My Top 10 Albums of 2013 by hmv's Simon Eltringham
For every day of December, we're going to be bringing out a particular Top 10 albums or films of the year. Today it's the turn of one of our own as Simon Eltringham, one of the men responsible for our P.As and Instore events up and down the country, chooses his Top 10.
Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
"The Scottish brothers reawaken that flair for plucking sounds from the ether and furthermore rekindle the tension in their music for which they first established their avid fanbase. There's no central focus or stand out track on this record and its all the better for it. Nailing the unease of John Carpenter in his prime yet still managing to let some of the light shine in, Tomorrow's Harvest shifts and slowly unfolds itself towards a final reveal that never quite arrives, willing you to repeat the experience again and again."
Factory Floor - Factory Floor
"Coming good on the early demos, the band's metronomic debut nailed the driving analogue intensity that has characterised their live show. Whipping those thrilling, extended sessions into a taut and coherent long player that stands up to repeated listens, rather than pummels into submission."
Jagwar Ma - Howlin
"Woozy, narcotic and lushly layered samples give the Australian duo's debut a distinctly sun-soaked hue. Think Andrew Weatherall circa Screamadelica or imagine The Beach Boys wigging out at a Spectrum rave with some subtle assistance behind the desk from Ewan Pearson. Pitchfork regarded it as a "backwards looking record about loving the present moment" I'll happily take a few more moments like this."
Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
"Seemingly much more comfortable as a Blood Orange now rather than a Lightspeed Champion, Dev Hynes has decamped to New York, delivering a rather melancholic record that treats it's subjects and a plethora of guest artists with a tender reverence. Soulful, funky and with the occasional disco lick, this is an after hours long player for down town night crawlers."
The Phoenix Foundation - Fandango
"A leisurely paced, double disc affair which rides from shiny 80s pop via space rock and onwards into wistful psychedelics. It's 18 minute closer may over-stay it's welcome but the journey there more than makes amends for that."
Pet Shop Boys - Electric
"There was an uneasy feeling from some that with previous record 'Elysium' British pop's most successful double act had resigned themselves to watching the party from afar. Electric blew any such notions away in a blizzard of synths and was rightly hailed as their best work since Very - albeit closer in lineage to 'Introspective', the band's all-conquering floor-filling 1988 long player - and thanks in part to the guiding hand of production master Stuart Price."
Daniel Avery - Drone Logic
"Funky and metallic with serious nods to early releases on the Junior Boys Own record label (think Underworld's 'Rez' or The Chemical Brothers 'Loops Of Fury') but far from a derivative update, the new addition to Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound record label is a rocking slab of Acid House & Techno."
John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
"A rare, confessional record that made you empathise rather than roll your eyes. Gripping, growling synths belying the Icelandic influence of recording sessions in Reykjavik with co Producer Biggi Veira of the band GusGus. If Queen Of Denmark proved to be a easier record for fans to absorb quickly, this artistically courageous follow up is far more satisfying once you retune to it's starker electronics - which add a depth and intensity to Grant's songs that have been pretty much unmatched by anything else released this year."
Solar Bears - Supermigration
"The Irish duo followed up 2010's 'She Was Coloured In' with a mystic and psychedelic road trip of an album that nods to a myriad of influences from Röyksopp and Neu! to Madlib and Ennio Morricone as well as pulling in some superb guest appearances from both Sarah P of Keep Shelly In Athens and Beth Hirsch - notably repeating the trick from her work with Air on their 'Moon Safari' LP, on the beautiful Our Future Is Underground."
Still Corners - Strange Pleasures
"For all of it's 4AD nods, and opener 'The Trip' is awash with Liz Fraser vocal stylings and chiming guitars, Still Corners second LP on Sub Pop removes any chance of them being regarded in future as chill wave also-rans and much more tantalisingly, positions them atop a modern dream pop cloud. Easily allowing them to share the rarefied air alongside bloggers favourites Glass Candy and Chromatics, never mind Cocteau Twins or The Passions."