While it’s trendy for most blogs to be the first to make their mark on the great Listopia by publishing months before the year has ended, this blog believes in living unfashionably. It also believes in relaxing over the Christmas and New Year period. And most of January. And February. So, while the music keeps on flowing, now’s a good time to look back on the best releases of last year, which already seems long gone in the rear mirror.
But wait, come back! There were some great releases. Do you remember when everyone got all excited about a re-release of a lo-fi punk band and some old dude who did some good stuff many years ago came back after many more years? How about the mega-band that tried to pretend they weren’t really a mega-band but some Haitian-infused popsters or when two Johns put out equally heart-stultifying records for utterly different reasons? You do? Then you’ll remember 2013 was a good year for music.
So, here we go, this is the HotSpotMusic rundown:
25. Wire - Change Becomes Us
24. Pinkunoizu - The Drop
23. Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
22. Local Natives - Hummingbird
21. Mikal Cronin - II
20. Jon Hopkins - Immunity
19. Baths - Obsidian
18. David Bowie - The Next Day
17. Bombino - Nomad
16. Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze
15. Daughter - If You Leave
14. Public Service Broadcasting - Inform Educate Entertain
13. Bill Callahan - Dream River
12. The Flaming Lips - The Terror
11. Phosphorescent - Muchacho
10. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Their catchiest songs ever only just held together the album
9. Julia Holter - Loud City Song
Ethereal, wispy and utterly transfixing
8. Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt
The nineties are back and sounding as carelessly angsty as ever
7. Arctic Monkeys - AM
A return to form with a slightly new sound from the boys from Sheffield
6. John Murry - The Graceless Age
Almost every line on this record is heartwrenching.
5. John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
Morose, witty and engaging - a synth John Grant is a wonderful thing
4. San Fermin - San Fermin
Joyous cacophony never sounded so good (well, since Dirty Projectors at least)
3. Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
The smarts of Pavement and the sound of the Modern Lovers
2. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City
Fulfilling potential with their sparkling magnum opus
And finally, introducing HotSpotMusic’s favourite album of 2013:
Savages - Silence Yourself
At the time, this blog referred to this record as “a pivotal album for the times, encouraging listeners to refocus away from the disposable or ephemeral and towards music as a powerful medium and serious art.” While time will tell whether or not that will be the case, one thing can be said for sure and that’s that there were fewer fresher sounds, fewer stronger messages and fewer compelling live acts in 2013 than Savages.
So there you have it: 2013’s best releases in a nutshell. And now here they are in a lovely playlist:
Here’s to 2014, as always….