Tuesday, December 17, 2013

BEST JAMS OF 2013


My, has the year flown! It dawned on me a few weeks ago as December was approaching that along with the madness that follows with preparing for the holidays, so does my year-end music review. I realize it would be smart to progressively work on this post throughout the entire year to alleviate some of the burden that comes with searching through and reflecting on an entire year of music, but these things are always noted in hindsight, right? On the bright side, it won't take me long to come up with my new years resolution for 2014, so without further ado...

Jammables 10 Best Albums of 2013 are listed in order of release date and if you've been following prior Jammable year-end reviews, you should know the drill—all albums listed are extremely solid from start to finish. I don't list albums that have a majority of good songs, but are lacking on a few tracks. Others may disagree, but I will clearly state that I am no expert at deciding this list. These albums just made my year extra special and if I may have the pleasure of introducing any of them to you for the first time, I hope that, in return, they may do the same for you. Please click on the link in the name to find more detailed information on each artist in previous Jammable reviews written throughout the year and tune in below to listen to a compiled Spotify playlist that features a single from each artist. 




Toro y Moi - Anything in Return (January 22) 

This album is fantastic. It makes going out fun and will easily amp up your cool factor just by listening. Also, definitely one of the most amazing new-age shows I've ever seen performed live. Not to mention, it seems each new album from Chaz Bundick is better than the last. Super excited to see what will come next!

Local Natives - Hummingbird (January 29)

This album pretty much changed my life. It gave me an extremely anxious and nervous feeling on the first listen, as this release acted as a serious test for one of my favorite bands to see if they had the ability to produce yet another amazing album following the rather stellar breakout release of Gorilla Manor in 2010. To put it simply, I couldn't be happier with the results. 

Foals - Holy Fire (February 4)

I'm a bit ashamed that Holy Fire was the first album I ever heard from Foals, as they have two prior albums equally as awesome, titled Antidotes (2008) and Total Life Forever (2010). The plus side that came from discovering my love of this album, however, was that I had two more equally awesome albums to explore. After diving so deep in love with this band, I've often asked myself, "I wonder what my life would be like had I not discovered Foals?" I don't know what kind of life that would be like, but I'm happy that's not the life I'm currently living. 
  

Wild Belle - Isles (March 8) 

This album makes me feel proud to be a chick. Honestly, I don't think I've ever been able to rep such a girl-centered album like I can rep this one. It's funky, progressive, and a bit sultry. Especially, when you see them perform live, but if you do, just beware: girls in the audience will leave the show wanting to be the lead singer Natalie Bergman and guys will leave the show wanting to date her. 

Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg (April 9)

This breakout and self-titled album by the eighteen-year-old Englishman Jake Bugg is such a breath of fresh air. It's quite refreshing to see someone his age put out music this great that it makes you wonder what could possibly come from him in the future. This album is full of folkful delight that has the ability to bring you up and slow you down, depending on the track. 
  

Phoenix - Bankrupt! (April 23)

I'll admit I was not entirely fond of this album from the get-go and that it took me quite some time to really come around to it, but in the end I decided that this album really is great. It has several solid tracks that remind me of the old Phoenix that we know and love, but with an obvious progression to their sound that keeps them sounding fresh. I had the opportunity to see them perform a surprise breakout show at Anderson High School in Austin this year and it legitimately felt like I was living a real-life teen dream where none of the tracks on the album had the ability to bring me down. 
  

Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends (May 31)

I can already tell that Portugal. The Man's Evil Friends album is going to remind me of 2013 when I listen to it down the road because of how frequently this album was played throughout the last year. This is the first great album I've seen in a long time that has had the ability to have several popular hits on the radio rather than just a one hit wonder. Between their hits, "Creep In A T-Shirt", "Purple Yellow Red and Blue", "Holy Roller (Hallelujah)" and "Plastic Soldiers" (to name a few), you really had no option of not knowing about this album this year.

Disclosure - Settle (June 4)

I'd say Disclosure's Settle gets the award for most unique party music of the year and also most terrifying album art. If I were to judge this album by the cover, I'd be running for the nearest safe room. However, if you have the ability to look past that, listening to this album on a night out will make you feel like you're still in college, but without the overly-played rap music that you hear on every corner. I can almost guarantee your energy will rise and you'll attempt to consume more beverages than your body remembers what to do with. 

Volcano Choir - Repave (August 30)

Ah, Repave, how do I put this into words? I'm just going to start by thanking Volcano Choir for creating an album that brings back the warm fuzzies we've all missed from the master creation of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. It literally does feel like it was "forever ago" that we experienced the same Justin Vernon (this album was released in 2007 and changed my life in too many ways to name here). Repave is a beautiful, tranquil and lovely album that should postpone the void of the magical Justin Vernon equation until next time he decides to release it to us. 

Possessed by Paul James - There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely (October 29)

I'm excited to feature this album as one of the best for 2013 because Konrad Wert (the man behind Paul James) is so great and yet still so under the radar in the music world. After listening to this hearty, folk-inspired and passionate album, There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely, you'll realize that it won't be long until you find yourself under the possession of Paul James and until Konrad Wert finds his way to the surface. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Washed Out - Paracosm
  • The National - Trouble Will Find Me
  • The Head And The Heart - Let's Be Still
  • Arctic Monkeys - AM
  • Kings of Leon - Mechanical Bull
  • Rhye - Woman
  • Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
  • Quiet Corral - Ancestors
  • Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love

Standout EP's/baby albums:

Read up on previous Jammable year-end reviews by following the links below:


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