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02.16.15 A Procrastinator's Guide To 2014 - Top 01.17.14 A Lurker's Guide To 2013 - Top 50 Album
01.16.13 Thann's 50 Of '1201.08.12 Thann's 50 Of '11
04.09.10 Best Drummers In Metal04.04.10 Doom From '09
04.03.10 Metal: Best Of '09 - Top 10 (no Order!)

A Lurker's Guide To 2013 - Top 50 Albums

My top 50 albums of 2013. I'm a huge lurker on this site, mostly using RYM more than anything, but still come here a lot to check out new music/things I've missed. Was a pretty good year IMO, and I generally keep to myself, in exploration and discovery, so hope this list gives a little more insight into my musical taste and preference.
Oblivion Hymns
49Laura Marling
Once I Was an Eagle
48Ben Lukas Boysen
47Volcano Choir
The North Borders
Old Mornings Dawn
More Constant Than The Gods
43James Blake
42The Ocean
41In Vain
Hidden Scenes
37Daniel Avery
Drone Logic
Colored Sands
Black Clouds Gathering
Holy Fire
33The Dangerous Summer
Golden Record
32The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of Us Is the Killer
31The National
Trouble Will Find Me
29Altar Of Plagues
Teethed Glory And Injury
28Crash of Rhinos
The Anaesthete
26Caladan Brood
Echoes Of Battle
A lame Enflammee, lame Constellee
22 Andrew Bayer
If It Were You, We'd Never Leave
21Jon Hopkins
20The Appleseed Cast
Illumination Ritual
Nightmare Ending
18The World is a Beautiful Place...
Whenever, If Ever
16Have Mercy (MD)
The Earth Pushed Back
13Sed Non Satiata
12Sombres Forets
La Mort du Soleil
11Touche Amore
Is Survived By
10Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels

Just when I was about to say "when are we going to see some decent hip-hop this year?" Run the Jewels, aka Killer Mike and EL-P, come out swinging and set the bar HIGH for any other release that would come for the Hip-Hop scene in 2013. And it just didn't get topped. After some very mediocre to decent albums by Big Krit and The Doppelgangaz this year, this super group so to speak have put out some of the best music I've heard by either one of them in years. In my own opinion, this is better than either one of their solo albums from last year, and this team up is just what the genre needed to shake it up a bit. Combining Hardcore, Southern and some Experimental/Abstract styles, Run the Jewels takes the masterful production and beats from EL-P and the insane delivery and lyrics of Killer Mike (and guests) to make one of the most effective and real albums of the year. The title track, 'Banana Clipper' and 'DDFH' are the best songs on the album, and the first half is much better than the second, speaking plainly, yet overall this is just a solid and great album that certainly deserves a it's place high on the list from me this year. Kudos to them as well for making the entire album a free download, although they did have a limited edition CD or Vinyl on the their site, which I luckily snagged the night it was put up before it sold out so quickly.
If You Leave

This incredibly emotional, sincere and calming Dream Pop and Indie debut album from Daughter really gets to me for some reason. With the sad and distant vocals on top of the honest and depressing lyrical content and haunting delivery from front-woman Elena, I guess it's no wonder why. Don't discount this as background music to put you to sleep, because it isn't. Some albums like this have that effect, and while I do admit it is a calming album for me to just put on and drift away to while I'm face first on my bed, it's so much more than that in the grand scheme. This is an album I can truly invest myself into without getting bored or having it become repetitive and tiresome. I've not heard many other songs this year that contain such 'tug at the heart-string' lyrics as these. While hoping this album would have been bit more raw and lo-fi, with what was heard on singles and EP's beforehand, I am ultimately thrilled with this record and how much heart and honesty it brings while maintaining its fragile sound. While it may feel like a perfect wintery album to become a mess too, this honestly seems like it's meant for a cool summer night full of nostalgic thoughts and starry skies.
8Sigur Ros

I've been a massive Sigur Ros fan for a long time now, having owned all their dvd's, cd's and vinyl and them being one of my all time top listened too artists on before I lost my previous account, I've just been obsessed over the years at how consistent and effortless mostly all their releases were. Although we had to wait four long years from their 2008 album to get a new one, 'Valtari', I still found that album to be a bit of a disappointment, a let down so to speak, from what I was hyping it up to be. A big mistake on my part getting so invested in the grand scheme of things, I felt I couldn't take the music for what it was at the time. While it typically followed SR's usual songwriting guild-lines and formula of ambient landscapes and majestic crescendos with Jonsi's sweeping vocals, I feel almost every fan of SR expected more after so long a wait. Something that changed SR's sound after their keyboardists departure, something that redefined the bands image and artistic development. With 'Kveikur', one year later, we receive that. In my honest and heartfelt opinion, this is without a doubt SR's most stunning album since '( )' or 'Takk'. Vastly heavier and more epic sounding than any record they have made, 'Kveikur' silences any critiques that say 'Sigur Ros have lost it'. Every song is consistently beautiful and stunning, though only a few songs are incredible such as the opener 'Brennisteinn' and 'Stormur', as well as the heaviest song on the album, the title track, and the vast ambient piece 'Var'. They rarely let up on the tempo, and sacrifice loud and busy climaxes for a more sustained sound. Non the less, long time fans of this band will love it I'm sure, and even new ones may not find much to complain about either.
7The Shaking Sensations
Start Stop Worrying

This band has been on my radar ever since my glowing review of their first EP 'This Is Your Hellfire Religion!' back in 2010. While their debut album in 2011 was a bit of a letdown to be honest, straying quite a ways off what was heard on the EP, I still had some confidence in them to really reach the potential I had first heard in their music. This potential has come to fruition with this second release. Tremendously emotional and powerful Post-Rock in every sense of the words, 'Start Stop Worrying' delivers what Post-Rock albums should these days. As common as it is with all albums of this genre, the formula is very cut and dry, but not many bands seem to execute it to the maximum effect. It's a hard thing to describe in words what separates one band from another in terms of 'getting it right', as all I know is my ears and heart are the judges. What I feel when I listen to a post-rock album makes the difference. The building crescendos and epic climaxes of this album are plentiful in number, and the quieter, ambient style breaks are what they should be. Calming, relaxing and emotionally involved. Together, these characteristics make the album come to life and just envelop me in the sound. This is just a great album, one that should not be missed in the genre now riddled with nostalgic copy-cat bullshit. While Post-Rock may not be for everyone, many calling if boring and generically repetitious and uninteresting anymore, I hope this album proves some otherwise.
6State Faults

Releasing an album just a year after a debut may seem like a quick turnaround for an average band, but it's pretty commonplace in the Hardcore world. I didn't care much for State Faults first album 'Desolate Peaks', with its off color and sometimes unbearable vocal delivery, it really turned me off and I sort of thought I came to the conclusion this was a band to avoid. With 'Resonate/Desperate' however, I just had to see the progress they may have made, and hoped they would prove to me that I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was talking about before. And they did. This in an absolutely and impressively crushing and chaotic album that takes you, chews you up and spits you out before you have any idea what the fuck happened. 'Resonate/Desperate' has everything I'm looking for in a pure Screamo/Hardcore album, full of emotionally wretched vocals, airy, vibrant guitars, passionate lyrics and above all, pain. 'Disintegration' is a perfect example of all of the attributes this thing has to offer. You can just feel the effort put into this album, as they weave each song into the next seamlessly, and flow along in an exposed state that is filled with heart and soul. This is an excitingly fresh in-your-face record that wants you to know it's not just another stale cliche in the capacity of the genre.
5An Autumn For Crippled Children
Try Not To Destroy Everything You Love

An Autumn for Crippled Children have kind of been the red-headed step child of the metal scene for a while now. Although not a pioneer of the Blackgaze sound, they sure have had a lot of influence and hand in shaping it to its current form, but after a few albums not many people seemed to want to jump on their bandwagon just yet. This release should change things a bit. At times, their songs can be very gorgeous and soaring, and other times intense and terrifyingly depressing, but what makes this band and album special, is the ability to capture the passion and emotion this style of music unfortunately lacks most of the time. Other groups who half-ass this music and go for the quick sell, personality-less, overly produced mess tend to come out on the wrong end of the spectrum. AAFCC however, avoid all these cliches in my opinion, and have a real understanding of the technicalities a wall-of-sound album can have and work around it, embrace the chaos and play with so many underlying tones and layers of Blackgaze, without making it sound like shit. (This album could have been even better had they included the other song from their EP earlier this year, 'Blossoms', as a possible outro, but alas...)
4Entropia (PL)

This album is an awesome combination of Atmospheric Sludge and Black Metal, with just enough Post-Rock to give it a real emotional and pleasant sound similar to many of the Atmospheric Sludge Metal giants such as 'Rosetta', 'Isis', 'Celeste' and Black Metal like 'Deafheaven' and 'Downfall of Gaia'. Blackgaze has been on a tear this year, with many new bands such as this clawing their way into the scene to be heard, and heard they were. Dark and melodic, enthralling and apocalyptic, 'Vesper' manages to take all the things we love about Black Metal and Sludge, and make it beautiful, and at times sweeping.
3Nils Frahm

This is 'basically' a live album from Nils Frahm, one of my favorite Modern Classical musicians at this time, that contains songs recorded from live performances on the year throughout his tour. The total production of this album though doesn't make it seem like that at all. It's insane to think that his creative genius allows him to manipulate each song on this album and improvise different versions every time he plays a live show, considering how long a lot of these tracks are. This is without a doubt his best work yet, and shows off the technical level at which he plays. 'Says' and 'For ? Peter ? Toilet Brushes ? More' are probably some of my favorite songs of the year, and the progressive nature at which he builds them up shows his incredible talent at piano and song structure. Can't say enough good things about this album, from the elusive, short and subtle songs to the longer, progressive, complicated songs, he truly captures the beauty of the Modern Classical genre, and brings in a real fresh new air. This album will set the stage for the rest of his career, and may set the bar even higher for peers to follow.

Deafheaven's blatantly obvious attempt at changing the face of the genre of Black Metal forever, in their bright pink cover art and dream pop-esque song titles, came with much resistance, and it really saddens me that people can't just sit back and simply enjoy the music. I think it's good that people are starting to get over the fact that Deafheaven just do things differently with BM. Weather you agree with their style or image and way of going about making this type of music their own, people just need to chill the fuck out. Appreciate it for what it is, not what it does or doesn't change. If you don't dig it, to each their own. But there's no need for bashing anymore.
This album in my opinion, along with Roads to Judah are just massive and immense achievements in music, regardless of genre. Whenever a band comes along and sparks so much controversy and push boundaries of a genre, you know something special is happening. I just love everything about this bands image, humble attitude and unique style, the pure emotional rawness and the somehow overwhelmingly uplifting atmosphere. 'Sunbather' is just that type of album I can play over and over and never get tired of it, and the song 'The Pecan Tree' contains one of my favorite musical moments of the year, from 2:35-3:05.

No one can possibly fathom how much of an impact this album had on me in the first play through. Celeste bring to the table one of the most jarring, crushing, harsh and incomprehensibly angry albums I've ever had the fortune to listen to. I only discovered this band in 2010, with their 3rd release 'Morte(s) Nee(s)' but ever since then I have been hooked on them, and how much raw emotion and heart they bring to all their music amazes me still. This massive and monumental two disc release spanning well over an hour may seem like a hard listen to stomach, but I assure you, if you want heavy, depressive and misery ridden sludge, there really isn't anywhere else to look. It's just hard to put into words what I feel for this album and how much each song just gets more and more twisted and evil and distorted, yet brings so much emotion and joy to me, so all I can say is the music will speak for itself. Completely. Hands down my #1 of the year.
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