My Morning Jacket - Circuital
I've seen My Morning Jacket twice, but still only managed to really get into them recently (if you're interested, their 2012 show in Melbourne was great and the recording is really good too). It's hard to say that anyone one track is a standout, but for some reason I find myself listening to (Holdin' On To) Black Metal over and over. This album is solid gold, although Z or It Still Moves are usually recommended as the best entry points to their catalogue.
Wilson Pickett - The Very Best of...
Wilson Pickett isn't as well known as some of his soul contemporaries, but he recorded some really great songs. His voice has the same grit as Otis Redding's, but he didn't have the same big hits, which may explain why he isn't as well known.
Dandy Warhols - Capitol Years
I got into both the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre through the movie Dig! It's pretty surprising how much of their music made it into the zeitgeist of the 90's (probably partly achieved through the number of ads that featured their songs). And unlike some of the music of that decade, this still holds up really well.
Neko Case - The Worse Things Get...
As well as winning the Fiona Apple prize for longest album title, Neko Case has produced an album that manages to be an account of the depression she went through, without actually being horribly depressing (although Nearly Midnight, Honlulu is is pretty bleak). She's playing a couple of shows in Melbourne next month, and I'm looking forward to how these songs translate into the live setting.
The Men - Immaculada
I only put this up a couple of days ago, but I listened to this album a lot last year. It's probably best described as noise rock, but as is often the case with these things, the label probably does more to scare people off rather than encourage them to check it out. Anyway, unlike everything else on this list, this one is free, so you don't have any excuse for not having a listen.
Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends
Tim Harrington's antics at Les Savy Fav shows are pretty funny, but they can detract from just how good their songs are. I know that I for one didn't realise how good their Laneway set was until I listend to the recording (not one of mine, it was from the guys at Fan Made Recordings, it doesn't seem to be up anymore, but I'm sure they'll make it available if anybody wants it). I've only got their last two albums, and while Root for Ruin is very good, Let's Stay Friends is great. I particularly like Comes & Goes, I think because it sounds so much like a Flying Nun tune, but every track here is great.
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Finally got to cross Bruce Springsteen off my musical bucket list last year (and will be adding some reinforcing lines in a couple of weeks). I haven't listened to the new album yet, but this one was a real return to form after what I thought was a pretty mediocre album.
Josh Ritter - The Beast In It's Tracks
Neko Case's album took a while to grab me because it was a bit of a departure from her previous work, and this Josh Ritter album did the same thing (and possibly for the same reason, given that this is, in a way, a lot darker than this earlier work). Still waiting for him to venture down this way, but at least he is still touring this album, so at least there's some hope.
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
These guys apparently have a new album that will come out in a couple of months, and have promised an Australian tour this year. Until then, this is their most recent album. Although it's (at least notionally) a concept album, like all good concept albums it can stand independently of the story.
Phoenix Foundation - Happy Ending
In writing this I just found out that the Phoenix Foundation is the organisation that employs MacGyver. That should be enough reason to check this band out, but if not this album of dreamy pop (sometimes described as psychedelic, but that always grates with me) is a great way to soundtrack what's left of summer.
Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel
And last but not least, Spiral Stairs' (of Pavement fame) solo album. Malkmus gets a lot of the credit for Pavement, but Spiral Stairs' songs, although fewer, are all incredible. And while he hasn't produced an album to match Stephen Malkmus' self-titled debut, his solo career has probably produced at least as many great songs as Malkmus has, despite only having recorded three albums, including this one, the first under his own name (the others being released as Preston School of Industry).