On the surface 2013 will be remembered for two things – the chart domination of the female popstar (Miley, Katy, Lorde) and the return of the disco sound – (Get Lucky, Blurred Lines etc). But outside of this it was a stellar year of releases.
It featured breakouts artists, underground acts making the leap, and the return of some heroes (Bowie!). Most importantly, however, was the sheer variety of music. Radio no longer dictates what we listen to and the web can’t discriminate between genres. Every artist operates on a level playing field. Consumers no longer have a favourite type of music, instead their Spotify playlists and Shazam tags are littered with diversity.
This is evident in Red Rose’s 2013 records of the year, each track its own unique genre; from postpunk to c, from crack-rap to freak-folk.
So without further ado.
- Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
Blurs the line between punk and garage and is energetic, while being oddly humorous and littered with nods to the subversive sound of the American underground.
- Phosphorescent – Muchacho
A splendid example of relaxed Americana. One man’s yearning for peace and tranquility after years on the road. A must listen for fans of Bonnie Prince Billy and Wilco.
- Arcade Fire – Reflektor
James Murphy has concentrated on production and his fingerprints are all over this album; it sounds like a mash up of The Suburbs and This is Happening.
- Pusha T – My Name is My Name
Solid rhymes, impeccable hooks, beats by the biggest names in the game (Kanye, Pharrell, Swiss Beats) as well as guest spots by some of the hottest young MCs.
- Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Filled with ambient electronica, acoustic piano and downtempo bass. Beautiful and hypnotic – each track falling into a mesmerizing rhythm you could listen to for hours.
- James Blake – Overgrown
Winner of 2013’s Mercury prize for best British album. Blake has given up the idea that he is a dubstep artist and now resides more in some sort of electronic gospel genre.
- Rhye – Woman
A half Danish, half Canadian duo playing downtempo RnB. Relaxed, restrained and romantic. An all-round incredible release from a band we will hear a lot of more of.
- Kanye West – Yeezus
The best curator in the business, the likes of Daft Punk, Nina Simone, TNGHT and the Holy Name of Mary Choral Family choir. Ebbs and flows like a complete piece.
- Deerhunter – Monomania
Out with the psychedelia and in with the nocturnal garage – a new but exciting era for Deerhunter.
- Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
60s revivalist pop, wears their influences right on their tie-dye sleeves. A 9 track, 35 minute masterpiece, full of earworms and catchy melodies that will keep you coming back. For boomers it will be like taking a trip back in time, for the rest of us it is borrowed nostalgia to remind us of what we missed out on.