I know–2013 isn’t over–YET! But with temps in the single digits and holiday madness all around, now seems to be the perfect time to give the gift of amazing music to get you through these unnaturally short days.
All of these albums came out between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013. According to my Spotify playlist, I have checked out approximate 238 new EPs and albums this year. Some only got a passing listen, others caught my attention and were rewarded with a “drive” (being selected as driving music is a high honor in my listening hierarchy) and some became my go-to albums of the year earning repeated listens, personal relevancy and legitly downloaded status. I’ve narrowed the list down to 20 albums. (And I call them albums because I actually still buy albums, too.)
My list seems a lot more musically varied this year compared to year’s past. I’m pretty confident that everyone could find something that they will also love on this list. Hopefully, one or more will obtain the ultimate reward of a paid download from you, too.
1. Woman, Rhye: My favorite album of the year from the first listen. Sexy, relaxed, and beautiful–just the way love should be.
2. Settle, Disclosure: This albums sounds like an instant party–and it is–but a closer listen also reveals the dance floor is crowded with loneliness, longing and heartbreak.
3. Hummingbird, Local Natives: California rock done to perfection.
4. Overgrown, James Blake: Deserving of the Mercury Prize, this album is best in headphones, in your car or while soaking in a bath.
5. Days Are Gone, Haim: More California rock, but this time from three sisters. Irresistible.
6. If You Leave, Daughter: This is the sound of my heart breaking.
7. The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars: A documentary of love, loss and respect.
8. The Golden Age, Woodkid: Big, dramatic and wicked cool. This dude clearly loves the cinema.
9. Repave, Volcano Choir: Kinda like a rock version of a Bon Iver album–but more spontaneous feeling, less polished and without as much Justin Vernon falsetto–and I still love it.
10. Reflektor, Arcade Fire/Trouble Will Find Me, The National/Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend: Cheating–I know–but they are all so pro! It seems too obvious to include them individually and not give some attention to other albums. But yeah–these are totally great!
11. Holy Fire, Foals: The UK definitely knows how make solid rock music. And Foals is one of the best at it. (And Arctic Monkeys put out a pretty great example this year, too. If you like this, make sure to check that one out.)
12. Avalanche, Quadron: Same producer as Rhye, so you know it has great slow jams. But Coco O.’s voice and delivery make this a completely different experience. Get on this now–she’s gonna be a huge star!
13. Ultramarine, Young Galaxy: I have the great blog Gorilla vs. Bear to thank for this one. This album just kept rising back to the top.
14. Pushin’ Against a Stone, Valerie June: I can’t explain my new found appreciation for female-centric country music this year, but this album was the best of them all. I can’t wait to see her live.
15. The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake: Definitely worth the wait! (Although I’m more of a disc one girl.)
16. Shulamith, Polica: Finding their confidence + realizing Channy Leaneagh is a star = excellent sophomore album. (But I hate the album cover.)
17. Pain is Beauty, Chelsea Wolfe: Way darker than I usually go, this album completely drew me in and won me over.
18. The Bones of What You Believe, Chvrches: I was reluctant to embrace Chvrches. Perhaps it was the hype, or that I didn’t LOVE “The Mother We Share” like everyone else did. But when “Recover” softened me and my sister wore me down, I gave them the full driving experience–and yeah–they are great.
19. Nothing Was the Same, Drake: I unabashedly love Drake. Period.
20. Goldenheart, Dawn Richard: This album came out in January, and I’m still not tired of it. Groovy, cool and heartfelt. I fell in love with her voice on Diddy Dirty Money, but she was discovered as a member of Danity Kane. I’m cautiously optimistic about their recently announced reunion. (So don’t hold that against her. Girl’s gotta make money–and she seems pretty cool.)
Here’s a link to all of the albums on Spotify! Enjoy!