Nick Schuld plays guitar and sings for noise-pop band Obviouslies.

Nick Schuld plays guitar and sings for noise-pop band Obviouslies.

Unicorn, "Kedamono No Arashi"

It's like trying to tune in the best free-form radio station while skipping between two more fantastic stations in the pursuit. A playful Hawaiian number gives way to a soaring ballad with a jet plane solo. Then, barking dogs and snare hits are one-upped by 50 seconds of thrash disintegrating into a man quietly counting down from 10 under a mournful string section. The lyrics are great, too!

This Heat, "Deceit"

The sounds come from everywhere, rising to a din of polyrhythm with occasional tense static tones hinting at an oncoming explosion. The politics are never overt, the dub leanings never obvious or genre-fied. Performance tapes merge seamlessly with controlled environments.

Spike Jones, "Dinner Music for People Who Aren't Very Hungry"

Along with "Delirium in Hi-Fi," the pinnacle of mono possibility - a concept album to test limits and reveal the wonders of your stereo. Spike created a cohesive album bursting with his (and the City Slickers') myriad talents and brain-blooms. I'm amazed at the thin line they walked between being completely badass, completely serious and completely absurd. A major coup.

His Name is Alive, "Ft. Lake"

After performing on a prior LP, a church choir member found her way into HNIA and broadened their already farther-than-the-eye-can-see horizons. Their glorious schizophrenia isn't so much reigned-in as focused, and the songs are an aural Fourth of July.

Propagandhi, "Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes"/"Potemkin City Limits"/"Supporting Caste"

Three albums meshed Voltron-style into one giant document of their wicked existence. Sonically and politically, each built on the last's foundation, changing the way you understand earlier stuff you heard a thousand times. You'll emerge from the experience of these albums a cleverer person.