1. Matic808, Yeezus: Baltimore Club Edition (self-released) Club producer Matic808’s remix of Kanye West’s entire freaking album chews up all that Rick Rubin-assisted minimalism and spits out its bones. Doubling down on Ye’s noise-rap promise, Matic rebuilds the tracks out of gnarly Bmore breaks, beds of snarling synthesizers, and shit, why not, some Workaholics “Suck our dicks!” sample. An attention-grabbing stunt, ideal for the immediate refix culture of the internet, that arguably tops the record it remixes. That’s got to be a first, right? (Brandon Soderberg) 2. Double Dagger, 333 (Thrill Jockey) It’s always hard saying goodbye, and with their swan song, 333, Double Dagger put together a final record that showed all the different parts that made them a great band. You got the brute and loud along with the thoughtful and melodic. They’ll be missed. (Brandon Weigel) 3. Zomes, Time Was (Thrill Jockey) Like some of the most memorable albums, Time Was feels like a different world. Hypnotic organ grooves set the stage for the transcendental transportation; the journey is completed by new collaborator Hanna Olivegren’s incredibly versatile voice, going from warm and comforting coos to alien clicks and shrieks. (Michael Shank) 4. Labtekwon, Labtekwon Evolutionary: The Omar Akbar Album/State of the Art (Ankh Ba) Lab doesn’t make albums; he shifts consciousness in sound. Evolutionary continues the heady hard-bop production and discursive Afrocentric aesthetic history-qua-manifesto he started with 2010’s NEXT and adds some of his more stunning deliveries since the 410 Pharaohs: The rapid-fire diction punctuating “Already-Early” is a breathtaking two-and-a-half-minute history lesson. (Bret McCabe) 5. Locrian, Return to Annihilation (Relapse) With Return to Annihilation, Locrian manages to straddle the line between the noise-washed conceptual soundscapes of their earlier work and a more accessible sound—though it’s still in a whole other neighborhood than your typical metal or harsh-noise outfit. (Band members are also split between Chicago and Baltimore, but we’re proud to call them local.) Circular song structures, unorthodox audio treatments, and progressive riffage combine to create one of the year’s most haunting and powerful releases, whatever genre box you wish to put it in. (Josh Sisk) 6. Raindeer, Tattoo (Friends) Tattoo is a busy album. Tonally, it’s chock-full of sounds, from chiming guitars to buzzing synths. Stylistically, too, the album is all over the map, with warped ’60s pop and sunny techno sitting side by side. The band reins in all these elements with powerful hooks that make Tattoo a delight to listen to. (MS) 7. Dungeonesse, Dungeonesse (Secretly Canadian) Two of Baltimore indie’s greatest minds, Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) and Jon Ehrens (Art Department), have never been afraid to turn down guitars and turn up the beats. And together under the Dungeonesse banner, they’ve made a confident foray into full-on synth pop, with bewitching hooks and surprising cameos from local club rappers DDm and TT the Artist. (Al Shipley) 8. Roomrunner, Ideal Cities (Fan Death) If you’re a regular City Paper reader, you’ve heard us blather plenty about this album already, but it’s worth noting that even now, at the end of the year, those crunchy, screeching guitars and driving bass and drums are the swift kick to the eardrums you’ve always wanted but never knew you needed. (BW) Listen to Roomrunner here. 9. J. Graf, The Future Is a Faded Song (Juneau Palace) It’s rare for an album as experimental as Future to make a year-end list, but Graf’s tremendously beautiful new record deserves to be heard far beyond the confines of the avant-garde. It sounds like it could be pop music made for some very advanced culture, mixing traditional instruments like the guitar with strange electronic squawks and swoops. And over it all is Graf’s utterly compelling voice, which sort of makes us feel like we’re falling in love every time we hear it. (Baynard Woods) 10. Mr. Moccasin, XAHA (Bleek) XAHA is the Cyrillic spelling of Mr. Moccasin singer and lyricist Hanna Badalova’s first name, and this record is her coming-out party, as she uses these exquisite pop songs to tell personal stories made universal by her exquisite voice. The Tropicália-infused “Cabana Boys (Birds of Youth)” takes the tale of a shared vacation and turns it into a soaring, sad meditation on growing up. Mr. Moccasin has been around for a while, but XAHA feels almost like a rebirth—and we can hardly wait to see what they do next. (BW)

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