4. Car Seat Headrest, 'Teens of Denial'
Here was some of the year's most surefire guitar alchemy, full of revolving riffs and lyrics that flashed insights, slogans and jokes so quickly it erased any difference between them. "Friends are better with drugs, drugs are better with friends," Will Toledo sang over and over in the one about taking mushrooms and not transcending. And his songs were full of drug trips to nowhere, girls who offered empathy instead of sex and medicine cabinets where you could choose a new personality. But the sound was anything but depressed. Like Nirvana building quiet and explosiveness into the same space, Car Seat Headrest knows how to be intimate and epic at the same time. J.L.