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

Youngblood Hawke for FAULT Issue 16

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Youngblood Hawke were shot by Matt Odom and styled by Robyn Degenhardt exclusively for FAULT Issue 16

With their tracks having recently been used by Coca-Cola and FIFA ’13, indie darlings Youngblood Hawke discuss the changing paradigms of the contemporary music industry… Youngblood Hawke is entering into a new media landscape where radio is rarely listened to, records are not bought, and thanks to the internet there are more new bands with more new work than there are hours in the day to consume it all. It is difficult to get your work listened to.

FAULT: Tell us about your newest single.

‘We Come Running’ … is a personal song for us. It is about not giving into your fears and not letting obstacles stop you. It started out as an internal message to the band. We started from nothing—we played little shows, and every once in a while we would look around and get a bit worried about whether we were doing the right thing. It was a message to each other to stay strong and focus on our passion of making music together.

 

And now it’s being used by Coca Cola. How does that feel?

We work really hard and we want to show the world our music, and this is another way to do that. At the end of the day Coca Cola is just a couple of people who are really ardent music lovers. They came to us and were really passionate about the band and loved the song – they approached us about using it and of course we said yes. Coca Cola have been really supportive and involved in music for ages. They’ve done commercials with BB King, and Ray Charles.

 

 

Was there any fear about maybe losing any kind of indie credentials?

I don’t really see it as selling out.

 

Is that how you think people will see it?

I’ve been asked this question before. I think that knowing the musical history about Coca Cola, and seeing all the bands that have been associated with made us feel good about it. It can only benefit our band. I think if someone didn’t like us because we’re in a Coca Cola commercial, that’s just kind of silly. You’ve got to be creative these days getting your music out there. It’s a great way to spread the song.

 

Is it difficult for a new band to get itself out there?

Yeah. We’ve been out touring for a year to play for as many people as we can and get our music out there. We’ve only been a band for two years, so we’ve been pretty fortunate. The reaction and response has been pretty positive so far. We’re having a blast. If we were doing this for 100 people a night, it wouldn’t matter. We love playing music together, and just having the opportunity to be able to do this is good enough.

youngblood hawke inside 2

Words by Chris Purnell. See the whole shoot and read the full interview exclusively in FAULT Issue 16

What drives you to do this? All the touring, the interviews, etc.?

Sometimes it’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of touring. Being away from your family and friends is hard, but, at the same time, sometimes it doesn’t feel like a job. I thoroughly enjoy it. The drive is being able to create longevity, so I can wake up every day and know that what I’m doing is what I love. I know a lot of my friends hate their  obs and then spend ten years of their lives waking up every day and doing something they don’t really enjoy. My dream is to keep it going and keep making great music that I enjoy playing. If I couldn’t do this, I’d wish I was doing this.

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 16 (FALL’13) – THE ILLUMINATE ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

FAULT Fall ’13 (The ILLUMINATE issue) – now available to order

We are pleased to announce that FAULT Issue 16 – The ILLUMINATE Issue – is now available to order.

Official release: 15/10/13

issue 16 both covers

FAULT Fall ’13 cover stars. Lake Bell was shot by William Lords and styled by Lisa Nguyen. The Jonas Brothers were shot by Udo Spreitzenbarth and styled by Avo Yermagyan.

  FAULT Magazine  – the ILLUMINATE Issue – proudly presents exclusive shoots and interviews with:

The Jonas Brothers – REVERSIBLE COVER FEATURE

Lake Bell

Emile Hirsch

Jessica Sanchez

Caroline Flack

Charli XCX

Youngblood Hawke

Problem

Sasha Grey

Matthew Lewis

Plus a FAULTless selection of the best Film, Fashion, Music & Photography to ILLUMINATE popular culture across the globe in the latter part of 2013.

This is your FAULT

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 16 (FALL’13) – THE ILLUMINATE ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

SXSW Diary

As many times as I catch myself saying “I hate SXSW” or “I’m never doing SXSW again,” I find myself “doing” SXSW every year and hastily booking tickets to Austin, to take on the mutant festival once again. I documented my (very) short trip back to Austin with a disposable camera and will attempt to give you insight on how a former local who isn’t a music expert but enjoys a good time spends their SXSW. 1

Day 1: I headed straight downtown to The Side Bar and ordered Lonestar, the official Texas beer. The dive bar was packed although it was the first full-fledged night of music, everyone was saving energy for bigger shows later in the week.

Day 2: I fuel up at Austin Java for a hearty meal before I begin my day of live music and free beer.

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Once downtown, I spotted these nightmarish lines everywhere, and I stupidly got in one of them. I naively thought the line would go by quickly, but slowly realized that I was trapped and needed to wait it out because it became more about how much time I had invested in the line than about the bands playing on the other side.

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Finally at the front of the line of the Pitchfork Day Party after a whopping hour and a half, but I’m not happy about my decision to wait in it.

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I caught the last half of the Delorean set outside.

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Headliner Youth Lagoon was next and we enjoyed a full 2 songs of the Youth Lagoon set before they got cut off due to sound curfew laws that forced the entire day party to end strictly at 6 PM.

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Here’s a photo of Trevor of Youth Lagoon and his fans pleading for just one more song, where consequently they were still given a harsh “no.”

 After waiting an hour and a half to watch half a set and two songs, I officially decided I wouldn’t do anything else during SXSW unless it was easy.

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Later that night, I headed off to the Dr. Martens x Filter showcase by myself to catch the Flatbush Zombies, which was the only show I had been hyped about catching. I snagged this photo of them before they went on to perform where they sport customized leather tees.

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Although I was flying solo, I had more fun here than anywhere else watching this trio perform. And as I predicted, their amazing custom leather shirts were a terrible stage choice and left them super sweaty, but it didn’t stop them from thrashing around the stage. This was probably the best show I got to catch during my entire SXSW, but maybe it was because I was equally amused by their hype men perfectly rolling blunts on stage while jumping around on stage.

Day 3: My new mantra of only going to a show if it’s “easy” started my Day 3 off great.

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 I headed to the Nylon showcase at the terrace of The W Hotel to catch Youngblood Hawke perform. A close friend’s brother, Simon Katz, is in the band, which made for wristband obtaining and line cutting an easy thing to achieve. Their delightful set was perfect for the outdoor setting, and Youngblood Hawke had restored my SXSW faith.

With this SXSW momentum, I thought I’d continue on and ran over to The Blackheart to watch Diiv. I caught half of their set, and then caught up with Gryphon Graham, DIIV’s newest member and ex-Austinite.

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Gryphon and my big sis.

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Zach flashing me. (I made them pose for my super professional disposable camera).

They had a few hours to kill before their next set, so we all headed to the nearest coffee shop to pump caffeine into our system in hopes it would get us through the night ahead of us.

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I caught their Dickies x Filter showcase to catch the first half of their set that I had missed earlier in the day. (The beauty of SXSW, every band plays 10 times per day). Zachary Cole Smith is probably one of the most charismatic and gracious front men I had ever seen live (no wonder Sky Ferreira is with the babe), and with the performance of their new single ‘Dust,’ I’m sure everyone in the audience just fell in love.

Due to terrible flight scheduling, I had to completely miss out on the last day of SXSW, and this was the end of my extremely short 2013 SXSW experience. Although I missed performances by Prince, Depeche Mode, Usher, Justin Timberlake and Solange, I did pass by Owen Wilson walking down Lavaca, so it almost makes up for my failure of seeing the biggest performances right?

Kathleen Tso