Amoeba Bloggers' 50 Favorite Albums of 2013

Posted by Billy Gil, December 31, 2013 02:20pm | Post a Comment

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.

1. My Bloody Valentine - mbv

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



2. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual

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





3. Grouper - The Man Who Died in His Boat

grouper the man who died in his boat amoebaGrouper'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




4. Chvrches -The Bones Of What You Believe

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





5. Boards Of Canada -Tomorrow's Harvest

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






6. James HoldenInheritors (LP)

amoeba james holden "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







7. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

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






8. Arcade Fire Reflektor

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





9. Weekend Jinx

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






10. Julia Holter Loud City Song

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






11. Kurt Vile - Wakin' On A Pretty Daze

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






12. Death Grips - Government Plates

death grips amoebaCombined 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





13. Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety

"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







14. Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen

"Veronica Falls just can do no wrong. Another perfect catchy indie pop album." —Brad Schelden







15. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady

janelle monae the electric lady amoeba"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






16. Run the Jewels Run the Jewels

"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






17. Deerhunter - Monomania

deerhunter monomania amoeba"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






18. Tropic Of Cancer - Restless Idylls

"It reminds me of the dark wave gothy vocals of Zola Jesus. It also reminds me of the darker moments of an album by This Mortal Coil or even Slowdive." —Brad Schelden







19. HAIM - Days Are Gone

"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







20. Joanna Gruesome Weird Sister

"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







21. Kanye West Yeezus

kanye west yeezus amoeba"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






22. Vakula - You've Never Been to Konotop (Selected Works 2009-2012) (CD)

"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







23. Var - No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers

var no one dances quite like my brother amoeba"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

"I urge anyone interested in this two-fer plate of odd hip-hop with a lotta folk-rockin' goin' on to check it out as it'd be redundant to put further shine on this diamond." —Kelly S. Osato





25. DJ Frane - Hi Dusty Stranger

dj frane amoebaAmoeblogger Billyjam's top pick of the year! (Self-Released)








26. These New Puritans - Field of Reeds

these new puritans amoeba"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







27. Omar Souleyman - Wenu Wenu

"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







28. Illogic & Blockhead - Capture The Sun

illogic blockhead capture the sun amoeba"The 16 track album is an all killer, no filler hip-hop release that finds these two talented artists at their best ..." —Billyjam







29. David Bowie - The Next Day

david bowie the next day amoeba"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






30. Onoehtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven

"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







32. Warm Soda - Someone for You

warm soda amoeba"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







33. SavagesSilence Yourself

savages silence yourself amoeba"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






34. Omar-S - Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Part 1 (LP) & Part 2 (LP)

"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

dj ada the work albumSelf-released








36. RJD2 - More Is Than Isn't

"The DJ/producer/multi-instrumentalist's fifth studio album in eleven years and perhaps his best to date." —Billyjam







37. M.I.A. - Matangi

"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






38. Dirty Beaches Drifters/Love is the Devil

"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







39. Donato DozzyPlays Bee Mask

donato dozzy plays bee amoeba"No kick drums, all synths set for transcendence." —Oliver/Matt/Jordan








40. Egyptian Sports Network - Interstitial Luxor

egyptian sports network amoeba"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







41. Pharmakon - Abandon

pharmakon abandon amoeba"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







42. Quasimoto - Yessir, Whatever

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.






43. Hot Lunch - Hot Lunch

"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







44. Minks - Tides End

"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







45. Jonsson & Alter - 2








46. Mammatus - Heady Mental

mammatus heady mental amoeba"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







47. DJ Koze - Amygdala

dj koza amygdala amoeba








48. Daughn Gibson Me Moan

"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






49. Forest Swords - Engravings

forest swords engravings amoeba"Brit producer Matthew Barnes’ aural universe on Engravings is all at once creepy, dreary and lovely. Dubby beats, spidery (and occasionally doomy) guitar-lines, glitchy and ghostly voices make this your new essential rainy day listening." —Aaron Detroit
50. Blouse - Imperium
"Whereas Blouse's debut record was a wonderfully bleary synth-pop record, their follow-up, Imperium, ditches the synths for smart, new wave-inspired dream pop that suits the band well." —Billy Gil
Contributors' individual lists:
Billy Gil
Brad Schelden
Aaron Detroit
Kelly S. Osato

Relevant Tags

Weekend (12), Daft Punk (19), James Holden (5), Boards Of Canada (10), Chvrches (8), The Knife (10), Grouper (11), My Bloody Valentine (33), Best Of 2013 (24), Arcade Fire (23), Julia Holter (22)