December 19, 2013

2013's Lost Gems & Surprise Hits: Part I - Music
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

2013's Lost Gems & Surprise Hits: Part I - Music

You've seen all but No. 1 in our Albums of the Year for 2013, but now for something a little different. Here we round up some of the albums that should should have been bigger, and some that were bigger than anyone expected....

Lost Gems

Daniel Avery - Drone Logic

Daniel Avery’s debut album is an oddity even within its own genre: an acid-house / techno record that sounds quite unlike anything else you will hear this year. Since the release of Drone Logic on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound label in October, Avery’s record has been quietly creeping onto 2013 ‘best-of’ lists all over the internet, everywhere from The Quietus to The Guardian. Growing up in Bournemouth mostly listening to guitar music, Avery was a late arrival to the dance scene, but this hasn’t stopped him producing one of the genre’s best records this year. Hypnotic, infectious and utterly compelling, Avery is surely set for big things in 2014.

Young Knives - Sick Octave

The fourth album from the Leicestershire trio sees them ditch the tweed outfits and get nasty. Speaking to hmv.com in October, frontman Henry Dartnall explained how they decided to record the album themselves and try and get to the core of their musical tastes. The resulting LP is a lot more industrial than their usual fare, but they haven’t lost their ability to come up with an infectious hook or two. Highlights include ‘White Sands’ and the brilliant but unsettling ‘Maureen’, featuring a protagonist who falls somewhere between well-meaning neighbour and obsessive stalker. Sick Octave is a slab of gnarly post-punk that finds the band in their best form since their debut, Voices of Animals and Men.

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap

Another artist who is surely going to become one to watch in 2014, Chicago’s Chancellor Bennett, better known as Chance The Rapper, uploaded this mixtape to free download platform DatPiff in April this year. At the time of writing, the number of downloads has now exceeded 250,000, enough to be certified platinum, and was nominated for Best Mixtape at this year’s BET awards. Chance has caught the attention of the likes of Childish Gambino, for whom he has been the opening act on his recent tour, and it seems inevitable he will break through next year. The album also features Action Bronson, Nate Fox and Twista among others, and is still available to download for free.

Young Knives
Young Knives
Chance The Rapper
Chance The Rapper

Surprise Hits

Bastille - Bad Blood

Coming from almost nowhere to beat the likes of Stereophonics and Dido to the No. 1 spot in the album charts back in March, Bastille’s debut has been one of the more unlikely chart successes in 2013, but that’s not to say it doesn’t deserve to be up there. The London-based band’s sound is pure pop music and while it’s not an album that reinvents the wheel, Bad Blood is packed with earworms and sing-along choruses. We all should have seen it coming, really…

The Lumineers - The Lumineers

Denver-based band The Lumineers are another act to take the charts by storm almost without warning, their eponymous debut having sold over 1.5m copies worldwide, making it one of the year’s biggest albums. Formed in New Jersey in 2005, the folk-rockers have spent several years paying their dues on the live circuit before their unlikely chart success. When their first single, ‘Ho Hey’ was featured on the finale of Hart of Dixie, radio stations began picking it up and before long they had become a national sensation, their album steadily climbing for 90 to 2 in the Billboard charts.

Passenger - All The Little Lights

Now, to call this album a slow-burner would be an understatement. Brighton-based singer-songwriter Mike Rosenberg, a.k.a. Passenger, had been toiling away in almost total obscurity for several years, releasing 3 albums, all of which failed to chart. In February 2012 he released album No. 4, All The Little Lights, which looked destined for a similar fate, but by November this year it had broken into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and shifted over a million copies, now standing in the Top 25 biggest-selling albums worldwide in 2013. So what changed? His biggest break has been supporting Ed Sheeran on his world tour, particularly in Australia, where his album has been certified 7x platinum.

Come back tomorrow for our Lost Gems & Surprise Hits 2013 Part II - Film

Daniel Avery - Taste

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