FAULT Presents: Our Top 20 Albums of 2013 (part 1)

Along with the celebrations that come with ringing in the new year, there is always the inevitable “totting-up” of the year gone by. With that in mind, we at FAULT have put our heads together and come up with our eclectic, eccentric and (hopefully) excellent list of our favourite feature releases of 2013 – from the debuts that demanded to be noticed to the follow-ups that showed us who we can’t forget.

It’s not always the case, but last year was a particularly rich one for music lovers, which made it tough to narrow down our choices. We eventually settled on 20 of our personal favourites – mostly because we thought that most of you would get bored by a longer list!

In no particular order, then, here’s our first set of picks for 2013’s albums of the year. Part 2 will follow later this week – be sure to keep an eye on FAULT Online:

 20. Lorde – Pure Heroine

lorde

The outspoken and wise-beyond-her-years New Zealander unveiled her debut album amid a flurry of press claiming she’d denounced the likes of Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez for portraying women in a negative, over-sexualised manner. Her thought-provoking lyrics and sparse, sometimes dark, electro-pop sound immediately set her apart from the heavily visual (and sexual) gimmicks employed by some other young artists. A must-listen antidote to manufactured pop.

Lorde – ‘Royals’:

 

19. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter at the Feast

brmc

BRMC’s seventh album showed a mellower side to the band, with the energy of previous hits such as ‘Spread Your Love’ in something of a short supply. It works, though – they display a surprising tender side in ‘Lullaby’ and pull off this new, gentler sound very well. Calming down might not be what we expected of them after we witnessed them recording at Cobb Studio for FAULT Issue 9, but ‘Specter at the Feast’ may well be one of their best offerings yet.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – ‘Firewalker’:

 

18. Disclosure – Settle

disclosure

Kicking off the proceedings is arguably one of the best debuts seen in recent years. Featuring the likes of Aluna George, Eliza Doolittle and hotly-tipped purveyors of artfully depressing aural beauty London Grammar, ‘Settle’ provided many a summer anthem and saw the duo nominated for a Grammy. Despite their tender ages of 22 and 20, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence showed an impressive grasp of effortlessly cool minimalist dance-pop.

Disclosure – ‘Latch’:

 

17. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt

pearl jam

With ‘Lightning Bolt’, grunge stalwarts Pearl Jam proved that the murky sound of Nineties Seattle is no distant memory. They demonstrated that they’re still as relevant today as they were when their game-changing debut ‘Ten’ was released in 1991, with this set of twelve fresh tracks, showcasing a hint of lo-fi cool but plenty of their signature raw attitude and rich melodies. As if that wasn’t enough, each track has its own artwork in of-the-moment flat illustrative style.

Pearl Jam – ‘Sirens’:

 

16. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

sky ferreira

Proving that she’s not just a poster girl for prescribed edginess, Sky Ferreira finally (after delays dating back to 2011) released her debut ‘Night Time, My Time’ at the end of October. Featuring single ‘You’re Not the One’, Ferreira describes the sound of the album as ‘up-tempo numbers that are…electronic, but come across live as pop-rock’. Not only has she been praised by the likes of Dazed & Confused and Rolling Stone, she’s also bagged herself a support slot on Miley Cyrus’ 2014 tour. Hats off for being a true all-rounder.

Sky Ferreira – ‘You’re Not The One’:

 

15. James Blake – Overgrown

james blake

Former BRIT Award nominee James Blake’s second album, featuring Brian Eno and RZA, touched down this Spring, with the lead single ‘Retrograde’ gaining extensive airplay on Radio 1. Variance Magazine named it their Album Of The Year, and it isn’t hard to see why, with its languid beats and subtle jazz overtones.

James Blake – ‘Retrograde’:

 

14. Youngblood Hawke – Wake Up

youngblood hawke inside 1

Youngblood Hawke inside FAULT Issue 16

Don’t let the fact that two fifths of FAULT Issue 16 stars Youngblood Hawke used to be Iglu & Hartly put you off. The video for the album’s lead single ‘We Come Running’ is all about saving whales, and featured an irresistible beat last heard when Black Kids were a thing. Sing-a-long indie-pop at its best.

Youngblood Hawke – ‘We Come Running’:

 

 

13. Savages – Silence Yourself

savages

Sufjan Stevens may not be a fan of the typography used on the cover of their debut, but Savages, fronted by ex-John & Jehn (featured in FAULT Issue 2) member Jehnny Beth, have given us a collection of songs that have been described by The Guardian as reminiscent of ‘the debut releases of Public Image Ltd and Siouxsie and the Banshees’. The foursome capture the spirit of punk with insistent beats and sparse, reverb-heavy guitars, all topped off with Beth’s aggressive, clear vocals.

Savages – ‘Shut Up’:

 

 

12. Little Boots – Nocturnes

Little Boots inside FAULT Issue 12

Little Boots inside FAULT Issue 12

After telling us in FAULT Issue 12 that her second album, inspired by the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, had taken “a while and [would] be worth it”, Victoria Hesketh aka Little Boots released ‘Nocturnes’ in March. Suffice to say that it didn’t disappoint. There’s a strong Madonna-esque retro vibe and plenty of the promised spookiness with heavy use of minor keys and low, moody strings. Victoria said that she “DJed a lot over the past couple of years and that’s inspired it – things like how people react at 3am” – check out the whole interview in FAULT Issue 12, and check out the behind the scenes video from our shoot here

Little Boots – ‘Every Night I Say A Prayer’:

 

 

11. Arctic Monkeys – AM

Arctic monkeys

The opening beat to first track ‘Do I Wanna Know’ sounds like Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’, and that is reason enough to love this album. All the lyrical wizardry and gritty Northern charm you’d expect from the Monkeys are there, but with added elements such as falsetto, syncopated beats and a lot more moodiness. Not to mention the wonderfully minimalist cover art, which in a few years will probably be described as ‘iconic’.

Arctic Monkeys – ‘R U Mine?’:

 

 

PART 2 OF THIS FEATURE WILL BE LIVE ON FAULT ONLINE IN THE COMING DAYS!

Words: Thea de Gallier
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Comments

  1. Dweezle says:

    Jessica Sanchez needs to be #1.

    • FAULTMagazine says:

      Keep an eye out for part 2 later this week! The list isn’t in any particular order; just some of our favourites from the whole year. Given that we featured Jessica in Issue 16, it’s safe to assume that Me, You and the Music will be on the list somewhere! 🙂

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