2013 was a great year in music with several of the best indie rock bands releasing albums. Here are my 10 favorite albums. I’d love to hear from you what are your favorite albums of 2013.
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10. Volcano Choir—Â Repave
Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s side project. Similar to Bon Iver, though not quite as good. Two great songs from this album:Â ComradeÂ andÂ Byegone
9. Phantogram — Phantogram EP
One of my favorite bands. All four songs on the EP are great. Two standout songs:Â Black Out DaysÂ andÂ Never Going Home
8. Local Natives —Â Hummingbird
Best songs on this album: Heavy Feet, You & I, Ceilings.
7. Phoenix —Â Bankrupt!
Good indie pop. Not real substantive (I don’t find myself going back to this album that often – but I like the songs when I hear them). Definitely some fun songs. Best songs:Â TheÂ Real Thing,Â Chloroform, Don’t andÂ Entertainment.
6. Chvrches —Â The Bones of What You Believe
My favorite new band of 2013. Love their sound. Top songs: Recover (one of the best songs of the year), Tether, The Mother We Share.
5. Cults —Â Static
Great sophomore album from Cults. Some are put off by the 50’s doo-wop sound but there’s so many great songs on here. The best songs on the album:Â Were Before, I Can Hardly Make You Mine, High Road, So Far, Shine a Light.
4. Caveman —Â Caveman
In the City is one of the best songs of the year. A great swinging-in-the-hammock chill album. Two other great songs on the album:Â Where’s the TimeÂ andÂ Chances
3. Arcade Fire — Reflektor
Not as good as their previous Grammy-winning-album, The Suburbs. Reflektor is pretty uneven. With 5 of the best songs Arcade Fire has ever made. A few decent songs and a couple very forgettable songs. Here are the 5 amazing songs:Â Reflektor,Â Here Comes the Night Time,Â Afterlife,Â Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice),Â It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus).
2. The National —Â Trouble Will Find Me
I didn’t think The National could ever come close to High Violet (the best album anyone has made in the last 5 years). “Trouble” doesn’t quite match High Violet but it is an amazing album with only a couple minor flaws. Some particularly greatÂ songs:Â Sea of Love,Â IÂ Should Live in Salt,Â Graceless,Â Demons,Â Don’t Swallow the Cap.
1. Vampire Weekend —
Modern Vampires of the City
An amazing album from start to finish. Beautiful music with profound lyrics – nearly every song dealing with God and our looming mortality. A sample from the song Unbelievers:
“If I’m born again I know that the world will disagree
Want a little grace but who’s going to say a little grace for me?
We know the fire awaits unbelievers
All of the sinners the same
Girl you and I will die unbelievers bound to the tracks of the train”
In maybe-the-best-song-of-the-year “Ya Hey”, Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s secular-Jewish lead singer “flips the script of the old question ‘If God really loves us, why do terrible things happen?’ Ezra seems to be asking ‘How can God love such terrible things?’” (quote)
PitchforkÂ (the de facto king of indie music blogs) puts it this way:
Koenig stages a plaintive confrontation with his higher power, listing its non-believers, and shrugging: “America don’t love you/ So I can never love you in spite of everything.” This isn’t a breakup, but an attempt to see the other side in hopes of reconciliation: why should you show such love for the people who go such lengths to deny your existence, when you can’t even get any credit for it?
The scrambled, mutated voices on the hook play off the inpronounceable name of the Lord while flipping the title ofÂ perhaps the most beloved pop song of the past two decades. Such is the scope of “Ya Hey,” but Vampire Weekend put it within the grasp of anyone who wants it with another impossibly catchy song that skips along while carrying the weight of the universe.
Â A few of the best songs (though, seriously- there are 10 really good songs on this album- all very diverse yet cohesive):
Who did I miss? What were your favorite albums of the year?