Words by Will Tompsett
Hello all. How have you been? Your parents tell me that your grades are really good at the moment, and you’re making lots of friends. Terrific news.
As you may have seen, or more realistically may not have, MBMB has been reticent at best over the past few months. Various reasons have contributed, and tomorrow I’ll put up a proper note on matters, and our renewed direction moving forward.
However, with Christmas hangovers wearing off, and now facing the cruel prospect of a full year before getting to watch Love Actually again, it seems shameless and shallow enough to now post a list of albums that we’ve enjoyed. And in an entirely self-indulgent manner, this is unfortunately going to equate to albums that I’ve liked, since we appear to have neglected reviewing anything for a good while, through no fault of our lovely writers. Also, for reasons of impartiality (again, see tomorrow) I haven’t included any albums I’ve worked with.
As is traditional, here is where I’d moan about lists and favouritism, so I’m just going to list some things that I’ve liked this year, in no particular order. The thing I enjoy most about end of year lists is giving me a starting point to actually go and listen to albums that I’ve inevitably missed over the year.
Basically, there is absolutely no reason to assume that I have any authority to tell you which album has been better than another this year, so ideally this may just persuade you to check out an album or two that you’d avoided or jumped up until now. If not, hey, you probably skipped this verbacious travesty anyway.
There’s a Spotify playlist at the bottom anyway.
In no particular order:
William Onyeabor – Who Is William Onyeabor?
This is my favourite album released this year. I defy anybody not to enjoy it. Issued on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, it introduced me to the story of Nigerian pastor Onyeabor and the legendary story behind his recordings. A perfect funk album compiled from tracks recorded in the Seventies, this is just phenomenal.
Honey Ltd. – The Complete Lhi Recordings
Reissued by Light In The Attic Records, this collection encapsulates all the recordings of lost girl group Honey Ltd. Recorded in 1968, it recalls acts like The Carpenters. Having first listened on Spotify last month, my play count currently stands at 167. Also, it sounds like it could be on Captain Scarlet, which is just perfection.
Lorde – Pure Heroine
Just a top record, every superlative has already been exhausted on Lorde, so I’ll just pointlessly repeat the simple ones in emphasising what a fascinating musician she is, and what a triumph her debut LP was.
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
With everyone droning on about Ferreira’s backstory, it’s easy to forget that her debut album is fantastic. Golden grungey pop/rock (vague, right), I’ve had tracks like ’24 Hours’ stuck in my head for days on repeat. Love it.
Beyonce – Beyonce
She smashed it. Touche Mrs Carter, touche.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
Not only did I pay to download this, but I then bought it on vinyl. As far as I can tell, for all of history, that’s been the sign of a classic album hasn’t it. Gorgeous psych album that I’ve recently come back to, and it’s only grown in stature and depth.
The Growlers – Hung At Heart
Of all the albums here, this is the one I have listened to the most this year. When I was commuting, I listened to it at least once a day for a period of around four months. None too shabby.
Rhye – Woman
This has grown and grown over the year, as touching as it is deeply sensual. This is the one album that seems to have soundtracked my year as I’ve moved jobs and home. I sincerely hope that this is an album that comes to be seen as one of the great records released in recent years.
Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety
Fitting uncomfortably into a niche between acts like Blood Orange, Perfume Genius, and Grimes this is an album that goes and goes. Also check out this stunning session for Yours Truly.
Ejecta – Dominae
I only listened to the Chvrches album a couple of times and was left nonplussed, and I now feel I must have missed something, and will endeavour to listen again and fall in love with it. However, filling a very similar place is the glorious Dominae by Ejecta on Happy Death.
Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
Without realising on the first couple of listens, this is an album which has worked it’s way into my subconscious.
Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
On the August Bank Holiday, I was fortunate enough to see Chance The Rapper at XOYO. However, having spent the day at a Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, I was unable to muster much energy for the show. What the day taught me though was that this album was well worthy of all the hype, and he is a megastar.
Jai Paul – Jai Paul
Obviously this has all been covered before, but just for a few days we could dream.
Annie Hardy – Waking Up Is Hard To Do
A latecomer to the Giant Drag party, this album was my intro to Annie Hardy et al, and I personally think it’s incredible. Big garage hooks crossed with Hardy’s trademark snarl make for a very special record.
Braids – Flourish // Perish
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
Rightfully deserving of the critical acclaim, this is a rich, clever record that shows a band at the top of their game.
Jagwar Ma – Howlin
The first time I was pressured into listening to Jagwar Ma was live at Latitude, and it was spectacular. Even Will W, a man whose iPod features both Duran Duran and The Artful Dodger likes them. High praise.
Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
As a Daniel Johnston fan, I fell in love with this. Confessional and anxious, it hits hard.
Torres – Torres
For fans of Daughter.
BANKS – LONDON EP
She will inevitably rule the world.
Rainer – Hope / Satin / Glass / Dreams
As a man without sex appeal, I can confidently say that this is the sexiest EP of the 2013.
WALL / Lyla Foy – Shoestring EP
Lyla Foy can do no wrong in my book, and having now signed to Sub Pop I’m expecting a thrilling album next year.
Mac DeMarco – 2
So what if this was out last year, I only started listening this year, and it’s killer.