Friday, December 13, 2013

My Top 40 Favorite Albums Of 2013

Hey everybody, this is my 5th year of counting down my top 40 favorite albums of the year.  I guess I must listen to a ton of music or something.  

Remember, I am not a professional music critic.  I like what I like and that's kinda the way it goes.  Also, this year was particularly difficult for me because just about every one of my favorite bands came out with new albums.  It was a great year for music.

So, here on this blog at this time, you will find my list.  Underneath, you will find the top ten of each year for the previous 4 years.

40. Brett Dennen - Smoke and Mirrors
Hip and poppy, hoppy and pip.  Brett reminds me of a young Tom Petty. 

39. Foals - Holy Fire
I've become a huge Foals fan through the years. This album might be my least favorite, but still worth a listen.

38. MGMT - MGMT 
I loved MGMT's first album, hated their second.  This third one lies somewhere in between. Some songs I love, some I hate.

37. Rogue Wave - Nightingale Floors
Rogue Wave is one of my favorite bands, so for the album to be down this far is a bit of a disappointment.  Again, still worth a listen but not near the top 3 Rogue Wave albums.

36. Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends
Not nearly as catchy or as fun as their last album "The Satanic Satanist", but some excellent songs on this one, to be sure.

35. The Besnard Lakes – Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO
I love their sound. The songs are slow and dreary, but they are awesome slow and dreary.

34. Kodaline – In A Perfect World
These guys sound so much like Coldplay.  I like Coldplay, I like these guys too. Impressed with their first album.

33. The Mary Onettes – Hit The Waves
They have such an 80's sound, but the cool 80's, not Wham!.  Great stuff here.

32. Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
CWK had such a breakthrough, amazing album last time out with "Mine Is Yours" it was hard to follow.  They did an alright job with this one, although it certainly does not measure up to their last one.

31.  The Airborne Toxic Event – Such Hot Blood 
Another band that I have grown to love that didn't quite measure up.  I still liked this album a lot, but it was missing some of the gusto of albums past.

30. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Some truly terrific songs on this album, but too many forgettable ones.  Again, didn't like it as much as some of their past efforts.

29. Walk Off The Earth – R.E.V.O.

Some of the songs were a little too poppy for my taste, but a few of them knock it out of the park.

28. Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe
It surprised me how good this album was. It made me want to dance a lot and by dance, I mean sit on my couch and bob my head.

27. Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium
I've had been a little disappointed with the couple Okkervil albums, especially after their first two albums were so good.  This one, not so disappointed. The songs are more accessible and straight forward on this album. 

26. Atlas Genius – When It Was Now
This album had the one big hit "Trojans", but that was the worst song on the album.  As a result, it is being overlooked for being great.

25. Phosphorescent - Muchacho
This album was not at all what I was expecting, but in a good way.  This was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me.  I loved this album much more than I thought.  It is loaded with great tunes.

24. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
The last Phoenix album was their breakout hit, but this follow up is solid all the way through. It might not get the credit the last album did, but this one might be even better.

23. The Avett Brothers – Magpie And Dandelion
I'm a huge lover of The Avett Bros., and normally this album would rank much higher, but there are just so many great albums this year, I just couldn't move it up higher than 23.

22. Cloud Cult - Love
This is my new second favorite Cloud Cult album.  It rocks from beginning to end.

21. Generationals - Heza
This band is so chill and catchy.  This one does not measure up to their last one, but it still holds up in every way.

20. Gold Fields – Black Sun
Good songs.

19. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
This album is dominated by two or three really great Strokes songs and a bunch of average ones. However, average Strokes songs are still pretty dang great.

18. The Naked And Famous – In Rolling Waves
I was so excited for this album but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t initially a little disappointed. But the more I’ve listened, the more I’ve liked it. It’s nothing like their first album, but it still stands on its own.

17. The Lone Bellow – The Lone Bellow
The first of two folk albums in a row that I loved this year.  This album came out of nowhere and caught me off guard.  It’s pretty soft folk, but I really enjoyed it.

16. The Head And The Heart – Let’s Be Still
The second folk album I enjoyed and slightly more than The Lone Below’s album.  The first Head And The Heart album was fantastic, this one great, but not up to that level.

15. Bell X1 – Chop Chop
There are some truly moving songs on this album.  This might be my favorite British band of all time.  I love these guys more and more with every album they put out.

14. Empire Of The Sun – Ice On The Dune
I waited a long time for a new Empire of the Sun album and it turned out, it was pretty decent.  Like their first album, two or three AMAZING songs and then a bunch of mediocre ones.  This band is definitely the strangest band on the list.

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.  – The Speed Of Things
This band is a newcomer for me and I loved them from the first listen.  If you like the band Passion Pit, and I know you do, then I know you’ll love this album.

12. Dr. Dog – B-Room
If you love music from the 60’s, you’ll love Dr. Dog and if you love Dr. Dog, you’ll love me because I love Dr. Dog and I’ll never stop loving Dr. Dog, no matter how much you want me to stop loving Dr. Dog.

11. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
This years my eyes were opened to the dance goodness that is Daft Punk and the goodness was good.

10. Little Green Cars – Absolute Zero
Another new band to my list.  This album was one of my most “listened to” of the year.  Absolutely fantastic from start to finish.

9. Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob
Besides sounding just like Wilson Philips to me, I really like these girls.  This album was packed and loaded with hits.

8. The Sounds – Weekend
This is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite band in the world. So, the fact that they are way down here at #7, shows that this is not their best effort.  Certainly, it was not as good as their last album, which was an absolute gem. Still, they are The Sounds and I still love them and this is a decent album, so here they land.

7. Crystal Fighters – Cave Rave
This band has fast become one of my favorites and their mix of rock and pop is pretty infectious.  So many songs you can sing along with, or sing by yourself in the shower, or just sing on this album.

6. Shout Out Louds – Optica
This album is really good and has really good songs on it and stuff.  You guys should listen to it.

5. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
I was worried about this album before it came out because it represented a change of sound for the band.  That rarely goes well for any band.  But this album is the exception to the rule. It flat out rocks, like a very flat rock.

4. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
The National may have peaked with their genius last album “High Violet”, but this album is right there with it and is definitely their second best effort.  Plus, this album has my #1 favorite song of the year on it: Heavenfaced.

3. Twenty One Pilots - Vessel
Normally, when I hear rap and rock fusion bands, I think “Just another 311 knock off.”  This is NOT the case with this band.  They knocked my socks off, and I was wearing sandals at the time.  Well, socks with sandals.  This album was absolutely the biggest surprise for me.  I never thought I’d like it, but when I look at my plays in iTunes, it was my most listened to album by far.  The amount of energy this two-man-band brings is pretty amazing.  Also, my boys like to listen to and dance to this album more than any other this year, so right on, Twenty One Pilots!

2. Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
If you know anything about my musical tastes, you know that I hold Radical Face up as a god.  Not “the God”, but like a Amish god or something. This is the second album in a planned trilogy following the history of a fictional family that Ben has written about.  While not quite the same excellence as the first album, it is musical genius.  Radical Face, AKA, Ben Cooper is amazing.  His album last year reached #1 on my most favorite list.  This album would have been there too had it not been for #1…

1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
Vampire Weekend fans such as myself have been waiting for an album like this one that separates them from a twee-pop novelty into a serious heavyweight of a rock band.  Their other albums were fun and light, but this album establishes them as a heavyweight to be reckoned with. Superb writing and lyrics delving into darker subjects.  And, in spite of all that, they still sound fun and catchy.  I’ve been waiting for a year to pick Vampire Weekend as my favorite album and that year has finally arrived.


1. Radical Face – The Family Tree: The Roots
2. Passion Pit - Gossamer
3. Mumford And Son – Babel
4. Miike Snow – Happy To You
5. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
6. Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
7. Metric – Sythetica
8. Dr. Dog – Be The Void
9. Of Monsters And Men – My Head Is An Animal
10. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

1. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
2. The Sounds – Something To Die For
3. Architecture In Helsinki – Moment Bends
4. Decemberists – The King Is Dead
5. The Strokes – Angles
6. The Head And The Heart – The Head And The Heart
7. Brett Dennen – Loverboy
8. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
9. I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today
10. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing

1. The National – High Violet
2. Vampire Weekend – Contra
3. Shout Out Louds – Work
4. Mumford And Sons – Sigh No More
5. Mates Of State – Crushes
6. Dr. Dog – Shame Shame
7. Rogue Wave – Permalight
8. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
9. Matt & Kim – Sidewalks
10. Tokyo Police Club – Champ

1. The Sounds – Crossing The Rubicon
2. Passion Pit – Manners
3. Metric – Fantasies
4. Animal Collective – Merryweather Post Pavilion
5. Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
6. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns
7. Silversun Pickups – Swoon
8. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
9. Islands – Vapours
10. Mew – No More Stories Are Told…