50. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
18. Aaron Freeman – Gener’s Gone
17. Múm – Smilewound
16. Arcade Fire – Reflector
15. William Onyeabor – Who is William Onyeabor?
14. Atoms For Peace – Amok
13. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
12. Mice Parade – Candela
11. Hebronix – Unreal
49. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
48. Phish – Wingsuit
47. Marnie Stern – Chronicles of Marnia
46. Benny Yurco – Golden Generosity
45. Rachel Zeffira – The Deserters
44. Savages – Silence Yourself
43. Heidecker & Wood – Some Things Never Stay The Same
42. Akron/Family – Sub Verses
41. Junip – Junip
40. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
39. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
38. Foals – Holy Fire
37. Yuck – Glow and Behold
36. Paper Castles – Vague Era
35. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
34. White Denim – Corsican Lemonade
33.Steve Jenkins and The Coaxial Flutter – Steve Jenkins and The Coaxial Flutter
32. Parquet Courts –Tally All the Things You Broke
31. Paul McCartney – New
30. Futurebirds – Baby Yaga
29. Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving
28. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
27. Yo La Tengo – Fade
26. Mikal Cronin – MCII
25. Thundercat – Apocalypse
24. The Flaming Lips – The Terror
23. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
22. Volcano Choir – Repave
21. Deerhunter – Monomania
20. Deafheaven – Sunbather
19. Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound and God
10. My Bloody Valentine – mbv
22 years after their last record, the masterpiece Loveless, Kevin Shields and company magically create the perfect sequel. Still the definitive sound of shoegaze, albeit a touch more aggressive this time around, this album is a music nerd’s wet-dream. If everyone’s favorite defunct bands were able to pull off a return like this, reality would be a different place.
9. Dr. Dog – B-Room
My favorite band of the modern age does it once again – tunes that get deeper upon each listen, timeless compositions that stand up to the entire pantheon of rock, and the ability to lock into the window of my soul. Tobe’s songwriting reached a new peak on B-Room, and it’s astonishing to realize that these records are just going to keep on coming.
8. Kurt Vile – Wakin On a Pretty Daze
Probably the most prolific artist alive right now, Vile is like a fountain of killer songs. This is folk-rock for people who cringe when James Taylor comes on the radio. Gritty, beautiful, raw, humble, intelligent, modern, timeless, and essential. If you’ve got friends who think all new music sucks, this is the album that will convince them to start paying attention again.
7. Local Natives – Hummingbird
Showing impressive maturity from their 2010 debut, these guys are on their way to writing a perfect album. Hummingbird comes pretty close – at times a touch too drifty, but at other times a magnificent triumph of pulsing psych-folk. “Columbia” is easily my most listened to song of the year; brutal heart-quiver music that is a relentless dispenser of neck chills.
6. Haim – Days Are Gone
It feels like my guilty pleasure of 2013, but it’s a fucking incredible album front to back. Part 1980’s Heart, part folky Fleetwood Mac, part En Vogue – the Haim sisters sound like honor students at the school of bad-ass women in rock music. Perhaps the most impressive debut record in years, the modern sonic landscape is blessed to have these girls on board. They’re only going to get huger, and I can’t wait to hear what comes next.
5. Cayucas – Bigfoot
Definitely my most listened to album of the year. I’ll call it groove-folk-rock but it’s really just a bunch of dudes writing great songs that come naturally to them. A brilliant sense of minimalism makes the melodic turns echo brightly, and every song on the record seemingly deserves an instant repeat listen. Killer tunes, punchy instrumentation, and a sense of light-hearted wonder that would make this hard for anybody to hate on – the cheese pizza of 2013 records.
4. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of The City
The fact that both Rolling Stone and Pitchfork put this record at number one is a testament to its all encompassing amazing-ness. The pretentious undertones of the first two records have magically vanished, as well as their dependency on the afro-beat via Columbia University game-plan. The radio singles fall a touch too deeply on the same routine that brought them initial fame, but it’s the deep cuts that cut deep. I didn’t want to like this record, and I ended up becoming fully enamored with it.
3. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic
LSD, The Byrds, smoking joints in the San Francisco fog, paisley, folky Rolling Stones songs, a nice cup of tea – these are the first things this album brings to mind. A perfect inducer of the technicolor daydream, this is the definitive psych-folk record in a year of endlessly wondrous psych-folk. If this was on cassette and it got stuck in your car, it’d be one of those albums that you wouldn’t mind listening to every day until your Civic’s transmission blew out. Hell of a fuckin’ record.
2. Wavves – Afraid Of Heights
I don’t claim to be a true connoisseur of punk-rock, and I’m fully aware this isn’t a true “punk” album, but this is what I want punk to be – angst and power wrapped up in great melodies and interesting songwriting. Every song evolves into the next like an early Grateful Dead record. It’s almost like if Kurt Cobain didn’t hate hippies. In many ways, this is 2013’s ode to the power of your Mom’s garage, despite whatever studio it was recorded in. Definitely my most surprising infatuation of the year, but I can’t get enough of it.
1. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Some people hated it because it strayed from the rave’s dance-floor. Other people hated it because they think it’s pompous. The rest hated it because people love to hate on hype. But have no doubt, RAM is a true masterpiece. The robots surprised everyone, including their most rabid fans with what this record turned out to be – rather than relying on one catchy, repetitive groove, they focused on the true art of composition. This is art, and this is beauty, and this is the true manipulation of time and sound to impart an emotional connection. Not only did it spawn a hit that nobody seems to mind hearing 500 times, but it uses that hit to draw folk into the inner depths of what intelligent music can and should be.