The albums are listed in order starting with my #1 and working down so that you can give up as soon as you want. I didn’t listen to every album released this year and I don’t listen to the radio so invariably there will be some albums you think should be on this list that are not. Sorry. To make up for that here’s a Spotify playlist with every song I liked in 2013 (214 tracks long at the time of this post).
Note: all song links go to Spotify.
1. Psychic Friend – My Rocks Are Dreams
Will Schwartz’s piano-pop departure from Imperial Teen is freaking amazing. As soon as I started listening to this album, I started sharing it with everyone. I knew before I started re-listening to whole albums to make this list that My Rocks Are Dreams was going to be #1. I’m also going to take the opportunity now to state that if you don’t get into an album because it’s a genre you don’t care for, try the selected tracks first, then the album as a whole.
2. Portugal, The Man – Evil Friends
While I don’t listen to the radio with any regularity, I was surprised when I heard the track “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” getting radio play. So, hopefully, you’ve already checked this album out.
3. L.A. – Dualize
This one was a surprise. I try and guess my list before listening to all the albums I’ve liked over the year, and this album landed as #9 on my guess list… only to end up as #3 after a full listen-through of the entire list. One thing you might notice if you check this artist out on Spotify is that all artists with the same name are lumped together. I’m not linking you to the hip-hop artist. And (sadly) indie rock band Beulah has not released a new album this year – that’s a lady by the same name.
4. elsinore – PUSH/PULL
I’m worried that publicly liking this will be tantamount to publicly still liking Vertical Horizon, but I’m going to stick by it. Maybe in two years I won’t be able to stand it anymore, but right now it’s my #4.
5. Bored Nothing – Bored Nothing
I remember my first Pennywise album – after my fist listen I thought all the tracks sounded the same. If you don’t like shoe-gazing music then you will likely have a similar experience with this album.
8. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Centruy Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Not many bands can get away with songs that change pace or include multiple movements. I’m not going to insist that Foxygen always gets it right, but there’s a lot of emotion in this album. It will start to feel like watching a musical as you get deeper into it.
I’m including the next ten albums on my list so that people will realize that I listen to (and like) bands they’ve heard of.
11. Ducktails – The Flower Lane
12. Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull
13. Death Valley Rally – The Stars Shine Brighter After Midnight
14. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
15. David Bowie – The Next Day
16. Palms – Palms
17. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
18. Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return
19. Foals – Holy Fire
20. The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law