By Nicholas Jennings on Tuesday, 24 December 2013
Category: Blog Posts

Nick's Picks: Best of 2013

Arcade Fire Reflektor

Inspired by Haitian rhythms and modern disco, Win Butler, Régine Chassange and company ask tough questions that are easy to dance to.

 

Vampire Weekend Vampires of the City

Although they’ve moved away from their delicious African-pop hybrid, the New York smartypants remain relentlessly inventive.

 

Valerie June Pushin’ Against a Stone

Her “organic moonshine roots music,” featuring old-school hymns and stomping blues-rockers, makes for an intoxicating brew.

 

Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

The Scottish pop-rockers sound as fresh and vital on their engaging fourth album as they did on their first.

 

Laura Marling Once I Was an Eagle

The English folkie mixes soul-baring, Joni Mitchell-style confessions with entrancing Eastern mystic tinges to devastating effect.

 

Neko Case The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

One of the purest voices on the planet continues to venture forward bravely.

 

Janelle Monáe The Electric Lady

Psychedelic soul with a sci-fi twist, Monáe’s latest takes us deeper into her android alter-ego’s dazzling alternate universe.

 

Lorde Pure Heroine

The 17-year-old Kiwi had the year’s savviest hit with “Royals,” but her entire album boasts a brave voice that is bright, thoughtful and impossible to ignore.

 

Atoms For Peace Amok

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke gets happy with this funky side-project that finds his choir-boy falsetto dancing deliriously with some monster grooves.

 

M.I.A. Matangi

Her cross-cultural mélange has sometimes been too abrasive, but here pop’s agent provocateur finds the right balance of jarring beats and sweetened love songs.

 

 

BEST REISSUES

Paul Simon Graceland: 25th Anniversary Edition

 

Otis Redding The Complete Stax/Volt Singles

 

Joseph Kabasele Le Grand Kallé: His Life, His Music

 

Bob Dylan Bootleg Series, Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

 

The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street (Deluxe Edition)

OTHER DISCOVERIES, REDISCOVERIES AND ENTHUSIASMS

Luke Winslow King

Rokia Traore

Django Django

Kobo Town

Laura Mvula

John Brown’s Body

Pokey LaFarge

Zaki Ibrahim

Jake Bugg

The Mavericks