Goat - Commune: I've heard people say their debut World Music was better, but this was my first encounter with them and I was not disappointed. I've been on a "world psych" kick this past year and this album carries a heavyweight power that just took my breath away.
Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors: To call them a "power trio" would be an understatement. Sludge hardcore at it's finest. The twin female backing vocals offset the highly aggressive male lead vocals nicely.
I Break Horses - Chiaroscuro: Just when you think you've heard it all from electronica.... and again, not their debut but my first introduction to them and it didn't fail to amaze me how fresh and original it sounded.
The Men - Tomorrow's Hits: not everything needs to be groundbreaking or orignial or highly experimental. Sometimes, just putting together a really, really good rock n' roll record is enough. This is that record. Words can't really describe it and aren't really necessary. Great musicianship, great song writing.
Thievery Corporation - Saudade: the long time bossa nova-influenced Thievery Corporation sets about recording a proper bossa nova album and does so with aplomb. This was inevitable, but I was still surprised and impressed.