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Thread: Albums of the Year 2013
05-12-2013, 11:25 PM #1
Albums of the Year 2013
The music publications have started so might as well start a thread here to.
For me this year there probably hasn't been an album that I would say is a stone cold classic (always hard to judge these things without hindsight though) however there's been more really great albums than I'm likely to remember. I've arbitrarily decide to order things by dividing my last.fm play counts by number of tracks in an album, write a quick sentence and select a good track for your enjoyment. No need to go through those shenanigans if you don't fancy it, but would be good to find out what you guys thought were the best albums from this year (or that you've listened for the first time this year). I'll start with a few honourable mentions either just outside the top 20 or bought too late to feature
Honourable mentions, albums by
Throwing Muses, Steve Mason, Deptford Goth, Nils Frahm, Samaris, Mum, Jon Hopkins, Franz Ferdinand, Okkervil River, Midlake, Kvelertak, Wolf People, David Bowie, Washington Irving, Kelela.
List - no. of plays in brackets
20) Eels - Wonderful Glorious (6.8)
Best Eels album for a while, not quite up with his absolute best but he's disengaged the autopilot and got some edge back - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vS_By_ZZ0g
19) Rick Redbeard - No Selfish Heart (7.1)
Beautiful folk album from Phantom Band lead vocalist. Perfect to accompany a winter's evening - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE23Tp7-XVU
18) Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest (8.6)
BoC doing what BoC do so well - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4PUbivcuxk
17) Public Service Broadcasting - Inform - Educate - Entertain (8.81)
Stitching together old archive material into sounds like it would be gimmicky over an entire album but it's constantly brilliant - probably the best debut album of the year - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s6vWIZNBmk
16) Eleanor Friedburger - Personal Record (8.83)
Best album she's been involved in and yes, I'm including the Fiery Furnaces stuff. Gem of a pop record, never fails to cheer me up - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dryC_0vS-H0
15) Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap (8.9)
I was pleased to see Chance crop up on the Sound of 2014 longlist, hopes he places high wouldn't mind hearing more of him on the radio - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjmiLp47Yg8
14) Kurt Vile - Wakin' On a Pretty Daze (9.00)
Kurt has got his slacker rock thing down to a tee, opening and closing tracks on this are particularly wonderful and relaxing - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th9tGNVkSAE
13) Sigur Ros - Kveikur (9.00)
Like Kurt Sigur Ros are masters of their particular craft. There's a darker sound to this than their recent work that sounds phenomenal but the uplifting swells are still intact - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF6E47Pn6mY
12) Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse (9.1)
One of the best Scottish indie rock bands around right now return and show us why they earned that sort of praise - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY4j8Ow-CTs
11) Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe (9.8)
Their slick electropop has been fairly unavoidable this year so it's a good thing it's so damn good - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvW8cSRUU38
10) Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Haimer - Child Ballads - (9.9)
Gorgeous renditions of a selection of the old folk ballads collated by Francis Child. With the capable assistance of Haimer Anais Mitchell continues her run of top class albums; listen to this song it's just gorgeous and perfect - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3yTEUnyYDA
9) Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory - Elements of Light (10.0)
Turned out to be be the highest place electronic album here though I'd probably give that honour to Immunity. Take nothing away from this though; more albums should have bell carillions in them - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eZfaNDmpTU
8) Sparrow & the Workshop - Murderopolis (10.2)
Third, and most consistent, album from American led Scottish based indie group. Trying their hand at a few new things and sounding all the better for it, maybe just lacked for an absolute killer single to get them the attention they deserve, though saying that Odessa is pretty arresting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ORp6GD-UxU
7) Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady (10.9)
Probably the album I was most excited about this year and it didn't disappoint. Once again turning her head to a variety of genres and excelling at them all. She's clearly a star and quite why she doesn't have the mega sales to match I don't know - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaMBagakSdM
6) Fat Goth - Stud (11.6)
Benefiting from an early release bonus but certainly worthy of a top 20 place, good old fashioned sleazy rock music - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pw-13vfhDs
5) Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals (13.0)
Unexpectedly brilliant album exhibit A. I loved their debut Treats but the follow up Reign of Terror was pretty middling. This however is a great slice of fun, noisy pop which I couldn't stop listening to for a while. Disposable for sure but relentlessly enjoyable and absolutely no filler - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr-ahiFDkts
4) Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (14.8)
Like the Sleigh Bells album this is short, sharp and completely fat free. Both Killer Mike and El-P had stunning albums out last year and this is one ridiculously brilliant victory lap. It's a free mix tape just download it people - http://foolsgoldrecs.com/runthejewels/
3) Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City (16.1)
Unexpectedly brilliant album exhibit B. Thought their debut was decent enough, didn't particularly take to their second album. Almost didn't bother listening to this after hearing Step, which I was relatively indifferent to. But I listened to the stream. That's really good thought I. Then I listened again. Then I bought it. Then, well you get the picture. A triumph - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOwFLTwvXHc
2) future of the left - How Yo Stop Your Brain in an Accident (16.7)
Why did I not get around to this band for so long despite liking Mclusky? Mystery to me but this album launched a most enjoyable binge on their work. Falco is one of the best lyricists in Britain by a mile, the tunes rock, what's not to like? YOU ARE EXCITED - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuoPDUvkNqk
1)The National - Trouble Will Find Me (18.0)
It's the National, they're on a phenomenal run of quality albums and it was in no danger of ending with this one. See 'em live if you get the chance. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z59QNcX880c
So I'd probably make a few minor alterations, I think I'd shift both fotl and vampire weekend above The National and both Spaces by Nils Frahm and Immunity by Jon Hopkins should be in the top 20. Pretty accurate reflection of what I've enjoyed this year though.
As an extra:
Song of the Year
After hearing it again during writing this I'm almost tempted to go with Tam Lin by Mitchell/Haimer but I'll stick with my initial intentions and give it to this gloriously funky song by Thundercat, the bass is just ridiculous.
Last edited by Lambchops; 05-12-2013 at 11:29 PM.
05-12-2013, 11:42 PM #2
Heh. I just checked my music library and it includes a grand total of 2 albums released this year. Arcade Fire's Reflektor and Foals' Holy Fire. Both great albums, but I'm not sure I can make a list out of them.
What's a good way to keep up with new music releases?
05-12-2013, 11:58 PM #3
http://www.anydecentmusic.com/home.aspx - shows the most critically acclaimed recent releases which is handy, but perhaps more usefully you can browse by genre, it has short sharp album descriptions and collates handy links to videos, Spotify/soundcloud etc.
Oh and http://albumstreams.com/ is fairly useful for collating when official streams of upcoming and recently released albums are available.
06-12-2013, 12:06 AM #4
This year I've mostly been pretending it's still the early to mid 90's and that Layne Staley isn't dead and Scott Weiland's drug problems are only starting.
Oh. And Red Fang released Whales and Leeches this year. That's a pretty amazing album."Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""
06-12-2013, 12:52 AM #5
In no particular order:
Depeche Mode - Delta Machine. Nice comeback after the abysmal... whatever the previous one was called. It has the worst solo Martin Gore song ever though. I like most of Delta Machine, it's difficult to choose one to showcase.
Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks. Their best since The Fragile. Can't wait to see them live next summer. My favourite song.
Katy Perry - Prism. Hilarious name in light of this year's Deus Ex reveals. Anyway I fucking love Katy Perry. This is great! Also this totally sounds like a Seal tune. I like Seal.
Worst albums of the year:
Kanye West - Yeezus. I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. I'm now convinced that he's a genius and all music critics are hacks. He just put some random noise on a disc and every critic is sucking his dick. Great job, but not for my ears.
Linkin Park - I actually forgot what it's called, but it's a remix album for their previous album, whose name I also forgot by the way. I wasn't expecting a new Reanimation. I wasn't expecting it to be so bad either. It's a fucking amateurish disaster. However it has one new song I like.
And I think these five are all the new music I heard this year, plus a couple of soundtracks (Gravity and Oblivion are good).
06-12-2013, 01:53 AM #6
True North by Bad Religion was some of their best stuff for years. Good, fast stuff that didn't drag like The Dissent Of Man did, although it was very strange to hear one song with Brett Gurewitz vocals for the first time in their 30+ years. On the other hand, they've just released a christmas album. Charitable cause or not, just *shudder*
Lightning Bolt by Pearl Jam. "Getaway" is a perfect song to begin a car journey with.
The 20th anniversary re-release of How To Clean Everything by Propagandi had some marvelous additional tracks, despite them keeping the shoe-horned in pushy vegan crap on that cover of "I Want You To Want Me".
I've actually found a lot of new stuff this year quite disappointing and overhyped. Queens Of The Stone Age, Placebo, Nine Inch Nails and Monster Magnet have all put out new stuff which hasn't had a single song that really stood out and made me think "This is a classic I will listen to again and again."
Only "Rose Tattoo" really stuck in my mind from the most recent Dropkick Murphys album.
Rob Zombie has taken a turn for the experimental with this years' effort. For the most part it hasn't been successful."Men shall never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." - Diderot
06-12-2013, 02:02 AM #7
About the only album I've bought in that entire lot is Boards of Canada. Which was great, but sadly not the double album many of us were expecting. Just do not seem to find the time for music these days at all... :(
06-12-2013, 02:24 AM #8
10. These New Puritans--Field of Reeds
9. James Blake--Overgrown
8. Dessa--Parts of Speech
7. Grant Hart--The argument
6. Lady Lazarus --All My Love In Half Light
5. The National--Trouble will find me
3. Chvrches--Bones of What You Believe
2. Baths --Obsidian
1. Frightened Rabbit--Pedestrian Verse
Song of the Year:
06-12-2013, 05:50 AM #9
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
What I heard of this year's event albums didn't really impress me - I liked a few of them but they weren't the game changers everyone claimed. Yeezus had some good stuff on there, but far too many tracks were worryingly dull and it wasn't that original or innovative. Random Access Memories was over-produced, over-stuffed and so eager to impress it just ended up feeling rather sterile. And there were a ton of names on most of the big websites' lists I had absolutely no interest in.
What I did listen to, for what it's worth...! Ten of the best in roughly reverse order:
10. Buke & Gase - General Dome
Awesome jangly, crunchy art school indie rock with female vox, played on handcrafted instruments.
9. Natasha Kmeto - Crisis
Lady house DJ's latest solo album. Part floaty, melancholy chillout vibes, part torch song club bangers.
8. Holden - The Inheritors
Trance/prog house wunderkind turns to soundscapes and artsy IDM, with a few of his old anthemic melodies thrown in.
7. Chrome Canyons - Elemental Themes, the remixes
The album proper is a little too 80s electro for me, but the remixes are glorious - bold and brash and wistful all at once.
6. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See The Light
The man who can make a saxophone sound like anything you want and at the same time like no other musician around.
5. Chants - I Feel Like I Feel It
Fantastically laid back, mournful bluesy house and minimal techno tracks.
4. Vuurwerk - Me + 1
Gritty, squidgy, stripped-down house, ambient and electro from a mysterious art project collective, with a grab-bag of dreamy, hypnotic rock influences thrown in.
3. The Black Dog - Tranklements
The grand old men of the Sheffield techno scene are still doing what they do, and nigh-on flawlessly at that.
2. Kelela - Cut 4 Me
Sterling R&B vox backed by an all-star lineup of producers from the US dance label Fade To Mind, lending the lady some gorgeous, machine-tooled glitchy tracks to harmonise with.
and my album of 2013 -
1. Author - Forward Forever
The second album from the UK deep dubstep supergroup is a stunner, like the glory days of UK dance music circa 1995 brought bang up to date. Cinematic grandeur, pinpoint sense of rhythm, floor-rattling bass, commanding vocal spots and some phenomenal tunes.
A few of the best individual tracks:
Jim Guthrie, Like A Lake
From the album It Takes Time. Wonderful, soaring little folk anthem.
Pixelord - Tumblr Girl
Released as a single. Heart-stoppingly beautiful little track, part chiptune (though far better than any "chiptune" band), part breaks'n'beats.
Chants feat. Ramzi Awn - RU4Real
From the album I Feel Like I Feel It. Effortlessly, stylishly gorgeous ambient house.
Author feat. Jehst & Stig of the Dump - In The Sky
From the album Forward Forever. Phenomenal, uplifting deep dubstep that's miles beyond most populist brostep tracks - the strange, childlike rapping over the big, widescreen production and those spine-tingling orchestral stabs - all of it together turns this into an inspiration.
Khing Kang King - Metal On Oxtongue (bizarre NSFW official video)
From the EP IAO. Far and away the best song I've heard all year, and if these guys had an album out it would probably take my top spot for that too. IAO is the only musical release in 2013 that blew me away the first time I heard it and continues to do so - strange, bewitching, mournful, clattering, glitchy IDM/Brit hiphop from stream-of-consciousness rapper Mowgli backed by one member of phenomenal techno collective Old Apparatus, and it sounds like god damned nothing on earth. Cannot wait for these guys to put a full album together (Old Apparatus too, come to that).
Last edited by Eight Rooks; 06-12-2013 at 05:54 AM.
06-12-2013, 10:18 AM #10
Hmm, looking at my music, the only things from this year are the new Haxan Cloak record, which is pretty good, the new My Bloody Valentine, which didn't really do it for me despite basically being Loveless II, and the new Carcass, which \m/!
All of this is going to be overshadowed for me by the new Luna Sea record (a Japanese rock band that broke up in 2000 -- it's their first new record since reforming), which comes out next week!
Last edited by Jams O'Donnell; 06-12-2013 at 01:52 PM.
06-12-2013, 11:48 AM #11
I've heard maybe three albums that came out this year. That Carcass album is a great. The new Melt-Banana album, Fetch, is loads of fun, and really accessible for newcomers to the band.
But it was Melt Yourself Down who released my fave album this year, and this video is so good. Caution: strobes
Last edited by FuryBoy86; 06-12-2013 at 12:09 PM.
06-12-2013, 01:16 PM #12
Diaphane - Lifeforms
Honorable Mentions: Ghost and Writer, How to Destroy Angels, Acucrack, Kevorkian Death Cycle, Front Line Assembly, Architect, Ohm, Kite.
2013 was more of the year of discovery of older music for me. Most of the bands Im interested in either skipped it after releasing strong stuff in 11-12 or released something good but not good enough. Well, maybe in 2014 sonething good is going to happen like new releases by fix8:sed8 and mc1r.
06-12-2013, 01:40 PM #13
- Join Date
- Nov 2012
I don't really listen to new stuff, my only album from this year was probably Nine Inch Nails "Hesitation Marks" and Contrast soundtrack (I can't play this game though, my crappy graphics card doesn't like it :x) which contains 2 brilliant jazzy tunes with female vocals.
Oh, and Pink Martini "Get Happy", it's also jazzy, swingy music with lyrics in languages like English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and at least one arabic language.
06-12-2013, 01:56 PM #14
From the few new album's I've listened to this year I can recommend The Storm by The JB Conspiracy
And Endless Fantasy by Anamanaguchi
06-12-2013, 05:44 PM #15
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
None of the harder/darker electronic acts or record labels I love put out anything truly classic this year. Not that I heard, anyway. Hecq's compilation was good but I don't like his ambient stuff as much, and a couple of the remixes on it were dire. Comaduster had a couple of terrific tracks but the rest of the album was rubbish. Ben Frost's soundtracks were great, but not his best work, and they're not really new.
06-12-2013, 07:14 PM #16
06-12-2013, 10:48 PM #17
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
06-12-2013, 11:33 PM #18
This year was probably a weak year again for music not as bad as last year since I decided to change from A.V Club music reviews to Pitchfork not because I really like their reviews I don't really I find them to navel gazing and pretentious but they have a huge selection that they review so I get to listen to a lot of sounds. But there was more singles this year then album statements maybe its just me not having to much time for album statements or realizing I'm kind of like everyone in that i listen to the song I like over and over again to many times and ignore the ok but album filler ones.
Only really one stand out Album of this year(which I'm surprised isn't on everyone's list here but ok)
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Wow is this good, it just combines probably everything, really pop and danceble tunes with simple but with some depth lyrics and it also is an album that has an album statement to make which can go either two ways its about love or its about creativity. And it has Panda Bear on it and I needed some of him after the disappointment of Animal Collectives album last year. So many tunes to choose from here but I won't choose the obvious Get Lucky it is good but a bit overplayed I will say on the radio.
Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady
I haven't listened to this as much as I would have liked but I have listened to enough to know that it is a strong output from her a lot more danceable and Disco inflected which to be honest I will say makes it a step down from The ArchAndroid it seems like in this she is doing maybe 3-4 different genres of music, very well mind you!, but in The ArchAndroid she was doing 7-8. It also ends a bit weirdly I have to say not as epicly as the last album
Toro Y Moi - Anything In Return
I've l always had a soft spot for Chillwave most of the top albums in 2011 was fro mthat genre but I think this album definitly is something new in the genre I would almost call it Modern Lounge music because it reminds me of that kind of smooth music but it is a lot more noticeable then I think Lounge is. I like it anyway.
Now we get to significant singles of the year I will miss out the Pop singles even though I liked them you hear about them enough.
Young Galaxy - Pretty Boy Nice indie pop song has the standard african rythm like beat but it really works and I do like the sentiment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSpM9zDPwj4
OMD - Metroland, Night Cafe, and Kissing The Machine Ok I couldn't choose between them so I had to choose all three really nostalgic for the 80s? This is your ticket back to them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0NXbuvh3Iw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3Bo41_K1uo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPju4f2ESFE
Man Man - Loot My Body I want to like these circus rockers but a lot of there songs fall flat for me but this one is the one that really works for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWvMIWP0mEk
Baths - Miasma Sky It has a bit of a weird structure I will say and it is just repeating the same lyric over and over again but there is something about its dark gothic like sound that I really enjoy gets me in the helpless mood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRc4yi_iOSM
Yesterday, 04:33 PM #19
For me Random Access Memories needs some heavy editing. No doubting Get Lucky was one of the songs of the year but as an album it just didn't hang together for me. I like bits of it, in particular Contact and the second have of the Moroder collaboration, but there's quite a few bits that were a tad meandering or rather poor (I'm looking at you Touch). I don't think it's a bad album per se, just disappointing; particularly when contrasted with Homework, Discovery or Alive. I don't mind Daft Punk having their more chilled out moments but I prefer it when they follow a ridiculously superb run of tracks like the opening five on Discovery.
Yesterday, 04:43 PM #20
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
Most of the albums I've been listening to this year were the ones you guys recommended in a similar thread last year. I'm not at all cutting edge.
I didn't realise Janelle Monae had a new album out.. off to check that out now.
Maybe the only true 2013 release I've got was Mosquito by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It had a few great songs, but it felt like it was trying too hard most of the time.
Oh, and was the new Laura Marling album this year? I couldn't really get into that. :-(
(From last years recs, I rather liked Grimes and Hadestown...)