It's not the end of the year, but here's a list of the shit I've been listening to, lately. All are strongly recommended.
Wale - "The Mixtape About Nothing". This unsigned (sort of) D.C. rapper has best flow I've heard in a while. Intricate and clever and fresh sounding. Pro-woman. Contains a few classic punchlines and metaphors, ex: "I keep my chin high like a Japanese pilot."
Walkmen - "You & Me" and "Hundred Miles Off". Dylanesque sound that's at its best when it's quiet.
Tom Waits - "Orphans" and "Mule Variations". Tom Waits is sort of like a god, I think, but I'm new to his shit. The production is dirty, like I like it.
MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular". This album actually chokes me up a little bit. They've managed to create this record about growing up, in which they make the music itself sound like an entire era is dying. Listen to the synth lines on "Time to Pretend" and "Kids" and you'll see what I mean. Fucking epic accomplishment.
The Roots - "Rising Down". Angry rap with big, aggressive beats. I likes.
Beck - "Modern Guilt". I picked this up for the Danger Mouse credit, and surprise surprise, it sounds like Danger Mouse. Artists like Beck are wise for just sitting back and letting DM do his thing. He makes records sound timeless.
Go check this shit out.
There is nothing cuter than watching a dog that's too big to lay on the top of the couch try to balance and fall asleep at the same time.