Friday, 13 December 2013

Albums of 2013

2013 has been a bloody good year for music. There are signs that mainstream music is daring to branch out, which is great news for those that have always been forced to look under the radar for their musical fix. I've spent the past month going through the painstaking process of filtering through everything i've bought and listened to this year, narrowing it down to what I consider to be my 20 favourite albums this year. Of course you won't agree with them all, but that's half the fun. Without further ado:-

20. Volcano Choir - Repave

Volcano Choir - Byegone VIDEO
The last album to be put on this list arrives at #20. Repave is seriously chilled out and any fan of Bon Iver would love it.

19. Paramore - Paramore

Paramore - Now VIDEO
In my opinion the most complete album they've done so far. Like Gwen Stefani meets Cyndi Lauper meets every 80s pop song ever. 

18. Hot As Sun - Night Time Sound Desire

Hot As Sun - Desert Song VIDEO
Only came across this on a label sampler from another album. Would not sound out on place on anyone's summer soundtrack or just for anyone looking to get their groove on.

17. Kanye West - Yeezus

Kanye West - On Sight VIDEO
Yeezus is golden. Kanye's strongest album yet sees him team up with basically everyone. If he spent less time comparing himself to Nelson Mandela and more time in the studio he probably would be taken more seriously as a musician.

16. Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

Blood Orange - Chamakay VIDEO
Dev Hynes' 2nd album as his Blood Orange alter ego. As funky and jazzy an album you're bound to get this year.

15. Cults - Static

Cults - So Far VIDEO
Another album I came across completely by accident. Static is just seriously delicious indie pop.

14. Depeche Mode - Delta Machine

Depeche Mode - Welcome To My World VIDEO
Some may argue Delta Machine is perhaps not their finest work but I'd definitely regard it as their most progressive. The two intro tracks 'Welcome To My World' and 'Angel' are a formidable pairing though. 

13. M.I.A - Matangi

M.I.A- Matangi VIDEO
Matangi just makes you want to turn your cap back to front, beat your belly like a drum and start kicking trolleys over in Tescos but in a way that could be interpreted as art. 

12. MS MR - Secondhand Rapture

MS MR - Hurricane VIDEO
This was another late addition to this list, but one that is there purely based on just how effing cool it is.

11. Delorean - Apar

Delorean - Spirit VIDEO
Delorean are clearly one of Spain's best kept secrets. Not as solid as the previous album 'Subiza' but still a very decent daydream inducing dance record.

10. The Naked And Famous - In Rolling Waves

The Naked And Famous - Hearts Like Ours VIDEO
Emotion and catchy chorus aplenty. There is just something incredibly mesmerising about Alisa Xayalith's piercing voice. 

9. One Republic - Native

One Republic - Something I Need VIDEO
I'm actually very pleased at how well this album did commercially because it was about time people saw more in this band than just that song they did with Timbaland back in the day. Lyrically this album is superb and some of the album tracks especially Life In Color and Preacher are just excellent. 

8. Lights - Siberia Acoustic

Lights - Toes (Acoustic) VIDEO
How do you top an album as brilliant and as expansive as Siberia? You release an acoustic version of it of course! Featuring artists such as Owl City and Coeur De Pirate, Siberia showed a softer side to the full track counterparts.

7. Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We

(read my review of this album right hurrr LINK)
Honestly one of the happiest albums I've ever listened to. 

6. Biffy Clyro - Opposites

Biffy Clyro - Victory Over The Sun VIDEO
'Mon the Biff! There's a lot of pressure on a band willing to go down the double album route but Opposites delivers with flying colours. The songs are bloody awesome live as well.

5. Editors - The Weight Of Your Love

Editors - Sugar VIDEO
One of my favourite live sets this year, sat on a grassy Spanish hill directly opposite the main stage, sun beaming on your face, pint of beer by your side. Nothing else could top that.

4. Funeral For a Friend - Conduit

Funeral For a Friend - Conduit VIDEO
The solitary 'shouty' album on this list, Conduit is easily Funeral For a Friend's best album since Hours. This is album is just raw, loud, brash and unforgiving from start to finish.

these last 3 albums were very easy to place in my top 3. However, the hardest decision was which order they'd be in. Here goes-

3. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks

Nine Inch Nails - Copy Of A VIDEO
The production levels of this album are far beyond anything I've ever heard before. Trent Reznor is just a master of electronics. I urge you all to find their festival headline sets from this summer on YouTube.

2. HAIM - Days Are Gone

HAIM - Forever VIDEO
This album is unbelievably good and is a massive triumph for all the producers that don't feel they have to make all their music loud for it to be heard. Days Are Gone has it's dynamics in all the right places.

1. CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe

This is the most perfect 48 minute collection of synthpop that you'll find this year. Though, simply calling it a 'synthpop album' reflects too vaguely the range that it has, in the sense that this band really could appeal to a lot of different music fans. CHVRCHES have become a big deal recently and I for one am extremely excited to see them in Amsterdam in 2014.

So how many of these do you agree with? Let me know.

Words by David Dring

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