Phil’s “Top Ten ‘Albums that weren’t quite as good as Pet Sounds, okay, but still pretty good’ of 2013”
10. Aleph - Gesafflestein: He’s worked with Kanye, Justin, and plenty of other huge names, and finally we get something he can call his own. Though not perfect, this album is a breath of fresh air to goth-y electro when I thought “witch house” and it’s synth pop bastard stepchildren had bled the sound and style dry.
9. Is Survived By - Touche Amore: This is probably the first Hardcore-punk-eqsue album to convince me that a leap in production value can actually improve a band’s sound. This is modern music’s take on hardcore, with the whole band drawing influences from every direction.
8. Government Plates - Death Grips: Though nothing will top the shock-value of Exmilitary, everyone’s favorite band-who-treats-everyone-like-garbage finds a way to stay the same and change all at once.
7. Acid Rap - Chance the Rapper: If hip hop is the new rock and roll, then this is alternative rock. Chance has mixed in a cacophony of influences to his own inventions, providing us with a brilliant debut that is surprisingly narrative despite all of its ups and downs.
6. Doris - Earl Sweatshirt: Whether or not you get off on calling ofwgkta half-past-hip, Earl isn’t listening. He’s just doing his own thing. That thing happens to be transcending Tyler’s mischief and his own mystique to bring us something truly unique.
5. You’re Nothing - Ice Age: Denmark’s next top punk band put out a more considered and catchy album out on their second try, and managed to do so without losing any ferocity. They channel a lot of new-wave themes and aesthetics while alienating punk purists, which is pretty much the hippest thing anyone can do.
4. Field of Reeds - These New Puritans: The most difficult of any of these to articulate or explain my love of. It is also the most unique. It is above any genre lines and really just hauntingly beautiful throughout. Do it, if you haven’t. If you have, do it again.
3. Monomania - Deerhunter: Bradford Cox does what he wants. If he wants to start as noise, move into atmospherics, reverb-soaked pop, and then plunge into gritty southern rock, he can do it. No matter what whim Deerhunter follows, they always put their spin on it, making these drastic changes satisfying to even the most conservative and fickle fans.
2. m b v - My Bloody Valentine: Insert cliche ” 20 years later and they haven’t lost a step, it feels like Loveless pt. 2” marveling here. It can’t be denied. If an album like this can happen in 2013, there is hope for us all.
1. Sunbather - Deafheaven: This is the best thing I have heard since I started making these lists. There is not a single melody on this entire album that I don’t get excited about when I know it’s coming. I can’t remember the last time a heavy album has blown away what I thought was possible with a little distortion and a big weird white dude who can shriek and play piano. It is also, coincidentally, the most accessible black metal album ever.
Honorable Mention: Clash the Truth - Beach Fossils, Settle - Disclosure, Better off DEAD - Flatbush Zombies
*Amended because Mac Demarco’s “2” Came out in 2012. Whoops. Yolo.9 hours ago