Albums We’ve Loved In 2013

Yes yes oh yay. Here we are again. As we look forward to the year that’s to come, here’s a quick look back at the one that’s just passed. There have been numerous albums over the course of the last twelve months that have really inspired us and (as we do every year) we wanted to share some of the ones we’ve loved with you. This time around, as a little addition to the tradition, we’ve also written a little bit about why each album is worth a mention. Give us a shout if there are any you’ve loved that you think we should hear. Wishing you all a very happy new year.


Everything Everything
Ben: “Simply one of the bands I really wish I had seen live in 2013.”


Local Natives
Kamal: “Hummingbird strikes me as being slightly tinged with sadness, but it definitely doesn’t suffer as a result. It’s indie music, but from the gut. Each song feels carefully and deliberately arranged without being too self-conscious, and the feel of the the album flows from delicate to mammoth with ease. Any band that seem just as stoked to be playing the Brudenell in Leeds as they were to be on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon three days later definitely know the score.”


Ólafur Arnalds
For Now I Am Winter
Ben: “The master of the felt piano returns with a beautifully crafted, honestly simple album of ethereal compositions.”


The North Borders
Kamal: “This is a great progression from 2010’s Black Sands, with more great vocal features, carefully-crafted beats and unassuming hooks. The production is lush and soulful and has a real depth to it. Every time I’ve put this on where other people are listening, someone has asked who it is.”


The Golden Age
Ben: “Just listen to it… it’s massive and he’s a positive enigma.”


Kick Snare And An Idea
Kamal: “Ty has both the lyrics and the beats. There’s a true hip-hop aesthetic at the core of both his production and his approach to promotion, and this set of EPs really demonstrate that. Ty is saying something serious here about the state of hip hop and the state of the world, but seems to be having a lot of fun doing it.”


Laura Mvula
Sing To The Moon
Ben: “One of the best voices I’ve heard in 2013 combined with a really unique writing style and unique production ultimately results in a delicate and fragile embrace for your ears.”


Fat Freddy’s Drop
Kamal: “They’ve never let me down. Fat Freddy’s Drop are a band who take time over their albums, and it shows. The tracks they put down in the studio are evidently strongly informed by their incredible live gigs (my best of the year I think), and this offering brings more reliably fresh dub/soul goodness with great songs at the core, which are then expanded them into huge progressive jams. Freddy is forever.”


Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience
Ben: “Having spoken to quite a few people about this album, this isn’t really what people were expecting and it appears that they have now mastered the idea of how to make tracks extremely long. However, I think this album is fantastic! The idea of going into a studio and writing and evolving while recording is so rare these days - it’s been crafted, evolved, lovingly and the final result is great.”

Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe
The Electric Lady
Kamal: “As you’d expect from Janelle Monae, this album has an almost exhausting amount to offer. It features great musicianship, strong songwriting across a range of styles, a classy leading lady, and a complete futuristic dystopian sci-fi concept, yet it still all comes together to make a cohesive whole. Oh, and to top it off there’s a feature from Prince. And he doesn’t appear on just anyone’s album.”


Ben: “A lesson in how to launch a new album if you’re really really famous. A perfect piece of PR and 450,000 units sold in the first 24 hours to prove it. However, underneath the fame and fortune is a fantastic album with some really different styles and seemingly new experiments for Beyonce. Really really like it.”


The National
Trouble Will Find Me
Kamal: “When I first listened to this I thought it was good, but I wasn’t overwhelmed. Now when I listen to it, I am. Every time. And I don’t know what happened in between. It’s often mournful and occasionally bleak. But it’s also very beautiful.”

- P.S. Though it doesn’t fit into the ‘albums’ category, we couldn’t go without mentioning Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City, because we absolutely loved it.