Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top 10 albums of 2013

This list will be more controversial for what I'm leaving out.  So no Bowie, National or Queens of the Stone Age:
10 My Bloody Valentine - m b v
Never thought I'd be including Kevin Shields and co in a list like this.  This album succeeds by simply doing what MBV are good at.  It sounds like it could have come out in 1993 as opposed to 2013, yet it's not dated.
9 Low - The Invisible Way
A remarkably consistent band.  This album is more stripped down than of late for them, allowing Sparhawk and Parker's harmonies lots of room to breathe.
8 Bill Callahan - Dream River
Callahan is on fairly opaque form here, and it's an album that I suspect still has to fully reveal itself 3 months on.  Still, you can't argue with that voice or his band.
7 Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle - Perils From The Sea
A brave move for Kozelek to leave his voice completely at the mercy of Lavalle's lush, electronic soundbeds.  The end result is an undoubted triumph, unlike anything else in his back catalogue.
6 Chequerboard - The Unfolding
A beautiful guitar instrumental album from John Lambert aka Chequerboard.
5 Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
An unexpected return from BoC to produce an addictive soundtrack for dark, uncertain times.
4 Mogwai - Les Revenants
The soundtrack to the TV series of the year, it works beautifully with the programme.  But on its own it works really well, pushing Mogwai's music in an understated, keyboard heavy direction.
3 Mark Kozelek & Desertshore
Kozelek returned to a classic guitar, bass, drums combination.  There's nothing earth-shattering here, but some of the songs contained are among his strongest in many years.
2 Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - Black Pudding
Lanegan show his more rootsy side on a collaboration that echoes his early 90s solo material in a really good way.
1 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
Nick Cave and co have had an extraordinary career, yet this album, 10 months on continues to astound, revealing hidden qualities as it goes.  Wonderful stuff.