Sounds


BEST OF THE BEST

Yikes! 2014 is here! But before we move onto THIS year’s goodness, we take one last look back at LAST year’s best. The TOP 10 albums of 2013.

10. OMD — English Electric (April)
It’s rare that a band will produce some of their very best music 30 years into a working career. But that’s exactly what British synth-pop pioneers Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark did on English Electric. Dazzle Ships and Junk Culture fans rejoice!

09. VERONICA FALLS — Waiting for Something to Happen (February)
This British outfit is now two for two; Waiting, their second remarkable album harkening back to the days of shoegazing and faceless English guitar pop, when the college radio charts were dominated by bands obsessed with unrequited love and damp gloomy days.

08. WASHED OUT — Paracosm (August)
Another stunning second effort; this one from singer/songwriter/producer Ernest Greene. The guy is more confident in all facets of his career, Paracosm building upon and tightening up the electronic-leaning sounds established on 2011’s best album Within and Without.

7. NEKO CASE — The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, the More I Love You (September)
She still possesses the most hypnotic female voice on the planet and Neko Case continues to be a stormy songwriting presence as well. The Worse Things Get ended up being a mixed bag of unforgettable emotions.

06. VAMPIRE WEEKEND — Modern Vampires of the City (May)
These Long Island boys refuse to repeat themselves, every new album more challenging than the last. Yet each one is equally accomplished with its own unique mix of world rhythms, big hooks and an attitude that remains distinctly American.

05. THERMALS — Desperate Ground (April)
If one record on this list was over far too quickly, it was Desperate Ground. The Oregon indie outfit gave us a blazing set of succinct tight tracks that set the room ablaze and got out in the blink of an eye. Yet every song made a lasting impression that left us humming for days.

04. DAFT PUNK — Random Access Memories (May)
Movie soundtracks aside, the French electronic duo made us wait eight long years for some new music. Good things come to those who are patient; Memories far more ambitious and unpredictable than most dance/electronic works, even going all the way to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts.

03. KANYE WEST — Yeezus (June)
The self-proclaimed musical genius does it again. Yeezus was certainly the most challenging (and polarizing) record of the talented rapper’s career (so far); an industrial tinged, noisy, confrontational collection that got in our faces and never let up.

02. ARCADE FIRE — Reflektor (October)
Newsflash! Outstanding Canadian indie rock outfit gets even better by hiring most excellent producer for fourth album! By teaming up with ex-LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy, Arcade Fire gave us a funky masterwork that will be tough to top

01. CHVRCHES ­— The Bones of What You Believe (September)
Best New Artist of 2013? Scottish electronic-based indie pop outfit Chvrches hands down! Bones rejuvenated a genre that was growing somewhat complacent by combining the vintage synthetic vibes of the past with the slightly more aggressive tones of today.