Inspired by Sho, in no particular order, some of the albums that have piqued my interest this year.
Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase
After the strange, though still OK, Geogaddi, I was a bit hesitant about this album. After reading that it was a return to form for BoC, I was less hesitant. It's a really nice album even though it only has one track that really stands out for me.
globe - globe2
As my favourite band, this was a certain buy. Another return, or perhaps rounding another corner; reaching a new level, perhaps. On this album globe moves away from the trance-oriented style of the last couple of albums and focus more on rock/pop.
Ketsumeishi - Ketsunopolis 4
I got slightly interested in Ketsumeishi after hearing an older song, "Natsu no omoide", but this, their most recent album, is also quite nice and hops into the list.
Orange Range - Natural
In a short time, I've become something of a fan of OR. Ever since hearing the catchy tune of "Ishin Denshin" I have been captivated by the simple, memorable melodies of their easily accessible hybrid songs (is it pop, rock, hip-hip or rap? A little of all). Their latest album continues on the same formula, and has me hooked.
There are also a couple of ones that were likeable, but not quite there:
Bennie K - Japana-rhythm
I liked their Synchronicity, but Japana-rhythm has just completely failed with capturing my interest. Perhaps it's that it's too similar to the previous one, just more of everything: more repetition of choruses, more handclaps... But nothing much that sounds 'new' to me.
m-flo - Beat Space Nine
Just like with Bennie K, I really liked their previous album Astromantic, but Beat Space Nine feels somehow lacking to me. Despite an appearance by Lisa on "Tripod Baby", where they do manage to re-capture the sound of the old m-flo (except for part of the song that sounds like it was just jammed in there), this album just doesn't pull me along in the same way as Astromantic.