19. Kurt Vile, 'B'lieve I'm Goin Down...'
Kurt Vile is a master of stoner-rock exploration and cotton-brained existential whimsy, and this was his most introspective tapestry yet. "It's hard to think with a squashed brain," he sings on "Dust Bunnies." Or is it? Vile spaces out brilliantly all over the place, from the cobwebbed banjo reverie "I'm An Outlaw" to ringing guitar escapades like "Pretty Pimpin'" to the droney spaciousness of "Bad Omens." B'lieve I'm Goin' Down... digs deep into the folk roots that undergird his signature finger-picking style. On "Stand Inside," his acoustic playing evokes Simon & Garfunkel as he offers a homebody's come-on: "That's my good girl/Whole world turnin' on my couch." That kind of living-room intimacy also comes out on piano-led tunes like "Lost My Head There" and "Life Like This," where squashed-brained philosophizing seems like a wonderful parlor game and couch-surfing sounds like an excellent vacation option.