My Favorite Albums of 2013

Honestly, I could have done a better job with the music listening in 2013. However, I still got around to listening to a decent amount of albums. Most of them were from bands I already liked, so I guess I’ll have to expand my horizon in 2014.

*Also, it should be noted these were my favorites of 2013, not necessarily the objectively best albums of everything released last year.

British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy

I’m a sucker for this stuff. British Sea Power is one of many bands that picked up where post-punk bands from the 80s left off. Machineries is a little mellower than their earlier stuff, but “Machineries of Joy” and “Loving Animals” prove that’s a good thing.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Fly by Wire

I don’t know why it took me so long to get into SSLYBY. They’re from Springfield, Mo., and I probably missed lots of awesome shows while I was at Mizzou. Anyway, they’re catchy as ever on this album.

Local Natives – Hummingbird

Local Natives are one of the bands I think of when I hear “indie band.” I had a chance to see them in Asheville at the start of 2013 but didn’t go, and I’ve been kicking myself since.

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Here’s the thing about Scotland: If it produces a rock band, I’m going to like it. Orange Juice? Yup. Teenage Fan Club? Sure. Franz Ferdinand? Of course. We Were Promised Jetpacks? Naturally. Frightened Rabbit? You’re goddamn right.

This is another band that I had a chance to see but didn’t. Man, I am a stupid idiot.

J Roddy Walston and the Business – Essential Tremors

Last year I went to the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, and I’m like 90 percent sure I saw these guys (it was kind of a blur). They’re kind of like if you combined later era Black Keys and Dr. Dog.

Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Cold War Kids are typically hit and miss for me. But I love the songs that really grab me like “Miracle Mile.”

Fitz and the Tantrums – More Than Just a Dream

I’m just glad someone is making good R&B music.

Arctic Monkeys – AM

I’m not a huge Arctic Monkeys fan, but I have friends who swear by them. Regardless, I enjoyed AM. 

Deer Tick – Negativity

Negativity wasn’t as rowdy as, say, Divine Providence but that’s not a bad thing. This album is more reminiscent of John McCauley’s side project Middle Brother, which I loved.

Dawes – Stories Don’t End

I saw these guys while they were supporting this album. They were great (except for the club’s AC not working and almost getting heat stroke).

Dr. Dog – B-Room

This is the best album Dr. Dog has put out recently. I was all in after I heard “Broken Heart” and “Love” and saw the wonderful videos put together from stock footage that accompanied them.

Owen – L’ami du Peuple

Owen is actually just Mike Kinsella’s solo project. Kinsella formerly played in American Football, Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc. So, basically, I’m guaranteed to love anything he does.

Frank Turner – Tapedeck Heart

Frank Turner is keeping the spirit of Billy Bragg alive, and I couldn’t be happier. This album is a little more produced than his previous efforts but it’s not a bad thing. Bragg’s Worker’s Playtime was more produced and it includes a few of his best songs.

Jake Bugg – Shangri La

Speaking of Bragg, I became aware of Jake Bugg after he shared one of Bugg’s videos. I swore his self-titled album came out in 2013 but apparently it was 2012.

Anyway, he quickly released a second album, and it lived up to expectations.

Jimmy Eat World – Damages

I saw Jimmy Eat World last year when they were supporting Damages, and holy shit. They put on an amazing live show.

Alkaline Trio – My Shame is True

I saw Kyle Kinane in Asheville last  year and talked to him after the show. I mentioned that I was from the suburbs of Chicago like him and then we talked about Alkaline Trio and the Smoking Popes.

He said “Some people like to bust on them (Alkaline Trio) but I think they make good songs.” I couldn’t put it better.

Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions

For a while, I was worried I wouldn’t get to hear another Franz Ferdinand album. However, my worries were put to rest last summer.

Like I said earlier, I love bands from Scotland, and I’m a sucker for 80s revivalist stuff. Speaking of, this album has more of a 60s bent–particularly on the first single “Right Action.”

But a song like “Bullet” reminds me why I became enamored with their music in the first place.

Superchunk – I Hate Music

Superchunk is one of the few bands that can take an extended break from making music and come back better than ever. The only other examples I can think of are The Descendents when they came back with Everything Sucks and Dinosaur Jr. with Beyond.

They’re one of those bands who seemingly never takes a misstep.

Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork

Queens of the Stone Age is another band like that. They haven’t put out a bad album yet, which is pretty amazing.

This is the album I was waiting for, though. Lullabies to Paralyze and Era Vulgaris are good albums with some amazing songs (“Little Sister,” “Medication,” “Make It Wit Chu” and “3’s & 7’s) but they didn’t capture what was on those first three albums.

Coming back after six years without a new album shows what a mad genius Josh Homme is. Like Clockwork is weird and dark and ominous and beautiful. Listen to it.

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