10 – 1
10. Palma Violets – 180
The band who claimed the title of “bringing back British rock music-ers”. These Southern lads howl about the life of a young adult. Drinking every night. Partying non-stop. And all of the girls. But yet it doesn’t sound or feel like a shitty pop album. These guys took The Vaccines approach to their sound. Making their music simplistic. They ignored the complicated riffs and the tongue and cheek approach of so many British bands before them and in doing so, made a killer first album. Best Of Friends soars into greatness whilst only singing about wanting to be a girls best friend. Tom the Drum, tells tales of a fella called Tom who’s a top guy whilst Rattlesnake Highway isn’t actually about a highway at all, but rather about going back to were it all began.
Best song from the album: Of course, Best of – Rattlesnake Highway.
9. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
The Gods had answered the prayers of everyone who listened to Angles, when this album was made. The New York legends, thankfully ran away from the terrifyingly awful Angles and instead looked at their first two albums and picked out the best bits. Comedown Machine was the album everyone had dreamed about when the band announced their return, after their hiatus following First Impressions Of Earth. Instead we got it in 2013, which was definitely welcomed. Angles just managed to appear on Comedown, via One Way Trigger. However if the rest of Angles had have been as good as One Way Trigger or even better 80’s Comedown Machine, then it would have made up for the five year wait. Moving away from the synthesizers; The Strokes picked up the guitars again and showed just how easy it is for them to produce an album of such a high caliber, with amazing tracks such as 50/50 and Partners In Crime.
Best song from the album: The soothing, 80’s Comedown Machine.
8. Suuns – Images Du Futur
The Montreal experimenters showed just how incredible they can make the weirdest songs sound. Starting with the terrifying 20-20; that heart stopping bass, fused with the screaming guitar and the thud of the kick drum shows how the simplest means of music can combine to make something weirdly intriguing and pure genius. Even creepier is Edie’s Dream. Imagine being off your face on LSD and then suddenly everything slows down even further, but you’re too zoned out to panic. This is exactly what Edie’s Dream feels like. It’s borderline psychotic but relaxes you almost to a state of euphoria. The rest of the album continues with this intriguing sound with a more minimalist approach rather than the, holy hell my hand is a rainbow approach.
Best song from the album: Edie’s Dream for the free LSD trip.
7. Holograms – Forever
The Swedish Post-Punk Outfit return with their 2nd album less than a year before the behemoth that was Holograms self titled debut. Second time around, the band are just as angry and depressed, and all of this has drained the quick burst, 1 minute 30 second yell out of them, so instead we get great over 3 minute long songs, such as the vigorous Flesh and Bone and the emphatic Meditations whilst the longest song on the album is nearly 6 minutes long! This gargantuan song is the holy grail of Forever, the brilliant, A Blaze On The Hillside. It has the energy of early Holograms whilst sounding more polished, more aggressive and much more professional. It’s the song that shows how a young band can change their sound, without really changing anything at all, apart from the length of their songs. 2 albums under the belt in the space of a year and these Swedish monsters are showing no signs of standards slacking.
Best song from the album: A Blaze On The Hillside for being their longest song to date
6. Iceage – You’re Nothing
Sneaking ahead of their Scandinavian cousins, Iceage roared their way to the top of the music scene this year. Following in the footsteps of New Brigade, the album last as long as a green light in rush hour. With 12 tracks clocking in under 30 minutes, you’re in for some energetic stuff. Each song blends effortlessly with the next, almost as if the album was actually just one, 29 minute long song. You’re gently introduced with Ecstasy, showing you a small hint of the anger that this band has inside them and how truly violent they can be. After the break from Interlude; (which is only the 3rd song) every song gains a rapid approach to it, in the sense of we must get as much anger in as possible in less than 2 minutes. The peaks of the album arrives from the 7th track Everything Drifts and follows right until the end. After this, you’re tossed around like a mail bag at the Royal Mail during Wounded Hearts. Then you’re Beaten to death as if you were a pinata during It Might Hit First and Rodfæstet and then told You’re Nothing to finish you off.
Best song from the album: It Might Hit First for the minute and half of pure Punk.
5. Peace – In Love
The B town band, announce themselves as the new British band to beat this year, after storming the music scene and Leeds and Reading festival. They went Higher Than The Sun, got Lovesick and fell into a California Daze, making the album that everyone had hoped for since Follow Baby arrived. Peace have made an album that sounds so ridiculously similar to a lot made over the past 20 or so years, but my God it’s perfect. It’s an Indie album no doubt, the complete lack of anything with out strings (minus the drums) and the sexy grooves follow the genre’s ancestors perfectly. Sure they may have Drained, a riff or two on tracks such as Higher and Lovesick, but you’ve got Harry Koisser’s lifting lyrics on Float Forever and California Daze to make up for it. The Psychedelic tendencies of Follow Baby, Wraith and Scumbag proclaim so chilled, to just love someone. It’s all these guys want everyone to do. 2013 has been the year of simplicity and bringing back the old with modern tinkering and Peace are the leaders in this pursuit.
Best song from the album: Follow Baby, the song that got the album up and running
4. The Neighbourhood – I Love You
Not to sound like a complete ‘Indie Fag’ with the whole ‘I found them first’ palava. I will however say that I knew this band would produce amazing music from the word go, all the way back in the Spring of 2012. By now you’ve all heard of The Neighbourhood thanks to the dominating Sweater Weather. And I’m sure a few of you have poked an interest into some other songs. And rightly so you should. I Love You, is a collection of Jesse James Rutherford’s deepest thoughts. As the title may tell you, it’s about love. In the sense of The Neighbourhood (mainly Jesse) being misleading, the album as a whole shows both sides to the L word. The good side of I’ll love you forever, and my god you’re beautiful (Sweater Weather and Flawless). And all the way to the dark side of, I love you, please don’t replace me. (Afraid, Staying Up). If you ignore Sweater Weather though, you get a collective of songs that ooze cool. It’s R&B (RnB, whatever) with a mixing of Indie chimes to make both worlds happy. It’s smooth and sexy on tracks A Little Death and Everybody’s Watching Me. Whilst it can still become harrowing and self deprecating with tracks Female Robbery and Afraid.
Best song from the album: Afraid as it’s the closest to a mental breakdown on an album you’ll see in 2013
3. Merchandise – Totale Nite
After the widespread acclaim of Children Of Desire across the Indie music scene, Merchandise became the hottest new band over night and a new album was wanted. Totale Nite was birthed and so was my obsession with Merchandise. With only five tracks, you’d hardly call it an album at first glance, but with the second shortest song of the five being nearly seven minutes long, it sure feels like an album. It’s Post Punk at the best it’s been since Unknown Pleasures, just less harrowing. Carson Cox manages to swoon in and out of each word with a yeaheeeee or an oooooo, without sounding like a complete cock. The lyrics sound stupidly smart whilst not being at all complicated, just by cleverly piecing each word with its counterpart. I mean “I drink the perfumed air”, there’s nothing complicated there, but it’s genius. Einstein would be amazed. This time round, the lyrics are the key tribute to the songs. Although, you’ve still got the slick guitar playing, with the rising and falling guitar riffs of Anxiety’s Door, and the sleepy bass of Winter’s Dream fused with hysteric screeching towards the end. Merchandise have shown, again, how you don’t need top quality instruments or recording equipment or musical gimmicks to produce something that 99% of Artists could only dream of making.
Best song from the album: Anxiety’s Door simply for Perfumed Air
2. Disclosure – Settle
Bet you didn’t see a House album up here. Well probably because everyone in the music world is in love with this and rightly so. The House duo have rocketed Dance music to an all time high. Producing arguably the biggest songs of the Summer White Noise ft AlunaGeorge and Latch ft Sam Smith. With a hand full of other booming singles the duo have shown how to produce a real dance album, that doesn’t sound the same on every track. Settle is the perfect example of an album that is impossible to not enjoy. Even if you don’t like house, dance, electro music, you’ll find yourself tapping along to these songs or you foot tapping away to the beat. It’s inescapable. If you don’t fancy raving to a 14 track dance album, not all of the albums tracks are Summer blasters. There are sensational, deeper tracks such as January and You & Me, whilst not forgetting the absolutely stunning Help Me Lose My Mind with London Grammar. I’ve tried it and it’s impossible to rave to this, all you can do is two step and slowly sway to the ambient sounds of fading swoons of electro and the gentle tickle of a snare drum. Settle is the prime examples for all new dance, electro, house producers on how to make a successful album that isn’t Pop or Indie, without having to plead to everyone to listen because everyone already want’s to listen to it.
Best song from the album: Help Me Lose My Mind without a shred of a doubt.
1. M O N E Y – The Shadow Of Heaven
For me, it was never going to be anything else. From the day I gave the album it’s first spin, it proclaimed itself my album of the year. With heavenly melodies, glimmering instrumentation and the lyrics and vocals of Jamie Lee, the album could never have been anything less than perfection. It was as if all of the planets realigned just for the making of The Shadow Of Heaven and the Gods gave this album their blessing. A tad dramatic but not quite when compared to some of the songs on the album. The yelling of running out at the end of Cold Water which earlier has blaring guitars and ear shattering drums. And Who’s Going To Love You Now with it’s serenading oooh’s and love proclaiming lyrics, almost shouted towards you. Bluebell Fields follows the trend of Psychedelia with a much more mellowed out and simplistic approach, if that even seems possible, whilst Hold Me Forever, screams stadium status. The biggest track of the album is the tear jerking, heart stopping, world changing Goodnight London. A piano and Jamie. That’s it. And yet it manages to sound so surprisingly huge, it destroys your soul and then rebuilds just so you don’t die. If there has ever been a song more inspiring, as so to make you want to produce an album, but yet at the same time make you feel small and pointless well then I’d say that it’s either WU-LYF or M O N E Y. An album of such wonderment only comes across surely once a lifetime, but with M O N E Y, it could become a biyearly occurrence. Prepare yourselves for the next Joy Division.
Best song of the album: Goodnight London, for being the creator and destroyer of worlds.