Jack White | Lazaretto
Mr. White spent more time and attention to detail in the production of this record, breathing fresh life into his library of rocking sound. It's still a ripping Jack White album at it's inner core. Few people can hold a candle to this guy's fire. He's a true artist whom I'm always interested in hearing. Play Lazaretto from beginning to end and then listen to it again. The video below is a performance of the title track from Glastonbury.
Ikebe Shakedown | Stone By Stone
I haven't been able to wear this record out. The bold texture of Shakedown's sound is a lush update on the pillar of music that is Afro-Cuban. The jazz funk/world beat hybrid is just so contagious. The Offering (below) is the initial song that gets this record going. Play Stone By Stone in its entirety—every track is full of summer and momentum.
Sturgill Simpson | Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
A modern day country artist who actually plays real country. Sturgill emits a gutsy, outlaw vibe, which is awesome if it's genuine. The whole record captures its listeners. Just play 'em all. The track below, Turtles All the Way Down, is the first song on the album.
Shamir | NorthTown EP
Moving to NYC from outside of Las Vegas, Shamir brings richness to minimalistic production. The androgyny of the vocals is beautiful and individualistic. The five installments on this EP almost feel like two halves. The first two tracks, If It Wasn't True and I Know It's a Good Thing (below), are in my heavy rotation.
Iggy Azalea | The New Classic
Too many hits not to give it praise. C'mon—white Australian female rapper who currently dominates the charts? Regardless of her production team, it's pretty cool. I'll admit, some of her tracks are just SO club-tastic that I can't deny it. Check out bangers such as Work, Black Widow, and Fancy (below).
Beck | Morning Phase
This album is the belated sibling to Sea Change, down to the cover art. When I listen to Beck's mellower tunes I feel a sense of appreciation. Side A feeds into that somber recognition, but the real caloric intake is on side B. The sounds are within reach, like soft, low-hanging fruit. Songs such as Turn Away and Country Down (below) embody this ripe-for-the-picking sentimentality.
Lykke Li | I Never Learn
Ray LaMontagne | Supernova
There are a host of other albums that have yet to drop. Here are a few of them: TV On the Radio (hopefully this year), Wilco (could be this year), Best Coast, My Morning Jacket, Shovels & Rope, Jeff Tweedy, and Spoon.