Straight up we ask our team about their favourite albums of 2013 so far. What albums have got you screaming ALBUM OF THE YEAR already? Drop us some of your favourites in the comments below!
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Delfina Utomo (Editor)
Bonobo | The North Borders
I've always been a follower of Simon Green/Bonobo and was pretty excited for The North Borders. There is a lot of good moments in this album; his usual style of smart and sophisticated electronic music, the trip-hop/jazz/other things influences are evident, 'Cirrus' is carefree and clever yet dark, singer Szjerdene's voice is amazing on some of the tracks, 'Towers' starts off sorta sweet but gets mysterious... I really enjoyed each and every track on this album. Also, watching this made me love The North Borders and Bonobo more.
Atoms for Peace | Amok
A common favourite of the Bandwagon team this one. To be honest I was not expecting much when Amok was released, and it took me a while to get into the album. And then it grew on me and suddenly I was appreciating the textural density of the tracks, it is bleak and delightfully eerie on the whole but also enough to make you want to move a little. Rich, deep and definitely intriguing, it's something you put on the To Listen To Again pile.
Kurt Vile | Wakin On A Pretty Daze
Easy, breezy listening is what Kurt Vile excels in. Psychedelic slide guitar riffs, anyone can get into this. Despite this element of 'easy listening, Wakin On A Pretty Daze is a very introspective album and has its moments of quiet wisdom. I've said it before, Kurt Vile is the king of chill wisdom.
Ilyas Sholihyn (Editor)
Deafheaven | Sunbather
At first I was puzzled by the synthesis of harsh black metal howls and uplifting post-rock/shoegaze sounds. After the second listen though everything fell into place - I found myself being induced into a hazy torpor, astounded by the brutal elegance of that concisely structured fusion. Sunbather is a blindingly gorgeous album, where the black metal genre leaves its gloomy cave of misery and finds its bearings right under the sunshine.
TTNG | 220.127.116.11.0
Math-rock becomes a tad bit more accessible and pop here, though that sounds hard to believe. Melodies, riffs and beats are as complex and arhythmic as ever but the hooks are admittedly more memorable than their previous outings. The album manages to avoid the trap that most math albums fall into - being too smart and technical for its own good. Just the right fabric of musical tapestry.
Bonobo | The North Borders
Bonobo's previous album Black Sands was already a solid favourite from 2010, and his latest release takes everything to the next level. I've always been a fan of organic vibes in electronic music, (think Four Tet or John Talabot) and The North Borders is probably the best representative of that movement. Everything's just so lush, warm and effortlessly intricate. Just can't get over how damn good this record is.
Jeremy Hu (Writer)
Atoms for Peace | Amok
Was always a fan of Thom Yorke's The Eraser and its eclectic groovy feel, and since teaming up with 'the sixth Radiohead member' Nigel Godrich and the Chili Peppers' Flea to form AFP, they've had this primal raw grit to their visceral sound that doesn't just get you lost in the dark, but dancing in it as well. Let's just say that the moment i got this album on iTunes, it was like winning Toto, 4D AND a horse race. Forever.
Woodkid | The Golden Age
Was introduced to his stellar work through my geeky gaming habit when his first single 'Iron' was featured in the the trailer to Assassin's Creed II: Revelations; was converted when I saw his series of music video stories accompanying his grand vision. Invoking heroic tales of epic proportions in exotic landscapes, it's hard not to feel inspired when the horn section kicks in on 'Run Boy Run'.
Johnny Marr | The Messenger
I'm a sucker for nostalgia, so when the man behind the The Smiths' dreamy guitar sound put out a record, I had to check it out. And despite the typical notion of 'oh, I can totally picture Morrisey's voice to these songs', I'm actually glad to finally hear Johnny having a voice. Warm and mellow britpop goodness for easy listening.
Special Mention: Christopher Lee | Charlemagne: The Omens of Death
Christopher Lee aka the original Count Dracula aka Count Dooku aka Saruman the White released his second heavy metal concept album. At age 90. Nuff said.
Daniel Peters (Writer)
Run the Jewels | Run the Jewels
This album has been out for only a week or so but it's fast becoming a top favourite for me this year. Run the Jewels is a collaboration between two incredibly talented rappers at the top of their game (Killer Mike and El-P). They have so much chemistry and there's no inkling of them even trying to outshine the other. El-P does a great job handling the production, continuing some of the crazy beats he made in his 2012 album Cancer 4 Cure. It's aggressive, playful, stylish and definitely one of the most fun hip-hop records I've heard in a while.
Queens of the Stone Age | ...Like Clockwork
I've never been a big fan of Queens, having liked only a few songs. Their style of catchy, bouncy stoner rock has never resonated with me until now. The songs on this record are pretty varied but all feature terrific songwriting. ...Like Clockwork is a classic example of modern rock music executed with finesse and bite.
Atoms for Peace | Amok
Didn't have much expectations for this album, to be honest. Thom Yorke's first effort The Eraser was pretty underwhelming, same can be said for The King of Limbs. Maybe it's because of the inclusion of RHCP's Flea and Nigel Godrich but Amok exceeded my expectations and then some. The grooves on the album are SO. DAMN. TIGHT. The album as a whole is pretty bleak but the beats make it such an exciting listen.
Jillian Wong (Writer)
Disclosure | Settle
The sibling duo of Guy and Howard Lawrence are bringing UK garage back in a big way with their excellent debut. Soulful and danceable at once, Settle is chockful of collaborations with fellow British luminaries Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge and London Grammar. Highlights include the electrifying opener 'When a Fire Starts to Burn', sleek teen love paean 'You & Me,' and tender closer 'Help Me Lose My Mind.' With a debut this promising, the future looks bright for the Lawrence brothers.
Rhye | Woman
Another stunning full-length debut, this time from the mysterious LA duo of Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal. Equal parts restrained and erotic, Woman feels like a lover's caress or whispers of sweet nothings. The production is minimal, with beats, R&B-infused hooks and Milosh's gorgeous, expressive voice creating a record that is deeply intimate and personal. As Milosh sings that he's a "fool for that shake in your thighs," it's hard not to surrender yourself to Rhye.
Small Black | Limits of Desire
This is dreamy romantic synth pop for lovers via the Brooklyn indie four-piece. Their sophomore album finds the band casting off their chillwave label and embracing a more polished sound. A soft ambient feel runs throughout the album, from the dizzying swirl of 'No Stranger' to the lovely melancholia of 'Shook Loves'. Limits of Desire will, in the words of frontman Josh Kolenik, leave you breathless.
Nor Asyraf (Photographer)
Daughter | If You Leave
This is a genuinely moving and beautifully executed set of songs, with some outstanding ones especially 'Youth' and 'No Filler'. For me the anger that Elena Tonra puts into her writing counterbalances the depression. She has a distinctive vocal tone and instrumentally, the album is rich and layered.
Ellie Goulding | Halycon
Halcyon is really amazing! Every single song sounds of quality. You can tell she invested a lot of time on each track to make sure they are all perfect. It's a lot more mature than her first album and a million times better. The main track list is a little more low tempo than the bonus tracks, so if you want the upbeat stuff, definitely get the deluxe version.
Bastille | Bad Blood
All in all this a a good, solid debut with soaring melodies and well crafted music to back it up. It is slightly let down by the fact it seems some-what unrefined for an album that was a fair while in the making. Very enjoyable!
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