We're finally at a stage where we can conclude our Year In Review, taking in our favourite albums of 2013. Like our films of the year list, we are merely presenting our choices in alphabetical order - we want you to check out anything you might not have already heard. Individual writer choices for the top five albums of 2013 can be found at the bottom of the page, with extended lists also linked to (where available).
Arctic Monkeys - 'AM'
A slight departure and more mature sound, which included collaborations with Josh Homme and poet John Cooper Clarke, the LA sunshine did these Northerners some good. Their fifth album to debut at #1 in the UK album charts, 'AM' also garnered a Mercury nod, and followed a triumphant Glastonbury headline slot.
BASTILLE - 'Bad Blood'
When we first wrote about BASTILLE in December 2010, we can't have ever imagined their subsequent success. Their majestic debut album topped the UK album charts and has been nominated for a BRIT Award - one of three for the band. Richly deserved for an album that manages to embody both the pop world and the experimental. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
Chance The Rapper - 'Acid Rap'
Perhaps a slight cheat to be included in this list due its mixtape nature, 'Acid Rap' did however sneak onto the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart due to bootleg downloads. Collaborating with everyone from Justin Bieber to Childish Gambino, expect to hear a debut album proper sometime in 2014.
Clutch - 'Earth Rocker'
The tenth studio album from one of the best rock and roll bands going around, but the first since 2009. Building on their incendiary live performances, 'Earth Rocker' showed that Clutch were still going strong more than twenty years since their formation.
Cult Of Luna - 'Vertikal'
The Swedish metal band recently announced that they'd be taking a break, which is a pity considering the strength of their latest album, partly inspired by Fritz Lang's seminal 1927 film 'Metropolis'. Courageous and uncompromising, 'Vertikal' has a depth and ferocity that makes for a compelling listen. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
Deerhunter - 'Monomania'
Bradford Cox has compelled listeners over the last decade through his band Deerhunter, and his solo outfit Atlas Sound. Despite the distortion that litters 'Monomania', it's his most accessible album yet as the instant melodies shine through, leaving a lasting impact.
Foals - 'Holy Fire'
Following up their previous Mercury-nominated album, 2010's 'Total Strife Forever', with another Mercury nod and reasonable commercial success to boot - 'Holy Fire' hitting #2 in the UK albums chart. Showcasing an unashamedly heavier sound than we'd heard previously, Foals went for the jugular with their new album, much to the delight of many.
Franz Ferdinand - 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action'
The sound of a revitalised Franz Ferdinand, with the titular track seeing them return to the indie disco dance floor fillers of yesteryear. Concluding with 'Goodbye Lovers & Friends' is an ideal touch for any Franz fan, even if it could possibly mean the end for the band is in sight. If that happens to be the case, it'd be a shame.
HAIM - 'Days Are Gone'
Delivering on the ongoing hype since their SXSW appearances in 2012, which eventually led to accolades including the BBC Sound Of 2013, 'Days Are Gone' brought the nostalgic Fleetwood Mac vibe along with an unexpectedly bold edge on certain tracks. Their best however was saved for the big hooks of previous singles 'The Wire' and 'Don't Save Me'. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
James Blake - 'Overgrown'
The minimalist experimental style of his debut self-titled album won James Blake many a leftfield fan, and he continued his success to wider acclaim with this follow up. Evolving his sound with greater warmth and introspection, 'Overgrown' succeeded where its predecessor hadn't - following the 2011 nomination by winning the 2013 Mercury Music Prize.
Jesu - 'Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came'
Hardly a household name yet Justin Broadrick has had an impressive career, from his time in Napalm Death and Godflesh to his remixes for Pantera and The Lemonheads. His latest album under his Jesu solo guise is arguably the cream of the crop. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
Los Campesinos - 'No Blues'
Perhaps it's fair to say that 'No Blues' sees Los Campesinos! at their most content since the enthuasiasm of their 2008 debut record, adding a sense of cohesion that has been missed lately. The triumph of 'What Death Leaves Behind' and 'Avocado, Baby' not only rank among their top tunes, but the best of 2013. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - 'Black Pudding'
The prolific Mark Lanegan’s strongest work for a long time and a very fruitful partnership with the multi-talented Duke Garwood. It'd be great to see the duo back together but for now, enjoy this terrific collaboration. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here
Mikal Cronin - 'MCII'
'MCII' shows off Mikal Cronin's prodigious songwriting talent, presenting a power pop classic that continues the heritage of Nirvana and Weezer. Cronin's biggest trick is to deliver such brilliant melodies that make the record both feel contemporary and classic at the same time.
The National - 'Trouble Will Find Me'
From the crushing sadness and loss of love in 'Sea Of Love', to the frankness of 'Demons', with the possibly cathartic lyric “I am secretly in love with everyone I grew up with”, the whole album is instantly accessible. Despite being released in spring, its presence built over the year, complimenting the dark days of winter to a tee.
Noah & The Whale - 'Heart Of Nowhere'
Now onto album four, the folkier days seem long gone, instead replaced by a more majestic and melodramatic sound. Opening with a wonderful orchestral theme that harks back to excellent second album 'First Days Of Spring', a driving chorus or catchy refrain is never far away on 'Heart Of Nowhere'. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
Queens Of The Stone Age - 'Like Clockwork'
Josh Homme successfully broadened the band's sound with this return, opening up a new direction from a group which was threatening to become entrapped by its own mythology. Combining the searing rock riffs you'd expect, with one the most unexpected collaborations of the year with Elton John, '...Like Clockwork' surprisingly succeeded in becoming one of the band's most consistent efforts thus far.
Suede - 'Bloodsports'
Suede have often been at their best when they've had something to prove, and their comeback record proved no different. Based around the life-cycle of a relationship, 'Bloodsports' is a perfect mix of stomping anthems and gorgeous torch ballads, representing the sound of a band grasping their second chance with a peerless vigour.
Vampire Weekend - 'Modern Vampires Of The City'
The afro-pop may be long gone but the glorious melodies remain. This record truly highlights a new Vampire Weekend - fearless and ambitious. Bravely taking on a mellower sound and themes such as faith, 'Modern Vampires Of The City' is likely to go on to become the band's defining record. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
Zola Jesus - 'Versions'
Zola Jesus teamed up with JG Thirlwell and Mivos Quartet to transform her largely electronic-led offerings into something more grandiose and orchestral. The result was stunning, juxtaposing a quietly hopeful undercurrent with a sense of misery. Listen to tracks from the album and read our full review here.
INDIDIVUAL WRITER TOP FIVE ALBUM LISTS:
Emily Solan: 1) The National - 'Trouble Will Find Me' 2) Arctic Monkeys - 'AM' 3) Queens Of The Stone Age - '...Like Clockwork' 4) Franz Ferdinand - 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action' 5) HAIM - 'Days Are Gone' (Read Emily's full albums list here.)
Jack Thomson: 1) Arctic Monkeys - 'AM' 2) James Blake - 'Overgrown' 3) Chance The Rapper - 'Acid Rap' 4) Foals - 'Holy Fire' 5) Lorde - 'Royals'
Rajan Lakhani: 1) Suede - 'Bloodsports' 2) Mikal Cronin - 'MCII' 3) Vampire Weekend - 'Modern Vampires Of The City' 4) Deerhunter - 'Monomania' 5) Queens Of The Stone Age - '...Like Clockwork' (Read Rajan's full albums list here.)
Saam Das: 1) BASTILLE - 'Bad Blood' 2) Zola Jesus - 'Versions' 3) Noah & The Whale - 'Heart Of Nowhere' 4) Los Campesinos - 'No Blues' 5) Vampire Weekend - 'Modern Vampires Of The City'
Simon Opie: 1) Cult Of Luna - 'Vertikal' 2) Jesu – 'Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came' 3) Clutch – 'Earth Rocker' 4) Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood – 'Black Pudding' 5) Corrections House – 'Last City Zero' (Read Simon's full albums list here.)