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December 20, 2012

As selected by the staff of KSS Architects:

10. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Winner of the album with the longest name this year, it features Apple's astounding vocal prowess and off-balance alt-jazz sound.

9. Passion Pit Gossamer
Painstakingly layered pop from Michael Angelakos.

8. DIIV Oshiin
Pronounced "Dive", their guitar-driven atmospheric sound hearkens back to the 80's, but with a new spin that has made this one of the year's best. (Jordan Mrazik)

7. Alt-J An Awesome Way
Debut album from this UK group won the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for best album from the UK or Ireland.

6. Polica Give You the Ghost
Great live band with big sound that stays with you for days. (Ximena Valle)

5. Mumford & Sons Babel
Listening to this album will result in the fullest and thickest beard you have ever grown in your life; man and woman alike. (Jason Chmura)

4. Jack White Blunderbuss
Debut 'solo album' featuring about 20 guest contributions. Post-breakup blues at its finest. Listen to it once for the blues, and again for the rock. (Jason Chmura).

3. Japandroids Celebration Rock
Astounding arena rock sound from a two-person band.

2. Tame Impala Lonerism
Australian psychedelic alt-rock band's second album was a huge hit in their home country and garnered critical acclaim here in the U.S.

1. Lumineers Lumineers
This is one of the few albums you can listen to almost any time from start to finish. (Tom Johnson)