BEST OF 2013

Thanks for following the blog as the 2013 list was counted down. Please have a browse through any pieces you missed and feel free to feedback as you see fit. The whole list can be found below as a helpful summary of the countdown. Further pieces on other musical highlights of the year will follow between now and the new year.

2013 was a wonderful, wonderful year for music. I suspect I say something similar every twelve months, but this was, by far, the toughest list to compile since I started doing these. The ‘shortlist’ was stuck around the sixty titles mark for a month or so and, as a result, it was very nearly a Top 40 rather than 30. The ‘honourable mentions’ list will be a treasure trove in itself. The format remains the same – a blurb on each record and a link to listen embedded in the artwork. As ever, the most enjoyable part of doing this is hearing your thoughts as we bumble along together, so please do get in touch either at the bottom of the pieces or via @justplayed on Twitter.

The Prize Draw

Now that the big day has passed, it’s time for the annual prize draw. Scroll down, take in the list and then hit comment. Submit your top ten albums of 2013 to be entered into a draw for a sizeable pack of splendid music, including copies of some of the albums in this very list. Previous winners seemed suitably pleased, and all you need to do is tell me your ten favourite releases of the past twelve months. You have until the end of January 1st, 2014 to post your response and the draw will follow soon thereafter. Feel free to include a link to your site if you’ve been counting down elsewhere, but please put a plain copy of the list in your post. Please include all comments on this page rather than the Mixcloud page.

The full list

Click on the links below to go to the relevant articles and click on the blue writing at the bottom to launch a mix tape of the year. Keep visiting for a chance to win some top tunes.

30. The R.G. Morrison – Diamond Valley

29. Pet Shop Boys – Electric

28. Travis – Where You Stand

27. Electric Soft Parade – “IDIOTS”

26. Islet – Released By The Movement

25. Matt Berry – Kill The Wolf

24. Local Natives – Hummingbird

23. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time

22. Midlake – Antiphon

21. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

20. Mavis Staples – One True Vine

19. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

18. Suede – Bloodsports

17. Paul McCartney – New

16. Oliver Wilde – A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears

15. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

14. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away

13. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film

12. Matthew E. White – Big Inner

11. Jon Hopkins – Immunity

10. Low – The Invisible Way

9. Julia Holter – Loud City Song

8. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

7. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum

6. Nils Frahm – Spaces

5. Bill Callahan – Dream River

4. Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record

3. Kathryn Williams – Crown Electric

2. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

1. Georgia Ruth – Week Of Pines


Honourable Mentions and Near Misses – Part 2

Reissues and Remasters of 2013

Music Book of 2013 – An interview with Bob Stanley, author of ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah – A History Of Modern Pop’

Label of 2013 – Erased Tapes

22 thoughts on “BEST OF 2013

  1. #10 – Reflektor by Arcade Fire
    #9 – Praxis Makes Perfect by Neon Neon
    #8 – Sick Octave by Young Knives
    #7 – La Costa Perdida by Camper Van Beethoven
    #6 – Inform-Educate-Entertain by Public Service Broadcasting
    #5 – Partygoing by Future Bible Heroes
    #4 – Lost in Light Rotation by Tullycraft
    #3 – There is Nothing More Frightening Than the Passing of Time by The Superman Revenge Squad Band
    #2 – The Silver Gymnasium by Okkervil River
    #1 – MEN by Quiet Marauder

    (Choices explained here:

  2. Only ten? That’s really difficult. So, OK, here goes, and in no particular order:
    1. Colleen – The Weighing of the Heart (a beautiful record and she played an amazing show in a tiny studio in Crystal Palace)
    2. Holden – The Inheritors (triple-vinyl goodness that demands repeated listening. Blackpool Late Eighties is the standout track for me)
    3. Bill Callahan – Dream River (naturally)
    4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away (an astonishing record. Sounds unlike anything he’s done in his career but the songs are incredibly strong)
    5. Jenny Hval – Innocence is Kinky (spiky, wiry, intelligent songs. And what a voice!)
    6. Raum – Event of Your Leaving/Slow Walkers – Slow Walkers/Grouper – The Man Who Died in His Boat (yes, I know that’s three albums but I’m counting them as one. So, basically, each album Liz Harris has been involved with this year. All utterly essential. Mind you, she could mumble a phone directory and I’d buy it, so maybe I’m not altogether unbiased.)
    7. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (a nice musical sidestep for him after the 70s AM radio-sounding solo debut. But no-one matches lacerating lyrics, as open as a wound, but laugh-out-loud funny too, with such gorgeous melodies, such as on GMF, and his live shows this year were magical. Hopefully, the person who nicked his laptop from the stage in Brighton is having a good, hard think about their life right now…)
    8. Tindersticks – Les Salauds (Amazing shows at the Barbican and an art gallery in Shoreditch marked the band’s 20th anniversary, but it was the soundtrack to the Clare Denis film of the same name that showed them stretch their wings, bring in dark electronica and do a blistering cover of Hot Chocolate’s Put Your Love in Me.)
    9. Barn Owl – V (A beautiful, hazy drifting, electronic fog. Put it on repeat and lose yourself)
    10. Prefab Sprout – Crimson, Red (Paddy has such a treasure trove of songs piled up but the ones on this record were as strong as anything he’s ever released. Best Jewel Thief in the World shines like a ruby. A sparkling record)

  3. Some great choices and plenty for me to investigate. By comparison I don’t think I’ve listened to anywhere near as much new music but here’s my top 10.

    1. Low – The Invisible Way
    2. Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record
    3. Bill Callahan – Dream River
    4. Euros Childs – Situation Comedy
    5. Ezra Furman – Day of the Dog
    6. Wire – Change Becomes Us
    7. Mogwai – Les Revenants OST
    8. Nick Cave & TBS – Push The Sky Away
    9. Future of the Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident
    10. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get …

  4. The first three are equal first place, the others are in no particular order.

    1. Outfit – Performance
    2. Gary McClure – Wreaths
    3. British Sea Power – Machineries Of Joy
    4. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
    5. The Besnard Lakes – Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO
    6. Nev Cottee – Stations
    7. David Bowie – The Next Day
    8. Four Tet – 0181
    9. Iron And Wine – Ghost On Ghost
    10. Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God

    If you’ve two hours to spare (!!!) I played a selection of my fave tunes of the year on The Album Zone radio show –

  5. In no order whatsoever…

    National – Trouble Will Find Me
    Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle
    Georgia Ruth – Week of Pines
    Low – Invisible Way
    Bill Callahan – Dream River
    Yo La Tengo – Fade
    Daughter – If You Leave
    John Murry – The Graceless Age
    Grant Hart – The Argument
    Neko Case- The Worse Things Get

    1. Heh, turns out John Murray was 2012. I’ll trade it for Jon Wilson – Fanfare or Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt.

      Good lists all, reminding me of a few things I’d meant to check out – and others that passed me by.

  6. Enjoyed so many albums this year. Still catching up on some I missed through your list. Others I still havent’ got around to listening to, such as Janelle Monae. While there isn’t a stand out song like ‘Try to Sleep’ on Low’s latest, as the end of the year comes around, I realise that I’ve listened to it more than any other album. Beautiful.

    10. Neon Neon – Praxis Makes Perfect
    9. Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare
    8. Bill Callahan – Dream RIver
    7. Sweet Baboo – Ships
    6. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
    5. Georgia Ruth – Week of Pines
    4. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
    3. Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away
    2. Matthew E White – Big Inner
    1. Low – The Invisible Way

    I’ve also enjoyed Bowie, MBV, Oliver Wilde, Prefab Sprout, Manics, Vampire Weekend. Best gig was either the nostalgia of seeing Pixies’ 35 song set in November or the wonderful NTW/Neon Neon production. You can read a review of it here:

  7. That’s a good list – plenty for us to disagree about, and plenty for me to investigate – which is the whole point right?.
    I have a friend whose album of the year was by Matthew E White but I struggled to like it as much as he did. I think I like the noisier stuff….
    As you have been asking for contributions – here’s mine:
    10. Pond – Hobo Rocket
    9. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
    8. British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy
    7. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
    6. David Bowie – The Next Day
    5. Suede – Bloodsports
    4. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us
    3. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
    2. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork
    1. Drenge – Drenge
    I go into a little more detail here:

  8. I haven’t listened to enough music from this year and reading through your list – and others – has made me realise how much I have missed out on. But from what I have heard these are the ten favourites.

    “Bronze age” – The Kingsbury Manx
    “Random access memories” – Daft Punk
    “Changes becomes us” – Wire
    “m b v” – My Bloody Valentine
    “Tales of us” – Goldfrapp
    “Carrier” – The Dodos
    “Tomorrow’s World” – Tomorrow’s World
    “Sleep games” – Pye Audio Corner
    “Join the dots” – Toy
    “Week of pines” – Georgia Ruth

  9. It was a stellar year for music, some albums that will surely go down as classics. As for my top 10:
    10. Kanye West – Yeezus
    9. David Bowie – The Next Day
    8.Vampire Weekend – MVOTC
    7. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
    6. Foals – Holy Fire
    5. William Onyeabor – Who is…?
    4. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
    3. My Bloody Valentine – mbv
    2. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
    1. Los Campesinos! – No Blues

    Feel as though I’m biased putting LC! as the top album, I’m a massive fan of theirs, although it’s one of their best efforts yet. Pale Green Ghosts has everything you could want on an album, and after seeing Grant live at Latitude this year, the album was solidified as one of my favourites.

  10. (no order)

    Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen
    Villagers – {awayland}
    Savages – Silence Yourself
    Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
    Golden Grrrls – Golden Grrrls
    Empty Pools – Saturn Reruns
    Arctic Monkeys – AM
    Everything Everything – Arc
    Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
    Wolf People – Fain

  11. 1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
    2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
    3. Arctic Monkeys – AM
    4. British Sea Power – Machineries Of Joy
    5. David Bowie – The Next Day
    6. Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film
    7. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold/Tally All The Things That You Broke
    8. Local Natives – Hummingbird
    9. Neon Neon – Praxis Makes Perfect
    10. Sweet Baboo – Ships

  12. Some interesting lists, thanks for posting everyone. Here’s my favourite 10 albums of 2013. I think Braids and Darkside in particular deserve more recognition.

    1. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time
    2. the National – Trouble Will Find Me
    3. Darkside – Psychic
    4. Braids – Flourish // Perish
    5. Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
    6. Arctic Monkeys – AM
    7. These New Puritans – Field of Reeds
    8. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
    9. Factory Floor – Factory Floor
    10. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork

  13. Yo.

    1 – Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action
    2 – Haiku Salut – Tricolore
    3 – Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
    4 – Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
    5 – Public Service Broadcasting – Inform – Educate – Entertain
    6 – Kishi Bashi – 151a
    7 – Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    8 – Malcolm Middleton – 5:14 Fluoxytine Seagull Alcohol John Nicotine
    9 – Cults – Static
    10 – Honey Ltd – The Complete LHI Recordings

    Justification for each over on my wee blog:

  14. 1. Matthew E White – Big Inner
    2. Israel Nash Gripka – Rain Plan’s
    3. Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away
    4. Bill Callahan – Dream River
    5. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
    6. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
    7. David Bowie – The Next Day
    8. Kevin Morby – Harlem River
    9. Bill Ryder Jones – A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart
    10. Arctic Monkeys – AM

  15. My top ten would look something like this;

    10. CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe
    9. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time
    8. 65daysofstatic – Wild Light
    7. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
    6. Monster Magnet – The Last Patrol
    5. Deafheaven – Sunbather
    4. The Veils – Time Stays, We Go
    3. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
    2. The Ocean – Pelagial
    1. Nils Frahm – Spaces

    For more details on my favourite 50 of the year see here –

  16. 1. Broken Twin – Hold On To Nothing EP
    2. Lyla Foy – Shoestring EP
    3. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
    4. Lotte Kestner – The Bluebird Of Happiness
    5. Old Amica – The Burning Dot
    6. Nadine Carina – Nadine Carina EP
    7. Son Lux – Lanterns
    8. Babi – Botanical
    9. Emily Wells – Mama
    10. Slow Skies – Close EP

    4 EPs in my top ten. Not because there wasn’t much I liked (I could easily have a top 60 of records I’ve loved this year, and more that were decent enough), but just because I’ve listened to them repeatedly. informs me that I’ve listened to Broken Twin’s EP well over 100 times.
    8 different nationalities in my top 10 too, corr.

  17. 1 Pere Ubu: Lady from Shanghai
    2 Roshi Featuring Pars Radio: 3 Almonds and A Walnut
    3 Clinic: Free Reign II
    4 Spaceheads: Sun Radar Remixed
    5 Traams: Grin
    6 Euros Childs: Situation Comedy
    7 Melt Yourself Down: S/T
    8 Mudhoney: vanishing Point
    9 Alasdair Roberts & Robin Roberston: Hirta Songs
    10 Wire: Change becomes Us

  18. Hi Gareth, enjoyed reading your list cheers, keep up the good work with the blog. Listened to Georgia Ruth for the first time the other day, really lovely and refreshing stuff, will pick it up when it’s (hopefully) available on vinyl. Here is my own personal Top Ten for Twenty Thirteen:

    1. Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare
    2. Matthew E White – Big Inner
    3. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
    4. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
    5. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    6. Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
    7. Mikal Cronin – MCII
    8. Cate LeBon – Mug Museum
    9. White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade
    10. Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

    All the best,
    Andrew (kidajh on Twitter)

  19. Pretty sure these all came out in 2013. In no particular order-
    Public Service Broadcasting- Inform Educate Entertain
    The National- Trouble Will Find Me
    Arctic Monkeys- AM
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Mosquito
    Duckworth Lewis Method- Sticky Wickets
    Pet Shop Boys- Electric
    Janelle Monae- the Electric Lady
    Manic Street Preachers- Rewind the Film
    Arcade Fire- Reflektor
    Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the City

    Happy New Year!

  20. No order, just 10 good un’s. No apologies for the diversity though

    Drenge – Drenge
    Nils Frahm – Spaces
    Exit Calm – the Future is’nt what it used to be
    Daniel Avery – Drone Logic
    OMD – English Electric
    Money – The Shadow of Heaven
    Public Service Broadcast – inform educate entertain
    Chvrches – Chvrches
    Cult of Luna – Vertikal
    Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip –

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