1. Youth Lagoon, The Year Of Hibernation: Ambient lo-fi backdrops with flowing pop drum beats and honest storytelling fill out the debut album from this Boise band.
2. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues: Still soul searching, this Portland/Seattle act offers up another folk opus with echoing vocals that beg for
3. Shabazz Palaces, Black Up: Dark experimental hip-hop from Seattle, dipped in electro-beats and wicked flowing verse.
4. The Cave Singers, No Witch: Rousing simplicity and deep harmonies ride crisp violin and guitar strings with occasional blues tributes on this open road soundtrack.
5. Portugal, The Man, in the Mountain in the Cloud: Portland band's 1970s throwback album that uses glistening rock to wrestle with less-than-perfect human interactions.
6. The Decemberists, The King Is Dead: Perhaps the prettiest album yet from this modern
legendary Portland band, TKID carries with it hopeful emotions shrouded in classic Northwest folk rock.
7. Wild Flag, Wild Flag: Pacific Northwest post-punk all-star collaboration built on guitar greatness and metaphorical themes shine brilliantly throughout their long-awaited debut album.
8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Experimental basement rock from Portland that tumbles forward into sweet sounding skeins of shadowy guitar and jagged vocals.
9. Point Juncture, WA, Handsome Orders: Sophomore release harnesses softened punk that ebbs and flows through a variety of instrumentation all cemented together by this Portland band's female drummer/lead singer.
10. Blue Sky Black Death, Noir: A truly uplifting, far reaching, and perfectly arranged electronic album from this sometimes hip-hop producing Seattle duo.
*Ethan Maffey is editor of eightythreemusic.com.