3 Jul 2013

The Active Listener's Top 30 Albums of 2013 (so far...)

We're halfway through the year now, so it's time to take a look at just what a cracker of a year it's been so far with the Active Listener's Top 30 albums of th year up until this point. It's unashamedly to my own tastes, so it's very psych heavy, but then you'd expect that wouldn't you?

Let's get started shall we?

30. Beaulieu Porch "We Are Beautiful"
"If you wish that the Beatles had spent a little more time cavorting around the countryside in a garishly painted bus and climbing trees with silly woolen hats on instead of getting all beardy, serious and hateful on each other, then this is the album for you." (Full Review)
29. The Phoenix Foundation "Fandango"
"Textural and spacious with lush keyboard vistas that make this often sound like the bastard son of Neu and Wilco."
28. Electric Eye "Pick-up Lift-off Space-Time"
"Some of the most palatable servings of space rock that I've come across in many a year. There are many touchstones for their sound - the Verve's early E.Ps, Pompeii era Pink Floyd and Krautrock of the more organic type all come to mind immediately" (Full Review)
27. Buried Feather "Buried Feather"
"Mixing the strict Motorik tempos of Neu with droning Spiritualized style space rock, huge, sludgy guitar breaks and plenty of moody proggish keyboard work. A slowburning intensity that's hypnotic, and awash with a beautiful dreamy psychedelia."
26. Follakzoid "2"
"If you've ever wondered how Neu and Hawkwind would coexist in a musical partnership then this'll allow you to move on and find something new to ponder" (Full Review)
25. Gravy's Drop "Gumball"
"Studying Rock n Roll 101? Look no further - here is your musical textbook, study hard." (Full Review)
24. The Soulless Party "Tales from the Black Meadow"
"Blissful nostalgia with a nagging sense of trepidation lurking just below the surface." (Full Review)
23. Boards of Canada "Tomorrow's Harvest"
Not Reviewed on the Active Listener.
22. Me & My Kites "Like a Dream Back Then"
"Well crafted psych folk - everything melts together, forming a lovely soundscape that you keep wanting to return to." (Full Review)
21. The Holydrug Couple "Noctuary"
""Noctuary" is quickly becoming one of my most played albums of the year, with it's hazy, trippy textures seeming to resonate with pretty much whatever mood I'm in." (Full Review)
20. Re-Evolution FDM Sings the Hollies
"A consistently adventurous and entertaining listen (it helps that the source material is psych-pop of the highest order), with very few acts taking the safe route, and the bigger the risks taken, the higher the dividends paid." (Full Review)
19. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds "Push The Sky Away"
Not reviewed on the Active Listener.
18. Suede "Bloodsports"
Not reviewed on the Active Listener.
17. Elephant Stone "Elephant Stone"
"Sitar-heavy riffing and chiming Rickenbackers, all filtered through a glorious paisley drone." (Full Review)
16. Broadcast "Berberian Sound Studio"
"Throbbing synths, tinkling Goblinesque tubular bells and rambling treated demonic voices represent the creep-factor, but there's plenty of beauty to be found too" (Full Review)
15. Cafe Kaput "Applied Music Vol. 1 - Science & Nature"
"A more direct and user friendly album than the majority of Library Music albums that it's influenced by, and an ideal gateway album for those keen to dabble in the genre." (Full Review)
14. Maston "Shadows"
"Sunny baroque psychedelia - Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson, a bit of Macca all shot through a woozy cinematic filter which is equal parts Morricone and David Lynch." (Full Review)
13. The Blank Tapes "Vacation"
"A surprisingly diverse cross section of songs, and some irresistible three part harmonies (four part when I'm on song) makes this the most accessible, charming set of feel good indie pop you're likely to hear this year." (Full Review)
12. The Freezing Hands "The Freezing Hands"
"Everything a good, scratch that, great rock n roll album should be; raucous, reverential, irreverent and silly and full of cracking, great tunes" (Full Review)
11. Wolf People "Fain"
"The guitars are louder, and fuzzier than ever and the drums are alternately funkier and heavier than on previous outtings." (Full Review)
10. Jacco Gardner "Cabinet of Curiosities"
"Jacco has a bright future with an appeal that extends far beyond that of the majority of his peers - niche music with a mainstream appeal." (Full Review)
9. Perhapst "Revise Your Maps"
"A varied mixture of influences for an album that doesn't try to conform to any one genre's standards, but observes a wider picture that encapsulates powerpop, psychedelia, americana and a whole lot of jangle among other things." (Full Review)
8. Ian Skelly "Cut From a Star"
"An amazing record, particularly for those looking to step into a time machine and take it back to the heyday of breezy psych pop." (Full Review)
7. David Bowie "The Next Day"
"A totally unexpected bonus, and a continuation of a renaissance that we'd all assumed was over." (Full Review)
6. Foxygen "We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic"
"Never a dull moment and many of these moments are inspired, this is one of the most melodically gifted and cleverly crafted albums I've heard this year so far." (Full Review)
5. Neil's Children "Dimly Lit"
"the dominant flavor is distinctly lysergic, although with a suggestion of something more cinematic and panoramic than most new bands can muster." (Full Review)
4. The Greek Theatre "Lost Out at Sea"
"something of an understated masterpiece, a record with forebears in albums like Gene Clark's solo debut and David Crosby and Graham Nash's early solo albums - overshadowed albums that will never be as famous as they deserve to be but are nonetheless cherished by those with a more adventurous disposition." (Full Review)
3. Jon Brooks "Shapwick"
"an album removed from time, that could have been composed at any time in the last hundred years without sounding like it belongs to any specific era." (Full Review)
2. The Go "Fiesta"
"An impressively diverse set of vintage psychedelia and powerpop with surprises around every corner, choruses that will floor you, and a production sound to die for"
1. Soft Hearted Scientists "False Lights"
"The Scientist's ability to switch from whimsical good humor to the beautifully dark melancholy of the flawless "Golgotha" at the drop of a hat is their biggest drawcard." (Full Review)

Looking forward to seeing what the second half of the year brings our way.....

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