The 2013 lists are done here at ATYP. So here’s a rundown. (Follow this blog at its new home: alltheyoungpunks.com.)
The No. 1 album of the past year is Arcade Fire’s Reflektor but I also loved Savages‘ Silence Yourself. See the full list here:
The best album by a Chicago band in 2013 was Disappears‘ Era. Read the post here.
Some of the year’s top reissues included the Microphones‘ The Glow Pt. 2 and the Coachwhips‘ Hands on the Controls. See the list here.
And here are 10 more favorite albums from last year, including Fidlar’s debut.
Finally, here’s a little history:
In 2012, the ATYP’s album of the year was Woods‘ Bend Beyond.
In 2011, the No. 1 album was Girls‘ Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
And, in 2010, the National’s High Violet was voted the year’s best release.
Having crossed the midway point of the year, it’s time for a look at the best albums of 2013 (so far). And since it’s too early to give anyone the crown, I’ve listed my top 10 in alphabetical order by artist.
Mikal Cronin – MCII: This is great power pop from Ty Segall’s buddy.
Deerhunter – Monomania: Bradford Cox teased this album before its release by calling it a “mystery disc of nocturnal garage.” Cox is one of the most interesting musicians out there today.
Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic: First of all, I’m a sucker for bands who can work a clever foxy reference into their band names. These guys bring a light-hearted approach to ’60s and early ’70s music worship.
The Men – New Moon: The rockers go a little more country than their last album. But this is a record full of multiple genres, punk, classic rock, post punk and more. This has to be one of the most under appreciated albums of ’13.
The National – Trouble Will Find Me: I’ll be honest. As much as I love the National, I had to warm up to this one. But patience pays off. This is good stuff and it’s potentially another classic from one of our national treasures.
Savages – Silence Yourself: It begins with a snippet from a John Cassavetes movie and then explodes into an old-school post-punk beast. As I said in a previous review, this is a brutally good album.
Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin. Do Thee Oh Sees make new albums or do they just record the same one over and over. I would argue that the band branched out a bit on its last two or three releases. Floating Coffin even includes a ballad. And who cares if each album is so freaking awesome?
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II: Like Mikal Cronin, the band didn’t spend a lot of time on a creative album name, but this is highly original music from a band you should get to know.
Kurt Vile – Walkin on a Pretty Day: Kurt Vile is Mr. Reliable as he always delivers great albums. As mellow as this one seems at points, it ranks among his best.
Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt: Katie Crutchfield, who performs as Waxahatchee, reminds me of the best parts of Liz Phair’s debut Exile in Guyville. That’s not to say she’s aping Phair, who flamed out quickly. This is great, honest music.
You can catch some of these acts in Chicago over the next week. Mikal Cronin, Foxygen, Savages and Waxahatchee play Pitchfork fest this weekend. Savages also plays Lincoln Hall Friday. Schubas hosts Foxygen Friday and Waxahatchee Saturday.
A good rule of thumb for making a year-end list: Ask yourself will you still play this album in a year or two? That thinking has me rating Thee Oh Sees much higher than Tune-Yards on this year’s best albums list. Even though WHOKILL is a really interesting album, Thee Oh Sees are just a whole lot more fun.
Click here for the rest of the list, Nos. 21-40. Here’s my top 20 of 2011:
20. Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread: A much more refined offering than last year’s scorcher Melted.
19. Dum Dum Girls – Only in Dreams: It’s maybe better than the band’s first album — great old-school, girl group rock.
18. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake: Framing war through images of World War I’s toll on England, this is one of the greatest albums she’s made in years.
17. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong: These guys bring the rock for their second album. No, really.
16. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life: Forget that it’s a concept album — or a punk rock opera. It’s just as hard as the older stuff.
There was so much good music released in 2011 that I find it’s actually hard to confine a list to the top 40. These are some of the albums that struck me as interesting, exciting or irresistible.
I’ll count down from 40 to 1 in two posts.
40. Bass Drum of Death – GB City: This is such a fun debut from two guys from Mississippi. It rocks hard.
39. The Obits – Moody, Standard and Poor: Indie vet Rick Froberg plays stripped down, loud rock ‘n’ roll.
38. Male Bonding – Endless Now: Great second album from these London punks.
37. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien: Band pays respectable homage to Pavement.
36. The Babies – The Babies: What do you get when you cross Woods with the Vivian Girls? A pretty boss album.