Here is what has been sticking with me most so far this year, this list is drawn from full recordings rather than individual songs:
1. Sd Laika, That’s Harakiri, a new sound world, best on vinyl.
2. Calypso: Musical Poetry in the Caribbean 1955-1969, best on vinyl.
3. Shostakovich string quartets, Pacifica Quartet. The best versions of these ever? Very Soviet-sounding, muscular in approach, totally bleak.
4. Complete Haydn string quartets, Mosaiques Quartet. My favorite of all the complete recordings of these.
5. Mala, Mala in Cuba. Think Buena Vista Social Club for dubstep fans.
6. Deafheaven, Sunbather. “Black metal for people who don’t like black metal.” Alternatively, “Serving as an artistic lucid dream of warmth despite the stinging pain of life’s cruel idealism.”
7. Dick Hyman’s Century of Jazz Piano, five CDs, quite familiar music, some of it corny even, nonetheless these remain remarkable pieces and they are impeccably played. A joy of rediscovery.
Lots more Benjamin Britten, including String Quartet #3, and many versions of Mahler’s Sixth.