Best Music of 2013
Saucer.cc selections, sorted by artist name
Autechre / Exai (Warp)
Unstoppably fascinating, deeply musical opus. Listen a side at a time (there are eight sides
) to not be overwhelmed.
Bazooka / Bazooka (Slovenly Recordings)
Classic, trashed psychedelic garage rock with nods to Swell Maps and Thee Oh Sees.
Beth Israel / Beth Israel (Dull Tools)
Beatles-like attention to detail in its arrangements, Career
-like inversion of convention.
Boogarins / As Plantas Que Curam (Other Music Recording Company)
Timeless, nuanced mindfuck music that feels and sounds like a rare treasure from the '60s.
Broadcast / Berberian Sound Studio (Warp)
Musical précis that go straight to the heart, conjuring imagery and memories of things that may not ever have existed.
Brume + Kikuchi Yukinori / Substratum Of The Vacum (Test Tone Music)
Double feature by two artists, one in France, one in Japan, side A a warping dreamscape, side B a postapocalyptic adventure.
Neko Case / The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (Anti-)
Intimate revelations wrapped in worldbeating pop, assembled with love and mastery.
Lloyd Cole & Hans-Joachim Roedelius / Selected Studies Vol. 1 (Bureau B)
Ten lushly decorated scenes populated by beautiful alien lifeforms.
Lucrecia Dalt / Syzygy (Human Ear Music)
Translucent, shifting, calming layers of moods and light, all the way down.
Faint Wild Light / Faint Wild Light (Digitalis Recordings)
Beautiful acoustic-electric swaddling, lush with pretty vocal harmonies.
The Focus Group / The Elektrik Karousel (Ghost Box)
Evocative, hypnagogic, abstract splinters and shards of stories laid out in a line.
Howe Gelb / Dust Bowl (Scatterland)
Stripped-down, finely crafted ballads, lovingly delivered with a gentle and strong hand.
Jelena Glazova / Red Material (Plath Processed) (Self released)
Fantasy poems expressed as aural Rorschach blots. A favorite musical discovery of 2013.
Gnod / Chaudelande (Rocket Recordings)
Filmic, motorik, high energy rock in shades of gray and black.
Goldfrapp / Tales Of Us (Mute Records)
Subdued and breathtakingly intimate vocal masterpiece by Alison G.
Hair Police / Mercurial Rites (Type Records)
Depressive, discomfiting, sometimes excruciating abstract sound paintings in this (five year) comeback album.
Mick Harvey / Four (Acts Of Love) (Mute Records)
Flowing, yet urgent, song cycle performed in quiet integrity.
Holden (James Holden) / The Inheritors (Border Community)
Motorik (bordering on tribal) instrumentals with surprises around each of its many corners.
Hookworms / Pearl Mystic (Gringo)
Look… up in the sky. It's Spacemen 3, it's The Soft Boys, it's The Pooh Sticks, it's Coachwhips. No, it's this band here.
Houndstooth / Ride Out The Dark (No Quarter)
Borrowing musical motifs and a trippy, breezy attitude from The Grateful Dead, Houndstooth kill it with an album of stellar songs.
Jesu / Every Day I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came (Avalanche Recordings)
Nexus of power and beauty, darkness and light, discordance and melody. Emergent crystalline music.
Gintas K (Gintas Kraptavicius) / Greit (Ilse Music)
Fascinating, sterile sound explorations that manage to imbue cold machinery with otherworldly biology and personality.
Cate Le Bon / Mug Museum (Turnstile)
Deceptively simple, delightfully direct songs from a Welsh artist who just keeps getting better. Magnetic depth to these lovely pieces.
The Magic Theatre / The Long Way Home (Elefant Records)
Magical chamber pop (from Dan Popplewell), disarmingly innocent, preternaturally pretty vocals (from Sophia Churney).
Main / Ablation (Editions Mego)
Stark and minimal abstractions blending electronics and musique concrète. Altogether mesmerizing.
My Bloody Valentine / m b v (MBV Records)
Utterly recognizable as the beloved My Bloody Valentine and yet, via tech and maturity, more dimensional, more sparkly.
The Necks / Open (ReR Megacorp)
Exactly one epic track, in turns sparse and luxuriant, pensive and vibrant, that journeys across lands and oceans in 78 minutes.
Neils Children / Dimly Lit (Boudoir Moderne)
Within the realm of traditional songcraft, the most distinctive, singular, vital musical statement of the year… courtesy of the ever-evolving art project called Neils Children.
Parquet Courts / Light Up Gold (What's Your Rupture? Records)
High energy, high irony, highbrow dance rock that features the impeccable songcraft of Andrew Savage.
The Pastels / Slow Summits (Domino Recording Co. Ltd.)
Slow indeed, and dazzling as it is unassuming. First studio album in 16 years, simple like a rainy sunrise on the coast.
The Prophet Hens / Popular People Do Popular People (Fishrider Records)
Outstanding eighties kiwi rock reimagined in the 21st century is outstanding. Nine ace songs here. Can't wait for more.
Gemma Ray / Down Baby Down (Seriés Aphōnos)
Mostly instrumental, pop noirish “fantasy soundtracks” per Ms. Ray, who teases with her enthralling, unique voice here and there.
Marina Rosenfeld (featuring Warrior Queen & Okkyung Lee) / P.A./Hard Love (Room 40)
A dreamy, seamless synthesis of musique concrète, electronics, and vocals. Gripping and filmic.
Sad Day For Puppets / Come Closer (HaHa Fonogram)
Wall-of-sound pop with otherworldy vocals (Anna Eklund) and brilliant songwriting (Martin Källholm).
R. Seiliog / Doppler (Turnstile)
A tour through the hills of instrumental Krautrock, as reimagined and refactored with Welsh psych sensibilities.
Simon Fisher Turner & Philippe Petit / A Ti Dou Li Dum A Ti Dou Li Dou Ti Dé (BiP-Hop)
Sparse and mysterious instrumental travelogues of fantastical destinations.
Matt Valentine & Erika Elder / Fuzzweed (Three Lobed Recordings)
Slow and lovely, sometimes swaying and whirling, psychedelic folk rock… mostly guitars and voices.
Laura Veirs / Warp And Weft (Raven Marching Band)
Joyful pop ballads cum rock anthems featuring Tucker Martine’s sublime production plus a supporting cast including Neko Case and KD Lang.
Warm Digits / Interchange (Distraction Records)
Post-Madchester Krautrock that is cheerful, fresh, danceable, and kosmische at the same time.
When Nalda Became Punk / A Farewell To Youth (Shelflife Records)
Happy/sad, lo-fi, high-energy songs, featuring the disarming vocals of Elena Sestelo along with pop-perfect arrangements.
Younghusband / Dromes (Sonic Cathedral)
Not just shoegaze, but modern takes on so many post-punk musical styles, always in service of the song.
EPs and Singles
Jeny Angela, Rantau Ranjau, Terasku / 3 Way Split (Dorei Recordings)
Noise, Experimental • Romania, Indonesia
Jeff Carey / 3:30 (Forwind)
Conquerors / Conquerors (Digitalis Recordings)
Cy Dune / No Recognize (Family Tree)
Demdike Stare / Testpressing#001 12" (Modern Love)
Demdike Stare / Testpressing#002 12" (Modern Love)
Demdike Stare / Testpressing#003 12" (Modern Love)
Demdike Stare / Testpressing#004 12" (Modern Love)
Facit / Mat Åt Duvorna (Cititrax)
Karen Gwyer / Kiki The Wormhole (Opal Tapes)
Heb-Hex / Heb-Hex (ATP/Recordings)
HSY / S//T EP (Buzz Records)
Kandle (Kandle Osborne) / Demon (Mercy)
Lenzie Moss (Finlay Macdonald) / French Disko (New Town Records)
Neils Children / Black Cat (Boudoir Moderne)
Parquet Courts / Tally All The Things That You Broke EP (What's Your Rupture? Records)
Pharmakon / Abandon (Sacred Bones Records)
Jessica Pratt / Folkadelphia Session (Folkadelphia)
The Primitives / Lose The Reason (Elefant Records)
Seftel / Seftel (Lo Recordings)
Johan G. Winther / Eating Or Vomiting Its Tail (Beläten)
Various Artists and Retrospective Compilations
The Herms / Drop Out Vol. 1 (Castle Face)
Rock • USA (California)
Horseback / A Plague of Knowing- Singles, Splits, and Rarities (Relapse Records)
Metal/Drone/Psych • USA (N. Carolina)
X Ray Pop / Ding Dong Songs 1984-1989 (Finders Keepers Records)
Pop • France
Various / Afterburners Vol. 3 (Bruised Tongue)
Various / An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music - Seventh (Sub Rosa)
Noise, Electronic, Experimental • Worldwide
Various / Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2 (Soul Jazz Records)
Krautrock • Germany
Various / The HEM Archive, 2006–2013 (Human Ear Music)
Various / Two Years Of Ilse (Ilse Music)
About this page
Originally published late December 2013. I’ll keep adding outstanding music from that year to this list as I find it. Recently added: Beth Israel, Jessica Pratt. Still curious? Look at the Saucer.cc WTF page.
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Based on a work at http://saucer.cc/music/2013/best_of_2013.html.