In no particular order here are the 10 records I liked best this year. I wish I could listen to every new record, but inevitably something always slips through my radar. I find every year I discover several records in early the next year that I would include.
Central Valley by Sleep Lady
I believe I discovered Sleep Lady from Aaron Harris former ISIS drummer and current Palms drummer. He makes great records as a producer and engineer and I'm always keeping an eye on the records he does or recommends. They are described as "semi-instrumental" due to the very minimal vocals. This album is one 18+ minute long track that takes you on a journey.
Easy Pain by Young Widows
Young Widows has been my favorite live band since I saw them open for These Arms Are Snakes back in 2006. This record is dark, dirty, and amazing. There is no other band right now that sounds like this band.
Ape of God I & II by Old Man Gloom
Surprise double album from doom/sludge/post/whatever metal supergroup Old Man Gloom. They even released a fake album to reviewers because they knew it would be leaked. I hope this new record means I have a chance to see them play in Boston next year.
Some Heavy Ocean by Emma Ruth Rundle
I discovered Emma Ruth Rundle when she started playing guitar in Red Sparowes. I loved the record she did with her other band Marriages so I was very exicted for this solo record. It's haunting and beautiful.
Dragon Mouth by Dust Moth
Another supergroup of sorts. This band features producer/keyboardist Matt Bayles (Minus The Bear, ISIS, Mastodon, the guitarist from These Arms Are Snakes, and the singer from XVII Eyes. They released a video on vimeo a year ago and it drove me crazy waiting for this record to come out. Can't wait to see what this band does in the future.
Sleepwalking Sailors by Helms Alee
When Helms Alee's record label Hydra Head went under, this band turned to Kickstarter to finance this record. I am a proud backer and was pleasantly surprised with the picture of Justin Beiber they included in the package with the LP. Guitarist Ben Verellen also makes amps in Seattle. I'd love to get my hands on one of them.
Guilty of Everything by Nothing
Amazing shoegaze debut album. This album is the real deal. Dreamy reverby washed out guitars for days. Part of the new wave of shoegaze that's happening right now.
Cheatahs by Cheatahs
Another debut album from a shoegazing band. This band takes up the Swervedriver style shoegaze with heavier riffs and clearer vocals. I'm looking forward to when this band comes to the states for some touring.
Minoans by Giant Squid
I knew before the end of the first track this would be a favorite. I don't know any band that is doing what these guys do. An under water Neurosis with strings is possibly the best way to describe them. I didn't think they could top my old favorite The Icthyologist, but they have. Phenominal record.
Little Histories by Cloudkicker
Surprise release from Ben Sharp AKA Cloudkicker. I was really bummed I missed his tour earlier this year. This record does a bit to make up for that. I think this record is a great step forward for Cloudkicker. It incorporates everything I've loved about all their previous releases into one and manages to push ahead with it. Highly recommended.