Skip to content

Best Music of 2013. . . So Far

Here's a sampling some of the albums that appear on several best of 2013 so far lists (or just on one but they're on this list nonetheless).


AmazonAllison Says: Laura Marling
Amazon Says: Laura Marling's new album, 'Once I Was An Eagle', the follow up to 2011's stand out 'A Creature I Don't Know', is a hugely ambitious album reflecting the poise and confidence more...
Amazon Says: Laura Marling's new album, 'Once I Was An Eagle', the follow up to 2011's stand out 'A Creature I Don't Know', is a hugely ambitious album reflecting the poise and confidence of a songwriter far beyond her years (23). Recorded in the English countryside with longtime collaborator and producer Ethan Johns, the album's loose narrative traverses heartbreak, vulnerability, resurgence, confidence, and lastly contemplation. 'Once I Was An Eagle' steps farther outside the conventions of Laura's previous albums, an opportunity to fully explore her songwriting process while abandoning expectations. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Kurt Vile
Amazon Says: Kurt Vile is slowly, quietly becoming one of the great American guitarists and songwriters of our time. This 69-minute album is comprised of sweeping, expansive songs that are more...
Amazon Says: Kurt Vile is slowly, quietly becoming one of the great American guitarists and songwriters of our time. This 69-minute album is comprised of sweeping, expansive songs that are both very intimate and conversational. Wakin On A Pretty Daze is a timeless record that would have sounded great 30 years ago, sounds great today, and will still sound great in another 30 years' from now. Beautifully produced by John Agnello, the record is filled with hazy, swooning guitar lines and dreamy, beatific, and occasionally sardonic vocals. It is summed up by the staggeringly gorgeous 9-minute opener. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Atoms for Peace
Amazon Says: Atoms for Peace is Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, Mauro Refosco, Joey Waronker, and Flea. They came together by playing in support of Thom's Grammy nominated album The Eraser. The more...
Amazon Says: Atoms for Peace is Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, Mauro Refosco, Joey Waronker, and Flea. They came together by playing in support of Thom's Grammy nominated album The Eraser. The got a big buzz from those shows and discovered loads of energy from transforming the music from electronic to live, so they carried on for a few days in the studio and decided to make it a loose, on-going thing… since everyone in the band has a day job as well. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Laura Mvula
Amazon Says: Sing To The Moon is the critically-acclaimed debut album by Laura Mvula. The 26-year-old classically trained singer-songwriter's music fuses orchestral soul with velvety harmo more...
Amazon Says: Sing To The Moon is the critically-acclaimed debut album by Laura Mvula. The 26-year-old classically trained singer-songwriter's music fuses orchestral soul with velvety harmonies and emotional vocals, utilizing her formal training at the Birmingham Conservatoire along with hints of her Caribbean background. Sing To The Moon has received overwhelming critical praise in the UK, with the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Guardian, the Telegraph, and Metro all giving the album 4 stars and the Sunday Times selecting it as their Album of the Week. She was also nominated for the 2013 BRITs Critics' Choice Award and ranked fourth on the shortlist for the coveted BBC Sound of 2013. Mvula played showcases at the FADER Fort, Hype Machine's Hype Hotel, the VEVO TV Control Room, and the BMI & Billboard Acoustic Brunch at this year's SXSW. The New York Times featured Laura as one of their picks from this year, describing her set as "polished and unconventionally structured songs that suggested Joan Armatrading by way of Cecil B. DeMille. Her songs had a few lines of exposition that would suddenly be answered by her whole band which included harp, cello and violin with choirlike vocal harmonies, pushing Ms. Mvula toward exultant incantations that gave obsessions a cinematic glow." less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Savages
Amazon Says: The highly anticipated debut from London s Savages, an all-female four-piece who play music with scything energy and brutal power. Recorded with Rodaidh McDonald (The xx), the more...
Amazon Says: The highly anticipated debut from London s Savages, an all-female four-piece who play music with scything energy and brutal power. Recorded with Rodaidh McDonald (The xx), the album is an 11-track, 38-minute masterpiece. Limned in black and white but containing a swell of different emotions within its self-imposed strictures, the songs cover topics from masochism ("Hit Me"), urban dread ("City s Full"), materialism, possessiveness and the experience of being a woman ("Husbands," "I Am Here"). Every one is delivered with fierce conviction and concision. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Marnie Stern
Amazon Says: The Chronicles of Marnia features collaborations with the newest drummer talent Oneida's Kid Millions, and is produced by Nicholas Vernhes. Marnie Stern trys experiements on t more...
Amazon Says: The Chronicles of Marnia features collaborations with the newest drummer talent Oneida's Kid Millions, and is produced by Nicholas Vernhes. Marnie Stern trys experiements on this release, and blends her guitar melodies with a new sound. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Ashley Monroe
Amazon Says: Like a Rose was a long time coming. Monroe has been creating music for more than half of her life attracting along the way kudos from such music world giants as Dolly Parton, more...
Amazon Says: Like a Rose was a long time coming. Monroe has been creating music for more than half of her life attracting along the way kudos from such music world giants as Dolly Parton, Guy Clark, Vince Gill and Jack White. Her 2013 full-length album release serves both to fill in the back-story and impart to us who she is today. At times her songs are dead serious, at others utterly hilarious, but always Monroe is an original with a compelling story to share. Some of the songs were written for the album; others date back several years and felt right to revisit. The semi-autobiographical title track, one of the uncontestable highlights of the set, was co-written over five years ago with another totem of the American song-crafting community, Texan legend Guy Clark. And fresh it all is. Like a Rose avoids the trappings of too much contemporary music by sticking to the basics: memorable songs, incredible musicians, a superb voice, all of it captured honestly and without frills. As the saying goes, sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses. Take a whiff of Like a Rose and you ll find it smells pretty darn sweet. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Kacey Musgraves
Amazon Says: After listening to Same Trailer Different Park, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter s first album for Mercury Records, it s clear that this is a girl who has something to sa more...
Amazon Says: After listening to Same Trailer Different Park, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter s first album for Mercury Records, it s clear that this is a girl who has something to say. A true language artist, Kacey nimbly spins webs of words to create the quirky puns, shrewd metaphors, and steely ironies that fill the record. The lead single Merry Go Round garnered quick airplay and critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone (the magazine later placed the song in its vaunted list of the top 50 singles of the year); NPR, which named her their 2012 Best New Artist (all genre); and Slate, where the headline above a rave review of Kacey s work read Is This the Future of Country Music? Billboard took a different track, looking to the past to qualify its praise: Had Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton arrived on the scene in 2012 instead of the 1960s, some of their compositions could very well have ended up sounding like this. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Vida Boheme
Amazon Says: 2013 album from the Alt-Rock/Indie band from Caracas, Venezuela. The band takes influence from late '80s Punk, Disco, Funk, Electronic music, Jazz, Salsa, Reggae and Dance mu more...
Amazon Says: 2013 album from the Alt-Rock/Indie band from Caracas, Venezuela. The band takes influence from late '80s Punk, Disco, Funk, Electronic music, Jazz, Salsa, Reggae and Dance music. La Vida Boheme was formed in 2007 by Rafael Perez, Daniel De Sousa, Sebastian Ayala, and Henry D'Arthenay. Sera is the follow-up to their 2011 breakthrough album Nuestra. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: David Lang
Amazon Says: Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Stanford Lively Arts to go on a program with his piece the little match girl passion, death speaks draws its initial inspiration from the wor more...
Amazon Says: Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Stanford Lively Arts to go on a program with his piece the little match girl passion, death speaks draws its initial inspiration from the work of Schubert - specifically the song 'Death and the Maiden.' The five-part 'death speaks' features Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Bryce Dessner (The National), Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and Nico Muhly, and was produced by Bryce Dessner. '[Connects] the dots between Romantic morbidity and emo rock.' - New York Times less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society
Amazon Says: Weaving together progressive jazz, early-American popular styles, Balkan folk musics, and the sounds of Brooklyn's diverse contemporary music scene - from the dance-punk of LC more...
Amazon Says: Weaving together progressive jazz, early-American popular styles, Balkan folk musics, and the sounds of Brooklyn's diverse contemporary music scene - from the dance-punk of LCD Soundsystem and experimental indie rock of Dirty Projectors to Missy Mazzoli's blend of post-rock and quirky minimalism - Argue creates a vividly evocative musical narrative that is at once timeless and unlike anything heard before. Argue's Secret Society is one of the most admired ensembles in contemporary jazz, having toured in Europe, Brazil, and North America and been twice featured at the Newport Jazz Festival. Its members include in-demand instrumentalists such as John Ellis, Ingrid Jensen, Ryan Keberle, and Sam Sadigursky. Brooklyn Babylon was conceived in collaboration with Croatian-born visual artist Danijel Zezelj, whose narrative inspired Argue s mash-up of musical styles. Zezelj's artwork places the action in a larger-than-life, mythic Brooklyn, where past, present, and future coexist. Plans are afoot to construct an immense tower - the tallest in the world - right in the heart of the city. Lev Bezdomni, a master carpenter, finds himself torn between his personal ambition and his allegiance to the community when he is commissioned to build the carousel that will crown it. The 53-minute work shows Argue taking a novelistic approach to long-form composition: a prologue, eight chapters separated by brief interludes, and an epilogue. The album opens with the actual sounds of Brooklyn - a sonic collage of recordings of the borough captured on Argue's portable digital recorder. The ensemble gradually comes into focus and introduces the Prologue, from which every subsequent musical theme in Brooklyn Babylon derives. Argue reconfigures these themes using a broad array of techniques, inflected by contemporary indie rock, classical music, and jazz, particularly from the often maligned 1970s: the earthy avant-garde of Dewey Redman and Lester Bowie; the intricate large-ensemble sounds of Thad Jones and Don Ellis; and the sophisticated populism of Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. Waltzes, marches and - naturally - fairground carousels also fold into the mix. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Jose James
Amazon Says: No Beginning No End is a seamless musical experience that moves between different styles with remarkable fluidity, bound together by Jos‚ James' transcendent voice. It marks more...
Amazon Says: No Beginning No End is a seamless musical experience that moves between different styles with remarkable fluidity, bound together by Jos‚ James' transcendent voice. It marks a new chapter in the artistic journey of the 33-year-old singer/songwriter. Conceived, recorded and produced independently without any recording contract, the album is his most personal statement yet. James has already established himself as a trailblazer for his intoxicating blend of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and Electronica from his previous three albums. His musical path follows its own rhyme and reason. James is a musical omnivore, an artist that resists being pigeonholed, equally at ease on stage with jazz legend McCoy Tyner as he is in the studio with rapper Oh No or Electronica pioneer Flying Lotus. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Bombino
Amazon Says: Nonesuch Records presents Nomad, from the Tuareg guitarist, singer, and songwriter Omara "Bombino" Moctar. At the invitation of The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, the Niger-born ar more...
Amazon Says: Nonesuch Records presents Nomad, from the Tuareg guitarist, singer, and songwriter Omara "Bombino" Moctar. At the invitation of The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, the Niger-born artist and his band traveled to Nashville for the recording, helmed by Auerbach at his studio, Easy Eye Sound. Before 2009, Bombino was little known outside Saharan Africa, where his career consisted of regionally available cassettes and roles in local bands. In few years, he has begun to find a following abroad. He sold out venues across the U.S. in his first tour here, in 2011, and has garnered the praise of outlets ranging from Pitchfork to NPR's Fresh Air, whose critic Milo Miles called Bombino "a young performer with the charisma and probing imagination to become the first Tuareg star. " Auerbach, winner of the 2013 Grammy for Producer of the Year, became a fan after a friend saw him perform and thought Auerbach might appreciate his unique style of desert blues. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: DJ Koze
Amazon Says: DJ Koze offers a long-awaited return with this astonishing, mind-blowing album. Amygdala is Koze's Sgt. Pepper's. It's an unreal 78-minute walk through Koze's mind, com more...
Amazon Says: DJ Koze offers a long-awaited return with this astonishing, mind-blowing album. Amygdala is Koze's Sgt. Pepper's. It's an unreal 78-minute walk through Koze's mind, complete with moods, intensities, sounds and scenes as yet unheard of. Featuring guest appearances by Caribou, Apparat, Hildegard Knef, Matthew Dear, Ada, Milosh and Dirk von Lotzow. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Shout Out Louds
Amazon Says: Shout Out Louds took their time with these songs, recording for about 1.5 years in a small Stockholm studio and producing themselves for the first time with help from Johannes more...
Amazon Says: Shout Out Louds took their time with these songs, recording for about 1.5 years in a small Stockholm studio and producing themselves for the first time with help from Johannes Berglund. A theme emerged and Optica was born, an album celebrating color and light from a band confident in its sound. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Glenn Jones
Amazon Says: #32 Album of the Year - Mojo #15 Album of the Year - NPR (Bob Boilen) "My Garden State" - NPR Favorite 100 Songs of 2013 Glenn Jones is a unique voice working in the decades- more...
Amazon Says: #32 Album of the Year - Mojo #15 Album of the Year - NPR (Bob Boilen) "My Garden State" - NPR Favorite 100 Songs of 2013 Glenn Jones is a unique voice working in the decades-long tradition of American Primitivism. What sets him apart from the many devotees to this style is the combination of expressive playing and technical skill, most significantly his inventive use of alternate tunings and partial capos. As anyone knows who has seen him perform, Glenn is a remarkable storyteller, and his songs reflect that talent. The songs on Glenns latest, My Garden State, are evocative and redolent, and serve as a testament to Glenns talent for conveying a wide array of emotions, many times in one song, without saying a word. My Garden State was written in the New Jersey home where Glenns family moved in 1966, while he was caring for his mother who suffers from Alzheimers. The songs and sounds on the album are reflective, but never dour or sad. My Garden State was recorded by Laura Baird in Allentown, NJ. Laura joins Glenn on the first proper song, Across the Tappan Zee on banjo, interweaving her plaintive melodies with Glenns gentle picking. Lauras sister Meg, who was a founding member of Espers and plays with Laura as The Baird Sisters, also joins in on the final minutes of Going Back to East Montgomery, an eight minute long composition that showcases Glenns ability to craft a long form piece that is at once expansive and immediate. The two tracks that form the centerpiece of the album, The Vernal Pool and Alcoeur Gardens were composed spontaneously in the studio, a technique Glenn developed on tour with Damo Suzuki with his former band Cul de Sac. Where The Vernal Pool is exuberant, Alcouer Gardens is sparse and quiet, with field recordings of rain and thunder providing a bed for Glenn s guitar, emphasizing the space between the notes as much as the notes themselves. The songs on My Garden State could have been written by no one except Glenn Jones, brimming with joy, sorrow, and the complex in-between that makes life worth living. less...
Amazon


AmazonAllison Says: Mikal Cronin
Amazon Says: Mikal Cronin's self-titled debut from 2011 was all about endings: the end of college, the end of a serious relationship, and the end of his time in Los Angeles, where he grew more...
Amazon Says: Mikal Cronin's self-titled debut from 2011 was all about endings: the end of college, the end of a serious relationship, and the end of his time in Los Angeles, where he grew up. So it's no surprise that his sophomore release MCII and first disc for Merge Records is all about new beginnings. less...
Amazon

Print

Comment about this page...