2013 is coming to an end and it is time now to look back what the year brought us when it comes to new album releases. In this article, our new editor, Phil Blackmarquis, shares with us his top 20 of the best albums of 2013! You’ll find albums you’d probably expect in the Top 20, like NINE INCH NAILS or DEPECHE MODE. But there are also some bands you probably never heard of, like LINEA ASPERA or ESSAIE PAS. And let me just tell you, the top positions might surprise… And now, enjoy reading!
No. 20: Linea Aspera - II
This is the re-issue by Weyrd Son Records of the EP which was in a way LINEA ASPERA’s "swan song", the epitaph of a legendary band which unfortunately separated much too soon.
No. 19: Gary Numan : Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)
NUMAN's first full-fledged self-penned album since ‘Jagged’ in 2006, with electro-industrial wall-of-sounds à la NINE INCH NAILS and more experimental synth-pop compositions. Check the most attractive track, in my opinion, ‘Love Hurt Bleed’ with its very catchy chorus.
No. 18: Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
It's the third album of the two-piece electronic group from Bristol. It's pulsing, whirling post-rock at its best. Less noisy and more minimalistic than before, but incredibly efficient.
No. 17: The Eden House - Half Life
This long awaited 2nd album was worth the wait! Once more, this English rock band led by Tony Pettitt successfully combines elements of progressive metal, trip-hop and psychedelia with ethereal vocal melodies sung by amazing guest female singers...
No. 16: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
The sky is no limit for the legendary singer/songwriter and this 15th album is amazing, inspired, cinematic, tense and very, very dark...
No. 15: David Bowie - The Next Day
It was the musical event of the year! After all sorts of rumours concerning his health, Bowie is back and he's doing pretty good! A nice album, full of energy, full of good rock tunes! A true “renaissance”!
No. 14: John Foxx and The Maths - Evidence
Once Again, John Foxx and Benge Edwards demonstrate their leadership in updating new-wave and analogue synth to make them sound modern and extremely new! Even better: thanks to their collaborations with young artists like Gazelle Twin, Tara Bush, Hannah Peel, Serafina Steer, Xeno& Oaklander, Luis Vasquez (The Soft Moon), etc., they are creating a whole movement which makes the link between new-wave, minimal and ghost-wave. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56RzLTlgre4
No. 13: Tropic of Cancer - Restless Idylls
Camella Lobo's debut album is dark, gloomy, romantic, a bit like ‘Faith’ from THE CURE. The soft drum patterns are hypnotic, the voices are reverberated in the distance and you are carried away in a beautiful sepulchral dream...
No. 12: Essaie pas - Nuit de Noce
This duo from Montreal, consisting of Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau, has just released a very promising first album on Teenage Menopause Records: an amazing mix of cinematic sequences, analogue synths and sensual voice-over, with touches of minimal wave, kraut, psyche, blues and nu-disco. A stunning debut!
No. 11: Wire - Change Becomes Us
These English veterans are back with a great album full of juvenile stamina! It's a perfectly updated mix of postpunk, psychedelic and progressive music. As if nothing had changed since their first album in 1977!
No. 10: Diorama- Even The Devil Doesn't Care
One of the best kept secrets, this German band has been producing amazing synth pop / dark wave music for 14 years. A bit like IAMX, they have core fans and they would deserve to have much more (mainstream) success. This 8th album is again a great collection of powerful club-killers and superb ballads bearing Torben Wendt's unique romantic touch.
No. 9: Lebanon Hanover - Tomb For Two
This is the third vinyl album in two years for this cold-wave duo and again, it's a stunning combination of dark girl/boy vocals, razor sharp guitars and brooding bass-lines to create some sort of synthetic apocalyptic pop, reminiscent of SIOUXSIE, THE CURE, BAUHAUS or XMAL DEUTSCHLAND.
No. 8: Depeche Mode - Delta Machine
The 13th album of the synth-pop legends is a good surprise. The compositions are bright, the arrangements are bold and inventive and the sound is perfectly modern. After 30 years of career, the old friends have lost none of their inspiration.
No. 7: Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks
Hey, what did you expect? A new ‘Downward Spiral’? No, what you get here is a collection of great songs (except ‘Everything’). I especially love the electro hits ‘Copy Of A’ and ‘Came Back Haunted’. Trent Reznor is back and he rocks! Can't wait for the European tour in 2014!
No. 6: In the Valley Below - The Belt
A great discovery at the Rock-en-Seine festival! This American duo has released an awesome debut album, full of catchy compositions in the psychedelic dream-pop style, somewhere between JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, THE BEACH HOUSE and AUSTRA.
No. 5: Position Parallèle - Néons Blancs
Frenchman Geoffroy D. had released one of the albums of 2012: ‘Mon Meilleur Ennemi’ by Dernière Volonté. This year, he returned with his minimal wave project for another great album, full of marvellously carved analogue sounds and touching French-pop vocals evoking Taxi Girl or Etienne Daho. And the concert organized by Elektrocution at the Magasin4 was a blast!
No. 4: Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing
The founder and leader of PORCUPINE TREE has formed a band of virtuoso's for his solo project and this third album is a tour de force of musical mastership. It sums up 40 years of music with long progressive pieces alternating with heart-breaking ballads, jazz-rock sequences and a general dark, very dark feeling. You think of YES, RUSH, KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, OPETH, TOOL, of course but also of RADIOHEAD!
No. 3: Savages - Silence Yourself
This all-female band from London, led by a French singer, Jehn (Camille Berthomier), was the revelation of the year in the rock/ postpunk area. This album is a pure bomb with incredibly strong drums, brooding bass licks and shrieking guitar riffs, all this sublimated by Jehn's versatile and emotional vocals. A debut album that is already a classic!
No. 2: Phosphor - Youth & Immortality
This year, this English band produced a masterpiece album and then unfortunately broke up. Like a phosphorous shooting star in the sky, they illuminated this 2013 year with their brilliant synth-pop combined with elements of sparkling Shoegaze and the glowing gothic feeling of Nathalia Bruno's vocals. You think of SIOUXSIE, ANNE CLARK, ATHAMAY, DEPECHE MDOE, SLOWDIVE, ... The track ‘Rotary’ is simply my favourite song of the year, with its kinky and haunting atmosphere... "You can't control what you feel inside..." Mmhmh... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr-BKbH0eNM
No. 1: Chelsea Wolfe - Pain Is Beauty
Chelsea Wolfe was the high priestess of 2013. By integrating elements of her side project WILD EYES, the American singer has created a unique blend of drone-metal-electro-art-folk. It can evoke DEAD CAN DANCE, PJ HARVEY or TOOL but also NIN, KING DUDE, PORTISHEAD or DEATH IN JUNE. Chelsea and her partner in crime, Ben Chisholm, have pushed their craft towards perfection, creating a sum of (nearly) everything that I love in music: depth, power, inspiration and soul. This album holds so much beauty it brings... Pain... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy1oalDdDEM
Hors catégorie: Compilation Various Artists - _ever Alive: A Tribute To Snowy Red
From far, my favourite release of the year. This compilation is an atomic bomb. And this is not just to make a joke referring to ‘Euroshima’... Conceived by Weyrd Son Records as a tribute to SNOWY RED, the legendary Belgian band from the 80s, it turns out to be much more. It is simply an anthology of the best minimal wave music from.. the 21st century!