Bombay Bicycle Club/VEVOFrom a surprisingly joyous slice of Britpop to the latest from Nicki Minaj's fiercest rival, here's a look at five of the best tracks to have been unveiled over the past seven days.Pixie Lott – "Nasty"Missing in action for nearly two years, Pixie Lott now returns with her second single in just over a month. Eschewing the brassy retro-soul of "Heart Cry," "Nasty" is instead a sassy slice of girl power R&B originally recorded by Christina Aguilera for the Burlesque soundtrack.Wild Beasts – "Wanderlust"Recapturing the energy of their earlier work, the Mercury Prize nominees back up their claims that new album Present Tense will be a lot more brash with this hypnotic fusion of swirling ghostly synths, metronomic beats and falsetto-led melodies.Iggy Azalea – "Animal Noise"Abandoning the hip-pop productions of her 2013 singles, the Australian rapper opts for a harsher and more abrasive sound for her first 2014 release as she spits some typically boastful rhymes over the crazy electro of Bro Safari & UFO's "Animals."Bombay Bicycle Club – "Luna"A neat contrast to the muscular brooding rock of previous single "Carry Me," Bombay Bicycle Club make a rare venture into more euphoric territory with a percussive indie-pop number which features an early contender for most jubilant chorus of the year.Chromeo feat. Toro y Moi – "Come Alive"Joining forces with Toro y Moi, Montreal duo Chromeo encourage the chillwave producer to "unleash his inner Jermaine Stewart" on a glittery slice of space-age funk which bodes well for their forthcoming fourth album White Women.
Bear in mind that I'm not a music critic by any means, so this is simply my personal favorite selection of the albums that came out this year. There's such a wide amount of music out there that I could probably list 100 of them here - but I won't. Here are 10 of what I thought were the best electronic albums of 2013, in no particular order:
Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
Ever since hearing "RoyGBiv" on an electronic music compilation album, I have been a big Boards of Canada fan. They had disappeared from view for a while, but surfaced again this past year with the sublime Tomorrow's Harvest. It's nothing truly groundbreaking, just really, really good music.
Maya Jane Coles - Comfort
I first heard Coles when she did a compilation for the DJ Kicks series of albums. When I saw that she had a debut album coming out this year, I had to get it and was not disappointed at all. From the slow rolling sound of the opening single to the many different types of songs throughout the album, I found it a disc that I could listen to in its entirety several times.
F*** Buttons - Slow Focus
I can't use any videos here since all of them have the actual, uncensored name of the band, but I highly suggest you search YouTube for "Slow Focus" and get an idea of what it's like. It's different from their previous album, with nary a song like "The Lisbon Maru." It's kind of jarring, unsettling but ultimately worth listening to multiple times.
Disclosure - Settle
It's hard to believe that the people behind this music can't legally drink in some countries. When I was their age, I was trying to get into as many parties as I could, not make really good tunes like this. Now college kids are going to parties and listening to music by their peers.
Bonobo - North Borders
Ever since I heard "Sugar Rhyme" on M is For Monkey, I've been a big fan. This album definitely doesn't disappoint. It's excellent music for doing things creatively, like writing or drawing. It's also one of those albums that's just meant to be listened to one after the other - there's not really a song to skip, which is rarer in this day and age where singles seem to rule the marketplace.
Toro Y Moi - Anything In Return
Yeah, I know. He looks like Donald Glover. He's able to set some really great beats here with some really interesting lyrics. Listen to the album. You'll be hooked in no time. It's quite the relaxing album.
Sally Shapiro - Somewhere Else
Sally Shapiro isn't just one person, it's actually a duo of her and John Agebjorn. They produce some really stirring music - the instrumental version of "If It Doesn't Rain" is truly beautiful. Someone described it as 'ear candy' and that seemed to be the perfect description for it. Listen to it and think of summer.
Lindsey Stirling - Lindsey Stirling
She was on America's Got Talent and got voted off. Boy, Piers Morgan, Sharon Osborne ("Your act couldn't fill a theater in Vegas") and Howie Mandel must be feeling a little silly now at how Stirling's career has blown up since her debut album came out. It's electronic beats with a violin. Trust me. It's awesome.
Holy Ghost! - Dynamics
I got hooked on their first album and this one didn't disappoint either. I had to be careful listening to it when doing work, because I had to stop every few seconds and start boogieing along with the beats. Yeah, it'll hook you that fast.
Pretty Lights - A Color Map of The Sun
Aside from having a really, really cool album title, Pretty Lights has put forth a masterpiece. It's actually all the work of one person, Derek Vincent Smith, which is pretty amazing for the levels of complexity, 'Yellow Bird' is also a great song besides the one I showed.
Washed Out - Parocosm
This is an album to listen to if you're in a really bad mood. It can't help but cheer you up. It's also one of those albums that demand a full listen. I didn't find myself impatiently switching out of any of the songs. Just a really, really good work.
Yes. I know. I left off a certain album by a group that rhymes with Raft Dunk. It's not that I didn't like the album, but given how it had been marketed as being a game changer when it came to music, I found myself unimpressed. It didn't last in long rotation on my iPod. It almost seemed humdrum after all the buildup. SoLet me also leave you with one of my favorite tracks from this past year - Royksopp's "Daddy's Groove", a song that I found myself wishing to be about 5 minutes longer:
Rockers Paramore are set to hit the high seas with Tegan & Sara on the inaugural Parahoy! Cruise next spring (Mar14). Paramore singer Hayley Williams confirmed reports suggesting her band was the latest to plan a festival at sea on Thursday (22Aug13).
The five-day event will depart from Miami, Florida on 7 March (13) and sail to the Caribbean.
They won't be the only cult rock act inviting fans to join them on a cruise next year - Weezer set sail with Cat Power and Toro Y Moi in February (14).
Acts are set to be added in the coming weeks for both at-sea events.
We're heading towards Summer which means icy boozy beverages, copious movies about super power-laden humans, and lots and lots of outdoor concerts. And in August, there's an explosion of two of those factors: Chicago's Lollapalooza music festival. For three days, August 3 through 5, bands take over the city's Grant Park — the same park that held the jubilant crowd the night President Obama won the 2008 election.
And 2012 is going to fill out the picturesque park with tents, stages and sweaty music fans for the lineup chock full of big name acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys and Florence + the Machine. Plus, TV fans will be happy to find American Idol alum Haley Reinhart and Community star Donald Glover (as his rapper alter ego Childish Gambino) slated for the fest. So yeah, it's going to be a big one. Fire up the Spotify, crank up your headphones, and start listening because this year's lineup is nothing short of huge.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
THE BLACK KEYS
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
AT THE DRIVE-IN
THE AFGHAN WHIGS
THE TEMPER TRAP
SKREAM & BENGA
THE HEAD & THE HEART
THE BIG PINK
THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH
TORO Y MOI
OF MONSTERS AND MEN
GARY CLARK JR.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
AMADOU & MARIAM
BAND OF SKULLS
JJ GREY & MOFRO
DUM DUM GIRLS
TRAMPLED BY TURTLES
BEAR IN HEAVEN
THE BLACK ANGELS
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
SHARON VAN ETTEN
TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS
MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS
THE DEVIL MAKES THREE
THE WAR ON DRUGS
JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD
FIRST AID KIT
JC BROOKS & THE UPTOWN SOUND
KOPECKY FAMILY BAND
THE WHITE PANDA
WALK OFF THE EARTH
DRY THE RIVER
[Image Credit: ChildishGambino.com]