WPGU 107.1’s Top 50 Albums of 2013: 1-10

1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Without further pomp and circumstance, Vampire Weekend is an easy choice for this year’s Album of the Year. It’s rare that a band heads from independent notoriety to mainstream success and fails to alienate either subset, but this year, the 4 kids from Columbia University have done it. Modern Vampires of the City innovates with tracks like “Diane Young” and “Ya Hey”, yet stays true to the self-titled album sound of simple rhythms and keys with wonderfully tweedy lyrics that hooked so many listeners (myself included). Every listen leaves of this record me with a different emotion, whether it be introspective or joyous, Modern Vampires can do it all. I truly believe the sky is the limit for Ezra Koenig & Co. [Boswell Hutson]

2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Arcade Fire’s fourth album has received all kinds of attention in the last couple of months, from people who hated it to people who loved it instantly. I fell somewhere in the middle, and have been telling people that they will enjoy it if they are willing to shed the desire for it to be another Funeral. The album contains a lot of really good original music, heartfelt lyrics, and genius sound-layering. It’s just different, structurally and tonally, from their older music. It is the kind of album that deserves to be listened to multiple times before passing a final verdict. There are so many details that are easy to miss, that the album is impressive for how thorough and meticulously thought-out it sounds. [Claire Schroeder]

3. My Bloody Valentine – mbv
It’s been 22 years since My Bloody Valentine released Loveless, implementing heavy use of distortion and reverb to create a genre all to themselves (that genre now has a name, shoegaze). Naturally, mbv‘s release came with high expectations, and interest in the album was so intense it crashed the band’s website the day it was self released. Thankfully mbv picks up where Loveless left off in 1991, crafting a listening experience that may not always be easy to digest, but is complex, confusing, and beautiful, all at the same time. [Dylan Knox]

4. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
Parquet Courts’ debut album, Light Up Gold, is sharp, quick and smart. It’s a record for guitar lovers, with catchy riffs that stick immediately, lasting long enough to get lodged in your head and ending before they get the chance to wear out their welcome. The first two songs are easily the best one-two punch of punk this year had to offer, switching gears in an instant with a single snare clap and the lyrics are smart, witty and funny, ranging from a stoned walk through Queens, New York to a loud reminder that “Socrates died in the fucking gutter”. [Eric Holmes]

5. James Blake – Overgrown
James Blake finds a way to make electronic music soulful. The amount of soul he can conjure with just a synthesizer is unbelievable. While his sophomore album didn’t seem as revolutionary as his debut album, he still found ways to build on his unique sound to create something unbelievable. [Joe Winner]

6. Savages – Silence Yourself
Savages is an all female post-punk quartet. Which may make you nervous, as that sounds like a band that may try to hard to prove they belong. Yet their debut album, Silence Yourself, is effortlessly cool, from the opening fuzzy baseline in “Shut Up” to the rambling saxophone conclusion of “Marshal Dear”. Silence Yourself is a close second for the best punk album of 2013. [Dylan Knox]

7. Lorde – Pure Heroine
Pure Heroine is Lorde’s debut album featuring her Billboard #1 hit “Royals”. If you haven’t heard “Royals” you probably don’t own a radio and/or computer. The catchy song was virtually inescapable for a few months in 2013, but I am not complaining. This song, along with the rest of the album, is very well written and produced; an easy choice for our top ten. [Daniel Szoke]

8. Queens of the Stoneage – …Like Clockwork
There are very few bands in the past few years that make me want to pull out my air guitar like Queens of the Stone Age. The band’s sixth album follows the past five in thoroughly rocking peoples’ socks off. With hard songs like “My God is the Sun” and hard-hitting softer songs like “Kalopsia”, this album is a must listen for all rock fans out there. [Joe Winner]

9. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get The Harder I Fight…
Neko Case’s most recent album is satisfying to listen to for many reasons. It is musically similar to her past work, but most of the lyrics seem more honest and piercing than ever before. The album alternates between slow, beautifully painful songs, and quicker, catchier rock songs. It is compelling throughout, and creates a quick connection between the music and the listener. [Claire Schroeder]

10. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
When I first heard this album I was a bit annoyed that it just seemed like “more of the same” from the National. After a few listens, it grew on me like a fine wine. While this album is very similar to past releases like Boxer and High Violet, this doesn’t take away from the amazing music that this band is making. They also put on my second favorite show of the year (only behind Paul McCartney at Bonnaroo) when I went to see them in Kansas City with Tame Impala. [Joe Winner]

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