2013: Best Albums So Far - Articles - Soundblab

2013: Best Albums So Far

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Holy shit, dude! We're over halfway through 2013 already, and you know what that means, right? Yep, it's time to start putting your 'best of' lists together... What? What do you mean you can save that shit for December? Maybe you could another year, but 2013 has already seen a bumper crop of great and important releases drop in our laps.

Don't believe me? OK, let's talk comebacks. So far this year, we've had one alpha-act after another come crashing back into our lives, many of them trailed by innovate online teasers and campaigns which leave humble hacks such as myself desperately playing catch-up while thankfully giving us a new angle to fill space with. I'm talking David Bowie, Daft Punk, Boards of Canada, but that's only the most attention-grabbing. How about Sigur Ros, Queens of the Stone Age, The Flaming Lips, Tricky, Primal Scream and Black Muthafuggin Sabbath? Yeah. Exactly.

Then there's all those new acts, underground bands and debut albums which are so vital and are always bubbling away. It's just that, somehow, even they feel bigger this year, coming at us more fully-formed, with more power than we're used to. I'm thinking of Savages, The Orwells, Taffy, Cloud Boat and loads more. Bands who make you fall in love with music all over again. Bands you can really have faith in and rave to your friends about.

So 2013. I hope you agree it's shaping up to be a good one. Here's a round up of Soundblab's favourite albums of the year so far and what we said about them. Let us know yours and what you think.

The Orwells - Other Voices

"Forget The Vaccines; forget Tribes; forget Two Door Cinema Club. The truly exciting guitar music is being made by bratty American teenagers again - and for that we should be thankful." - Aidan Rylatt

Sigur Ros - Kviekur

"With Kveikur, they have produced a beautiful and consistent album, full of surprises, which will please fans old and new. A triumphant return." Steve Rhodes

Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest

"The princes of electronica, brothers Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin - who are about as Canadian as Irvine Welsh - have produced a project with a much darker sound compared to their body of work spanning 30 years." - Sarah Allen

Dinosaur Pile Up - Nature/Nurture

"Bigland's vocals have evolved on this album as well as the lyrics. He sounds more nasally and higher in pitch. This is neither a detracting feature or disastrous sound-wise. In fact, it adds a slightly punkier edge to everything." - Nathan Fidler

Taffy - Lixiviate

"The album is varied and mercurial. The indisputable nostalgia for the 90s often comes across as genuine nostalgia dating from that era, harking back to yet an earlier time in the 60s or 70s, as many 90s indie bands did." - Alexis Somerville

Eleanor Friedberger - Personal Record

"Really, there are no bad tracks here. You can happily listen to this album from beginning to end and you'll probably pick out something new each time. Eleanor Friedberger has quietly become one of the best singer-songwriters of our time and she's done it with music which sounds simultaneously timeless and rooted in specific times, places and experiences. That's no mean feat." - Richard Morris

Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

"...Like Clockwork is a great piece of work. Where Era Vulgaris was battery-powered machinery, this album feels more like a cosmic black sheet with neon paint spat onto it." - Nathan Fidler

Black Sabbath - 13

"The intelligence and focus is back. It's neither the the end nor the beginning - faith has been restored." - Miz DeShannon

Cloud Boat - Book of Hours

"With its bleak and moody production, sparse electronics, angst-ridden guitars and pensive vocals, Book of Hours won't get your feet moving or blood pumping excitedly. But for the right listener, it is an absorbing and brave piece of work." - Charly Richardson

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

"In all, RAM, with its computer metaphors and impressive collaborations, is a solid album with few if any flaws." - Sarah Allen

Tricky - False Idols

"It's certainly an album which will stand up to repeat listens. In years to come, maybe new Tricky releases will get compared to Maxinquaye AND False Idols." - Richard Morris

SMALL BLACK - Limits of Desire

"There's no denying the strength of the melodies here, nor the love which has evidently gone into making this album sound so sumptuous, so luxuriant." - Richard Morris

Primal Scream - More Light

"More Light is the kind of album we feared Primal Scream might never make again - and it's their best since XTRMNTR." - Aidan Rylatt

Deerhunter - Monomania

"They sound like music fans first and foremost, with a genuine passion for the new sounds they're exploring, and a genuine desire to avoid becoming stale or repetitive." - Daryl Worthington

Savages - Silence Yourself

"In Silence Yourself, Savages have provided us with an excellent post-punk album alongside the knowledge that this band is still around, in its prime, playing live and hopefully continuing to release records in the future." - Alexis Somerville

The Flaming Lips - The Terror

"The Terror works as a cohesive statement, the tracks feeling connected with a unique theme and sound while also absorbing elements of previous experiments, making it their best album since The Soft Bulletin." - Daryl Worthington

The Cosmic Dead - Inner Sanctum

"The Cosmic Dead represent the kind of underground mind-set and counter-culture stance all too often lacking (or conveniently imitated). Its genuinely exciting stuff, people, and you really should get involved." - Andy Brown

David Bowie - The Next Day

"If The Next Day is about anything, it's about great songwriting, thoughtful, well-observed lyrics and the power of skilled musicians having a blast. That's where Bowie's at in 2013, it seems, and that's just dandy." - Richard Morris

Toro Y Moi - Anything in Return

"TYM has certainly come on some since starting his musical career, and he fearlessly diversifies again here, refusing to take the path well-trodden." - Jack Griffith

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet