Hayley Fox tells us her top 10 albums of 2013
Darkside 'Psychic' - After an EP in 2011, Darkside released their debut album this year. The duo - the project of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington - gave as good as they got on 'Psychic', honing their talents as individual musicians. Wonderfully crisp textures ride over its entirety, creating a rich, confident ambience.
Bastille 'Bad Blood' - Bastille's number 1 debut album 'Bad Blood' gave them the ammunition for domination in 2013. After their clever 'Other People's Heartache' mixtapes, 'Bad Blood' is a distinctive album that carries Bastille's refined genre-spanning sound at its heart. It also won them massive crowds at this year's various festivals.
Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampires of the City' - NYC darlings Vampire Weekend returned with their third album, 'Modern Vampires of the City' - another instalment of their famed quirky take on pop. Chirpy rhythms and boppy beats on 'Diane Young' and 'Finger Back' are contrasted with songs of the slower, thought-provoking kind like 'Step' and 'Hudson'. A perfect follow up to 'Contra'.
Jon Hopkins 'Immunity' - First single from 'Immunity', 'Open Eye Signal', could have won the Mercury Prize by itself. Hypnotic, disjointed and pulsing, it draws you in for its seven minutes. Despite doing his thing for a while now, through solo work, film scores and collaborative projects, 'Immunity' seems to have got everyone talking about Hopkins again and rightfully so.
James Blake 'Overgrown' - From one Mercury nominee to another, James Blake's second LP 'Overgrown' is a beautifully warm offering which wallows in its ability to produce spine-tingling sounds, especially coupled with Blake's quivering vocals. 'Retrograde' uses its hums and drum claps to entice, while 'Take A Fall For Me' featuring RZA, shows a new dimension where raps and sparse soundscapes conquer. It's no wonder he was crowned 2013's Mercury Prize winner.
Disclosure 'Settle' - From the pumping repetition and house atmosphere on 'When A Fire Starts To Burn' to its poppier avenues with 'Latch' feat. Sam Smith and 'You and Me' feat. Eliza Doolittle, 'Settle' is an eclectic mix of garage and house with a few club influences. With Ed MacFarlane, Jessie Ware and Jamie Woon, taking on vocal duties over the brothers' uber slick production, it's one of 2013 finest.
Peace 'In Love' - Summer indie funnelled into one album, 'In Love' also channels 90s Britpop and a tonne of literal love-inspired lyrics. A favourite of the festival season 'Lovesick', 'Follow Baby' and 'Delicious' spark a heady attachment at the first listen. Meanwhile, 'Float Forever' acts as an emotional comedown, and set off a sea of swaying in the fields this summer.
Haim 'Days Are Gone' - 2013 saw the release of 'Days Are Gone' - the much-anticipated debut from super cool Cali sisters Haim. Made up for previous singles 'Falling' and 'Forever' such as 'The Wire', 'Running If You Call My Name' and the unpredictable 'My Song 5', 'Days Are Gone' streams their talent and is guaranteed to have you shimmying every time you hear it.
Foals 'Holy Fire' - Catapulting themselves back on the scene, Foals landed us all with 'Holy Fire'; a polished album that pushed boundaries and also brought Yannis Philippakis' voice to the foreground of the music. The brilliantly gritty 'Providence' and wistful 'Late Night' stand strong against previous singles like 'Inhaler' and 'My Number'.
Arctic Monkeys 'AM' - Arctic Monkeys came sauntering back on to the scene in the summer with a flawless Glastonbury set and the sexy grooves of 'Do I Wanna Know'. Thanks to Alex Turner's knack of writing a smooth, cheeky lyric and the rest of the band's ability to bring out the funky bass lines and backing vocals, 'AM' is their best effort yet. Ending with 'I Wanna Be Yours' - their take on John Cooper Clarke's poem - it proves just how innovative this band really are and conjures excitement for whatever Arctic Monkeys are going to hit us all with next.