As I promised last week, here are my picks for the best albums of 2013. This was a great year for music, except maybe for country.
The realms of indie rock, Americana and electronica offered a smorgasbord of amazing songs and albums. Those of you who’ve been following my weekly album reviews have gotten but a taste of 2013’s bounty. So here are my top five albums of the year.
5. “Wildewoman” by Lucius
With a retro vibe and the dual vocal delivery of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Lucius’ debut LP took the indie world by storm. “Wildewoman” has all the trappings of a classic pop album: catchy hooks, memorable melodies and danceable rhythms.
4. “Southeastern” by Jason Isbell
Since his days with the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell has proven that he is a formidable singer, songwriter and guitarist. His latest release is an extraordinary masterpiece, filled with introspective songs about love and loss. Songs run the gamut from utterly heartbreaking (“Elephant”) to upbeat and uplifting (“Flying Over Water”) to sweetly romantic (“Cover Me Up”).
3. “The Afterman: Descension” by Coheed and Cambria
Coheed and Cambria are something of an acquired taste for some listeners, but it’s hard to argue that they’re one of the best prog-rock bands since Rush. “The Afterman: Descension” finds C&C exploring electronic textures without forsaking their hook-heavy formula. It’s their boldest album to date, perfectly balancing musical virtuosity and pop sensibility.
2. “Modern Vampires of the City” by Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend’s first two albums showed plenty of potential, but the band put together its magnum opus with “Modern Vampires of the City.” Lyrics are deep and thought-provoking. The music is diverse, yet precisely arranged. Vampire Weekend have arrived.
1. "White Lighter" by Typhoon
While there were so many incredible albums to come out this year, Typhoon’s “White Lighter” was exemplary in every aspect. Kyle Morton’s lyrical ponderings are poignant and insightful. Musically, arrangements are unconventional yet dynamic and precisely orchestrated. This album is a masterpiece with layers upon layers of mellifluous offerings.
There you have it. Next week I will return to my usual album review with hopes that 2014 will offer just as much, if not more, amazing music as 2013.