5. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising (Sub Pop)
Singer-songwriter Natalie Mering had been building toward something big over the course of her first three albums under the Weyes Blood moniker, but in spite of whatever expectations people might have had, nothing could have prepared them for the blindsiding grandeur of Titanic Rising. A combination of classic Laurel Canyon folk pop, modern indie rock, and (yes, that’s right) a heaping helping of ‘70s progressive rock influences, Mering accomplishes as pristine and unthinkable a balance between it all as anyone has produced in the last 20 years. Possessing a voice that fits neatly between those of Joni Mitchell and Karen Carpenter, Mering’s songwriting feels as ingenious and effortless as Burt Bacharach’s, especially on such standout moments as the ebullient “Everyday”, the wistful “Wild Time”, the swooning “Andromeda” ((that pedal steel guitar!), and the dramatic opener “A Lot’s Gonna Change”. Toss in some moments of inspired experimentation, as on centerpiece tracks “Movies” and “Mirror Forever”, and you’ve got a record that seems to unearth beautiful new discoveries with each listen.