Best 20 Albums of 2013

greatest, favorite, best, albums of 2013

As Austin noted in our introduction to our favorite songs of 2013 list yesterday, it is much more difficult to list a years worth of favorites than one might think. 2013 was quite an interesting year in music. Many big names (or at least big expectations) left a disappointing taste in fans’ mouths (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Strokes, Jay-Z, etc.). This left the door wide open for smaller, and sometimes even unheard artists to really pave the way to a brighter future, and in some cases, all-out overnight stardom (Lorde, Savages, CHVRCHES, etc). This also left a lot of room for controversy. Who is worth the listen, and who is just going through the motions while filling our ear buds with noise? Well the controversy was not absent in making this list. With all three of us at LxL listing out our top 20 albums separately and then combining them into a normalized list, there was bound to be some peoples favorites left off. Mean things were said, blood was spilled, and opinions hotly thwarted. Nonetheless, the list must go on. Here is what we considered to be our favorite albums of 2013:

20. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
alunageorge body music album-cover art
Last year, Alunageorge’s “Your Drums, Your Love” ranked in at #20 on our favorite songs of 2012. This year, the soulful pop R&B duo returned with a full LP to support the single, as well as a grip of other ripe-for-the-shaggin’ type of tunes. The duo now garnered another #20 slot, but this time on our albums list with Body Music.
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Unknown Mortal Orchestra with Foxygen Show Review

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
with special guests Foxygen
3/7/2012
Lincoln Hall
Chicago, IL

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, live, 3/7/2012, Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall! Wow! Hats off to venues that can dovetail a bar, a restaurant,
and concert venue in such an incredibly seamless fashion. This place is
one of the best small venues I’ve been too, sound-wise, environment-wise,
and price-wise. Not only that, but they are also home to one of the better
tacos (pork belly mind you) and beer selections I’ve ever seen at a music
venue. If you’re looking to catch a cheap show in Chicago, I’d start here.
Last night fellow LxL’er Wes and myself were treated to quite the show
in this wonderful hall of sound and music. The lineup: Wampire, Foxygen, and
Unknown Mortal Orchestra. All psychedelic throwbacks, each equipped with
their own unique sounds and quirks. If you follow us at LxL, I know you’ve
heard me gush over two of these three bands a lot lately. Well put on your
raincoat because I’m about to gush all over the place once again.
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LxListening: First Fridays

First Fridays

After a few slow months in late 2012, the first thirty-one days of the new year have already brought some life back to the music scene. A few releases this past month have really taken me by surprise, which is a great start to the year. To honor this great music, I decided to share some first tracks from some of my favorite albums from this year’s first month. Album openers are such a tricky thing in music. You want to grab your audiences attention immediately, but you also don’t want to blow your load too early. That always ends up a bit messy. In essence, the idea is to have something that previews the energy of the album and is somewhat accessible, but not so heavy that it wears the audience out. The short playlist I put together below I feel has some very strong examples of first tracks, and hopefully it inspires some to want to listen to the rest of the albums they each came from. They are all worth a listen in my opinion. So here you are, some first tracks from the first month of 2013 on this, the first Friday of February:

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Foxygen Review: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Foxygen
We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, album cover art

After a barrage of EP’s and one full length album (that was released less than a year ago mind you), Foxygen was seemingly just another good garage/indie band that for the most part, I thought would perpetually be flying under the radar. Well with their sophomore effort We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic that was just released last week, they quickly proved that they offer much more than the “under-the-rader” stigma I tagged them with. Uponst my ears hearing the first few sounds of this wistful album, my brain responded by telling me that I must be listening to a Rolling Stones or Beatles psychedelic era recording. The opening track, “In The Darkness” perfectly collides the two worlds of Beatles-esque harmonies and pop vibes with the gritty garage-rock sound of the early Stones. And strap yourself in, because this trip down memory lane certainly doesn’t end there.

Beatles, John Lennon and The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger
^My brains portrayal of a behind the scenes photo of Foxygen in the recording studio.

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