2013 has been a milestone year for me. Having sold all my CDs in 2012 and moved to iTunes-only, this year I ditched iTunes in favour of the all-powerful Spotify. As a result, I’ve listened to more music than any other year, and discovered some incredible albums along the way.
Here they are:
Biffy Clyro kicked off the year with their follow-up to Only Revolutions. Chocked-full of anthemic rock and a quirkiness missing from previous albums, Opposites delivered another masterpiece. What other band could get away with including bagpipes and Mariachi brass on the same album?
I saw London-based Bastille supporting Two Door Cinema Club earlier this year, and they gave the headliners a run for their money. Their debut album is a brilliantly catchy pop record, with a distinctive 80s throwback sound, brimming with synths, electronica and hits aplenty.
While countless other hip-hop artists were rapping about Maybachs, Cristal and spending their millions, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis swept in with their fantastically refreshing debut, containing honest, down-to-earth songs about thrift shops, same-sex marriage, and the pains of getting signed.
A British acoustic-folk trio of sisters achieved fame supporting The Civil Wars and Bon Iver in 2012, finally releasing their debut album (with a live edition to follow in 2013). Gorgeous, pitch-perfect harmonies are in abundance, with delicate, stripped back instrumentals.
23 year-old singer-songwriter Tom was discovered by Lily Allen, who remarked that his onstage energy reminded her of David Bowie. He’s since been named in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 and scooped the Brits’ Critic’s Choice Award. Tom’s debut album is full of huge, swelling rock/pop anthems. Look out for his live performances which are not to be missed!
The debut from American band Imagine Dragons was released in February, fusing alt-rock with dubstep, folk, hip-hop and pop. The result was a schizophrenic yet unique album, resulting in hits Radioactive, It’s Time and Demons.
Three multi-talented sisters hailing from LA, Haim have been invading the radio all year with excerpts from their debut album. 80s guitars, pouting glam-pop, and Fleetwood Mac-esque vocals have made Haim the year’s most exciting band. I can’t wait to see them live next year!
Released in the height of summer, Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zero’s third, self-titled album was a little slice of gold, with a sound drenched in the 60s. The ten-piece band’s sound is huge, with rich choral arrangements and clear Beatles influences all over this record.
If you thought his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was quirky, wait until you hear this. Cementing himself as one of (if not) the most eccentric man in music, his latest album contains grinding, minimalist autoned hip-hop like nothing you’ve heard before.
In a world full of mainstream dance and dubstep, brothers Guy & Howard Lawrence AKA Disclosure brought the focus back to ‘good old-fashioned’ deep house with Settle. Featuring Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge, Jamie Woon, Sam Smith, and Friendly Fires, Disclosure have produced one of the year’s most accessible dance records.
Have I missed anything obvious? Feel free to post your top albums/tracks in the comments below! In the meantime, best wishes to you all for a wonderful 2014 – hope it brings you everything you hoped for!