opie
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Last Active 12-10-13 8:11 am
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 Lists
01.16.15 Opie's Top 25 Of '1401.07.14 Opie's long awaited Top 20 Of 2013
12.28.13 Surprises Of 201312.28.13 Disappointments Of 2013
12.26.13 Debuts 201312.26.13 Who Needs Lyrics Anyway? (2013)

Opie's long awaited Top 20 Of 2013

Studio LPs only. Meaning no EPs, live albums, compilations, etc. I've listened to over 200 ralbums this year, so reducing it to a top 20 was an extreme form of masochism.
20The Drones
I See Seaweed


The Aussie punk-bluesers release an even better album than Nick Cave this year.
Nough said.
19Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork


Worth the critical acclaim and a pleasant surprise after the disappointingly average
'Era Vulgaris'. Mature, exceptional compositions and much like The National's album
the numerous guest contributions are hardly noticeable. Which is a positive in my
book.
18Soilwork
The Living Infinite


Surely an ambitious double album after the departure of lead guitarist, over a
decade after this band's prime was destined for a disaster. However Soilwork
remarkably manage to make their magnum opus, a 20-track beast with zero filler,
their trademark vocal melodies perfected this time and top-notch musicianship. Also
their most prog album to date. An unexpectedly great year for melo-death including
Dark Tranquillity, Amorphis, Hypocrisy, Omnium Gatherum, Kalmah, The Black Dahlia
Murder and even Children of Bodom recaptured some of that former magic. Melo-death deserves a representative this year.
Sorry Carcass. If not for Soilwork it would've been you.
17Ulver
Messe I.X-VI.X


Further expanding on their modern classical journey delivering moments of near-perfect epicness, while staying minimal at
the same time. Possibly their best since 'Perdition City'. Time will tell
16Fuck Buttons
Slow Focus


The sound of a band truly evolving from their minimal techno routes, with a fuller,
more layered, progressive, industrial and bass-heavy sound which even puts The
Knife's 'Shaking the Habitual' to shame in terms of inspiration and authenticity in the
genre. With the exception of 'Stalker' as a mild weakness the album has massive
replay value. Hugely addictive stuff.
15Exivious
Liminal


Considerably more on the jazz side of fusion compared to the debut. Seldom does
an album offer intellectual, technical and emotional achievement to this level... but is also appreciated by a somewhat limited
audience. Each song concludes in an almost post-rock crescendo manner, rewarding the listener by
solving a puzzle and explaining how on earth you got to the end. Also: DAT BASS
14Julia Holter
Loud City Song


Among all the talented female solo artists in 2013 (Chelsea Wolfe, Matana Roberts,
Janelle Monae, Laura Stevenson, Laura Marling, Lorde, Neko Case, Grouper,
Goldfrapp etc) I pick Holter for quality of composition, versatility, atmosphere,
spacey dreaminess, theatrical value and surrealism. David Lynch would be proud.
13Steven Wilson
The Raven that Refused to Sing


Less inspiration compared to Grace for Drowning, less experimentation than
Insurgentes. However, more accessible to a wider audience, possibly more
substance with an interesting concept behind it and one of the greatest closing
tracks of all time. It would be a crime to leave this one out (even if I do get
accused of fanboyism)
12My Bloody Valentine
m b v


The mere fact of its release was enough to make it music event of the year, no
doubt. Didn't quite live up to the hype (not even God himself could) however the
nostalgia value is too high to ignore it. A collection of 9 songs following a specific
logic and effortlessly engaging the listener with the trademark Shields experience:
the 3 first tracks could be B-sides to Loveless, the next 3 achieve perfect
ambience preparing for the last 3: gradually more prominent, escalating drum and
bass which builds up to the ultimate climax. It should have been released 20 years
ago, but we love it all the same.
11Kayo Dot
Hubardo


Not quite to the level of Choirs of the Eye with a shockingly bad/hilarious
intro (IMO. Still can't get past that, sorry) and it doesn't quite gel as an album.
However it requires tons of challenging re-listens to be fully appreciated and is
easily their best in 10 years, a welcome return to the unique blend of experimental,
avant-garde, post-rock, jazz fusion, black metal, prog, doom, etc etc for which we
love them for. 'Thief', 'Zlida Caosgi' and the final three tracks are mindblowing.
10Haken
The Mountain


As much as I worship the genre in terms of historical significance in its contribution
to music, the chances of having a (predominantly) traditional prog album in my top
10 of year 2013 were almost non-existent. Haken had a mountain to climb (pun
intended) and they made it. To take influences such as Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes,
ELP, Dream Theater and Queen and create a sound of their own while knocking off
competitors such as Riverside, Leprous, Ayreon, Fates Warning and Spock's Beard
in the process is an incredible feat.
9Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels


We knew what they were capable of. And boy did they deliver. Hip-hop album of
the year by a mile. El-P's insane production, sick beats and abstract lyrics
combined with Killer Mike's passionately aggressive rapping have already cemented
this album in hip-hop history.
8Kurt Vile
Wakin on a Pretty Daze


Man does this album do exactly what it says on the tin. Epic chill. Without a doubt
his greatest effort to date (including The War on Drugs material) consisting of
dynamic guitar-driven gems, which are layered and oddly hypnotic, perfectly
balancing Neil Young's folk with Lou Reed style vocals, while flirting with radio-friendly Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and Beck
sounds. His strongest point is the organic structuring and development of each track as well as the ability to close
these with discreet little crescendos and guitar fills.
7Deafheaven
Sunbather


One of the biggest "fuck you genres!" in years. Any angle you look at it, from the
"feeling of the sun on closed eyes" inspired pink cover to.. well practically
everything about the band, was bound to piss black metal-kvlt-infused purists off.
With songwriting skills, unpredictable transitions, build ups, strong climaxes and
emotional, cathartic moments as mindblowing as these, who cares? Fuck all genres
as far as I'm concerned! If not hyped to this degree (and slagged off in equal
measures) and if not praised so much by critics with insufficient background
knowledge (it's not really AS groundbreaking as many portray it) it could have been
even higher on my list (Not that I'm influenced by others' opinions of course).
6The National
Trouble Will Find Me


Their consistency now is starting to get scary. 4 out of 4 albums close to
perfection. In a row. Need I say more? Perhaps not the same replay value as 'High
Violet', but still virtually flawless musically and as strong as ever lyrically from start
to finish. 'I Should Live in Salt' (possibly opening track of the year) and little
touches like the transition at the end of 'Pink Rabbits' and the subtle signature
change towards the end of 'Humiliation' were my highlights.
5The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of Us is the Killer


*fanboy alert* possibly the DEP's finest hour. The realisation of combining chaotic
riffing, the spiralling sensation reflecting a schizophrenic world, epic time signature
changes along with the Patton-esque pop sensibilities may have reached their
peak. Or have they? No new DEP album is the same as the last and this in itself is a
remarkable achievement. My first ever DEP gig experience this year also amplified
the love.
4Gorguts
Colored Sands


Luc Lemay's voice growling from the depths of hell, struggling to be heard behind
the perfectly produced crushing sounds of nuance, complex dissonance, unique
atmosphere that only Immolation could come close to and that Ulcerate owe some
part of their existence to. Exploring themes of spirituality, understanding thy self,
Machu-fucking-Picchu! This album came out of friggin nowhere to become not only
metal album of the year, but also death metal album of the decade so far!
3Tim Hecker
Virgins


The man needs no intro. Stuck for words. Fuck it. He's a legend. That is all.
2 Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest


A post-post-apocalyptic, dystopian masterpiece by the Scottish duo. Coldness,
isolation, the mysterious sense of the unknown, the infinite and the absolute zero
simultaneously, disjointed and in perfect unison at the same time. If that makes any
sense.
1Jon Hopkins
Immunity


Since June this has been the dark horse. The concept of "a night out" seemed lousy
and shallow at first, musically it impressed me but never to the extent of calling it
an AOTY contender, let alone actual AOTY. By far the biggest grower, new
elements become apparent even after the 10th listen, the electronic yet organic
arrangements, layers and natural flow, whether euphoric fast tempo electro or
piano driven ambience show exceptional songwriting and one of the most talented
musicians/producers of his generation (imagine a collaboration with Nils Frahm
and/or Olafur Arnalds?) Repetitive Philip Glass-like patterns, noise and glitch,
sometimes even resembling a more refined, fragmented Chicane and some
Eluvium/Sigur Ros inspired moments come together to create an album much larger
than the sums of its parts. The cathartic conclusion with buddy King Creosote on
vocals is possibly the highlight. Perhaps the intellectual introvert's perfect clubbing
music for a night IN. No description can give this justice. An absolute revelation
which sucks you into an entrancing journey.
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