My Top 10 Albums of 2013 by James Forryan
For every day of December, we're going to be bringing out the Top 10 albums or films of the year. Today it's the turn of one of our Editors: James picks his Top 10 for 2013
10. My Bloody Valentine: mbv
When Kevin Shields & Co. suddenly resurfaced this year with their first album for nearly two decades, the fervent online race to access their album stream almost broke the internet. It is a testament to the legacy of their 1991 masterpiece Loveless that a follow-up should be this eagerly anticipated after so many years and, crucially, it doesn’t disappoint.
9. El-P & Killer Mike: Run The Jewels
A collaboration album released for free this year by legendary Def Jux founder El-Producto and sometime Outkast collaborator Killer Mike, whose own album, R.A.P. Music, was one of the highlights of 2012’s hip hop calendar. Packed with El-P’s fizzing, futuristic production and Killer Mike’s southern-fried rap style, it’s not only one of the best hip hop albums of the year, but with a price tag of zero it’s an absolute no-brainer.
8. JJ DOOM: Key to the Kuffs
The second collaboration on this list is Jneiro Jarel & DOOM’s Key to the Kuffs. Banned from returning to U.S. soil, DOOM (a.k.a. Daniel Dumile) has been living in London and this record is packed with references to life in the capital both in subject matter and sonic textures. Not to be missed.
7. Tyler, The Creator: Wolf
Tyler and the rest of the Odd Future crew are doing some of the most inventive things in hip hop right now and this is Tyler at his playful, inventive, filthy best. Raw, funny, innovative and challenging, this is one of the most uniquely original albums in any genre this year.
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito
Karen O and the rest of Yeah Yeah Yeahs have reached a zenith in their careers; they have mastered their own niche. They balance creativity and credibility with some genuine radio gold on this record and their live show really is a class act. The opener, ‘Sacrilege’, is one of their finest ever.
5. Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
Easily one of the most anticipated releases in recent memory, thanks in no small part to a masterpiece of a marketing strategy, Daft Punk’s return has yielded the smash hit of the summer in ‘Get Lucky’, but the album reviews were mixed. Those expecting an electro-house classic were a little perplexed at being handed a gleaming disco record instead, but it is beautifully crafted and a brave musical experiment. Nile Rodgers’ contribution makes this one of 2013’s best.
4. The Knife: Shaking the Habitual
Sweden’s brother and sister duo The Knife have consistently released some of the most uncompromising and forward-thinking electronic music for many years now, but this is one of their best efforts yet. This record really pushes the envelope for what a dance record can be and its definitely one of my favourites this year.
3. Public Service Broadcasting: Inform, Educate, Entertain
PSB have had quite a year, coming from almost nowhere early this year with one of 2013’s most unique and brilliant records. Part electronic dance music, part pulsating alt-rock, all tied together with some carefully selected samples from Pathenews reels and cinematic archives. A truly original debut album with an absorbing live show to match.
2. Boards of Canada: Tomorrow’s Harvest
Another of the albums this year to arrive with a uniquely artful marketing campaign, Tomorrow’s Harvest is a return to from after the slightly disappointing Campfire Headphase. Darker, more brooding but still with BOC’s trademark playfulness and packed with hidden messages and references, it may even be their best yet.
1. Disclosure: Settle
Every now and then an album comes along that moves the goalposts for its genre, and in 2013 it was the turn of dance music to get its game-changer. The two young brothers from Surrey have smashed onto the scene over the last couple of years and their debut is a fine example of their potential. Unburdened by expectation and irreverently blatant in its homage to the UK garage music of the 90s, it somehow takes all of this and with the help of one or two well-chosen collaborators turns it something entirely fresh. I can’t put it on without dancing.