This got backlogged for some reason so I’m posting it now anyway: This is probably one of my favorite years for music as far as the last few go. With a mix of powerhouse albums from already-established artists (and personal favorites), and a wealth of new bands with killer debuts, this is the most solid top 4-5 I’ve ever had. For that reason, I’m keeping the list slim, and the descriptions thinner. You should listen to all of these, if you haven’t already.
10. Lorde – Pure Heroine
I don’t care how popular this album got, it’s a brilliantly crafted pop debut from a teenager who actively embraces pop and actively throws the middle finger up at it. You can’t help but like her, no matter how you feel about the radio play.
9. Torres – Torres
Startlingly mature debut from Nashville-based singer-songwriter Torres. Check out our interview with her here for more: https://theswillmerchants.com/2013/03/06/interview-torres/
8. Daughter – If You Leave
One of the best concerts I saw this year and an album that just keeps getting better with age.
7. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Some people thought this album was disappointing compared to the rest of their discography, but I personally can’t get enough of The National. I listened to this on repeat for weeks and will follow them wherever they go.
6. Local Natives – Hummingbird
A painfully sad but wonderful album from Local Natives, cementing their debut with a rock solid follow up.
5. Foxygen – 21st Century Ambassadors
This album blew me away when I first listened to it, because it sounded like something I could’ve pulled from a dusty record store — like an undiscovered 60s band or a never-before-listened-to Beatles record. It’s fantastic, and not of this time.
4. San Fermin – San Fermin
One of the best debuts in recent memory, edged out only barely by the #3 artist (who, coincidentally are featured as vocalists on San Fermin’s album). Ellis Ludwig-Leone is for real.
3. Lucius – Wildewoman
I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this record. It manages to do what few seasoned artists can do, which is build an album of songs that all sound unique, but still fit under the umbrella of a complete sound and identity. It’s fantastic.
2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
I have absolutely zero idea why some people didn’t like this album. It’s a new level of evolvement from Arcade Fire, etc etc blah blah. I’m not sure how they beat this one next time around but damn if I won’t let them try.
1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires in the City
The winner. It’s hard not to like this album. It’s catchy, it’s complex, it’s lyrically and musically impressive — Vampire Weekend really stepped up their game to evolve their own sound into something meaningful and resonant. I’d put it on the top albums of the decade already.