These are our top 10 albums for 2013, a year in review across all genres. The artists range from new, to known, to long awaited returns, but each of them was chosen for full album cohesiveness, longevity and originality. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.
10. Good Morning Blues | Cityreal & Wes Mackey
Blues and hip-hop are not two things that typically go well together, but this talented Vancouver beatmaker made it happen and made it work. Cityreal and Wes Mackey, have found a way to produce a full length album that reeks with the aesthetics of early blues recordings combined with smooth rhymes.
9. Miracle Mile | STRFKR
Miracle Mile, the most recent album from STRFKR, aka Starfucker, is a perfect summer album. The relaxed attitude with which the band performs shows well in the recorded music and Miracle Mile is no exception. This is a chill synthpop set of tracks that will take you back to warmer days with very little effort.
8. Sleep of Reason | Raffertie
Raffertie’s Sleep of Reason combines his classically trained technique with the forward electronic production that Ninja Tune tends to gravitate towards. Some tracks are more chill than others, but almost all of them give you a tingling feeling, goose bumps running down your back. A mild confusion perhaps, but the good kind, like waking up just before the alarm.
7. Letherette | Letherette
Letherette released a couple things this year, a self-titled album and a 2 single EP After Dawn, which contains two of the key songs from the full album. It’s not hard to say what makes this album worth keeping: the technicality of production, attention to detail and that rare originality that seeps through the entire album. This is the future of lounge music, the kind you’d want to listen to in a dimly lit room, on the beach, at work, under your sheets…
6. False Idols | Tricky
Tricky has been gone for a little while, but he came back this year with a more collected album – one he built in a way he can be proud of. False Idols comes back closer to Tricky’s roots with Massive Attack and that influence is very noticeable. The album has a solid progression from one track to another, growing deeper and in a way, sadder. It will have you bopping in no time, maybe even singing along, the lyrics are typically uncomplicated and catchy, combined with clean beats, drums and piano keys.
5. Woke Up Alone | Factor
Woke Up Alone is a concept album from Factor, an up and coming Canadian hip-hop artist. This a dark compilation of tracks – an ode to a passed love or a dead love affair, however you choose to look at it – laid out in a way no one has written about love before. It is raw, cold, and collected.
4. Invisible Life | Helado Negro
Helado Negro is one of those artists you discover through a friend, he’s not something that will show up on any of the “You might like this too” lists, likely due to the fact that it is not an entirely English language album. But despite the lack of popularity in North America, Helado Negro’s music, reminiscent to Junip and Bonobo, finds its own peaceful niche in that pocket of albums where the “music for a good day” lies. Invisible Life, beginning to end, is an all-encompassing pleasure trigger, kind of like that first ray of light on a summer day.
3. The North Borders | Bonobo
Bonobo’s recent album, The North Borders, is a work of art. Though the track origins are fairly minimalistic, the final productions are artfully crafted with live instruments and carefully picked out vocals. Much like Bonobo’s previous albums, The North Borders is not a heavy hitter in the party sense, but it is, without a doubt, one you would listen to over and over. The release was a hit, so much so that Bonobo had to double up on the tour through the cities he performed in earlier in the year.
2. Flume | Flume
Australia’s born and bred Flume has been the one to talk about over the year. Ever since “Holding On” came out in North America mid-January, it was inevitable that this kid will go places. Flume’s self-titled album was immediately a hit and one that will keep on giving even a year from now when you accidentally come across it on your playlist.
1. OutRun | Kavinsky
Kavinsky’s much anticipated concept album, OutRun, was probably the best way to kick off 2013. Though it came out in February, not much prior to OutRun made as much noise as the song “Nightcall”, that neatly wrapped around one of people’s favorite soundtracks, from Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. This one is like the 80s, you’ll just keep coming back to it every now and then to get a doze of surrealism.