There were a lot of really good albums put out this year. I’m usually pretty on top of things coming at the moment, but after becoming Music Director at WHUS, I had the opportunity to get introduced to many albums from bands that I had never heard of before. This has probably been the most hectic year when it comes to music, so all of these albums in this list are still super good, not just in the first 50.
This list is made up of albums that were previously chillin’ in the exec lounge that is my Top 50 and recent new additions that were good enough to make some sort of list. They are ordered alphabetically, because they are all special little snowflakes.
- Aye Nako – Unleash Yourself
2013 was the year of many musical introductions for me, but most especially lo-fi pop punk that’s super popular in the tri-state area. This stuff is emotionally charged and catchy as hell, along with many other group’s sounds, but this one really got me more than others.
- Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
Know how people always say “oh man I was born in the wrong decade” bullshit? Well, here’s a legit time capsule that will take the listener on a one way trip to the 80s. Also it might persuade one to buy silk bed sheets.
- Buke & Gase – General Dome
Jagged and experimental to a whole new sense, this duo has made their own unique instruments and play to very unorthodox time signatures, figuring in unorthodox key changes at every quick turn. It’s a delight of an album that I feel was really overlooked this year.
- Dean Blunt – The Redeemer
I’d call this album experimental pop, but I feel like that wouldn’t do it justice. This album is a trip through a broken man’s mind, through illusions of grandeur, to a drunken stint, to a breakup. Of course, that’s not for sure, but that’s how I interpret it. It’s a jumbled mess of sounds and I’ve never heard anything quite like it that’s this beautiful.
- Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
AW FUCK YEAH YOU READY TO RAWWWKK!??!? You better be, because this album will shred the faces off our your future children. Diarrhea Planet are a motley crew that feel like they are comprised of the kids who were bullied in high school along with the kids who bullied in high school. It’s straight up destructive, fun, blast your face off rock n roll. You can’t hate on that.
- Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
Ultra-looped experimental electronic dudes rock out once again with intensity and weirdness on this album. The long song lengths allow for tracks to repeat, but also build off of other rhythms, melodies, and feelings, creating a wash of dense, rhythmic electronic music.
- Jon Hopkins – Immunity
This classically trained pianist doesn’t turn in his ivories when it’s his time to create danceable but also pensive electronic dance tracks. With glitchy melodies and emotive piano playing, this record hits all the right sweet spots.
- Kanye West – Yeezus
I honestly don’t get all the #1 rankings of this album this year. I’ve seen four different lists rank Yeezus #1, and I just don’t agree. Let me get this straight: the instrumentals are absolutely fantastic. The song ideas and structures are great. Everything about this record for the most part is great.
However, the low points almost outweigh the progress made with the moments I just mentioned. Some of the guest features are pretty lackluster (I’m lookin’ at you, autotuned Chief Keef) and the lyrics. Oh my. I’d get into a song, like “I’m In It,” until he says “eatin’ Asian pussy/all I need was sweet and sour sauce.” “Blood on the Leaves” is weighted down by “when ya popped your first mollyyyy” for me. I could pick out all the terrible puns I’d expect from a Childish Gambino album that are featured, but it would take too long.
The reason this is on here is because I found myself revisiting this album to hear the brilliant production and beats, only to be shooed away by the atrocious lyrics. If you have a rebuttal for this, I’d love to hear it.
- Kirin J Callinan – Embracism
Weirdo rocker dude from Australia finally put out the solo full length I’ve been asking for. Combining warped rock n roll songs a la Nick Cave, he also lays down some more heartfelt moments to help show the softer side of Callinan.
- M.I.A. – Matangi
Possibly my the most pleasant surprise of the year, the new M.I.A. loads on the correct amounts of fierce and fun without getting too political. The triad of MATANGI, Only 1 U, and Warriors is my jam, among the other jammers on this album.
- The Range – Nonfiction
A recent addition to the list, this album is a mish mosh of different styles of electronic music. Not sure if it’s totally dance-centric, but it combines recent types of electronic crazes like footwork and combines them with old classics like drum n bass & a bit of jungle. There’s also a bit of hip hop influence in there too, reminding me of a few Anticon releases.
- Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
Definitely the most pop album on any list of mine this year, I was extremely pleased with how this album turned out. There are definitely some low points, but the high points on this album are electric. “You’re Not The One?” Are you kidding me? That song is gold.
- Slow Warm Death – Slow Warm Death
Ex-Snowing singer John Galm’s newest project is sort of a blues rock/emo/pop punk hybrid. Make sense? No? Yeah, but if you listen to it, you’ll believe it. It’s great to hear Galm singing again with a new band that sounds like they have a ton of promise for the future.
- Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return
This album really grew on me as the year developed. At first I was uninterested in Toro Y Moi’s drift towards a more mainstream sound, but then realized that it’s chock full of delicious hooks and jazzy grooves. I can handle some of this pop, in this case.
- Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
This album is more of the same in the extensive catalog of Thee Oh Sees, but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. This record is chock full of saucy grooves and nasty riffs. If you’re familiar with their stuff, you won’t be surprised.
- The Underachievers – Indigoism
Part of the Beast Coast movement in NYC, these two dudes are unfortunately the most overlooked group of the movement. This album is one of the best hip hop albums of the year, combining the spiritual nature of their message with the druggy, cloud rap beats. I hope they really blow up in 2014, they deserve it.
- Various Artists – After Dark 2
This compilation album from artists on Italians Do It Better is ultra smooth, glitzy, dark, sexy, and varied enough to make each tidbit interesting. Possibly the best record of the year to drive around to at night.
- Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
Earlier this year, Waxahatchee’s previous full length American Weekend completely consumed my life, making me fully obsessed with Waxahatchee, Swearin’, and PS Eliot. The more polished feel to this album is a pleasant change and all the songs have the same emotional punch as the songs on the previous album.
- Weekend – Jinx
Since the 80s haven’t ended yet, why not enjoy some new wave/post punk rock from some dudes who can pull it off extraordinarily well. From the bass tone, to the vocals, jangly guitars and the reverb, this album could have come out in 1986 and the world would have been like “woah.”
- Yvette – Process
This album is the newest addition to the list, after seeing it on a few early Best of 2013 lists. At first I was put off due to its uncanny similarity to HEALTH and Liars, but after looking past this, I found this album to be quite an intense treat that might just blister your ears off.