30. HAIM: Days Are Gone
It would be easy to hate this perfectly polished pop collection. Easy if it wasn’t so damned good. Catchy, upbeat and fun, this is an undeniably addictive record filled with some of the year’s best pop tracks (see ‘The Wire’ to hear what we mean) and made all the better because they write their songs and actually play their instruments. A perfect summer album, make sure you dust your copy off for New Years.
29. Savages: Silence Yourself
Driven ever-onward by Ayse Hassan’s bass, ‘Silence Yourself’ refuses to settle and refuses to be ignored. Once you add Jehnny Beth’s Siouxsie-style vocals to the mix and you’re left with an unforgettable post-punk pocket rocket of an album where not a note is wasted and not a moment of your time will be either.
28. Johnny Marr: The Messenger
Showcasing the breadth of musical experiences the former Smiths’ guitarist has undertaken over his career, ‘The Messenger’ was an eclectic but consistent mix of enjoyably British album. Keeping the focus on his guitar, but proving he is a capable lead singer, Marr is not ready to be written off yet.
27. Jagwar Ma: Howlin’
Sydney’s Jagwar Ma have achieved what so many other bands attempted and failed. With Howlin’, they managed to emulate the Madchester vibes of the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses and yet still sound new and fresh. Winsome and uncontainable, this was one of 2013’s strongest debuts.
26. Tracer: El Pistolero
Polishing their sound and hitting their stride with rocking tracks, local Adelaide boys Tracer’s new album El Pistolero was made to be played loud. Slotting somewhere between Velvet Revolver and Soundgarden, Tracer’s sound is their own and they are getting ever closer to recreating the energy of their live shows on record.
25. Delta Riggs: Hex. Lover. Killer.
Hailing from Melbourne, The Delta Riggs have perfected their blend of potent garage rock with a liberal dose of pop sensibilities. Their debut album, ‘Hex. Lover. Killer’ is a rowdy one that would have fitted in well in alongside The Hives, The Black Keys and Jack White’s efforts in the late 90s/early 00s. While it would have benefitted from a harsher cutting of some tracks, that can’t negate the awesomeness of the rest.
24. Wavves: Afraid Of Heights
With ‘Afraid Of Heights’, Wavves channels Weezer to stunning effect. Pulsating punk rockers like ‘Beat Me Up’ and album opener ‘Sail To The Sun’ drive onwards with no let up. The pace isn’t all hectic though, as we see Nathan Williams and his crew take the foot off the pedal at times to make their most consistent and (dare-we-say-it) mature album to date. Catchy, fun but still raucously dysfunctional, Wavves outdid themselves in 2013.
23. My Bloody Valentine: mbv
The comeback album of the year in terms of time between releases, unexpectedness and surprising quality. Despite such a long gap, My Bloody Valentine pick up from where they left off. The guitars retain their sound, Shields’ vocals are still airy and buried as low down as possible in the mix. Yet ‘mbv’ still doesn’t feel like a re-hash. The final third of the album plays a large part in that equation, more keyboards, pulsating drums coming to the fore and a liberal dose of feedback draw a clear distinction from 1991’s ‘Loveless’. Jarring, uneasy and unnatural, ‘mbv’ is a complicated end for the comeback album from a band whose fans have found themselves in that complicated time of their life. Thank God ‘My Bloody Valentine’ are back, let’s hope it’s a shorter wait next time.
22. Ty Segall: Sleeper
Segall’s only solo album this year (that sounds harsh but after 2012 we expected a little bit more) is a calmer affair than much of his previous output. Falling closest to ‘Hair’, his 2012 album with White Fence, this is a collection of songs heavily indebted to the 70s but more restrained on the psychedelic side of things. Perhaps most significantly, with ‘Sleeper’ we have the best chance so far to hear Segall’s voice and lyrics take centre stage. They belong there.
21. Vampire Weekend: ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’
‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ sees Vampire Weekend grow as a band, their sound is more refined but also more diverse than we’ve heard before. Their lyrics are just as intellectual but feel far more natural. Most importantly, they are still fun. Have a listen to ‘Unbelievers’ and try not to tap your feet or bob your head. As has been the case ever since their debut, they are the best and worst of things; obnoxiously happy people who convert you to their jolly outlook. Try as you can to hate them, it’s just too damn hard.