Best Albums Of 2013


The best thing about the festive season is reading some lists of things. Here's our list of the year's best long players put together by some of our contributors: Adam Taylor, John Wilson, Matt Wingate, Adam Millard, Oli Heffernan and Carey Kramer. Top spot goes to Cloud, who's album Comfort Songs was such an unexpected treat which has only got better with repeated listenings. The other 19 aren't bad either.


Cloud - Comfort Songs

Crackle said: "It's an eclectic and joyous achievement with tribal chanting, piano, trumpet, trombone, guitars, violin and a dense production which channels predecessors like Akron/Family, The Polyphonic Spree and Neutral Milk Hotel without ever sounding like a rip-off...a bewildering treat" (AM)

Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin

Crackle said: "Although it doesn’t break any new ground, it takes what Thee Oh Sees do best and does it better than they’ve ever done it before - repetitive, loud and heavily krautrock-influenced...Thee Oh Sees will always be a band that is best heard live but this album, for me, is the closest they’ve come to matching it" (OH)

The Wave Pictures - City Forgiveness

Crackle said: "Great praise must go to them for keeping things this entertaining, engaging and interesting across 20 tracks on this their umpteenth album. The Wave Pictures are a gem of a band – and rather than showing signs of creative waning, as one might expect by now, they actually seem to be speeding up!" (AT)

Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum

Crackle said: "Despite the LA connection though, there's definitely more of a New York vibe going on on most of these tracks. Often the quiet strumming will be interjected with some sort of avant garde noise, but the music is clearly moving more confidently and into darker corners of Cate's already blackly surrealist subconscious"

Akron/Family - Sub Verses

Crackle said: "Looking ahead at what’s slated for release over the next 10 months, 2013 is shaping up to be a vintage year for purveyors of fine music, but even at this early stage I’ll be astounded if Sub Verses isn't included in many of the year’s Best-Of lists."

Bill Callahan - Dream River

Crackle says: "Callahan's best work since 'A River Ain't Too Much to Love' - 'Dream River' is an album that restores faith in the art of the singer songwriter in the face of saccharine, advert campaign-led charlatans." (JW)

Imperial Teen - Feel The Sound

This albums also appears on our 2012 list (when it came out in the US), but its double good so we put it on our 2013 list too (when it came out in the UK). Crackle said: "In an ideal world this album would be held aloft as a shining example in the craft of effortless pop music...there are no threadbare gimmicks on show here, just a simple approach to song writing which really works"

Hookworms - Pearl Mystic

Crackle says: "A heavy psychedelic masterpiece. There are shades of late 60’s/early 70’s hard rock flowing throughout, and sounds influenced by Spacemen 3 and Hawkwind, but Hookworms put their own modern day touch on it. It is best listened to as a whole and in one sitting. So if you haven’t already, sit back, listen, and prepare to have your mind blown by Pearl Mystic." (CK)

Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

Crackle said: "a wonderful album, underpinned by a supreme songwriter and a band emerging from behind him to make more telling marks of their own on the music – it has all those qualities you associate with this band, the hooks, the choruses, the power, depth, driving rhythms, the moments of darkness, and those moments of tenderness and clarity"

The Stranger - Watching Dead Empires in Decay

Crackle said: "Kirby introduces more and more elements which listeners would associate with traditional "music", before dismantling everything again for the album's conclusion. It's a fascinating journey which takes in grim realism and enlightening flights of fancy in one fell swoop" (AM)

Islet - Released By The Movement

Crackle said: "An acquired taste if ever there was one, the vocals seem blasé at times (to the point of half arsed) and the music drifts around in all manner of directions, never really settling into any sort of familiarity but I can say with certainty that you won't hear anything quite like this in 2013. A freaky portmanteau of an album."

Mikal Cronin - MCII

Crackle says: "An absolutely fantastic power pop album that firmly puts Mikal Cronin in the spotlight. This sophomore effort from the Ty Segall collaborator is full of infectious hooks, melodies, and fuzz drenched guitar explosions. One of the best albums and pleasant surprises of 2013." (CK)

The Mallard - Finding Meaning In Deference

Crackle said: "Granted, the tracks are raw, they'd definitely feel at home on a demo tape, but I get the feeling that The Mallard shouldn't really be doing it any other way. Its certainly not the sort of music that should be polished up" (AM)

My Bloody Valentine - MBV

Crackle says: "We waited 22 years, and finally Kevin Shields and company released their promised follow up to Loveless. Swirling guitars and their signature shoegaze sounds are thankfully present throughout. But what takes MBV to greatness is when it goes in a slightly different direction such as the futuristic jet engine sound of album closer “Wonder 2”. Following up one of the greatest albums of all time is no small task, but in the case of MBV, it was well worth the wait." (CK)

Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen

Crackle said... well, CK said it wasn't that great. But AM thinks its the best pop album of the year. Full of summery tales of youthful folly, jangling melodies and brain burrowing hooks. Well worth revisiting 10 months after its release.

Younghusband - Dromes

Crackle said: "It's rare that a band with such promise delivers a debut that harnesses what made them so good in the first place, but with Dromes, Younghusband have cracked it."

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

Crackle says: "The boys have grown up a lot since their days of Oxford Commas. With more mature themes and a deeper exploration into world music, Modern Vampires of the City exceeded expectations on all cylinders. And you won’t find a better trio of songs to open up an album than “Obvious Bicycle”, “Unbelievers” and “Step”." (CK)

Jon Hopkins - Immunity

Crackle says: "A wonderfully constructed electronic album that mixes techno and ambient to perfection. “Open Eye Signal” is one of the best tracks of 2013 and will keep you in a constant groove." (CK)

Crocodiles - Crimes Of Passion

Crackle said: "a no holds barred journey through their C86 influenced sound...Its familiar enough to please hardcore fans but the songwriting has been honed and grafted and seems to get better with each new release" (AM)

Alasdair Roberts & Friends - A Wonder Working Stone

Crackle said: "For all the struggle and death on show here, this is ultimately a life-affirming album. Both challenging and human, this is another fine piece of work from a unique and vital talent" (MW)