Once again, it’s that time of year where music sites list their favorite albums of the year and tell you what music what the best in music was and why you should check it out. While there were artists like Miley Cyrus, Daft Punk and Kanye West that dominated the airwaves in 2013, there were hundreds of other releases that were a lot better (in my opinion) and that are definitely worth taking a listen to. These are not necessarily the best albums of the year, but they are some of my personal favorites.
Joseph Arthur – The Ballad of Boogie Christ
Hands down, my favorite album this year was singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur’s phenomenal “The Ballad of Boogie Christ.” With songs like “Currency of Love,” “Boogie Christ” and “Saint of Impossible Causes,” it’s incredibly difficult not to be taken away with the soft, yet eloquent music of Joseph Arthur. He also released a second part of this album, fittingly titled “The Ballad of Boogie Christ Act 2,” which features even more excellent tracks.
Fitz and the Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream
Fitz and the Tantrums know how to put together a good dance album. Nothing but upbeat songs on “More Than Just A Dream” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I didn’t think anything could top their last album, but I found myself pleasantly surprised with how great this album is.
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
The National always holds a special place in my heart with its somber, yet somehow uplifting music. After making a damn near perfect album “High Violet” in 2010, The National sticks with what it does well and creates another spectacular collection of songs in its latest release (although the group’s best song this year goes to the re-worked Thanksgiving song from “Bob’s Burgers”). This album reminded me why I love The National so much. This band is able to perfectly pull out emotions on project them out through the songs. Being left vulnerable has never sounded so good.
Kopecky Family Band – Kids Raising Kids
After being blown away seeing Kopecky Family Band play live at this year’s Fall Line Fest, I knew there was something more to this band. I immediately bought the group’s debut full-length “Kids Raising Kids” and haven’t stopped playing it since. The amount of talent each member of this group has is contained into one cohesive sound, but still allowing each member to show off. It’s an upbeat, fun party record that just wants to have a good time, starting off powerful with “Wandering Eyes” and doesn’t pull any punches until the relaxing notes of “Ella,” which drifts you off to bliss.
Surfer Blood – Pythons
When I got the invitation to check out Florida indie pop rockers Surfer Blood perform a short set at BK Music, I decided to at least check them out. The band was releasing is new album “Pythons” and I was quickly enthralled with how catchy and well done the album was. It kept me hooked from start to finish.
Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart
This album came completely out of left field, but I kept hearing songs like “Recovery” and “The Way I Tend to Be” and knew I had to listen to “Tape Deck Heart.” Turns out, Frank Turner’s album has a lot more incredible songs than just those two. Songs of anger and heartache and losing yourself make this album one of my favorites of this year.
Alkaline Trio – My Shame is True
Alkaline Trio rules. This album is one of the their best yet.
Lorde – Pure Heroine
I really liked this album when I first heard it. Then “Royals” took over the airwaves and became overplayed (because radio loves to do that). But focusing on the rest of “Pure Heroine” made me see how well-done this album from a then-unknown 17-year-old singer from New Zealand was. It was somewhat of a guilty pleasure before becoming a full-blown favorite of 2013.
Bastille – Bad Blood
I have to thank my pal Colby over at Style Weekly for introducing me to this group. The very infectious “Pompeii” was quite possibly my favorite song of the year and the rest of “Bad Blood” is just as good. It has a catchy chorus, insightful lyrics and a bunch of British guys rocking out.
Superchunk – I Hate Music
I would have completely missed this album if not for the fact that I have a few friends that are diehard Superchunk fans and they would not shut up about great this album was. So, naturally, I decided to give it a listen. Go ahead and call me a diehard Superchunk fan now, because I love “I Hate Music.”
The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still
Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
The Little Ones – The Dawn Sang Along
The Last Royals – Twistification
Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love
Leagues – You Belong Here
Local Natives – Hummingbird
She & Him – Volume 3
Phosphorescent – Muchacho
The Lone Bellow
Blondfire – Where the Kids Are
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires – There is a Bomb in Gilead