We based Spare Grandma’s favorite albums list on our personal favorites in a combined order. If you missed one of these maybe you’d want to check them out if you’re feeling adventurous. Never mind the order, the artists worked hard, and if it’s your cup of tea then drink it.
- Run the Jewels 2 – Run the Jewels
Topping most artists including themselves, Killer Mike and El-P surpassed the production of their last album. Killer Mike said it best “The jewel runners, top tag team for two summers.” Leaner, meaner, and more pointed than its predecessor RTJ delivered their Empire Strikes Back. Hands down album of the year. Meow.
- Burn Your Fire for No Witness – Angel Olsen
With the help of John Congleton, Angel’s songwriting is able to shine at all of the right moments. Reserved at the right times and belting at others, Angel’s voice pierces a listener, while the band elevates the songs at the right times.
- Dark Comedy - Open Mike Eagle
If Vonnegut made a rap album this would be it. In a year marked by tragedy on the news Mike has crafted the perfect satire comprised of biting social commentary and ridiculous humor, often in the same line. The answer to whether he is serious or just whimsical is a resounding yes.
- Benji - Sun Kil Moon
One of the most emotionally bare-bone Sun Kil Moon albums stands with sincerity and no melodrama. The album is rife with crushing lyrics about death and the human experience. It may make you cry or call dad and tell him that you love him.
- Under Color of Official Right – Protomartyr
Detroit Rock City meets The Fall. It’s no wonder why these guys toured with fellow sharp tongued brethren Parquet Courts. Targeting emotional cripples, envious coward, and alt-weekly type, Protomartyr drive through their catchy mixture of garage rock and post punk. Let any lesser band be cast from the rock.
- Pom Pom – Ariel Pink
Whacky and intricate, Pom Pom feels like a punk fever dream in the best way possible. The Kim Fowley contributions to this album cement solid grounds for excitement as well.
- The Unnatural World – Have a Nice Life
Dark and unrelenting, Have a Nice Life channel their mixture of post punk, noise, and drone into a concise set of songs that reveal themselves more with each listen. Uglier than a wild boar and far more enjoyable than its meat, it sounds as though Joy Division had a baby raised on Swans and Godspeed You Black Emperor!
- A Sea When Absent – A Sunny Day in Glascow
If this album were a dish on a menu, it would be salty, sweet, spicy, tangy, hot, cold, crunchy, and soft all at once. Every characteristic balances perfectly. Yin and yang.
- Torch Songs – Radiator Hospital**
Energetic melodies about love lost and found, Radiator Hospital delivers some of the catchiest indie pop of the year. They specialize in dynamic vocals and sweet lyrics over hook filled guitar lines.
- Bury Me at Makeout Creek – Mitski
New addition to the Double Double Whammy lineup, Mitski, wrote some of the best melodies of the year. Sweetly sung lyrics felt like a stream of sugar gliding over sludge guitar work in a gutter.
- The Water[s] – Mick Jenkins
- Too Bright – Perfume Genius
- Never Hung Over Again – Joyce Manor
- Black Messiah – D’Angelo
- Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
- You’re Dead – Flying Lotus
- Sunbathing Animal/Content Nausea – Parquet Courts
- More Than Any Other Day - Ought
- By Any Means/Luca Brasi 2: Gangsta Grillz – Kevin Gates
- Hell Can Wait – Vince Staples
- ** Welcome to Fazoland – Lil Herb**
- What Is This Heart? – How to Dress Well
- Lost in the Dream – Ex Hex
- Rips – Ex Hex
- Soft Opening – Posse
- It’s Album Time – Todd Terje
- Manipulator – Ty Segall
- Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything – Silver Mt Zion
- Clark - Clark
- New York Telephone – Uncommon Nasa
- St. Vincent – St. Vincent
- Cilvia Demo – Isaiah Rashad
- Syro – Aphex Twin
- Our Love – Caribou
- Singles – Future Islands
- Zentropy – Frankie Cosmos
- LP1 – FKA Twigs
- They Want My Soul - Spoon
- Mr. Noah – Panda Bear
- Mr. Twin Sister – Mr. Twin Sister
- Plowing Into the Field of Love - Iceage
- Flatland - Objekt
- Salad Days - Mac DeMarco
- Atlas – Real Estate
- Hoodwink’d – LVL UP
- Dude Incredible – Shellac
- Say Yes to Love - Perfect Pussy
- Aurora – Ben Frost
- Faith in Strangers – Andy Stott
- The Moon Rang Like a Bell – Hundred Waters