Best Albums of the Year: 2013
After my disappointment with 2012, this year came back with some great albums. I'm not going to bother to rank them, but here they are.
I've developed a fascination for Japanese Neo-Jazz when coding, but since I know no Japanese and little about Jazz, I'm going to have to leave it at that. As hardcore is to post-hardcore, so Jazz is to this genre. Technical, but short.
Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels
Basically the sequel to last year's fantastic debut from Killer Mike. I'll let Mike tell you why this album is awesome: "Producer gave me a beat. Said it's the beat of the year. I said El-P didn't do it. So get the fuck outta here." I agree.
The Hands That Thieve
The last Ska band of any quality has retired and this is their magnum opus. I'm not sure how you feel about Ska, but I'm begging you to give this a chance. The music is varied, technical and inventive. The lyrics are personal and positively atheistic.
Ling tosite sigure
Japaneses post-harcore shreding with Emo vocals. I don't understand a word of it, but honestly, how's that different than most of the metal screaming and growling I listen to. I'm not sure this trio is unheard of, but they were new to me and really made my year.
And So I Watch You From Afar
All Hail Bright Futures
This Belfast-based post-hardcore band, in addition to having an absolutely incredible live show, have released three straight albums of frenzied guitar and anthemy vocals. With their latest, they smooth things out and have become much more approachable.
The Cat Empire
Steal The Light
I have every single album by this Australian, Cuban-influenced, lounge band with both a scat singer and a middle-eastern-style warbler. They're all fantastic, but this one is accessible to everyone and incredibly charming. See them live. It's an experience.
Somewhere between post-rock, post-hardcore and hipster metal. This album is an absolute riot, drowning out any other thought you might be trying to have. As is becoming a trend with this list, this band is a must-see live.
This is 2013's version of The Postal Service. Great songs with a little electronic flair. I'm sure we'll be getting re-issued vinyl and reunion tours in a decade. Or maybe this 16 year old song-writer and musician will be so huge in 10 years she won't event think about this astounding debut.
Duh. Me, along with everyone who reviews music, loves this album. Kanye has balls. After the lush, operatic "Dark Fantasy," he reboots his sound with a sparse, industrial album he basically just threw together at the last minute. Don't over think it.
This chip-tune band, which has a spectacular live show with real instruments, finally took the promise of those live shows and put that into an album. Whereas before, they aped gameboy-style sound effects, now they're happy to simply be influenced by those sounds and that era. The album is put together fantastically with great songs throughout, a couple dancey numbers and even vocals this time around. Get the album. Go see them live.