4. Fleet Foxes, 'Helplessness Blues'
A monument to folkrock beauty, courtesy of six Seattle guys who sound like they grew up on a steady diet of CSNY and the Beach Boys. An intricate quilt of guitars, harmoniums, bells, woodwinds and Tibetan singing bowls that expanded on their debut, Helplessness Blues is capped with signature vocal arrangements that you might call angelic – if they didn't sound so piercingly, poignantly human. At heart, this is a soulful coming-of-age record: Check out the title track, where Robin Pecknold laments growing up while a skyward rush of harmonies makes it clear his sense of wonder is still intact.