented Animal Collective's reputation as one of the most important, distinctive voices in modern American music.

TV on the Radio 'Dear Science'
TV on the Radio's 'Dear Science' has been acclaimed as one of the greatest albums ever made. Which is definitely getting a little carried away about it.

Conor Oberst 'Conor Oberst'
Conor Oberst's first solo album since his adolescence is a dire, tired embrace of musical middle-age.

Jenny Lewis 'Acid Tongue'
Jenny Lewis's glossy second solo record is a gussied-up, unconvincing attempt at making a classic-sounding album.

Spiritualized 'Songs in A&E'
Jason Pierce's first album after a near-death bout with pneumonia is an inauspicious, familiar-feeling comeback.

Pepi Ginsberg 'Red'
With her hoarse voice persistently reminiscent of both Patti Smith and Bob Dylan, it's no surprise Pepi Ginsberg so grandly evokes the archetype of the rock-n-roll poet.

Arthur Russell 'Love is Overtaking Me'
Arthur Russell reissue mania continues, with this collection of country-ish cuts culled together to coincide with the documentary 'Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell.'

Megapuss 'Megapuss'
The debut disc for Devendra Banhart's side-project is an in-joke made public.

Crystal Stilts 'Alight of Night'
The moody, muted debut from the New Yorker quartet dowses pop-songs in lo-fidelity reverb in search of spectral qualities.

Chairlift 'Does You Inspire You'
On their debut album, the New Yorker trio dabble in keytone kitsch, retrofuturist imagery, and, on occasions, country balladry.

MGMT 'Oracular Spectacular'
The hype-startin' New Yorker duo MGMT have made a genre-jugglin' debut of questionable artistic merit.

Ra Ra Riot 'The Rhumb Line'
The first LP-proper from these pals-of-Vampire-Weekend shows a band begging for brighter lights and bigger stages.

Max Tundra 'Parallax Error Beheads You'
Six years after his last LP, Ben Jacobs brings his neurotic lyricism and hyper-manic electro-pop back in style.

Chad VanGaalen 'Soft Airplane'
The third album for the self-styled Canadian mystic is a typical mixed-bag, an ad-hoc assemblage of mismatched instrumentage that occasionally seems magical, often not.

Brendan Canning 'Something for All of Us'
Brendan Canning's solo debut is like a duller, flatter take on Broken Social Scene's collectivist mediocrity.

Parenthetical Girls 'Entanglements'
The Portland outfit's latest longplayer marries jaunty orchestrations with lyrical grotesqueries, unexpectedly making for one of 2008's best discs.

Death Vessel 'Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us'
The second Death Vessel album for super-high-voiced finger-picking songsmith Joel Thibodeau seeks to further his musical range.

Stereolab 'Chemical Chords'
Stereolab's latest longplayer sounds exactly like every other record they've ever made. But it's not exactly like every other record they've ever made.

Vetiver 'Thing Of The Past'
San Franciscan flower children Vetiver front up with an album of covers drawn from the days of yore.

Vampire Weekend "Vampire Weekend"
Vampire Weekend's hype-starting debut disc is one of the biggest alternative albums in aeons. But is it worthy of all the acclaim?

Death Cab For Cutie "Narrow Stairs"
Death Cab For Cutie are back with their seventh album, Narrow Stairs. After building a career around Ben Gibbard's sensitive sentimentalism, for their latest longplayer Death Cab sound a little ornery.

Wolf Parade 'Expo 86'
It still suffers from the divided-songwriters syndrome, but Expo 86 is certainly Wolf Parade's least-mediocre LP.

Mountain Man 'Made the Harbor'
The women of Mountain Man conduct a study in the simple, unsullied power of the human voice.

M.I.A. 'Maya'
M.I.A.'s industrial-sounding concept-album about internet surveillance isn't a political misstep, it's a musical one.

Best Coast 'Crazy for You'
Bethany Cosentino's debut LP is a set of timeless pop-songs sparkling with Californian sun and laced with lyrical sadness.

Arcade Fire 'The Suburbs'
Arcade Fire's ambitious song-cycle delivers a double barrel-load of gumption: the band hoping to define not just their career, but a generation.

Magic Kids 'Memphis'
Magic Kids take to old Beach Boys pop-song tropes with a youthful exuberance that's infectious.

Antony and the Johnsons 'Swanlights'
On his fourth album, Antony is clearly in love. But is it with a person, or the planet? A lover, or Mother Earth?

The Knife 'Shaking the Habitual'
The Knife's long-awaited double-album is a dark, disturbing take on contemporary humanity.

Deerhunter 'Halcyon Digest'
Growing older, nearing 30, Bradford Cox explores the passing of time across a series of songs steeped in teenage nostalgia.

Sharon Van Etten 'Epic'
Van Etten's impressive second album is a stark portrait of life in a destructive relationship.

Belle and Sebastian 'Write About Love'
B&S's most MOR record only truly comes to life when Stuart Murdoch shares the mic with, um... Norah Jones?

Sufjan Stevens 'The Age of Adz'
Naysayers be damned: this is clearly Sufjan's best LP.

Radiohead 'The King of Limbs'
All insectile rhythms, elusive moods, and soul-singing vocals, the eighth Radiohead LP isn't primed for immediacy.

Definitive Albums: Unrest 'Imperial F.F.R.R.' (1992)
In 1992, Unrest's clean, minimal, unrockin' indie-rock stood apart from the distortion-drenched alterna-rock underground.

EMA 'Past Life Martyred Saints'
Tales of painful small-town adolescence add up to a secretly-funny soundtrack for a looming apocalypse.

TV on the Radio 'Nine Types of Light'
On their fourth LP, TVOTR finally have embraced their fate: the new INXS.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks 'Mirror Traffic'
With Beck producing, the Pavement leader shelves the lengthy boogie-rock jams for short, shambling pop songs.

Sigur Rós 'Kveikur'
Stripped down to a rock three-piece, the Icelandic moodists make their more aggressive, intense, noisy record.

Boards of Canada 'Tomorrow's Harvest'
After scattering a trail of cryptic clues, the electro recluses return from the wilderness with their most eerie, ambient album.

Austra 'Olympia'
On her second Austra album, Katie Stelmanis pushes things towards the dancefloor, whilst singing far-more-personal lyrics.

Savages 'Silence Yourself'
On their debut LP, London post-punks Savages rise to meet the cresting hype.

Deerhunter 'Monomania'
'Monomania' marks a scrappier, rawer, more garagey record for Deerhunter, but it's still shot through with melancholy.

Iron and Wine 'Kiss Each Other Clean'

Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampires of the City'
The third Vampire Weekend album makes the band's most varied, divisive, daring work.

The National 'Trouble Will Find Me'
The National are billing their sixth album as a lighter, funner record, but listen to Matt Berninger's lyrics and it's clear that the bands' hearts still beat dark.

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