[acc title=”Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse (USA)”]
Wondrous Bughouse is Youth Lagoon’s sophomore release. The young man behind the project, Trevor Powers, has created a lo-fi, atmospheric and metaphysical universe, which you cannot help but getting sucked into. This album is just a great as his debut – maybe even better. It seems he has grown a bit since his last release. There is a renewed intensity to the tracks, and a feeling of introspection and boldness, that really suits his music. An amazing album.
[acc title=”Sam Amidon – Bright Sunny South (USA)”]
I was lucky enough to go to a Sam Amidon show recently, and never have I seen such a charismatic, weird and wonderful persona on stage. Strumming like a mad on his Banjo and talking about a dream he had of a fluffy, arm-eating lamb. Sam is known for taking old folk songs from the Appalachia area in western Virginia, and giving them new life with his great vocal and banjo skills. But on Bright Sunny South, his fourth studio-album, he proves his quirkiness by covering, not only traditionals, but also contemporary artists like R. Kelly, Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw – a weird match, but it works beautifully. Highlights on the album are “As I Roved Out” and the McGraw cover, “My Old Friend”.
[acc title=”Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze (USA)”]
I once got a hug from this guy. What a glorious moment. Anyway, Wakin On A Pretty Daze is Kurt Vile’s fifth studio-album. The album is less psychedelic but more ambitious, than his previous critically acclaimed album, Smoke Ring for My Halo. It is a brilliant, hazy folk-rock ensemble, which reminds me of a young Neil Young. A lightly distorted guitar, cowbells and a stomping baseline are what the opening track, “Wakin on a Pretty Day”, throws at you, and makes you want more. Luckily the album is a long one – 90 minutes of solid, good music.
[acc title=”Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (USA)”]
New York based Vampire Weekend has created their third studio-album, Modern Vampires of the City. This album is, in my mind, a masterpiece (Pitchfork seems to agree, making it their #1 album of the year!). Beautiful lyrics describing life, love and last, but in no way least, religion, are accompanied by great melodies, strings, chorus vocals (never mind the chipmunks on “Ya Hey”) and what sounds almost like orchestral arrangements on the track “Hudson”. The band has removed all previous influences from world music and has instead focused on taking in from classical music, which in a perfect way supports the reoccurring romantic themes of love and religion.
[acc title=”King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon (UK)”]
Archibald Marshall is the name of the young man (19!) behind King Krule, previously known as Zoo Kid, who this year released his first full length album. What, to me, is most remarkable about the album and about King Krule himself, are the vocals. His thick British accent and low-toned crooning, carries the tracks all by itself. The instrumentation is very sparse, and almost only consists of guitar strumming, a bit of synth and loop-drums. But nothing more seems necessary, as his voice is so remarkable and unique. The entire album is very heavy on emotions, coming to life through vivid lyrics, that you can only marble have been written by a 19 year-old.
[acc title=”Ducktails – The Flower Lane (USA)”]
Ducktails started out as Matt Mondanile’s (also of Real Estate) solo project, but his fourth studio-album has been given a wider musical horizon, with help from New Jersey band ”Big Troubles”, who co-wrote some of the songs. A brave move for Mondanile, who leapt from being a lo-fi bedroom-music solo project, recording most of his music on a cassette, to being a full band, recording in a studio. But the album really excels with the tracks, where Mondanile invites other artists to sing – a track as “Sedan Magic”, where Madeline Follin of Cults grabs the chorus, and like that create a great contrast to Mondalins flat vocals, works brilliantly. The albums overall sound is a mix of dream-pop and indie-rock, but with a few surprises, such as the R&B rhythm on ”Sedan Magic” and the jazzy vibe on ”The Flower Lane”. A chill album.
[acc title=”Drake – Nothing Was the Same (CAN)”]
Weather he actually did start from the bottom may be doubtful, but one thing is sure – he is definitely here. Toronto rapper Drake released his third studio-album this year, and it is clear that he is at the top of his game. “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, which for me is one of the best tracks of 2013, has made sure that Drake dominates mainstream rap. Contrary to his previous albums, which were trademarked being half rapping, half singing, “Nothing Was the Same” is pure R&B. The album has therefore, in some way, manifested him more as a R&B/pop-singer than a rapper. But no worries – he owns it.
[acc title=”Dirty Beaches – Drifters / Love is the Devil (CAN)”]
Distant noises, echoing vocals and a foggy atmosphere. That is the description of Dirty Beaches fifth studio album. When listening, you will be taken into an amazing space of vast emptiness, where you will be haunted by the beautiful soundscapes, which Alex Zhang Hungtai, the man behind Dirty Beaches, is known for creating so well. For me, this album is one that lingers on the mind, because the atmosphere and the feeling of each track are so intense.
[acc title=”Rhye – Woman (DK/CAN)”]
This is easily the sexiest album of the year. The two guys behind Rhye, Canadian Milosh and Danish Robin Hannibal, have created a sophisticated album with a very sexual feel, helped well underway by the soft strings and horns, that compliments Milosh’s feminine and fragile vocal. Musical influences span from electronica to pop and soul, but all touched and mixed very lightly, and like that, creating the smoothest album of 2013.
[acc title=”Deerhunter – Monomania (USA)”]
“Monomania” is Deerhunters sixth studio-album. The album seems to have been a return to their noisier roots, as it is way more garage-rock oriented than their previous album, “Halcyon Digest”, from 2010, which had more of a pop-appeal. “Monomania” is a great mix of distorted and squeaky guitars on tracks like ‘Leather Jacket II’, and the subtler tracks like ‘Nitebike’, where leadsinger Bradford Cox’s amazing emotionally loaded vocal is only accompanied by guitar strumming. A refreshing turn for the band, which has spawned a great album.