ALBUMS of the YEAR - 2013

 In a year that was filled with a multitude of great releases from well-established veterans, my favorite record of the year, by a country mile, is a “best of” collection by Ginnels – the work of a previously unsigned Dublin-based songwriter named Mark Chester.  Ginnels have released a string of worthy albums over the past few years, and Spanish label Tenorio Cotobade collected 14 killer tracks from those and released them as Plumes.  The breezy jangle and unforgettable melodies make it the year’s catchiest record, but the fuzzed-out frayed edges make it relentlessly replayable.  Obviously, I can’t recommend it highly enough. 
Elsewhere:  Justin Vernon has tricks up his sleeve, this time with his terrific Volcano Choir side project.  Reflektor might have been a tad over-praised when it dropped but it’s tremendous nonetheless.  Trouble Will Find Me found The National turning off autopilot (High Violet was kind of a drag, IMO) and churning out some of their best songs since Boxer.  New Moon might not be as loud as previous records from The Men, but it’s every bit as raw and exciting.  And holy crap you guys, Burial just continues to fucking dazzle.
Also, lots of old faves returned to form this year:  Phosphorescent came back with their best since 2007’s Pride, Califone since 2006’s Roots & Crowns, Yo La Tengo since 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, and My Bloody Valentine with their best since 1980-whatever’s Isn’t Anything.  That last one was a joke.  Best ever records from Vampire Weekend, Jason Isbell, and Iceage.  And lots of strong records from bands just getting onto my radar too like Deafheaven, Hiss Golden Messenger, Wooden Shjips, and Majical Cloudz.  2013, you were solid.
1.  Ginnels - Plumes
2.  Volcano Choir - Repave
3.  Phosphorescent - Muchacho
4.  Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
5.  Deafheaven - Sunbather
6.  Day Ravies - Tussle
7.  Frog Eyes - Carey’s Cold Spring
8.  Iceage - You’re Nothing
9.  Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
10.  Califone - Stitches

11.  Yo La Tengo - Fade
12.  The Men - New Moon
13.  Jason Isbell - Southeastern
14.  Eat Skull - III
15.  Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw
16.  Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
17.  Protomartyr - All Talent No Passion
18.  The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
19.  Burial - Rival Dealer EP
20.  My Bloody Valentine - mbv

21.  Arcade Fire - Reflektor
22.  Connections - Private Airplane
23.  The National - Trouble Will Find Me
24.  Wooden Shjips - Back to Land
25.  Kurt Vile - Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze

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