Chris has asked me to write a review of my “10 Best Albums of ‘13”. I don’t blog as a rule and I’m pretty sure I haven’t bought 10 new releases this year so this might be a challenge! Instead what I will do is write a few words about some of the albums that I have parted with hard earned for this year, no matter when they were released. Here goes then, in no particular order, my choices.
First and foremost a special mention must go not to an album, but to a phone app: Soundhound. Without its witchcraft I would have missed out on a lot of great music. One of the gems it found me is:
Wash the Sins Not Only the Face - Esben and the Witch (2013)
The inlay has “How long do you mean to be content” written across it, which gives an idea of the emo claptrap involved. Don’t be fooled though, lots of really strong guitar based tunes here and the singer has a cute voice. If your band is looking for reverb, its too late, they have stolen it all and used it on this album.
Holy Fire - Foals (2013)
Stumbled across Foals when the BBC used them in a trailer for Outcasts. That song, Spanish Sahara, was the outstanding track from the first album, the rest of which was a bit meh. No single outstanding track here, instead the whole album is good with not much in the way of fillers. Rollasoc says they sound like an unsigned band - this is a good thing, right?
Vehicles and Animals Live - Athlete (2013)
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the debut album and to celebrate, the band came out of semi-retirement to tour the album live. I was lucky enough to see them in both Brighton and Birmingham, this is a recording of the Birmingham gig. I also nicked the set list from the stage in Brighton :). Buy this, because Athlete!
Clockwork Angels - Rush (2012)
Rush have always been a guilty pleasure for me, the uncoolest band in rock. Try and see them every time they tour and buy all the albums. If I’m honest I prefer the stuff from 20 years ago but old habits die hard. If you like them you will have this, if you don’t like them then you are not likely to change your mind.
Black Reindeer 1 to X1 - Stephen Jones. (2013)
Black Reindeer is the latest reincarnation of the huge songwriting talent of Stephen Jones (xBabybird, DotN). Everyone has heard of You’re Gorgeous yet the man remains a brilliant unknown. This year has seen him release an instrumental album roughly once a month. The quality is variable and the music sometimes challenging but always interesting. Do your ears a favour and check him out on bandcamp.
Free 20 track album sampler
Saturdays = Youth - M83 (2008)
An interesting mix of dance, ambient, and jangly indie, I really like this. They are French so it is all a bit odd, naturally. They have become a bit of a favorite with TV producers and their music turns up on all sorts of programmes and adverts.