In terms of being "that's-the-spot" albums, my favorites would have to be:
Owen Pallet - Heartland
Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
Abscess - Dawn of Inhumanity
I have lots of love to give, but if pushed into a corner, I would send these up with the most confidence. I honestly thought about Kanye being on this list, because My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is that good, but does he really need anymore praise on this one?
Black Milk's Album of the Year was probably this years greatest disappointment. After Tronic I was looking forward to him taking his game to the next level. The live drums just became overwhelmingly prominent and drowned out other creative directions. The strings on "Black and Brown" was the crown here and made for one of my favorite tracks this year.
Jayke Orvis was the biggest surprise this year. I ran across It's All Been Said by total accident and I get caught up with the brilliant picking on songs like "Yankee Taste," "Shady Grove/Gypsy Moon," and "Dreadful Sinner" every time around. The purest country moment had to be "Streets," another favorite track of mine this year. In the end, Been Said didn't have the kind of awareness as how to pace a LP which kept it off my favorites list.
Other Honorable Mentions:
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
108 - 18.61
The Mynabirds - What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood
Bonobo - Black Sands
Chicago Underground Duo - Boca Negra
Therion - Sitra Ahra
Jamie Lidell - Compass
Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here?
Right now listening to: Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now