A few weeks ago, we started publishing a weekly capsule called “Reviews in brief,” rounding up a summary of the week’s reviews in one-sentence form, along with completely arbitrary ratings, just for fun. We do this, not as a substitute for our reviews, but as a supplement. If any of our readers missed something, and wanted an easy way to catch up before reading each review, verbatim, we could offer a shorter introduction, and even a teaser as to whether or not we liked the damn things. But the year’s half-over now (more than half, actually) and now seemed like a good time to put together one-sentence summaries of our favorite albums of the year. We assembled 36 of them. Sure, it’s a lot, but it’s been a pretty impressive year so far. So even if it’s just 14 albums shy of our year-end tally, bear in mind that this is just a milemarker, and that the next five months could just as easily match or even best what we’ve seen so far.
Erykah Badu – New Amerykah, Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (Universal Motown)
A little less freaky, a little less fiery, but still the stunning songstress as always.
Rating: 8 out of 10 afrocosms.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms (Columbia)
A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of win.
Rating: 8 out of 10 geographical mix-ups.
Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
Dream-gazer, slow-pop wonderment, now with real drums!
Rating: 9 out of 10 reparations from Katy Perry.
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse (Jagjaguwar)
A dense rock epic that hits like a tidal wave.
Rating: 8 out of 10 oceanic metaphors.
Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
Outkast emcee shows just how fat Daddy’s sax is. Pimp.
Rating: 9 out of 10 fur coats.
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)
Ever-expanding indie rock collective invites some more in for a breezy, art-rock party.
Rating: 8 out of 10 unshaven frontmen.
Caribou – Swim (Merge)
Snaith pumps a disco pulse into his electronic wilderness.
Rating: 8 out of 10 aquatic antlers.
Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here (Editions Mego)
Hypnotic late night dreamworlds and sci-fi synthscapes.
Rating: 8 out of 10 rhetorical questions.
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)
LA turntablist goes cosmic on some zodiac shit, trips out Sun Ra style.
Rating: 9 out of 10 satelllliiiiiiites.
Foals – Total Life Forever (Transgressive-Sub Pop)
UK indie rockers ramp up the grooves and mature gracefully.
Rating: 8 out of 10 fresh salt licks.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.