In reverse order, here's Jordan's top albums of 2013.
Jordan Dowling presents his top ten album favourites from the past year.
Nils Frahm 'Spaces' - 'Spaces' is a presentation of Nils' spellbinding live show and it is as good a presentation of his genius as you could hope for; a breath-taking journey launched from the most tender of foundations. Tapped pianos lead to reverb-washed synth chords and occasional dance motifs in an utterly organic manner.
Continue reading: Jordan Dowling's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
What's Dom Gourlay's number one album of 2013?
After an immense year for music, here's reviewer Dom Gourlay's favourites for 2013 - and possibly for a long while after!
Arcade Fire 'Reflektor' - Early reviews were ridiculously negative, probably because journos were invited to a one-hour listening session in a plush Soho bar while being plied with free booze. The test of time has proved otherwise. And some.
Continue reading: Dom Gourlay's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
As 2014 approaches, Joe Wilde unveils the most listenable releases of the past year.
Hookworms 'Pearl Mystic' - Few albums released this year let you step inside to a whole new world of colour and sound as 'Pearl Mystic' has. The Leeds band's immersive debut might not be for everyone, but those who like what they happen upon in the 'Pearl Mystic' landscape will no doubt struggle to forget what they've seen.
Continue reading: Joe Wilde's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
This year saw the release of so many incredible albums, that trying to list the top 20 really doesn't do 2013 justice. However, after some strong analysis of what the year had to offer, we unveil the most listenable collections - from the super-hyped major label releases to the lesser-known but just as sensational offerings.
Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampire in the City' - 'Modern Vampires in the City' makes it three for three for the New Yorkers and their latest release could very well be their best yet. It shows evolution for the band, but they have retained that essential quality that made 'Contra' and their self-titled debut such wonderfully upbeat and genuine pleasures to listen to each time. 'Modern Vampire in the City' is also the release that marks Vampire Weekend as a band that should be taken seriously, but one who you can still have immense fun with. 'Diane Young' is yet another indie floor filler, standing shoulder to shoulder with previous bangers 'A-Punk' and 'Cousins.' Where the album really excels, however, is when VW reach out to new quarters and sound completely inimitable. The yelps of 'Ya Hey' bring fun to a song that essentially deals with the theme of lost conviction, the graceful 'Hanna Hunt' erupts in the most complete song released this year and album opener 'Obvious Bicycle' sets the whole thing in motion with its refreshingly angelic melodies and steady, train-like clunks that lie beneath all the splendour. Vampire Weekend are no longer the Brooklyn minions rattling at the gates of eminence, the gates have been swung open for them and the welcoming committee should have made them feel rightly at home.
Continue reading: Contactmusic.com's Top Albums Of 2013
Beacons Festival returned to the scenic Yorkshire Dales at Skipton's Heslaker Farm once again for the August 16 - 18 weekend bringing music, food, arts and a host of other treats to an audience that have travelled from much further afield than the outskirts of Yorkshire. After a triumphant, sun-soaked return following difficulties in previous years, the return of Beacons Festival was one met with eager anticipation and with such an impressive line-up announced, the pressure was on for the festival to succeed and deliver once again.
As campers battled to put up their tents during the sporadic showers on Thursday night, the warm return of the sun on Friday morning was a much needed boost for the festival, one that stuck around for most of the duration, bar a soggy Saturday. Futuresound competition winners Battle Lines opened up the Noisey 'You've Got To Hear This' stage and ultimately brought the festival itself to life with a raw and invigorating performance. Expect big things from this young Leeds band. As the day went on, the scope and size of the festival really became apparent, and a walk across the campsite to the 'other' part of the festival arena to see Mickey P Kerr's hilarious set at the ELFM stage really put into perspective what the festival organisers were trying to achieve. The camping area and the arena itself almost melded into one designated area that brought an expansive festival atmosphere to a relatively small area. At no point did anything seem squashed together or unsoundly designed, as the overlapping elements of the festival only ever made it seem cosier, and never uncomfortably snug. It was encouraging to know that from the get go you were at a festival that was determined to not oversell itself to ensure that the festivities didn't suffer as a result. Money might not be everything after all.
Before finally leaving the ELFM stage on the other side of the arena following King No-One's fantastic semi-acoustic set, it was back to the main arena to check out the stalls and stands that offered something a little different for the festival connoisseur; from art exhibits and craft courses, whiskey tasting workshops and a smorgasbord of food (oh, the food!) options for any palate. As the night drew closer, festival returnee Ghostpoet was on hand to bring his leisurely flow to the main stage with a rapturous set, but there was little time to hang around afterwards as Oneman was about to begin what would turn out to be one of the defining performances of the weekend. The DJ rarely disappoints with his sets and his Friday night set (the first hour of it at least) was packed with banger after banger. Whilst the prospect of seeing Bonobo may have been too much to ignore for some, Canadian punk rockers F****d Up were far too tempting and choosing them over Bonobo and the rest of Oneman's set may have been the best decision made all weekend. Opening with the first two tracks from 2011's seminal album David Comes To Life, mixing in a few oldies for good measure and even playing a brand new song, the set had people moshing at the front and boogying at the back. The pressure was on from there on to beat F****d Up as the best performers of the weekend, and it was a task that many nearly achieved, but few succeeded in coming close.
Continue reading: Beacons Festival - 2013 Live Review
Brace yourselves music fans: with the BBC Sound of 2013 list now well on the way to being counted down, and a whole host of names, from the established print press to online sites and the smallest of blogs, having their own say, you’re about to be bombarded with a gluttony of new music to listen out for, to and read about. Will they all be as amazing as their respective champions claim they are? Most likely not, but part of the, uh, ‘fun’ of wading through the endless tips of the year is discovering a song or an artist that - though you’d never heard it before – will go on to provide a soundtrack for, perhaps, the rest of your life.
Here at Contactmusic we’ve attempted to pick out a mix of the names you’ll be seeing in bright lights everywhere else, interspersed with a couple of our own personal favourites who we're keeping a personal eye on over the forthcoming months...
Blogger's Delight - The names that will be everywhere
Continue reading: Keeping In Contact: Our Favourite Music Tips For 2013