This year, I’ve decided to do a countdown of my favorite 40 new release albums of 2013. Here’s how the countdown started, and now it continues, starting with my #30 album of the year 2013:
Click on the album artwork to be taken to a great place to buy each album.
30)The History of Apple Pie — Out of View
This is the debut album from the fuzzy, noisy indie pop band from London. It was one of the first releases of 2013 and it got a ton of buzz for a debut record. Like a lot of bands who have records in this countdown, they’ve been influenced heavily by the indie rock and shoegaze of the early to mid 1990s. I was tipped off to them when they had an excellent Daytrotter session last October. I pre-ordered a physical copy of the album and I was very pleased when it arrived.
29)Slowness — For Those Who Wish To See the Glass Half Full
This San Francisco-based noise pop/dream pop band has been around for about 6 years, but they just released their debut record this year. They have a bit of a brit-pop sound to them mixed in with their take on dream pop. It’s a bit like The Catherine Wheel or maybe even the poppier Ride songs.
28)Joanna Gruesome — Weird Sister
The debut album by this Cardiff five-piece is a very impressive piece of noise pop blended with twee. Quiet and loud together. Sweet and sour together. Lots of feedback and lots of lush harmonies. One of many fantastic releases by Slumberland Records this year. Slumberland is, by the way, having a huge sale at their web shop. All records, going all the way back to 1989, are on sale. Anywhere between 20% to 60% off the already good prices. You have every reason to treat yourself to this brilliant record and lots of others.
27) No Joy — Wait To Pleasure
This is the second album from the Montréal doomgaze/dream pop band. I stumbled upon the new record somewhere and after about ten seconds of listening, I stopped what I was doing to buy a download of this fantastically noisy record.
26) Nightmare Air — High in The Lasers
It may be the worst album cover of the year, but I really like this album by the Los Angeles indie-pop/noise pop/shoegaze three-piece. It’s worth noting that Dave Dupuis, who is the co-front of this band, is also in the shoegaze-y band Film School. This is one of the many great releases by Saint Marie Records, who very quickly became one of my favorite record labels this year. At times, this band sounds like Metric. At other times, they sound like A Place To Bury Strangers. It’s like they’re the band that The Joy Formidable wishes they were.
25)SPC ECO — Sirens and Satellites
The new album by the multi-instrumentalist Dean Garcia from Curve and his lovely daughter Rose Berlin is every bit as good as we’ve come to expect from this outstanding band. This is their fourth album along with a bunch of EPs, and it’s my favorite thing of theirs. Berlin is maturing and getting better at what she does while Garcia isn’t dropping off one bit. Berlin’s vocals are impossibly ethereal and angelic, even while she delivers a cold-hearted line like “You’re a fucking waste of space”. This album has a couple of spots where it gets a little rave-y for my taste, but I really do love it.
24)Mogwai — Les Revenants
I know that I said this list was supposed to be about proper albums and that I wasn’t considering movie soundtracks. This should be disqualified because of that, but I’m still going to allow it. This is an album of songs that the Scottish post-rock band was contracted to make for a French teevee show about zombies. They wrote the music without knowing exactly what they had signed up for, and it frankly took people by surprise. Mogwai is normally quite gloomy, quite loud and quite guitar-and-effects oriented. It’s still a bit gloomy, but this album is very low-key and very much built around piano and tuned percussion. It’s a lovely and very welcome departure if you ask me.
23) Jetman Jet Team — We Will Live The Space Age
This is the debut record by the Seattle shoegaze/space rock band. And it’s another of the very fine releases by Saint Marie Records this year. This band is all about Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, and that makes them alright in my book. They wear those influences on their sleeve, and they even made very quick work of covering one of the new MBV songs. It’s not on this album, but on an EP that they released earlier this year, they did a cover of “New You”. Just days after m b v was released.
22) Drowner — You’re Beautiful, I Forgive You
This is the first full-length album by the shoegaze/dream pop band from Houston. And this is another of the fine releases on Saint Marie Records. Although the production is a bit strange, this is a completely beautiful noisy record. There are moments of fragility juxtaposed against moments of sheer noise. In some moments, I’m reminded of something as ethereal and lovely as Siddal, and in others I’m reminded of something much denser and more grave than that.
21)The Fauns — Lights
This Bristol shoegaze band self-released a very good debut record four years ago. Without the benefit of a label or a PR firm, the album gained a bunch of traction both in the UK and in the US. This go-round, they have a bit of help in those departments, and the second album is also very good. It was released digitally right at the beginning of December, and like a couple of others on the list, I think that I might give it I higher spot if it had come out in July or something like that. Although I’ve listened to the album a bunch of times, I finally got my own digital copy just the other day, and I love it. Maybe I like the first half of the album better than the second half, but it’s still very good as a whole.
That completes the first half of the countdown. Look for the countdown to continue in a few hours, when I’ll highlight albums 20-11 of my favorite albums of the year.