2013 Albums of the Year
1. Modern Vampires of the City - Vampire Weekend
I think this album is nearly flawless. I love that they dialed back some of their more annoying surfy and afro-punky stylings. It’s subtle and mature, while still remaining undeniably catchy. “Step” is heartbreaking. The end of “Hannah Hunt” is my favorite musical moment of the whole year. Almost impossible not to run this one back after coming to the end.
2. Anxiety - Autre Ne Veut
“Play By Play” and “Counting” is a vicious 1-2 punch and the rest of the album is the perfect coda after getting KTFO (because music is like boxing you see).
3. Skyer - Postiljonen
If you thought some vaguely obscure Swedish pop album wasn’t making it on to my list, you are sorely mistaken and shouldn’t thumb your nose at history (8 yrs running!). My favorite 2013 album to recommend. As sonically lush and sweeping as anything Sigur Ros has ever done, yet still immediately accessible.
4. Other Life - Sean Nicholas Savage
It took me a long time to realize how heavy Savage’s subject matter actually was because I couldn’t get over how damn sexy he made it sound.
5. The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand - Matt Pond
The artist formally known as Matt Pond PA drops the PA and delivers one of the best records of the year. A warm, welcoming autumnal album from one of the best singer/songwriters out there.
6. Hanging Gardens - Classixx
Smoooothe club bangers for your headphones.
7. Trouble Will Find Me - The National
I never came around on High Violet, but TWFM can hang with Boxer and Alligator. A really solid return to form.
8. Moon Tides - Pure Bathing Culture
Like some beautiful hybrid of Beach House and Puro Instinct. Yes plz.
9. Cerulean Salt - Waxahatchee
A wonderful, moody record reminiscent of early Cat Power and Mirah.
10. Heartthrob - Tegan and Sara
So many slept on power pop jams here.
5 Honorable Mentions
- The Bones of What You Believe - CHVRCHES
It’s like a female-fronted M83, what’s not to like!
- Free Your Mind - Cut Copy
Cut Copy doin’ Cut Copy things.
- Apar - Delorean
Delorean doin’ Delorean things. (clearly phoning in the analysis this yr!)
- Leaked Demos - Jai Paul
I guess we are treating this as a proper 2013 release as far as lists go? James Blake meets Neon Indian in a massively promising debut from the mysterious Jai Paul.
- Soft Will - Smith Westerns
These guys have become one of the most consistent and reliably good bands in indie rock. And they are still in college, I think.
2013 Songs of the Year
(no overlap from albums otherwise it would just be all Vampire Weekend and Autre Ne Veut)
My two favorite songs of the year are sister and brother. Two songs stripped down to the bare essentials—Neko going completely acapella and Krug with just a piano. Words of encouragement for when heaven and mothers are cruel. Please build yourself up and don’t you ever shut up please.
3. “Get Lucky" - Daft Punk
2013’s defining anthem. Sorry, Robin Thicke.
5. “College" - Rogue Wave
Descended Like Vultures is one of my favorite albums ever. This new cut would fit wonderfully on it.
6. “Bipp" - Sophie
I could see how people might be turned off by this song, but I love all the glitchy beats and bubblegum vocals.
7. “Doin’ It Right" - Daft Punk + Panda Bear
The other killer song on Random Access Memories. Besides, I wouldn’t feel right doing a year-end list without some Animal Collective dap.
8. “Song for Zula" - Phosphorescent
This is Phosphorescent just crushing M. Ward at his own game (because music is a competition, you see) in a gorgeous, winding ballad.
9. “Wakin On a Pretty Day” - Kurt Vile
When you play this song, the sun magically appears, your windows roll down, and your hair gets gently tousled by the wind. It’s true.
10. “Avant Gardener” - Courtney Barnett
Not so much a song as a wonderful bit of storytelling. Australia’s answer to Best Coast.