Top 20 Albums of 2013 (20-11)

 

top-20-albums-of-2013-20-11 copy20. Potty Mouth: Hell Bent

Since the commercialization of punk, people have touted that the genre is dead. Every year, I seek out an album to make me believe that punk is not dead. A record does not emerge every year to restore my faith in the genre, but this year Potty Mouth‘s Hell Bent did. Through the 10 songs of the all-female quartet from Northampton, MA’s debut album, the band proves that trails blazed by bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile live on. – Adam Morgan

19. Savages: Silence Yourself

Regardless of one’s own musical taste, I would argue that Savages deserve to be on everyone’s “best of” list for 2013. The all female four piece from London were able to survive the hype, anticipation, and expectations leading up to their debut release of Silence Yourself this past May. The reason being is simple, they’re music is honest and exciting despite the many comparisons to iconic acts that preceded them. I also appreciate that they view themselves as artists and as such have high expectations not only of themselves but of their audience. As the title of the album suggests, silence yourself when listening to our music. Perhaps a bit brash, but I respect their approach and philosophy when it comes to listening to their work. They’re one of the few bands today that publishes what is in essence the equivalent to an artist statement, and in all caps to boot!

SAVAGES’ INTENTION IS TO CREATE A SOUND, INDESTRUCTIBLE, MUSICALLY SOLID, WRITTEN FOR THE STAGE AND DESIGNED WITH ENOUGH NUANCES TO PROVIDE A WIDE RANGE OF EMOTIONS. SAVAGES ARE A SELF-AFFIRMING VOICE TO HELP EXPERIENCE OUR GIRLFRIENDS DIFFERENTLY, OUR HUSBANDS, OUR JOBS, OUR EROTIC LIFE, AND THE PLACE MUSIC OCCUPIES INTO OUR LIVES. SAVAGES’ SONGS AIM TO REMIND US THAT HUMAN BEINGS HAVEN’T EVOLVED SO MUCH, THAT MUSIC CAN STILL BE STRAIGHT TO THE POINT, EFFICIENT AND EXCITING. – Greg Scranton

18. David Bowie: The Next Day

2013 began with the grand return of David Bowie. The austere “Where Are We Now?” was released January 8th and everyone jumped to conclusions about David Bowie’s upcoming balladeering album. The truth is, The Next Day is a rock album. Sure, the songs are about death, the universe, and many other things but it still feels fun. The Next Day might be Bowie’s most cohesive album since the Berlin Trilogy. – Adam Morgan

17. Danny Brown: Old

At time of press, I have listened to Danny Brown’s Old straight through 37 times. Yes, you read that right, 37. And by the end of the year I wouldn’t be surprised if I tack on another half dozen listens. Old is nineteen tracks, broken up artfully into two parts, Side A and Side B. By many hip-hop standards, Danny Brown, at 32 could very well be considered, well, old. Side A of Old tends to be a little more emotional and draws from Brown’s experiences in Detriot. Being personal is not to be confused with slow or soft, because on many of the tracks on Side A Brown still goes hard and has fast, heavy beats. Side B has much more of a party vibe to it, with absolute jams like “Dip” and “Break it (Go)”. Both parts of the album work well together and the separation of tone really shows the evolution and maturity of Brown, while still maintaining the flow, and humor that made 2011’s XXX so good. – Andrew Garrison

16. CHVRCHES: The Bones of What You Believe

There’s a way to be precise without being predictable and CHVRCHES show a mastery of that concept on The Bones of What You Believe. Every hand clap and bass hit is warmly welcomed without being overly anticipated. Additionally, there is an unfamiliar sweetness of singer Lauren Mayberry’s voice. Her tone is less girl-next-door and more angelic; it’s comforting yet distant. Combine the production with the voice and you get catchy euphoric singles like “The Mother We Share,” patiently melodic bangers like “Lungs” and haunting staccato threats like “By the Throat” on one of the strongest debut albums of the year. – Grady O’Brien

15. Miley Cyrus: Bangerz

Miley’s 2013 release Bangerz, was filled with, for lack of a better term, Bangerz. As in, songs that bang. A lot of the catchiness on Bangerz can be attributed to the absolutely outstanding production of Mike WiLL Made-it, who worked on exactly half of the album. In addition to wonderful production, Miley’s own vocal talent and strong guest performances from Nelly, Brittany Spears (less strong than the others), Future, Big Sean, French Montana and, who else but Luda, Bangerz is a great play if you like to you know, party. Also, I cannot help but mention that Miley was probably the single most significant figure in pop culture in 2013 for a myriad of reasons (see: twerking) . So it is only fair that her 2013 release, which is actually really good, makes this list. – Andrew Garrison

14. Melt-Banana: Fetch

At number 14 is Melt-Banana‘s album, Fetch. The Japanese noise band is well known for their intense energy generated by Yako’s frenzied vocals paired with guitarist Agata’s wild composing. Fetch brought forward the same noisy magic you come to expect from the noise legends. The opening track, “Candy Gun,” kicked things off with a dirty bass line and the constant soaring synth noises. As the album progressed into songs like “Lefty Dog,” everything just seemed to get all the better. The instrumentals became more pronounced and developed. The texture grew more complex. It’s a nonstop stream of noisy goodness. Fast guitar riffs, powerful bass melodies, and Yako’s sweet, sweet singing made Fetch one of the best albums of 2013. – John Naessig

13. Youth Lagoon: Wondrous Bughouse

Wondrous Bughouse, the lovely second album from Youth Lagoon, is a beautiful instance of technically ornate experimental music that still lets the listener actually feel real emotions. While Trevor Powers (the brains behind the project) crafted a debut album, 2011’s The Year of Hibernation, that felt full of both nostalgia and youthful innocence, his latest is undoubtedly more mature. It casts its thematic net more widely through some of the most emotionally searing songs I’ve heard this year. Maybe it’s Powers’s boyish voice or his deft control over all of the rhythmic elements permeating these songs. Whatever it may be, Powers’s music for some reason resists feeling maudlin and is instead refreshingly sincere. – Mark Steinbach

12. Tegan and Sara: Heartthrob

2013, the year Tegan and Sara sold out. The duo began to move towards pop with their 2009 album Sainthood but Heartthrob went all the way and more. Drenched in synths and dance beats, the album picks up where artists like Robyn and Annie left off. For a year full of new female synthpoppers, it is the duo a decade into their careers that made the best album of the genre this year. – Adam Morgan

11. My Bloody Valentine: mbv

“We are 100 percent going to make another My Bloody Valentine record unless we die or something.” – Kevin Shields

I suppose I can be thankful for one thing in 2013, the members of MBV did not die. For the uninitiated, you should know that MBV fans have since 1996 been tormented by rumors of a new album along with broken promise after broken promise from Shields himself regarding the imminent release of this mythical album. Finally on February 2nd “mbv” was self-release online at the band’s website. The site crashed almost immediately due to the initial demand. The 9 track album did not disappoint and retained much of Shields’ signature sound, perhaps in part to the analog recording process whereby “no digital processing” was utilized. Too bad Shields and company didn’t take the pressing of the vinyl as serious as the recording process as it may be the cheapest flimsiest “new” vinyl record I own. Despite the poor physical quality of the record itself, the music on mbv will not disappoint old and new fans alike. – Greg Scranton

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Died Tragically Rescuing His Family From The Wreckage Of A Destroyed Sinking Battleship.