1. Metals Feist Feist presented a brand new slate, mixing hard and soft alloys to forge an album of rare depth and beauty.
2. Bon Iver Bon Iver From bucolic backwoods balladry to hypnotic electro-pop symphonies, his transformation has been masterful.
3. The Harrow & the Harvest Gillian Welch More exquisite folk songs that sound like they were handed down through the ages.
4. So Beautiful or So What Paul Simon Songs about love and faith, steeped in African kora, Indian tabla and southern gospel.
5. Ashes & Fire Ryan Adams Rarely has the prolific, wildly talented tunesmith sounded this inspired.
6. Helplessness Blues Fleet Foxes Darker and deeper, but every bit as captivating as their harmony-drenched debut.
7. Barton Hollow The Civil Wars Like Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, this duo’s voices conjure up visions of mystery and beauty.
8. House of Balloons The Weeknd The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye mixes soulful vocals over spacey synths and irresistible indie-rock backbeats.
9. El Camino The Black Keys Sequing from garage and soul to glam rock, the Keys’ latest boasts a jukebox worth of amped-up party music.
10. who kill tune-yArDs Merrill Garbus’ mix of folk, r&b, Afro-pop and rock is one of the year’s most inventive fusions.