When you can’t find it on Google.

Best Albums of 2013

My second annual list. This is mostly personal preference, but with an ear to recommend both popular and obscure (mostly rock and jazz) albums to other music lovers.


Top Picks

  • Bombino – Nomad (Tishoumaren, blues rock; April)
  • Charles Bradley – Victim of Love (Soul, April)
  • Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Nu-disco, May)
  • Gregory Porter – Liquid Spirit (Vocal jazz, September)
  • Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady (R&B funk, September)
  • Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God (Neo-psychedelia, February)
  • Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork (Hard rock, June)
  • Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob (Electropop, January)

Second Billing

Most of these are artists I had never heard of or given a second listen before 2013. Good music is alive and well.

  • Andrew Bird – I Want to See Pulaski at Night (7-track EP, Chamber folk, November)
  • Arctic Monkeys – AM (Indie rock, September)
  • Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Seesaw (Blues, May)
  • Haim – Days Are Gone (Pop rock, October)
  • Junip [self titled] (Folktronica, April)
  • Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle (Folk, May)
  • London Grammar – If You Wait (Art pop, September)
  • Lorde – Pure Heroine (Indietronica, September)
  • Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go (Neo soul, July)
  • *Nils Frahm – Spaces (Ambient, November, ErasedTapes.com)
  • Olan Mill – Hiraeth (Ambient, October)
  • Ólafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter (Ambient, March)
  • Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones (Bluegrass, September)
  • Shpongle – Museum of Consciousness (Psychedelic, September)
  • Simone Dinnerstein and Tift Merritt – Night (Singer/songwriter, March)
  • Young Galaxy – Ultramarine (Synth pop, April)

Honorable Mention

I might have included several of these in the top albums, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to many of them all the way through.

  • 65daysofstatic – Wild Light (Math rock, September)
  • Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Indie rock, October)
  • Beacon – The Ways We Separate (Indietronica, April)
  • Beats Antique – A Thousand Faces: Act 1 (World fusion, October)
  • Betty Who – The Movement (4-track EP, Synthpop, September)
  • Billy Goat Strut Revue – This Is Bourbon Jazz (Jazz, May)
  • Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe (Alternative r&b, November)
  • Darkside – Psychic (Electronic, October)
  • Dawn Richard – Goldenheart (R&B, January)
  • Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days (Electropop, August)
  • Forest Swords – Engravings (Electronic, August)
  • James Blake – Overgrown (Art pop, April)
  • Kanye West – Yeezus (Industrial hip hop, June)
  • Karen Gwyer – Needs Continuum (Ambient electronic, February)
  • Lucius – Wildewoman (Indie, October)
  • Mala Rodriguez – Bruja (Hip hop, June)
  • Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day (Psychedelic folk, September)
  • Milosh – Jetlag (IDM, November)
  • Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You (Country rock, September)
  • Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks (Industrial, September)
  • Raum – Event of Your Leaving (Ambient, November)
  • *Postdrome – Where the King Will Land (Drone, June, Name your price on Bandcamp)
  • Rhye – Woman (Alternative R&B, March)
  • Sally Shapiro – Somewhere Else (Italo-disco, February)
  • Savages – Silence Yourself (Post-punk, May)
  • *Secret Pyramid – Movements of Night (Ambient, October, Midheaven.com)
  • Steve Martin and Edie Brickell – Love Has Come for You (Bluegrass, April) – Yes, that Steve Martin
  • The Range – Nonfiction (Electronic, October)
  • Van-Anh Vanessa Vo – Three-Mountain Pass (Đàn tranh Vietnamese, September)
  • Yuna – Nocturnal (Alt pop, October)

* Not on Spotify or Rdio

If you somehow missed my favorite tracks of 2013 post, here’s the YouTube playlist of it which includes many of the artists above:




2 responses to “Best Albums of 2013”

  1. Scott S Avatar
    Scott S

    When I saw Sally Shapiro listed, I KNEW I had to offer my compliments on your list!

    1. zepfanman Avatar

      Thanks! She and Laura Marling are like the new Alison Krauss for me.