Our Favorite Music Of 2013

Dec 9, 2013

2013 is coming to a close and once again, more great music than can possibly be listened to has been released. We're sharing our favorites of the year. Hopefully you will find sounds that you will love and you are of course welcome to leave your own suggestions in the comments. Happy New Year!

This year we enlisted the help of Becky Carlos. She is the webmaster and on-air talent for Mix 96.5 in Cape Girardeau. She's also a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and the one time host and producer of The Secret Stash, an eclectic music program that aired on Southeast's student-run radio station Rage 103.7.

10.) Haim - Days Are Gone

The band is made up of three sisters; they started the band in 2006. This is their first full length album, released on September 30th. They have appeared on SNL. Their sound is a combination of 70’s with some 80’s elements, almost Fleetwood Mac with Synth elements. -Becky

Rudresh Mahanthappa - Gamak

I came to this album by hearing an interview he did with Arun Rath one weekend on All Things Considered. For me it’s sometimes difficult to really feel the differences among jazz musicians and composers, but Mahanthappa, with the way he blends South Indian classical music with progressive jazz is truly unique. -Jason

9.) Chvrches - The Bones Of What You Believe

This is the band’s first album, it dropped  on September 20th. The band is from Scotland and is currently touring Europe.  They are an electronica band with a distinct synth sound. -Becky

Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

The 90’s are back in a big way this year, from actual bands of the era making a comeback to bands who have simply adopted the slacker vibe as their own. As someone who came of age during this time I could only be happier if I were once again living in the 90’s. Katie Crutchfield releases music under the name Waxahatchee, and her smart, subtle edge is my favorite example is this sonic revival. -Jason

8.) M.I.A. - Matangi

The whole album is about female empowerment. This single was actually released a year ago, the whole album dropped on November 5th. Any performer that gets on stage at nine months pregnant and just blows everyone away has a special place in my heart until the end of time. -Becky

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

After self-releasing his first mixtape his mother sent him to boarding school in Samoa which he attended until he turned 18. This is his major label debut and it’s a smart, languidly flowing album that hints at confidence issues of race, parental expectations, and self-doubt. -Jason

7.) New Politics - A Bad Girl From Harlem

This album clocks in at 40 minutes and really packs a punch. The Denmark band really seems to be getting attention in this, their third album. -Becky

Phosphorescent – Muchacho

The solo project of Matthew Houck, who’s decade-long career has been about reckless times set to country and blues. This is his most experimental album with flourishes of strings and keyboards. The somber, heart wrenching tone suggests contemplation if not flat-out regret over all that hard living. -Jason

6.) Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart

This man turned a lot of heads around here with his Tiny Desk Concert. This is definitely a break up album, though the vivid lyricism leaves upon to interpretation as to what is being broken up. -Becky

The Besnard Lakes – Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO

There’s something about the cycles and omnipresent drone in this album that’s soothing and very much like a wonderful dream. The vocals of Olga Goreas sink into the wash of reverb in a way that’s truly enchanting. -Jason

5.) Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

The mega-celebrity continues to survive his boy band days and evolve as a musician with both star power and critical acclaim.  This year's album was doled out in two doses and contains soulful tunes of romance. -Becky

Bibio – Silver Wilkinson

Bibio is the moniker of Stephen Wilkinson, an English music producer who makes very human sounding electronic music, with a bit of a retro and analog fascination not unlike their label-mates Boards of Canada. Cool vibes, chopped up helium vocals and danceable jams makes pushing “play” a no-brainer. -Jason

4.) The Weeknd - Kiss Land

He is a prolific producer, remixing tracks for many artists including Drake and Lorde. This album is dark, with a sinister Michael Jackson quality and gritty synths. -Becky

Kanye West – Yeezus

Amongst the celebrity status and name dropping KW also has important things to say, including some poignant commentary in race relations in current society. He has an eloquence to his anger, and this album is his most menacing. As a producer he acts of a curator, sampling from sources ranging from 60’s Hungarian rock band Omega to beloved vocalist Nina Simone. -Jason

3.) Wavves - Afraid Of Heights

I was cold to this band before this, their 4th album, but I really came around on this one. The slacker surf-punk vibe matures on this one, while maintaining a sense of fun. -Becky

Anna Meredith – Black Prince Fury/Jet Black Raider

The Scottish composer is endlessly fascinating with her work she’s created for the BBC alone. She’s also a capable electronic musician, and this year saw her latest EP Jet Black Raider packaged alongside Black Prince Fury in the US. The two EP’s combined make for an album’s worth of stomach churning bass, the escalating grandeur of heavy metal, and delightful left-turns. -Jason

2.) Foals - Holy Fire

The UK charts love this band but they are just getting to be known here in the States. Themes of bad breakups and the baggage left behind inform this collection of delightful tunes. -Becky

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

My top-2 are definitely comfortable places for me. This band is known for slow burns that will imbed themselves deep, and this album is no exception. This year they were deemed “too dark” by the producers of The Hunger Games and were animated by the creators of Bob’s Burgers as they covered one of Linda’s annual Thanksgiving songs. -Jason

1.) Lorde - The Love Club EP

Her album Pure Heroine was released in October and it was fantastic, but songs the title track make me give the nod to this EP that was released in March. It landed her on the Billboard alternative charts which no one has done since Tracy Bonham 17 years ago with "Mother Mother." -Becky

Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

Thanks to a series of interviews that aired on NPR’s Morning Edition leading up to this album I really felt like I’ve spent more time with this than any other release this year. Case is such a gifted songwriter and her voice has no equal. To hear her sing of loss and sorrow the way that she does reminds me why I love listening to music. -Jason