There were great records by Echo Lake, Allo Darlin', Bats For Lashes, Beach House, Best Coast, Saint Etienne, Memoryhouse, Julie Doiron, Sleigh Bells, Deerhoof, Purity Ring, Grimes, The Ting Tings, The xx, Seapony, The Casket Girls, Esthero, Hospitality, and I'm sure I'm missing a bunch more.
These five of my favourite female artists/bands who released music this year:
This Brooklyn mainstay has an uncanny ability to engage you with her soft layered vocals over guitar textures accidentally or purposefully inspired by The Smiths and other Brit post punk type pop acts. So lovely.
London via New Zealand and Australia, Anxiety was Phillipa "Pip" Brown's follow to her 2008 debut. Personally I don't think the record received a fair shake from some critics, but regardless, it produced a couple of pretty great electro pop fed singles.
I have always been a casual Cat Power fan. Her best records seem to be when she most feels like communicating more openly with listeners. For my money Sun is her best work to date, but I also don't love dreary folk and chamber type stuff like others. I don't know if Chan has gotten her head to a positive place, but this year she certainly sounded more grounded and focused than ever in my opinion.
School of Seven Bells
It wasn't until this year (even after the SOSB) debut, that I realized the Deheza sisters were joined by Benjamin Curtis of Secret Machines. This year's record builds on the strengths of their debut, with just enough synth and 80's inspired backdrop against a very fresh full bottom end sound, of course contrasted with those gorgeous vocals of Alejandra and Claudia.
Melody's Echo Chamber
This was a late year discovery. A Paris based artist, whose debut this year was produced by Kevin from Tame Impala. Classic dream pop with subtle bits of glooominess. I hope people were paying enough attention, because I would like to hear what she's able to come up with going forward. A pretty inspired and ambitious first record.