#25. The Shins - No Way Down
After another roster shuffle, James Mercer returned to his favorite project and resurrected The Shins with the release of Port of Morrow. In recent interviews he said that most of the changes that occurred were for the betterment of the songs and product. On No Way Down, you definitely can hear it.
#24. The Hives - If I Had A Cent
God bless The Hives, seriously. What they manage to do in one minute and twenty-seven seconds, Green Day can't accomplish in three full albums. Up next for them, an opening slot on Pink's US tour.
#23. Tanlines - All Of Me
While this Brooklyn duo has been criticized for not having their own sound, All Of Me was simply too good to ignore. So what if it sounds like something from Yeasayer or MGMT. Things could be worse, much worse.
#22. The Tallest Man on Earth - 1904 [Free Download]
Without a doubt, the most viewed post of the year was The Tallest Man on Earth. His release There's No Leaving Now, was incredible and the cornerstone was 1904.
#21. Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (Drank)
On almost every track of Kendrick's good kid, mA.A.d city you'll find the confessions of this country's inner city. Collectively, it makes for an amazing journey. Swimming Pools (Drank) has just enough shine to be a jewel among the rubble.
#20. Fiona Apple - Periphery
And the award for best use of velcro goes to... Fiona Apple! Behind the assembly line piano, you'll find that familiar tear. Is it a wallet? A brace? Shoes? Who cares. Unconventional is what we've come to expect from her and it comes through effortlessly.
#19. RAC - Hollywood (ft. Penguin Prison) [Free Download]
RAC has gained quite a following with his amazing remixes. However, this year he found time to hook up with Penguin Prison for his first original song. No word on whether this single will turn into an album. I sure hope so.
#18. Best Coast - The Only Place [Free Download]
Beth Cosentino's love affair with California continues. The Only Place has all the gleam of a gorgeous day and might be a direct response to Death Cab For Cuties' LA bashing Why You'd Want To Live Here.
#17. Band of Horses - How To Live
As a whole Mirage Rock was a disappointment for me, but How To Live nails it in every aspect. The harmonies, the Allman Brothers riff, the soulful solo; I can't find a single thing wrong with it.
#16. Lana Del Rey ft. Wiz Khalifa - Money is the Anthem [Free Download]
DJ Black Irish mashed up these 2 artists and almost broke the internet. The entire album Born Too Fly finds M.I.A., Lil Wayne and Wale adding verses to the most loved/hated artist of the year.
#15. Miike Snow - The Wave
Hands down the best snare drum of the year. A highlight among many from this year's Happy To You. Although I am still upset about their canceled show at the Congress in September...
#14. Animal Collective - Applesauce
This song sounds like tumbling down a hill on acid. Say no to drugs, kids.
#13. Asher Roth - Turnip The Beet
Asher Roth was just giving away jams this summer. Case in point this ridiculous track that had me rewinding for days to try and keep up with his flow. Also see the Smokey Robinson sampling Good Morning View, built for your next summer cookout.
#12. Kill Paris - I Do Love You [Free Download]
I briefly thought of having this song as part of my remix post, but it's more than that. LA's Corey Baker use of samples is closer to Kanye, than most of the dance scene. Here he takes a classic oldie by GQ and makes it all his own.
#11. Andrew Bird - Near Death Experience, Experience
Only Andrew Bird can make plane crashes and cancer seem so whimsical. Honestly, any song from Break It Yourself could have found its way onto this list.
#10. John Mayer - Love Is A Verb
I must have listened to Born and Raised, more than any other album this year. Mostly because I wanted to like it so much. Sadly, that never happened. Thankfully, Love Is A Verb should replace Daughters the next time he comes to town.
#9. Childish Gambino - One Up (ft. Steve G. Lover)
Best verse of the year. "Bino lay it down and work it out like a sit-up." Get the full mix tape Royalty, at iamdonald.com
#8. Absofacto - Lies
How Absofacto has not been signed to a record deal is beyond me. Although he might not need them. Using Kickstarter, he managed to press his debut album Sinking Islands and is hard at work on new material.
#7. Azealia Banks - Jumanji [Free Download]
Ever since she was the first announced artist for Coachella, it's been her year. While we wait for her debut album, she gave fans a taste with her mix tape, Fantasea.
#6. Blende - Fake Love
When I first heard this song I immediately thought it was a long-lost Justice track, especially with those strings. Those looking for even more energy can pick up Villa's remix for free on Blende's Facebook page.
#5. Desaparecidos - MariKKKopa
One of my all-time favorite bands reconvened and out popped 2 new songs! Conor Oberst's punk outfit sounds as angry as ever, and looking back on their only album, a little prophetic. MariKKKopa is an open indictment of Sheriff Joe, complete with an utterly brazen sound byte.
#4. Purity Ring - Fineshrines
Something happens when I hear Megan James sing. I hope it happens to you too. Spoiler Alert: their debut Shrines will find its way to my best albums post.
#3. Jack White - Sixteen Saltines
Why do I get the feeling that Jack White has a few hundred songs just like this locked away? The man with limitless talent did it again with Blunderbuss.
#2. Kanye West - Clique (ft. Big Sean & Jay-Z)
Producer Hit-Boy followed up his hit N*ggas In Paris with another monster. Clique was so good, it even made Big Sean sound like a superstar as he traded verses with two of the biggest, Kanye and Jay-Z.
#1. Frank Ocean - Pyramids [Free Download]
Who saw John Mayer making it onto this list twice? While Mr. Mayer's contribution to Pyramids might be minimal at best, it's just another example of Frank Ocean's talent. Clocking in at a shade under 10 minutes, it never loses focus and still finds time to stretch out, especially the second half.