Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top 20 albums of the first half of 2013

It's just past the midway point of the year, so why not rank my favorite albums so far this year? Of course, there are plenty of things that I still need to check out and as the numbers get bigger, the rankings are looser/less precise.

1. My Bloody Valentine -- m b v: I'm not someone who grew up with Loveless...didn't even get my copy until years after the fact. But I love that sound, and hearing a bunch more great songs with that sound is great.

2. Rhye -- Woman: Two dudes make an awesome Sade inspired R & B/pop album.

3. Queens Of The Stone Age -- ...Like Clockwork: This was a bit of a grower, but now it hits hard. This band has always had a central sound, and Josh Homme finds subtle ways to play around with it.

4. Lady -- Lady: An awesome retro '70s soul album, for those who miss Honey Cone and others of that ilk.

5. Laura Marling -- Once I Was An Eagle: Massive talent is finally finding her own sound. Such a powerful folk-rock presence.

6. Pretty & Nice -- Golden Rules For Golden People: Quirky rock in the vein of early XTC, The Sugarplastic, etc.

7. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down -- We The Common: Her earlier work with Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards has paid off, adding a percussive dimension to her blend of folk, blues and rock.

8. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats -- Mind Control: The '70s metalisms touted are overstated. They are there, but with a stoner rock vibe and hooks that remind me of Supergrass.

9. James Blake -- Overgrown: If Thom Yorke made an electronic soul album, it might sound like this, but the vocals wouldn't be as good.

10. Georgia Anne Muldrow & Dudley Perkins -- The Lighthouse: Singer-wife and rapper-husband make '70s styled hip hop/soul album, with overtones of Erykah Badu, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, among others.

11. Laura Mvula -- Sing To The Moon: Stunning new talent, Mvula teams with Rumer's old producer on modern pop numbers with strong soul and jazz vibes.

12. Savages -- Silence Yourself: Great post-punk rock sounds with a very compelling frontwoman. I think the best may be yet to come from this band.

13. Kanye West -- Yeezus: Audacious, exciting, in your face music that Kanye finds a way to bend into something catchier than its influences, with lyrics that are alternatively angry, acidic and asinine.

14. Suede -- Bloodsports: I've liked all of their albums but would not have expected such a strong comeback. Perhaps their best since Dog Man Star.

15. Milk Music -- Cruise Your Illusion: A throwback band that garners comparisons to Dinosaur Jr., but I hear a lot of Gun Club in some of their tunes.

16. Billy Bragg -- Tooth & Nail: A fine batch of Bragg tunes with Joe Henry recording them quickly, this is his best in a long time.

17. Nightlands -- Oak Island: Keyboard oriented indie pop with plenty of hooks.

18. Beach Fossils -- Clash The Truth: Some of the excitement has dissipated on this, but the mix of Cloud Nothings style poppiness with shoegaze sounds is still really nice.

19. Corin Ashley -- New Lion Terraces: A sublime '70s styled power pop record, with heavy Emmit Rhodes vibes.

20. The Features -- The Features: Plenty of great songs, but missing a certain something, so it's merely very good instead of great.

Honorable Mentions: The Besnard Lakes, Sparks, Mikal Cronin, British Sea Power, The Flaming Lips

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great list as always. I like what I've heard off of Queens Of The Stone Age and need to dig in deeper. Same with Lady. Based on your descriptions, I need to jump on checking out Pretty & Nice and Corin Ashley.