Albums of the year 2013

By BRADEN LAMMERS

1. The National  “Trouble Will Find Me”

The National are at the peak of their popularity and commercial acclaim. Thankfully, the Brooklyn band has not followed the trend that many groups fall into with it’s sixth full-length album, churning out vapid albums to capitalize on their good fortune. The National continue to stay true to themselves, using layers of melodies to create an orchestral rock sound to matched with lead singer Matt Berninger’s vulnerable baritone. The formula has resulted in another stellar album, showcasing their growth as musicians and individuals, while maintaining their distinctive sound without becoming stale.

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Best tracks: “I Should Live in Salt” and “Sea of Love”

2. Arcade Fire  “Reflektor”

Arcade Fire is one group that could claim the crown as a best indie rock band from The National. The group’s latest release, “Reflektor,” is an extremely solid album from start to finish with cohesive songs that work together, but can also stand on their own.

The one knock on the Arcade Fire has been that they carry an air of pretension because of their status as a critical darling and overly artistic presentation. But at their core, the band continues to produce quality songs that are easy to listen to over and over again. This album could have easily been slotted in to the top spot as the best of the year.

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Best tracks: “Joan of Arc” and “It’s Never Over”

3. Queens of the Stone Age “…Like Clockwork”

No claims of pretension can be made for Queens of the Stone Age. The alternative rockers again have put out a straightforward rock album that has roots in some gritty, unsavory place. Superior musicianship makes the album an easy listen to a wide audience, but there is something a little dark and dangerous that always permeates the band and it’s songs. The way it should be for good rock-and-roll.

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Best songs: “I Sat by the Ocean” and “If I Had a Tail”

4. Houndmouth “From the Hills Below the City”

New Albany’s own Houndmouth has soared in popularity following the release of their debut album. Mixing the country-alt rock, folk and blues, the four-piece has produced a series of songs focused on a host of wayward souls lost in a world of crime and drugs— a throwback to old-world bluesmen and country artists.

In their initial effort the album is an eclectic, but accessible mix of tracks. The question for Houndmouth moving forward will be can they repeat the success? They do have something in their favor; the band is even better live.

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Best tracks: “Penitentiary” and “Casino”

5. Sky Ferreira “Night Time, My Time”

Sky Ferreira created a lot of buzz with the release of her first EP, but it has been a long wait for her debut album. A bit of a departure from the others on this list, the pop-synth taps into your inner love of the 1980s. Unabashedly ripping off elements from Blondie, Ferreira takes you through “her night” —on the verge of a manic bender.

At times the album can flit into the realm of teen-angst pop, but that’s to be expected with a 21-year-old at the helm. However, this is no pop princess. Like Fiona Apple’s 1996 debut release, you feel like this is something you should not be watching or listening to, but can’t turn away. Ferreira presents the dichotomy of an artist that wants desperately to be heard, and once you listen tells you to get lost.

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Best tracks: “You’re Not the One” and “24 hours”

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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