Pictures and Sound, Pictures and Sound (Vanguard)
Randy Newman, Harps and Angels (Nonesuch)
TV on the Radio, Dear Science (Interscope)
Kings of Leon, Only by the Night (RCA)
Mudcrutch, Mudcrutch (Reprise)
My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges (ATO)
Beck, Modern Guilt (DGC)
Teddy Thompson, A Piece of What You Need (Decca)
Explorers Club, Freedom Wind (Dead Oceans)
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
Lindsey Buckingham, Gift of Screws (Reprise)
Ray LaMontagne, Gossip in the Grain (RCA)
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend (XL)
Elbow, The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction/Geffen)
Matthew Sweet, Sunshine Lies (Shout! Factory)
Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)
The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/Warner Bros.)
Robin Danar, Altered States (Shanachie)
Boz Scaggs, Speak Low (Decca)
Lucinda Williams, Little Honey (Lost Highway)
Coldplay, Viva La Vida… (Capitol)
Brian Wilson, That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)
John Mellencamp, Life Death Love and Freedom (Hear Music)
Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis, Two Men With the Blues (Blue Note)
Shelby Lynne, Just a Little Lovin’ (Lost Highway)
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)
ESSENTIAL ARCHIVAL RELEASES
Neil Young, Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968 (Reprise)
Bob Dylan, Tell Tale Signs: Bootleg Series Vol. 8 (Columbia Legacy)
Nick Lowe, Jesus of Cool (Yep Roc)
Dennis Wilson, Pacific Ocean Blue (Caribou/Epic Legacy)
Blue Ash, No More, No Less (Collectors Choice/UMe)
Radiohead (@ Hollywood Bowl) gets the godhead award.
Kings of Leon (@ Nokia Theatre) is rapidly growing into the best rock & roll band on the planet, period.
Mudcrutch (@ the Tropubadour) set off a rollicking blast from the past.
Beck (@ Club Nokia) fused phat beats and arena-rock riffage.
Ray LaMontagne (@ the Wiltern) proved you don't have to be loud to be heavy (to borrow Tom Morello’s line).
Plant/Krauss (@ Santa Barbara County Bowl), I imagine, but there was a ticket snafu, so I can’t say for sure.