Best of 2013 (So Far): Andrew's Picks

10. Deerhunter – Monomania

When not in various side projects, the members that make the Atlanta five-piece write under the prolific name Deerhunter. With that said, Bradford Cox and his group have recorded a true garage rock classic that would make T. Rex proud. Standouts like “T.H.M.” and “Monomania” show the band leaning back toward the gritty feel of Cryptograms as apposed to their dreamy previous piece, Halcyon Digest.

9. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

The London duo have produced quite the aggressive album for the 2013 summer.  With everything from retro-gaming synths (Prince’s Prize) to chainsaw-house beats by way of Portishead (The Red Wing), Fuck Buttons have made another contribution to the electronic world after a stint of producing for the London Olympics.

8. Wild Nothing - Empty Estate EP

Jack Tatum has always referenced his love for 80’s dream pop but no album has come as close to that scene as Empty Estate. Tatum has stated that this EP finds him experimenting with new sounds (or at least new to him) and rightfully so. “A Dancing Shell” is the first time you’ll hear a sax in a Tatum-penned song.

7. Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Hopkins has quite the resume to display with the release of Immunity. After working in the past years with a post-rock legend, the one and only Brian Eno, Hopkins has released an album without the press and hype that comes with any album related to Eno. The result is a stunning electro piece with the same nervous feel of OK Computer.

6. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Brooklyn’s “Brunch-Rock” quintet returns with a proper follow up to 2010’s High Violet proving that Matt Berninger and the two sets of twins never stop working. The album is similar to High Violet, if almost seems like an extension of 2010’s release. The National sound refined and experienced on this album, as if they have found their sound and rightfully claimed it.

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

UMO are known for noodling around and keeping that lo-fi sound alive and well with II proving to be no exception.  Singer Ruban Nielson strays away from masking his voice via vocoder to reveal a real talent for soulful crooning with examples like “So Good at Being in Trouble” and “From the Sun”.

4. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

Punk-turned-folk artist Katie Crutchfield is making the rounds with her much-discussed new album and rightfully so. Upon first listen, one might just dismiss this as another lo-fi folk record, however catchy. What makes Cerulean Salt stand out is the frank honesty slipped into these songs due to Crutchfield’s expertise in lyricism with lyrics like “We destroy all of our self-esteem and the sunlight starts to shine through the trees”. It’s as if Crutchfield writes with years of wisdom, heartbreaks, and turmoil under her belt.

3. Queens of the Stone Age - …Like Clockwork

Josh Homme and crew are back after a hiatus since 2009 with a new Queens’s album. With Josh taking ringleader position since Nick Olveri’s departure in 2004 (Olveri guests on this album though), Queens have taken a more melodic approach to their songs. This isn’t to say Queens can’t still tear a new one with examples such as “My God is the Sun”.

2. Beach Fossils - Clash the Truth

This album is vastly underrated (Pitchfork’s review for example) but builds upon Dustin Payseur’s debut album in 2010. Clash the Truth leans towards a darker side of dream-pop and shows a more aggressive side of Payseur.

1. Twin Tigers - Deathwish

TT’s sophomore album trades dual guitars for a more synth-laden feel.  The album keeps the gritty feel of their debut, Grey Waves, but leans more to the gothic pop of Depeche Mode (see lead single, “Racecar”) than the fuzzy renditions of surf rock on Grey Waves.