You know 2013 was a piss pore year in music when Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The National, Arcade Fire, MGMT and M.I.A. didn't show up on many year in end lists. They aren't showing up my mine neither.
10. Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold -- I reserve this spot for the album that's just pure fun and has no desire to be more than what it is. This was a breakout year for Parquet Courts being plucked from the dredges of indie rock to finally being recognized by tastemakers. It's a perfectly constructed package of spunky post-punk rock that recalls they early days of Pavement. I know you are like me and tend to skip tracks on some albums. You can't do it here.
9. Ghostface Killah, Twelve Reasons to Die -- While I find rap/hip hop a "dead to me" genre where the masters of the sound are relegated to cliches, selling out and uninspired production, Ghostface and producer Adrian Younge collaborated on a brainy concept album of 60s/70s gangster funk. Dig the hammond organ, tight drums and heavy bass.
8. Daft Punk, Random Access Memories -- I'm kind of torn with the mainstreaming of Daft Punk. They crafted the song of the year with douchebag singer-producer supreme Pharrel Williams that even your mom had heard. On the other hand, the album is a tribute to 70s/80s disco rock that is the logical progression of their sound. I think people are hoping for a Homework, Part II, but Daft Punk are always forward thinking.
7. Lanterns on the Lake, Until the Colours Run -- My entry into the "Music You Didn't Hear" category. I have to scratch my head why this didn't make Best of lists. Maybe if they had James Murphy producing or some superstar name, people would pay attention. Give the album a listen and be surrounded by some beautiful arrangements and songs that make you feel better about your life. Then listen to the album again, and you'll find something else to love about it -- the subtle strings, the soothing vocals and wide open spaces.
6. Daughter, If You Leave -- As I've said before about Daughter, they make music that feel is being made right in front of you. Elena Tonra crafts songs that are like whispers in your ear. The poetry is riveting, the music down to earth and the emotion powerful.
5. Arctic Monkeys, AM -- Welcome back, Arctic Monkeys. I had written them off since they became a brand name rock band, which was probably after their debut album. Yeah, I was there from the beginning enjoying the hype and at their early NYC shows. When I saw them years later, I was unimpressed with their stadium-sound vibe. I was much more interested in Alex Turner's solo work and side projects. Then came AM, and even sa tone cold snob like me was impressed. This effort has balls, big, hairy, heavy rock 'n' roll balls. It's got a snarly attitude and killer guitar riffs that punch in you the face.
4. Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe -- In truth, I've listen this album the most in 2013. I've grown weary of synth-based pop music, but this band rang fresh with me. Maybe it's their emphasis on melody and songwriting. All this equals catchy tunes you that you'l be listening to years from now. It reminded me of fellows Scots Franz Ferdinand debut album, where you instantly recognize their hit maker ability. "Lies" and "The Mother We Share" are instant classics.
3. Neko Case,The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You -- Yeah, she can do no wrong in my book .. urrr ... blog. She's the best singer-songwriter in music today that gives it her all on every album. With this album, we got deeper in her world and thinking. I had this talk the other day about her albums. What's your favorite Neko Case album? "The one I'm listening to at any given time." On this one, I dig her busy, more uptempo songs like "Bracing for Sunday" and "Man".
2. Savages, Silence Yourself -- I don't remember what website I was reading, but it mention that women rocked the most in 2013. Duh, and 2012, 2011, 2010. When Savages started making a stir in 2011, it got my excited about new music again. They are a band that don't follow trends, are not fashionable and don't give a fuck about being "the Next Big Thing." Then they delivered their debut album and it 100% satisfied any rock need you had. You can bang your head or slam in your fellowman at it's power and embrace it's dark tones.
1. Foals, Holy Fire -- I don't know what makes an album of the year. I'm just a sucker for albums that feel like an epic movie. Foals' third album stood out from all the other releases this year for it's over the top arrangements. Every tracks felt like a grand statement on the universe. There's so much varying rhythms and tones packed into its eleven songs. It's never a boring album, with surprises at every turn. Like others albums on this list, you'll be listening to this years from now and discovering something new to enjoy. More than anything, lead singer Yannis Philippakis takes command with his vocals.