2013 Albums of the Year….So Far

It’s that time of year where everyone on the Internet is throwing in their two cents as to what the best records of the year are, at least up to this point. We thought we’d give it our own go, with each of us tossing out our choices. I can tell it’s going to be a huge fight come time to make our year end list. 

Nathan.Lankford’s Top 5:

5) Majical Cloudz – Impersonator

Devon Welsh has a powerful voice that will haunt you from the get-go.  The beats add an emphasis to his voice, not to mention the emotional pull created by both aspects.  I suggest jamming to “This Is Magic” or “Mister.”

4) Legs – Pass the Ringo

This is an album that you can play from start to finish, time and time again. It’s like listening to Pains of Being Pure at Heart with a bit more of a haze and San Francisco thrown in.  You’ve got to listen to “Go Ask Your Mother.”

3) Wax Idols – Discipline & Desire

Hether Fortune brings her A game here.  After a few years, she’s put on a darker, angrier side, while still retaining the pop sensibility that she exhibited with her earlier works.  Start with either “Sound of a Void” or “Elegua.”

2) Warm Soda – Someone For You

Right now, this record gets tons of playing time; it’s power-pop is perfect for blasting at summer gatherings.  But, it’s catchy and quick, making it a record I’m sure to play for the rest of 2013 and beyond.  You’ll definitely enjoy spinning “Jeanie Love Pop” and “Sour Grapes.”

1) Coma Cinema – Posthumous Release

I haven’t been this affected by a record in a long time.  The attention to detail in the songwriting and the emotional pull guarantee that those in search of a good listen will end their search with this album.  One listen to “Satan Made a Mansion” or “Marie (No Sleep)” and you’ll be hooked.

My runners-up: Parenthetical Girls – Privilege, Golden Grrrls – s/t, Dick Diver – Calendar Days

RayRay’s Top 5:

5) Daughn Gibson – Me Moan

Mr. Gibson was a personal favorite last year with his album All Hell though it didn’t crack my top album’s list.  New album Me Moan showed me a new side of the artist with some great upbeat pop tunes like “You Don’t Fade” and “Kissing on the Blacktop”.  The country infused electronic pop is still there, but now we’ve got some catchy pop beats mixed in that create some truly memorable moments.

4) Warm Soda – Someone For You

This is one of those rare occasions when Nathan and I are completely on the same page with an album.  As he’s already said, this is an incredible power-pop album that can be resisted by no one with a pulse.

3) The National – Trouble Will Find Me

The National have reached that point in their career when they can really do no wrong in my mind.  Was anyone expecting this to be anything but spectacular?  A track like “Sea of Love” can evoke so many emotions on so many different levels, and honestly, no other band has that power over me.  These guys will be remembered as one of the best bands of the decade.

2) Young Galaxy – Ultramine

I fell head over heals for this band during SXSW and knew I immediately needed to spend some serious time with this album.  The mixture of 80s pop synths intermixed with the brutally honest lyrics makes for a near perfect electro-pop album.  I think many people may overlook this album and I suggest you change that now.  Opening track “Pretty Boy” is easily one of top songs of the year.

1) The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual

Anyone who is a frequent reader of this site knows about my love affair with this band.  Sure, they’ve made some missteps over the last few years with some sub par efforts, but Illumination Ritual shows us a band returning to form and reinventing their atmospheric sound.  Old supporters and those unfamiliar with the group can both find something to enjoy here.  Stellar effort and promise for the future.

Runner Ups: The Men – New Moon, Kurt Vile – Walking on a Pretty Daze, Fidlar – Fidlar

Nicole.Baumann’s Top 5

5) Coma Cinema – Posthumous Release

It’s got the songwriting, the soft-spoken vocalist, and the overall potential to work its way up on my list to a higher ranking and a greater staple in my listening repertoire. Like an Elliott Smith or a band such as Belle & Sebastian, there’s something special about this album and this band. The sincere vulnerability offered up here has got me hooked on Posthumous Release and I intend only to continue on this path of further adoration.

4) Shout Out Louds –  Optica

As an album packed with dance-inciting tunes, it is filled with gems of songs that keep me coming back to this album. This band has transitioned their music to a more electronic oriented sound on Optica and boy does it work for them. Some of my favorites get the repeat listening treatment like “14th of July” and “Illusions,” but the whole album also gets a lot of attention from me.

3) The Lonely Wild – The Sun As It Comes

This album impressed me the first few times I listened to it, but I never thought that it would become so prominent in my listening library. Something about the infectious harmonies embedded in the interesting and well-crafted songs that bridge the gaps between genres has earned this album a spot in my listening catalogue. I hope it continues to haunt my playlists.

2) Local Natives – Hummingbird

I was worried that this sophomore release would be disappointing after I fell in love with the band that put out a wonderful first record, but Hummingbird offers up a different side of them to fall equally in love with. It shows growth in all the right directions, more excellent song writing and it is just plain enjoyable to listen to. I would recommend this album and band to anyone willing to listen.

1) The National- Trouble Will Find Me

Honestly, I was tempted to make this all five of my top five.  Call me obsessed, but since I got this album I have found myself listening to at least a few tracks off of it every single day in some way. This group has done it again, with each and every song actively rotating to be my favorite off the album. If you haven’t given it a listen, please do yourself a favor and do it now. For real.

Brian.Gray’s Top 5

5) Jon Hopkins – Immunity

It is just the right mix of my old and new electronic obsessions. Upon first listen, my mindgrapes were whisked away to a land that time forgot (but I haven’t), sitting on the barstool for the corner CD player at Technophilia as I rifled through a stack of fresh imports courtesy of Chip’s secret bin. “Open Eye Signal” has been featured here, “Form By Firelight” throws out glitches and tones until melody takes over.

4) Girls Names – The New Life
Title tracks. Title tracks need to be strong, especially when they are the closer. Clocking at 7:50, “The New Life” encapsulates and summarizes The New Life. Dark, haunting, post-punk, psych’ish jams that fill your head. The bass lines on this album should fuel your next road trip.

3) Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest

Rough day? Decompress with the latest from Boards of Canada. You’ve earned it.

2) Still Corners – Strange Pleasures

Lofty vocals, gorgeous textures and tracks that span dark synth to graceful ballad. Still Corners crafted a balance that is hard to achieve where you the album acts as a playlist with peaks and valleys yet still feels cohesive. The flourishes of synth over that fantastic vocal, processed to enhance and not hide.

1) Small Black – Limits of Desire

They made the IT Dept. Summer playlist with two strong tracks, I could have featured five others. The album sneaks up on you with the goods. I was first enticed by the opener “Free At Dawn”; it is the gateway. “No Stranger” and “Breathless” have you hooked, but the most recent obsession for this album is “Only A Shadow”. Seeing it live, best track honors – for now…

Honrable Mentions – I didn’t want to be redundant, but Majical Coudz and Young Galaxy rank high on my plays, as does the Shout Out Louds record. I guess we have to mention Kurt Vile? <- Mentioned. Andre Obin's Arsonist is #6.

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