Because everyone is doing them these days, here's my overview of my favorite albums of 2013. As always, the list is far from complete as I'm sure I've missed a ton of good stuff, and the list is also very loosely ranked.
Half Of Where You Live
I don't really get the backlash this album got. To my ears it's excellent.
Record Store Day
Very fun single from one of my favorite bands.
Asteroids/Over My Head
Instrumental version is where it's at.
Badman fucking VIP!!!
Magnificent dubstep compilation from a bunch of producers who aren't afraid to try new things with the sound.
Still In Love
I, as well, am yearning sometimes for those simpler times.
Hooray for Sputnik's very own Rev and his debut album. You most definitely deserve your spot on every list of the best albums of 2013.
|43||Cult Of Luna|
|42||The Flaming Lips|
Aside from the last track, which unfortunately kills the mood a bit, this is the Lips' best album in ages.
Where Dancefloors Stand Still
Wonderful compilation from one of the figureheads of the deep house genre.
|40||Midnight City Records|
Shoutout to Jash for kickstarting one of the most interesting labels in dubstep in recent years. Some serious jams on here.
The Hands That Thieve
|38||The Appleseed Cast|
I most definitely applaud their change in focus to post-rock if it keeps resulting in albums like this.
Dusk To Dawn
More gorgeous trip-hop from one of the most talented producers in the genre.
One of the most diverse and unique bands in the world, for sure. Pr?parat is the most interesting album I've heard from them in a long time. I especially like all the nods to shoegaze and early Black Sabbath throughout the record.
This Is How We Roll
A solidification of their reputation as the most interesting label in the UK, right now.
At about the same time when Bonobo decides to start making garage music, Phaeleh decides to create trip-hop. Could it be a sign? In either case, Tides is another beautiful album that deserves the attention of all the bassheads around here.
Largely unknown hip-hop/funk/jazz collective from Belgium. Let's change that, shall we?
Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
The collaboration with King Krule results in some really stunning cuts. But don't worry, even instrumentally they can still effortlessly hold their own.
13 Degrees Of Reality
Nine-piece jazz collective from London releases what could be some of the best outtakes from the Madlib archive. Greatness ensues.
Very very nice dub techno from a Claro Intelecto labelmate. Who knew the Dutch could produce something other than anthem trance and gabber?
They share a guitarist with Amenra and are signed on Deathwish, but Eros|Anteros shows that the band deserves to be praised fully on their own merits. No question it's the best (metallic) hardcore release I've heard all year. And based on what Caro Tanghe pulls off on the album centerpieces 'As I Look Into The Abyss' / 'The Abyss Looks Into Me, she (!) might even be the best vocalist in the whole genre, period.
|28||Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear|
Brian Eno x Nicolas Jaar x Grizzly Bear
Wonderboy Nicolas Jaar delivers some the most stunning and unlikely remixes of the year.
Gritty and downright nasty warehouse tech, courtesy of Blawan and Surgeon. Trumps Karenn's effort from last year with ease.
Another amazing garage album from 2013 and a career highlight for one of the absolute best producers in the scene.
Trouble Will Find Me
Band can do no wrong.
Uneven at points, sure, but taken as a whole, Reflektor is a very bold move that certainly manages to work in the band's favor. Some of their best songs to date are found here.
E.M.M.A. introduces some catchy melodies and female playfulness to the Keysound crew.
In absence of new Shackleton material this year, I had to get my tribal kicks elsewhere. Luckily, Peverelist more than delivers.
Jasher's best release yet. 'Why' is so fucking good, it's insane. The Woods was promising, sure, but with his latest bunch of releases, he's really risen to the top.
|20||Dawn Of Midi|
Acoustic techno music by a bunch of jazz musicians. Who knew that would be such a winning combination?
I'll be the first to admit I'm not that much into black metal at all, but this is a really incredible album. Dream House is without a doubt my song of the year.
Once I Was An Eagle
Miss Marling becomes more confident which each record she's putting out. On Once I Was An Eagle, Marling embraces the blues and delivers what's probably the best record of her career so far.
A more mature record than Sit, Resist, and an improvement on all fronts. Lovely Americana
Nicholas Jaar has a busy year behind him, and Psychic is the culmination of all that work. From the epic opener 'Golden Arrow' to the comedown of 'Metatron', Psychic is a rollercoaster ride of atmospheric deep house beats and Pink Floydian guitar licks, and a record that shows that the combination Jaar-Harrington has a very bright future ahead.
Random Access Memories Memories
And then of course there's this. Darkside's remix album of Daft Punk's dud shows how great that album could have been. And the irony is: they didn't need all the fancy, expensive tech that the French duo used for RAM. No, they just employed the same producing tricks that Daft Punk themselves used on 1997's classic Homework to such great effect.
The 20/20 Experience
I think this speaks for itself.
ME + ONE
Belgian garage music that has no trouble standing out from all the UK-based juggernauts.
As I said in my review: best pure dance album of the year. He might be largely borrowing from the greats, but give him some years and he'll surely be added to the upper echelon of stadium sized electronic acts himself.
Recondite has quickly become one of my favorite producers, and he continues to deliver massive quality with his first actual "artist album". Techno for ambient heads.
The best Tri-Angle release yet. Engravings is an absolutely gorgeous album that really raises the bar for sample-based music all around. The best use of chopped-up vocal samples since Untrue, and the beats aren't too shabby either.
Since the departure of bassist Chris Hansell and the release of Open Your Heart, The Men have gotten a lot of slack for the so-called mellowing of their sound. I for one, however, find it admirable that they just don't give a rat's ass about what other people think and just go full Creedence on us. It also helps that they still can write a mean rock song or two, e.g. 'Electric'.
|8||The Black Heart Rebellion|
Although Amenra is by far the most well-known member of The Church of Ra, The Black Heart Rebellion is in my humble opinion the better band. With their second album, TBHR has delivered something painstakingly unique and absolutely uncomparable with the rest of the "alternative metal" universe. Incredible live band, also.
As far as techno full lenghts go, they don't come much better than this. His fourth is Hopkins' breakthrough album, and deservedly so. The production quality of this record is unreal, but the real strength of Immunity is found in its flow, providing an unforgettable musical journey for all who are willing to dive in.
J:Kenzo's new Lion Charge record label was brought to life to mark a return to the roots of dubstep, i.e. the more dubbed out, reggae influenced style, counteracting at the same time the harsh brostep sounds, the generic dungeon stuff and the hyped-up UK garage-house hybrids of late. The label's third release, this massive single from the producing duo Kaiju is an instant classic in the genre.
|5||Old Man Markley|
Down Side Up
Downright the single most fun punk album released this year, where the bluegrass style is way more than just a gimmick, but a means to deliver some of the best pop songs released all year. And topped off with intelligent observative lyrics, no less! If you have the chance, be sure to go see them live, terrific terrific live band.
Wakin On A Pretty Daze
The brilliance he hinted at throughout his career has now fully blossomed on Wakin... Vile's new album is the sort of record that people will grow a deep, personal connection to, what with its meandering guitar lines that continue for minutes on end and his meditative, contemplating lyrics interwoven between them. "Take your time, so they say, and that's probably the best way to be." Indeed.
The North Borders
Before The North Borders was released, most people would try to tell you that Simon Green's music was mostly suited as faceless background music, implying that actively listening to his intricate beat programming was not worth the effort. It's clearly a wrong enough statement on its own, but now that The North Borders is in the picture, it's complety off the table. Bonobo WILL get his music claim center stage this time around, and it's never been mored deserved. From the lush house shuffle of 'Cirrus' to the rumbling garage of 'Know You', The North Borders is clearly Bonobo's club and party record, and you're all invited to join in.
At the time of writing, I'm still not sure if I fully digested this two-hour long beast of a record. But at the level of comprehension where I'm at, I can safely say it's another masterpiece from the British IDM duo and in my humble opinion even their best since Confield. Exai takes a lot of time to sink in, but rest assured that the time you'll inevitably spend figuring out this album will be so worth it. Autechre is - even after 20 years - still in a league of their own.
The Monkeys have never failed to impress me, and so for the fifth time in a row, their latest release finds itself at the very top of my albums list. The sexy R&B flourishes compliment very nicely with all the '70s rock influences they are displaying throughout AM and provide a nice contrast with the '60s pop leanings of its predecessor. Furthermore, Turner's lyrics are again more than excellent and full of witty and poetic details. For the record: AM is absolutely not original, not avant-garde or experimental. At the end of the day the album is just a collection of wonderfully crafted pop songs and really, that's sometimes all I'm craving for.