(Last updated: December 4, 2017)

Elaine and I have been sending out a holiday letter to friends and family for many years now, and for much of that time I've included a Top-Ten list of albums that I've enjoyed. In 2017, a particularly busy year left us without space for it in the letter, so I figured I'd throw them all online.

I'll be linking to albums or songs when I can, though I expect that the links will grow stale pretty quickly in today's internet. C'est la vie! Links to Bandcamp will generally offer full-album streaming (and really easy buying options!); links elsewhere may just be single tracks.

Relatedly, since 2005, I've been running my own personal music tracking system which keeps track of what I listen to, and can generate some charts which are of interest probably only to myself. Interested readers (who??) will probably find plenty of discrepancies between these top-ten lists and what I'd actually listened to the most during the year, using the statistics section. Here's what I've been listening to within the past few hours, if I've been at the computer:

CJ's Recently Played Tracks

Regardless, on with the lists!

2017

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2017
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Amiina / Fantômas
  2. Sleigh Bells / Jessica Rabbit
  3. Blanck Mass / World Eater
  4. Pharmakon / Contact
  5. Preservation Hall Jazz Band / So it is
  6. LCD Soundsystem / American Dream
  7. IAMX / Unfall
  8. Chelsea Wolfe / Hiss Spun
  9. St. Vincent / MASSEDUCTION
  10. Odonis Odonis / No Pop

Bonus: Top Two EPs Acquired in 2017
(seriously, they're so good)

  1. Nine Inch Nails / Not The Actual Events
  2. Nine Inch Nails / ADD VIOLENCE

2016

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2016
(in order of acquisition)

  1. IAMX / Metanoia
  2. Caravan Palace / <|°_°|>
  3. David Bowie / Blackstar
  4. Saul Williams / MartyrLoserKing
  5. Roly Porter / Third Law
  6. Autechre / elseq
  7. Mitski / Puberty 2
  8. Radiohead / A Moon Shaped Pool
  9. Vektor / Terminal Redux
  10. Regina Spektor / Remember Us To Life

2015

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2015
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Various (Jason Webley and Friends) / Margaret
  2. Sleater-Kinney / No Cities to Love
  3. Aphex Twin / Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2
  4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor / Asunder, Sweet, and Other Distress
  5. They Might Be Giants / Glean
  6. Squarepusher / Damogen Furies
  7. Chelsea Wolfe / Abyss
  8. The Dead Weather / Dodge and Burn
  9. Friendly Rich & the Lollipop People / BOUNTIFUL
  10. Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas / Secret Evil

Bonus: Favorite EP

  1. I, Parasite / A Diminished Tomorrow

2014

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2014
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Curtis Eller's American Circus / How to Make it in Hollywood
  2. St. Vincent / St. Vincent
  3. The Phenomenauts / Escape Velocity
  4. Jack White / Lazaretto
  5. Peter Murphy / Lion
  6. Neil Cicierega / Mouth Silence
  7. The Raveonettes / Pe'ahi
  8. Death From Above 1979 / The Physical World
  9. My Brightest Diamond / This Is My Hand
  10. Mike Doughty / Stellar Motel

2013

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2013
(in reverse-alphabetical order)

  1. Unwoman / The Fires I Started
  2. They Might Be Giants / Nanobots
  3. Skinny Puppy / Weapon
  4. Sigur Rós / Kveikur
  5. Preservation Hall Jazz Band / That's It!
  6. Nine Inch Nails / Hesitation Marks
  7. Julianna Barwick / Nepenthe
  8. How To Destroy Angels / Welcome Oblivion
  9. Cherry Poppin' Daddies / White Teeth, Black Thoughts
  10. Android Lust / Crater vol.1

2012

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2012
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Skinny Puppy / HanDover
  2. Caravan Palace / Panic
  3. Deaf Center / Owl Splinters
  4. Jason Webley / In This Light
  5. Squarepusher / Ufabulum
  6. Sigur Rós / Valtari
  7. Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra / Theatre Is Evil
  8. Dessa / A Badly Broken Code
  9. Various Artists / Pneuma
  10. Godspeed You! Black Emperor / Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend

2011

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2011
(in order of acquisition)

  1. The Dodos / No Color
  2. The World/Inferno Friendship Society / The Anarchy and the Ecstasy
  3. "Weird Al" Yankovic / Alpocalypse
  4. They Might Be Giants / Join Us
  5. Mike Doughty / Yes And Also Yes
  6. Mister Heavenly / Out of Love
  7. St. Vincent / Strange Mercy
  8. Plaid / Scintilli
  9. Zola Jesus / Conatus
  10. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross / The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2010

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2010
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Curtis Eller's American Circus / Wirewalkers and Assassins
  2. MC Frontalot / Zero Day
  3. Mindless Self Indulgence / If
  4. Rasputina / Sister Kinderhook
  5. Zoë Keating / Into the Trees
  6. Android Lust / The Human Animal
  7. Caravan Palace / Caravan Palace
  8. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross / The Social Network
  9. Christ Analogue / Everyday Is Distortion
  10. Hecq / steeltongued

2009

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2009
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavillion
  2. Fermata / Only Ghosts Remain
  3. Regina Spektor / Far
  4. Current 93 / Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain
  5. The Dead Weather / Horehound
  6. St. Vincent / Actor
  7. the atomica project / Grayscale
  8. Jonathan Coulton / Best. Concert. Ever.
  9. Various / 5 Years of Hyperdub
  10. Venetian Snares / Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett

2008

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2008
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble / Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
  2. The Dodos / Visiter
  3. The Phenomenauts / For All Mankind
  4. Nine Inch Nails / The Slip
  5. Firewater / The Golden Hour
  6. deathprod / morals and dogma
  7. Sigur Rós / Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
  8. TV on the Radio / Dear Science
  9. Coil / The New Backwards
  10. ohGr / Devils In My Details

2007

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2007
(in order of acquisition)

  1. Current 93 / Black Ships Ate The Sky
  2. Nine Inch Nails / Year Zero
  3. They Might Be Giants / The Else
  4. Mama Digdown's Brass Band / Ascona
  5. The White Stripes / Icky Thump
  6. Rasputina / Oh Perilous World
  7. Animal Collective / Strawberry Jam
  8. The Fiery Furnaces / Widow City
  9. Radiohead / In Rainbows
  10. Burial / Untrue

2006

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2006
(in no particular order)

  1. Sigur Rós / Takk...
  2. Aphex Twin / Chosen Lords
  3. Rachel's / systems/layers
  4. Slavic Soul Party! / Bigger
  5. Regina Spektor / Begin to Hope
  6. The Fiery Furnaces / Bitter Tea
  7. The Dresden Dolls / Yes, Virginia
  8. DeVotchKa / Curse Your Little Heart
  9. TV on the Radio / Return to Cookie Mountain
  10. Android Lust / Devour, Rise, and Take Flight

2005

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2005
(in alphabetical order by the reverse of the band name)

  1. cLOUDDEAD / Ten
  2. Shinjuku Thief / Sacred Fury
  3. LCD Soundsystem / LCD Soundsystem
  4. Infected Mushroom / IM the Supervisor
  5. Tara Vanflower / my little fire-filled heart
  6. The Fiery Furnaces / Blueberry Boat
  7. Nine Inch Nails / With Teeth
  8. The Dresden Dolls / The Dresden Dolls
  9. The Phenomenauts / Re-Entry
  10. Mike Doughty / Haughty Melodic

An Honorable Mention goes to Supersystem's "Always Never Again," for their song "Born Into The World," easily my #1 track for the year.

2004

CJ's Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2004
(right now, anyway)

  1. Björk Guðmundsdóttir & tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar / Gling-Gló
  2. DJ? Acucrack / Mako vs. Geist
  3. Download / Effector
  4. Firewater / Psychopharmacology
  5. Mike VanPortfleet / Beyond the Horizon Line
  6. They Might Be Giants / The Spine
  7. The Crystal Method / Legion of Boom
  8. The Phenomenauts / Rockets and Robots
  9. Tom Waits / Real Gone
  10. Skinny Puppy / The Greater Wrong of the Right

It seems 2004 was probably the start of the album lists, though we first started the holiday letters in 2001. My tastes from 2003 and earlier must forever remain shrouded in mystery! Though, you know, you could expect some Nine Inch Nails to show up in there somewhere.

Changelog

December 4, 2017
  • Initial posting online