ONE.   Blake Mills.   Heigh Ho. Blake Mills' show at El Rey in September was one of the best I have ever seen, and I don't say that lightly. The instrumentation, the songs, and the talent on display were all top notch.

TWO.    Ryan Adams.    Ryan Adams. This record was like a ice cold glass of water on a hot day: exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.

THREE.   The War On Drugs.   Lost In The Dream. This record showcases some amazing tones and great production. I probably listened to it 25 times in a row after the first time I put it on.

FOUR.    Beck.    Morning Phase. I hadn't listened to Beck too much before this year, and this record as a complete work was really impressive to me.

FIVE.   Sturgill Simpson.   Metamodern Songs in Country Music. Recording live-to-tape is getting more and more rare, and this team knocked it out of the park with that process. I love how this record sounds.

Here are several other records I really enjoyed this year in no particular order:

  • Hozier.   Hozier. I'll just say this: I am not the only person who has him on a year-end list.

  • Delta Spirit.   Into the Wide. Total rock'n'roll.

  • Young Oceans.   I Must Find You. I needed this record this year. The song "I Must Find You" was really great for re-centering and late nights.

  • Copeland.   Ixora. I love that these guys came back -- but the April Fool's announcement threw me.

  • Coldplay.   Ghost Stories. Continually solid and dominating their niche.

  • Field Report.   Marigolden. Singer-songwriter music that feels really fresh.

  • First Aid Kit.   Stay Gold. Great songs, good melodies, good harmonies. Sounds like Eisley + country, and Lacey and I loved it.

  • Taylor Swift.   1989. Her marketing people deserve some kind of award as well.

  • Tycho.   Awake. Some of my favorite instrumental music in the last decade. Love it.

  • Crowder.   Neon Steeple. Solid all-around record.

  • Luke Reynolds.   After the Flood. Just heard of this guy recently, and I really like the tunes.

  • Colony House.   When I Was Younger. Proud of these 3 ... they have been hard at work for so long. These are all really solid songs.

  • SOHN.   Tremors. Incredible voice and great programming.

  • Brooke Fraser.   Brutal Romantic. New territory for Brooke, and it's a good direction.

  • Matthew & the Atlas.   Other Rivers. New discovery this year for me. Great for working late at night.

  • St Lucia.   When The Night. These songs get me playing the air drums really hard.

  • Noah Gundersen.   Ledges. Noah really put his best into this record. Excited for people to start seeing our #SerialBoxTV episode with him.

Thanks for reading! I made a Spotify playlist of some of the highlights here.

I want to hear about your favorite records. Tweet them at me here:   @p_dodd.