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.’:

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

Part 1

Part 2

———

Words by Thea de Gallier

Mike Birbiglia

Currently in London with his off-Broadway hit, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, comedian and best-selling author Mike Birbiglia, prompted by a near-death car accident, thinks about his future while telling us the painfully true story of his love life, from high school girls with braces to Jenny, the woman he told he would never ever get married. Mike’s fairly mild humour and his Billy Connolly-esque storytelling abilities continue to delight his growing army of fans [or ‘Birbiglians’] and newcomers in the UK too.

Having released three hit CDs, Two Drink Mike, My Secret Public Journal Live, which was named one of the “Best Comedy Albums of the Decade” by The Onion AV Club, and a live recording of his last Off-Broadway hit show Sleepwalk With Me, which Birbiglia has now adapted as a feature film due out later this year. The film follows a promising stand-up comedian struggling with a failing relationship and a sleep disorder he is trying to ignore.

FAULT: Why should everyone see your movie?
MIKE: Because it’s different. You know I have these writing slogans on my wall whenever I’m writing and want to be inspired. One that drove everything in the final stages was an Ezra Pound quote; it was just three words, ‘make it new.’ That’s what I tried to do, and I feel that’s what a lot of people are getting from it.

Do you ever worry about what the people in your life will think of the stories you’re telling on stage, or in your film?
I always think about that. I tell true stories on stage but I always say whenever people ask how much of it is true, ‘the parts that you wouldn’t think are true, are true, and the parts that you wouldn’t even think about are probably fudged in some small way,’ like the chronology of the event. I spent a long time talking through this current show with my wife Jenny. She was instrumental in helping me put together many of the stories because I didn’t want to end our relationship.

You learn in the film, and I assume in life, that the truth can be funnier than fiction. Do you ever get approached in the street and think ‘how do these people know so much about my life?’
I do get that. Sometimes people take photos with me after shows, and they’ll say ‘oh you should do the dance club story you did on your first CD,’ and I’ll say, ‘I don’t even remember the words to that story.’ It’s like Elton John songs that people know by heart. That can be a little jarring.

Are obsessive fans worrying?
Not so far. I could see how theoretically it could be, the way that Robert De Niro’s character is terrifying in King of Comedy, but so far it hasn’t been. I like the level of notoriety I have right now, which is to say that people come to see my shows on purpose. I’m not someone that happens to be on stage when people show up. People have to know who I am to show up. I find whenever I do meet people after shows, I actually really like them. I think they’re interesting people, who tend to be kind of nerdy, bookish, comedy fans.

Speaking about your fans, I am planning to write in my intro to this interview about your growing army of fans. I heard recently that the twilight fans and called Twi-hards. Is there a name for your fans?
I’ve heard a couple. I’ve heard Forbigheads.
Oh right, okay.
I’ve heard Forbig fans.
Neither are really grabbing me.
No, no.
What do you think?
They don’t do much for me. If you have any ideas I’m completely open.
Birbiglians?
Birbiglians, I like that yeah.
Your tone makes me think you don’t like that.
No, no, I like that, no Birbiglians, I think that’s good, it’s very strange.

On your CD a few years ago, you mentioned that you have a habit of making awkward situations even more awkward, and I was wondering has that happened to you recently.
Yeah I had this thing where I was flying to California and I was ravenous. I hadn’t eaten breakfast. So I got on the flight around 11am and I had a chicken salad sandwich on walnut bread. I took a couple of bites and, you know that feeling you have where you need to eat the rest of something immediately because you’re in the motion of eating? Then the flight attendant came over, and she said ‘I’m sorry but you can’t eat that sandwich because the woman next to you,’ she points, ‘she has a nut allergy’ I said to the woman, ‘you don’t have to eat it, does it bother you if it’s over here?’ I was two seats away. She said, ‘yeah it makes me go into shock, even if nuts are in the air,’ The air!? ‘In the air around me,’ and so I went and ate the rest of the sandwich in the airplane’s bathroom. That’s when I discovered that I have a fecal airspace allergy. That’s awkward.

Mike is playing the Soho Theatre in London from the 15th to the 26th of May. Sleepwalk With Me, the movie, will be on release in the autumn. Visit Birbigs.com and SohoTheatre.com for more information.

Interview by Chris Purnell