Sorry this is late… But hey, it’s better than never right?
10. Avicii – True
I don’t listen to a whole lot of EDM stuff, and my brother who does laughs at artists like Avicii who “sell out” and make EDM for the masses. However, I really love how Avicii has crafted this album in a way that mixes the populace’s current trends of loving both 4 on the floor dance music AND 4 on the floor folk music. It’s a great blend and he pulls it off well. Fun fact: Mike Einziger from Incubus plays guitar and co-wrote Wake Me Up. #themoreyouknow
Favorite Song: Hey Brother
9. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
I’m a sucker for female vocalists and I’m also a sucker for super catchy songs. I loved their first EP and couldn’t wait to finally get their debut full length. They do synth pop right, and hopefully continue to gain traction in the mainstream scene.
Favorite Song: Recover
8. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
After about ten years of being a huge fan I finally was able to see Sigur Ros live this year touring this record. It was everything I hoped it would be, and they translated the songs perfectly to a live setting with a huge 15-ish person band. I love how heavy this record feels, and they’ve finally added some balance to their generally angelic repertoire. The world would be a better place if more people realized and appreciated the genius of Sigur Ros.
Favorite Song: Kveikur
7. Volcano Choir – Repave
If you haven’t heard of Volcano Choir, perhaps you’ve heard of Justin Vernon. If you haven’t heard of Justin Vernon, he is Bon Iver. If you haven’t heard of Bon Iver, we probably aren’t/couldn’t be friends. Just kidding… Maybe… Anyway, Volcano Choir is a sideband/collboration band featuring Justin Vernon and it’s incredible. Seemingly not that different than Bon Iver, but totally different in execution. It’s more “band” sounding, like a bunch of friends jamming some vibey music.
Favorite Song: Tiderays
6. James Blake – Overgrown
James Blake has a very specific sound that doesn’t really sound like anybody else. His production is minimalistic with lots of chill drumbeats, and his vocals are unique and haunting. Honestly, if he were a little less unique this record might have moved up into the top 2 or 3 of the year. I’ve listened to the record a whole lot this year as background music, and that’s a good and bad thing. Obviously, I love it and have ranked it in my top ten, but it’s definitely a niche sound that might get repetitive to some.
Favorite Song: Retrograde
5. Haim – Days Are Gone
I was really excited about Haim being my “Hey check them out, you’ll thank me later” band for this year. Then they played on SNL… BUT, if you missed them on SNL, let me tell you this album is one of the most fun and poppy/catchy things I’ve heard in years. These girls have great ears for melodies that stick in your head for days. Plus, the production is killer.
Favorite Song: The Wire
4. Midlake – Antiphon
Hailing from Denton, TX, Midlake has always felt like a hometown favorite. When I was in High School they were the “big” band from the DFW Metroplex, and I always assumed they’d eventually be this huge band. Over the years, they have built a sizeable fanbase, but in Europe instead of their home country. That’s how things go I guess, but their sound is definitely European. If you’re in the mood for a lush record to rock on vinyl, this is it. They sound like a 70s band who decided to play indie music in 2013. Or an indie band in 2013 trying to sound like a 70s band. Either way, it’s a win.
Favorite Song: The Old and The Young
3. Hillsong United – Zion
These guys need no intro. I was SUPER into Aftermath, and was really excited to finally hear their next studio offering. I was actually surprised they kept with the lush synths and progressive production for this record, since they received quite a bit of hate mail from people who called Aftermath not “congregational” enough. For Zion, they went even more synthy, but then smartly released the Zion Acoustic Sessions shortly after to tell people “Hey, look past the production and these are killer songs for the church.” Bravo.
Favorite Song: Oceans (Duh)
2. Local Natives - Hummingbird
One of my favorite compliments we (The Digital Age) get every once in a while is a comparison to Local Natives. This makes me happy for multiple reasons. A: I think they’re an amazing band. B: They make music that sounds like what’s in my head. C: If both of us have the same kind of music in our heads, I think we’d be friends. I love their lush harmonies and use of drum elements, plus they can get away with making weird song structures somehow seem familiar. This is by far my most played album of 2013.
Favorite Song: Heavy Feet
1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires in the City
I actually have felt a little bit guilty in writing this top ten list because I knew this was going to be my top album, and almost every credible huge blog has named this album of the year. I don’t like being the guy on the bandwagon, but I have to be. I tried to bump one of these other records to number one and could not justify it. Vampire Weekend has made a fantastic album and I applaud them for it. It’s fun to listen to and intelligent. You feel emotions while listening but you also are mentally engaged. Who knew a band of Ivy League gentlemen could do that?
Favorite Song: Diane Young
Favorite song of the year - Burn by Ellie Goulding
Favorite EP of the year - London by Banks
Most anticipated 2014 release - Manchester Orchestra