Your favorite albums of 2013
I'm not going to pretend that I keep up with music nearly enough anymore to know what the best albums of the year were. However, that doesn't mean I didn't find a whole bunch of things that I really, really enjoyed in 2013. Here they are, in no particular order.
Here's an Rdio playlist with every album on my list (except one because Thom Yorke hates sharing his music with the public).
What were your favorites of the year?
CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe
Reminds me of a more upbeat M83, but with a kickass female vocalist. A pretty stunning debut album — really looking forward to more from them in the future.
Recommended tracks: The Mother We Share, Lies, Night Sky, By the Throat
Atoms for Peace - Amok
Thom Yorke's "other" band originally came together for a live project, and then made this pretty great studio album. Stlil not as exciting as seeing them perform live, but there's a host of great, weird, glitchy songs on this.
Recommended tracks: Before Your Very Eyes, Dropped, Reverse Running
Bonobo - The North Borders
While I picked a few recommended tracks here, this best listened to as one album. Supremely chill and loaded awesome electronic textures that still feel quite warm and human.
Recommended tracks: First Fires, Heaven for the Sinner, Jets, Antenna
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Not much to say about this one that hasn't already been said. It's just awesome.
Recommended tracks: Give Life Back to Music, Giorgio by Moroder, Beyond, Fragments of Time
Daughter - If You Leave
Beautifully crafted, with minimalistic, ghost-like guitar and gorgeous vocals. Also the most depressing thing you'll find this side of The National. It's a sad journey, but one worth taking.
Recommended Tracks: Winter, Tomorrow, Human, Shallows
Icona Pop - This Is...
I don't go much for pop music, but this album jammed itself into my brain and wouldn't let go. Just unbelievably catchy. It's also quite short at 33 minutes — it just comes and goes and then you find yourself singing the songs for days.
Recommended tracks: We Got the World, In the Stars, Just Another Night, Then We Kiss
Local Natives - Hummingbird
One of my favorite discoveries of 2010 followed up their debut with an even better second album. Layered indie rock guitar awesomeness. The trilogy of songs that close the album is stunning.
Recommended tracks: You & I, Ceilings, Mt. Washington, Columbia, Bowery
Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks
NIN returned after a long layoff promising a "reinvented" sound. Hesitation Marks isn't a complete departure from NIN's earlier work, but it's different enough that it feels like a healthy progression. It's nice to see Reznor wear his Talking Heads influence on his sleeve in a number of tracks.
Recommended tracks: Copy of A, All Time Low, Satellite, In Two
Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
It's been a long time since liking Pearl Jam was cool, but I couldn't care less. They were one of the first bands I ever really dug into, and they've been there ever since, for about 20 years. This is probably my favorite album they've made since the 90s. It's nice to see a band built on teenage angst figure out how to age gracefully — I think they'll keep making awesome stuff for years to come.
Recommended tracks: Getaway, My Father's Son, Lightning Bolt, Pendulum
She & Him - Volume 3
Deal with it, Zooey Deschanel haters. She can write a good song, and has a pretty damn good voice too. Sunny pop that is a great soundtrack for a drive to the beach. No, it's not exactly winter music. Also, M. Ward is a fabulously understated and tasteful guitar player, I love hearing just about everything he does.
Recommended tracks: Never Wanted Your Love, I Could've Been Your Girl, London
The Civil Wars - The Civil Wars
More great guitar work here and a beautiful interplay between the two vocalists. Also rocks a bit more than their previous album, which was a bit unexpected. The best stuff is the quiet, introspective songs — and the unexpected cover of the Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm" is a great treat.
Recommended tracks: Same Old, Same Old, Dust to Dust, Eavesdrop, Disarm
The National - Trouble Will Find You
A consistently great band churning out yet another excellent, albeit depressing, album. They have a more unique sound than they should — more than the sum of its parts.
Recommended tracks: Don't Swallow the Cap, Fireproof, Graceless, I Need My Girl