This list of releases below demonstrates what a top year for musical talent 2013 was, and I reckon that all these release deserve their place in your collection enjoy :)
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
A daft punk release is always met with a large amount of trepidation and this release was no different. Whilst there might have been an assumption that the band would go towards the EDM direction which a lot of bands are doing at the moment. This was daft punk and they always do their own thing. What they did do is enlist the help of a Disco legend Nile Rogers of Chic fame and an R&B superstar Pharrell Williams to produce a vintage yet fresh sounding album. You could not escape the catchy melody of ‘Get Lucky’ in the summer and ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’s disco guitars drew the listener in. Although the rest of the album used synths and vocoders and felt a little flat. They made it ok to like disco again with the help of some friends.
Willy Moon - Here's Willy Moon
Some things go together, like bangers and mash ,bat and ball, sugar and spice etc. but 50s rockabilly and digital production? surely not likely. One listen to smash hit ‘Yeah Yeah’ and its clear to see what this New Zealander was doing wasn’t such a bad idea after all. In fact its inspired especially on the prime cut from Willy’s debut album ‘my girl’ which sounds like a lost 50s rock n roll track fed through a synthesiser. With ‘Here’s Willy Moon’, in 2013, he breathed fresh life into old beloved genre and everyone was invited.
Haim - Days Are Gone
The LA three piece were one of the most talked about bands this year. Not only did they showcase their talent of crafting a mix of R&B and country with hooks aplenty but their live shows were joyous and unhinged showing all aspects of their personality and talent. They brought a fresh and honest perspective to a frankly stale music scene, not always politically correct but never boring and we loved them for it. Whether it was the breezy pop of Forever or the smooth stylings of ‘Go Slow’. Occasionally they edged too close to their obvious influences Fleetwood Mac et al but they managed to stamp their personality to stop it getting all too familiar.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
This represented a departure from his other guise as one part of bluesy rock act Grinderman which had a heavier sound towards an altogether restrained and softer approach. Despite this change of direction Cave doesn’t lose any of his power of storytelling and still remains an interesting lyricist. With songs like the slowbuilding melodic ‘Jubilee Street’ which has to be one of the loveliest songs he has written and the restrained ‘We Real Cool’ even manages to have a menacing undertone to it even though it has a sparse accompaniment with Cave crooning ‘ I hope your listening’ on it. It would be inexcusable to mention Warren Ellis here as its his instrumental washes on the tracks that really makes the album stand out.
David Bowie - The Next Day
David Bowie - The Next Day
When the chameleon of pop announced he was releasing a new album it was almost like liquid dream that people never thought they would bear witness too. but this was actually happening. Bowie recorded his new album with former producer and collaborator Tony Visconti. The first fruits of this renewed partnership was ‘ Where are we now’ which depicted Bowie in contemplative mood and perfectly translated into what he meant to people and to the music landscape. The rest of the album harked back to his exploits as Ziggy and his 'Heathen' and 'Reality' releases but on this effort it looks like he has got more to say and it won’t be too long till we have another LP from him.
Lorde - Pure Heroine
One of the most talked about celebrities this year was Miley Cyrus and her controversial outfits and performances. It was heartening to think that contrary to this carcrash there were still some actual new songwriting talent up and coming who were all about the music rather than the glamour.Step forward new zealander Lorde with her own brand of R&B and Indie. Take 'Royals' which deals with teenage dreams of being famous yet also understands that she is still young at 16 and therefore appreciates she is still a teenager as on tennis court. Her self-informed lyrics and minimalist production are a striking combination and show why she is a revered talent and unlike some she doesn’t have to show some skin to be noticed.
Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe
When ‘Lies’ came out its throbbing synths and sweet but deadly female vocals heralded a new band that was set to change the ideas of what Glasgow was capable of. What really made them stand out was their combination of electro pop and the dark lyrics. Recover showed that this band were pleasant to listen to but had bite. Mother We Share showcased their softer side as Lauren’s vocals took on an altogether new register. It all added up to an album that was sinister in conception but also boasted some brilliant pop hooks and angelic vocals that brought some much needed lightness to proceedings.
Dutch Uncles - Out of Touch in the Wild
Another reason why all the best music was coming from Manchester. The Uncles new release arrived at the beginning of the year and captivated and impressed in equal measure with its jerky guitar art-pop rhythms and bursts of strings. Out Of Touch in the Wild is all over the place and shouldn’t work but the reason it does is because its has a pop sensibility running throughout as evident on classy numbers ‘ flexxin ‘ and the jumpy ‘fester’ . Rather than over-egg their music as some bands tend to do, they still have the personality and talent to match and in lead vocalist Duncan Wallis a voice you can while away the hours to.
London Grammar - If You Wait
The first thing that strikes you about the band is Hanna's commanding yet stunningly beautiful vocal. Its easy to feel every emotion she feels and the minimalist electronic backing provides the perfect backing for her strong vocals. Having been referred to as Florence meets the XX, the band are so much more. There is an emotional honesty to their lyrics and the restrained yet of their music is captivating. When ‘Hey Now’ was released earlier on in the year it showcased their exquisite songcraft for all to see. ‘Strong’ expanded on this and became almost an anthem in waiting. The album had treats galore and if you waited till the end, there was even a cover of Kandinsky’s Nightcall which was breathtaking - a brilliant debut album and almost grabs the top spot.
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
With every release Brooklyn's the National have been forging their own musical identity. They have always remained true to the song unafraid to emotionally bear their souls. There was a danger that with 2010s High Violet they might be looking towards the mainstream but their obscurity of their lyrics and carefully crafted songs ensured this was not the case.'Trouble Will Find Me could be their most personal yet accessible collection yet. Its a mixture of restrained beautiful instrumentals as on ‘Slipped’ based around Matt Berningers introspective lyrics and occasional orchestral Swells as on the surging ‘Graceless’ complete with backing harmonies. . One can't help but be floored by the stunning ballad 'I Need My Girl' and admire the slowburning brilliance of 'Demons' Whilst not as immediate as 'High Violet' it gradually worms its way in and rewards with repeat listens and then you have a new favourite. All in all a captivating record that showcases an established band at the top of their game and a worthy No.1 of 2013.