1: Nation of Language - Introduction, Presence
OMD style synth pop that is just huge and melancholy. Could really see these guys blowing up
2: Empty Country - Self-Titled
Just the lyrics on this one- dark and messy but they also break through into uplifting. The opening track (Marian) is the song of the year.
3: Infant Island - Beneath / Sepulcher
Technically an album and an EP but they were both released at pretty much the same time and both rule. Atmospheric metal/ hardcore that scratches that Deafheaven itch whilst really going to unexpected places.
4: Perfume Genius - Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
This came out within a couple of weeks of the new 1975 and I really think they both go to similar places. Really reminiscent of those 90s big swing for the fences albums by established artists that work in spite of the grandeur (New Adventures in Hifi/Achtung Baby Etc). PG is far better though, I can’t imagine anyone not finding something g to love here
5: Eerie Gaits - Holopaw
A genuinely beautiful ambient-ish album from the Wild Pink guy. I guess it kinda feels like Angelo Badalamenti/ Tunnel of Love era Springsteen.
Honourable mentions to Phoebe Bridgers, Bob Dylan, Pinegrove, Bombay Bicycle Club, Waxahatchee