FAULT Presents: Our Top 20 Albums of 2013 (part 2)

Part 2 of our Top 20 Favourite Albums of 2013 feature. You can find part 1 HERE. Remember, these are just our personal favourite albums of the year, in no particular order. Let us know if you think we missed anything!

10. John Legend – Love in the Future

john_legend cover - web

John Legend inside FAULT Issue 13

Remember John Legend’s first album? Well, this is absolutely nothing like that. For a start, it’s executive-produced by Kanye West and features songwriting collaborations with Rick Ross. It’s unashamedly sexy, dramatic and soulful, and even manages to make schmaltz sound cool.‘All Of Me’ is a pop ballad in the truest sense, and wouldn’t sound out of place being sung by One Direction. It’s a polarising point on the album, but Legend’s smooth soul flows throughout, and he’s incredibly good at it.

Read John’s own thoughts on the album inside FAULT Issue 13. Excerpts from our interview (and some shots from inside the issue) are available here and our behind the scenes video from our shoot can be found here

John Legend – ‘All Of Me’:

 

9. Haim – Days are Gone

Haim inside FAULT issue 15

Haim inside FAULT issue 15

2013 was undeniably Haim’s year. They’ve been universally praised by the likes of The Line of Best Fit and The Guardian as well as garnering extensive airplay on Radio 1. Instant classics like ‘Falling’ and ‘Don’t Save Me’ secured their debut’s position as one of the most anthemic and memorable records of the year.

We spoke to the sibling trio in FAULT Issue 15 while they were recording Days Are Gone, in which they told us what to expect from the album (needless to say, it didn’t disappoint): “Be prepared to have some fun! We had a lot of fun making it, so I hope it sounds fun. There are a bunch of new songs as well as songs that we released before.”

Read more from the interview, or get the full feature in FAULT Issue 15 from here

Haim – ‘Falling’:

 

8. Bass Drum of Death – Bass Drum of Death

bass drum of death

While Black Lips fans await their next album, they’ll probably be filling the gap with Bass Drum of Death. The Mississippi outfit’s honest, fuzzy garage-rock may not be particularly pioneering, but they demonstrate an excellent grasp of the genre in their second full-length offering, with infectious melodies and a purposefully under-produced sound. They also really, really like reverb. Who doesn’t?

Bass Drum Of Death – ‘Crawling After You’:

 

7. Charli XCX – True Romance

Charli XCX inside FAULT Issue 16

Charli XCX inside FAULT Issue 16

She’s had a fantastic 2013 by anyone’s standards – the past year has seen Charli XCX tour with other FAULT Featured artists Ellie Goulding and Marina and the Diamonds, as well as Paramore. She’s gone from underground sensation (her first album, ‘14’ was an acclaimed underground hit in 2008, but never commercially released) to the potential ‘next big thing’ of leftfield quirky-pop. Her vocal tone is strikingly similar to Marina Diamandis but her songwriting and grasp of melodic devices is phenomenal for her 21 years.

 In her recent interview for FAULT Issue 16, Charli revealed that she “always see[s her] music in colours. , my first record, was purple, whereas this [upcoming] album is going to be red. I’m inspired visually by red lips, blazers and things that blow up!…It’s going to be much more alive than True Romance.”

Read more excerpts and see more shots from the shoot here – or get the whole story in FAULT Issue 16, available from here.

Charli XCX – ‘You’re The One’:

 

6. SUUNS – Images du Futur

suuns Slightly freaky but wholly compelling, ‘Images du Futur’ really is something of a masterpiece, juxtaposing the heady sound of electro-indie (think Holy Ghost, Cut Copy) with what can only be described as futuristic lo-fi garage. FAULT Favourites SUUNS are carving their way through multiple genres with this impressive second album, and as a result, saw themselves nominated for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.

Check out our interview with the Montreal four-piece in full on FAULT Online here

SUUNS – ‘Edie’s Dream’:

 

5. Jessica Sanchez – Me, You and the Music

Jessica Sanchez inside FAULT Issue 16

Jessica Sanchez inside FAULT Issue 16

The American Idol runner-up showed she’s not just a pretty face with her impressive debut album. After a stint on Glee, it would have been easy for her to continue down the squeaky-clean teen pop route, but she shakes off any preconceptions with the R’n’B-influenced ‘Me, You and the Music’, which includes a collaboration with Ne-Yo and songs co-written by Tom Petty and Sia.

Read Jessica’s own thoughts on the album inside FAULT Issue 16. Excerpts from our interview (and some images from inside the issue) are available here, along with our exclusive behind the scenes video. Get the whole story in FAULT Issue 16, available from here.

Jessica Sanchez – ‘Tonight’:

 

4.Big Sean – Hall of Fame

Our (in)famous shoot with Big Sean inside FAULT Issue 15

Our (in)famous shoot with Big Sean inside FAULT Issue 15

If you miss Notorious B.I.G as much as we do., Big Sean is there to fill the void. His unashamedly retro hip-hop, with song titles like ‘MILF’ and ‘Freaky’ borders on being a pastiche without crossing the line into ‘Trapped In The Closet’ territory. Collaborations with Li’l Wayne, Nicki Minaj and 2 Chainz make this one of the most noticeable new hip-hop releases, and Sean’s lyrics segue between the humorous and the filthy with ease.

 Big Sean told us in FAULT Issue 15 that Hall of Fame featured “the best music [he’d] ever made”. Read more from the interview, and see more shots, here – or get the full story in FAULT Issue 15 – available from here.

Big Sean – ‘Guap’:

 

3. The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow

black angels

Not only did they use some seriously Sixties cover art for ‘Indigo Meadow’, they also showed that they’re still one of the American underground rock scene’s forerunners with an album that’s as melodic, lyrically dark and introspective as you’d expect from the Texan five-piece.

Read our interview with the psych-rockers in full on FAULT Online here

The Black Angels – ‘Indigo Meadow’:

 

2. Beyonce – Beyonce

beyonce

One morning, we all awoke to a new Beyonce album. No media fanfare or indeed any clues at all preceded the release of Beyonce’s self-titled fifth album, which began as an iTunes exclusive. Following the release, she announced that she ‘sees’ music, explaining the fact that each track came with its own music video. Throughout the course of the album’s accompanying visuals, she portrays an exploited pageant queen (‘Pretty Hurts’, which is co-written by Sia), a happy theme-park goer (‘XO’) and sings an entire song about having sex with Jay Z (‘Drunk In Love’).

Beyonce – ‘Drunk In Love’:

 

1. Mac Miller – Watching Movies with the Sound Off

mac miller

Mac Miller described his second album as ‘introspective’ and he certainly lived up to that promise with ‘Watching Movies with the Sound Off’. His previous style of playful party anthems has been shelved in favour of deeper lyrical content and a clear desire to make music for no-one other than himself – although the lead single is officially ‘Somebody Do Something’ (abbreviated to S.D.S) there is no particular standout track. Taking this approach is a risk, but one that’s paid off for Miller.

 Look out for more of Mac Miller in FAULT Issue 17 – more info announced this Friday 10th January!

Mac Miller – ‘S.D.S.’:

———

Read the rest of our Top 20 FAULT Favourite Albums of 2013 feature:

Part 1

Part 2

———

Words by Thea de Gallier

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