We've been compiling our Best of 2013 lists for a while now. Here's the combined efforts of Amoebloggers who submitted their favorite albums of 2013, compiled in a quasi-scientific fashion.
It should come as no surprise that the favorite record of the year from a bunch of record store geeks was My Bloody Valentine's long-awaited return with mbv.
"A year heavy with vets, but no one had anybody more excited than My Bloody Valentine (this guy included.) The logical follow-up to Loveless – 22 years later – and it’s a total stunner. mbv is MBV doing what they do best, and quite certainly, it was worth all those delays and the epic wait. It has familiarity that’s instant, but still pushes guitar rock into new terrains like no one else can." —Aaron Detroit
The Knife's divisive fourth studio album was a favorite amongst those who were up for the challenge from the Swedish experimental duo.
"As always, The Knife mean to disturb and provoke you, and Shaking the Habitual represents their most adventurous statement to date." —Oliver/Matt/Jordan
Grouper's ambient-folk release The Man Who Died in His Boat won her new fans with its increased emphasis on melody.
"Gorgeous, ethereal hymns. Liz Harris’s companion piece (of sorts) to 2008’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill… is her most accessible work to date and her most infectious while maintaining Grouper’s aural haze and dark themes (The title track is based on a true story of young Harris finding a dead body.)" —Aaron Detroit
We love synth pop like no other at Amoeba, and Chvrches did it better than anyone has in years on The Bones of What You Believe.
"Simply an electro-pop record. Yet The Bones of What You Believe had the best reaching-for-the-heavens pop hooks of any other record this year. Every song seems to pack some emotional punch or surprise that leaves you reeling." —Billy Gil
Boards of Canada's return in 2013 ranked with mbv as the most exciting comeback of the year.
"It reminded me why I first fell in love with electronic music. It really takes you to places that no other music can." —Brad Schelden
"A loose and heavy on one-take modular synth recordings. The album stands in contrast to a deluge deluge of predictable, compressed dance productions." —Oliver/Matt/Jordan
Everyone and their mother was on board with this record.
"How could I not love an album with Giorgio Moroder, Paul Williams, Nile Rodgers & Pharrell. The album is near perfect and was an easy pick for one of my favorites of the year. "—Brad Schelden
Arcade Fire got dancier on their acclaimed latest album.
"An incredibly solid album, one that holds your interest throughout its long running time with the welcome addition of vintage dance beats they simultaneously explore and lambast. Reflektor is a conflicted listen, one that aims to please while offering social and musical observation, but it’s never less than engrossing." —Billy Gil
Shoegaze lovers Brad and I went nuts for this one.
"This is one of the albums that I can easily lose myself in and listen to on repeat. Like the best albums it just keeps getting better the more I listen to it." —Brad Schelden
Julia Holter's intellectual pop became more humanistic on this gorgeous album.
"Holter loosens up her academic garb on Loud City Song for a brilliant song-cycle partially inspired by the musical film Gigi." —Billy Gil
Singer-songwriter Kurt Vile got his best reviews and biggest audience with the chilled-out rock of Wakin' on a Pretty Daze.
"He just mellows me out whenever I listen to him. Nothing can bother me when I got my Kurt Vile." —Brad Schelden
Combined with No Love Deep Web, the combative Death Grips gave us a wealth of great content this year. Look for a physical release hopefully in 2014!
"There is no blueprint here, Death Grips are obliterating everything in front of them to form their own path." —Aaron Detroit
"Autre Ne Veut is like an R&B version of Antony & The Johnsons. R. Kelly mixed with Marc Almond. ...He has a unique take on pop music." —Brad Schelden
"Veronica Falls just can do no wrong. Another perfect catchy indie pop album." —Brad Schelden
"Monae continues her far-out Sci-fi-Soul Metropolis song-cycle; following the continuing saga of 'archandroid' Cindi Mayweather on Suites 4 & 5: The Electric Lady. She enlists some serious help from like-minded heavy-hitters (Prince, Erykah Badu, Miguel and Solange ) with infectious results." ——Aaron Detroit
"El-P and Killer Mike both released excellent albums last year. This year they were just having a lot of fun as Run the Jewels, and oops they did it again, releasing a set of 10 too-much-fun jammers capped off with the now-appropriate “A Christmas Fucking Miracle.” Look for part two next year!" —Billy Gil
"Monomania is the first LP by Deerhunter since they revamped their line-up, and so it makes sense that this is a slightly different animal than their previous offerings. It’s noisey as hell and blatantly queer yet still manages to be their most consistently accessible LP to-date." —Aaron Detroit
"I really don't see how you can't fall in love with HAIM. They are like a modern version of Fleetwood Mac. This is one of the great pop albums of the year." —Brad Schelden
"This album is sort of all over the place and lands somewhere in between twee and hardcore. It is a super fun ride though." —Brad Schelden
"It’s not the hip-hop opus that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was; it’s something different (from that or anything else, for that matter), and it’s equally as great. An industrial, punishing listen that ultimately leads to high rewards, it’s as close to art as pop music got in 2013." —Billy Gil
"A massive set from the Ukranian purveyor of all things deep. As with most Vakula releases, the producer's adroit musicianship sits alongside an preternatural understanding of atmosphere." —Oliver/Matt/Jordan
"A romantic post-punk and melancholic industrial-pop LP from members of Iceage, Sexdrome and Lust for Youth. An aural salute to young manhood and male bonding with nods to mid-80’s Coil and early The Cure." —Aaron Detroit
24. Little Wings - LAST
25. DJ Frane - Hi Dusty Stranger
Amoeblogger Billyjam's top pick of the year! (Self-Released)
"No guitars, no dubstep breaks, no angular post-punk posturing. Jack Barnett & Co. look to 20th century composers and Fado for inspiration on their third LP." —Aaron Detroit
"The signature Souleyman sound — that commanding, sweaty dance party-starting Dabke sound — is all up on this record only this time it's more visceral, more crystalline and more brilliant than ever." —Kelly S. Osato
"The 16 track album is an all killer, no filler hip-hop release that finds these two talented artists at their best ..." —Billyjam
"Quite honestly, it’s his best since his last great LP—33 years ago—Scary Monsters. This isn’t anything but Bowie being himself, but the emotional weight of his lyrics give the new tracks a vitality missing from much of his work in the previous decade." —Aaron Detroit
"Daniel Lopatin's solo followup to the acclaimed Replica album is a feverish experience. Whereas Replica dealt in moods and atmospheres, at times calling to mind classic Brian Eno records, R Plus Seven jumps around in a surreal fashion—it's less dreamlike in the sense of the descriptor, yet more like an actual dream." —Billy Gil
31. Various Artists - Community Skratch Music Volume 4
"It's an all killer, no filler power pop teenage dream in worn denim and leatherette -- ripped, faded, lean in all the right places." —Kelly S. Osato
"This record was a grower for me. Its influences (The Banshees, Joy Division, Patti Smith) so obvious at first that they were a distraction from the album’s ferocity and vital juices. Sure, innovative it is not but it’s passion and idealism is refreshing and exhilarating in the current pop music sea of nihilism and brand pushing." —Aaron Detroit
"Vinyl release of the sprawling full-length from Omar-S. The collection of 13 previously unreleased tracks feel suitably epic, the producer flexing his ability to tackle a diversity of styles with a hat tip to the album form." —Oliver/Matt/Jordan
35. DJ ADA - The Work Album
"The DJ/producer/multi-instrumentalist's fifth studio album in eleven years and perhaps his best to date." —Billyjam
"By my estimation, this is a perfect balance of everything M.I.A. has done up until now with one foot forward. Its sequence focuses on keeping the party going, while Maya’s taunts, one-liners and rhymes are sharper than ever. Modern music needs M.I.A.!" —Aaron Detroit
"Dense, full of dark, foreboding atmosphere, heart and heat. Drifters/Love is the Devil is an unsettling, yet completely immersive listen, creating an evocative world from looping rockabilly riffs, gritted-teeth vocals and found sounds." —Billy Gil
"No kick drums, all synths set for transcendence." —Oliver/Matt/Jordan
40. Egyptian Sports Network - Interstitial Luxor
"It's a real far out spacer ... a collaborative effort by Matt Mondanile (Ducktails) and Spencer Clark [that is] worth listening to at both 33 and 45 rpm." —Kelly S. Osato
"Intense, confrontational and instantly classic power electronics/industrial from NYC’s Margaret Chardiet. The maggots on the LP jacket should warn you that Pharmakon is not everyone’s type of racket." —Aaron Detroit
Collects 12-tracks made by Madlib and alter-ego Quasimoto over a roughly 12-year period. A few were released on rare & out-of-print vinyl, while others are previously unreleased, now mixed and mastered for the first time. A “must have” from one of the most creative and fearlessly skewed creators in hip-hop.
"This band riiiips! As with most any band, the Hot Lunch record does not nearly capture the shreddy energy of their live show, but if you listen to it loud enough you're kind of half there." —Kelly S. Osato
"The album captures that perfect mix of twee, dream pop, synthy new wave and shoegaze that I love ... full of addictive and dreamy pop songs." —Brad Schelden
46. Mammatus - Heady Mental
"Coastal rockers Mammatus recently dropped the smokiest brain-bomb of mind-blowing extended heavy lifters called H eady Mental . I'm still crawling out from underneath it." —Kelly S. Osato
"I sometimes can't decide if I think this album is ridiculous or amazing. But I usually side with amazing. He has a voice like Nick Cave or Stan Ridgway. The album is sort of a mix of Country and New Wave." — Brad Schelden