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
Albums of Note... David Bowie’s return to the shelves of our local record shops (well, the few that still exist) has been met with a grateful and adulatory fanfare, across the board and it’s been no different here at Contactmusic. Having run out of contemporary influences upon which to draw, Bowie took the old adage that pop will eat itself and made an album to fit. On The Next Day, Bowie largely references himself and his own body of work, recalling his Berlin days, as well as providing an extension of the tracks he released in the nineties.“Assessing how The Next Day sits alongside anything else he's done is irrelevant; an artist who has gone through as many character changes, taken on as many styles and moved through as many eras as he has defies such lazy list making. What can be said is that it is, at this point in time, at this point in his life and career, probably as good a record that David Bowie could've possibly come up with.”
Some of the mystery of Rhye’s cloaked existence has been unveiled and the band’s two components have been revealed as Toronto born producer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal of Quadron. They draw comparisons to The XX, partly thanks for Milosh’s falsetto, which led many to believe that it was a woman on vocals. Possibly part of the reason they choose to entitle the album Woman...? “'Woman' is a chilled, tranquil listen but not a boring album by any means. The duo creates songs that fill with distant, mysterious moods. But, it still feels like an intimate album piled high with textured layers.”
Rhye release their debut album 'Woman' to much applause. A lot of mystery surrounded Rhye before their identity was discovered. Was it a solo act, a duo or a band? And they almost definitely had a lead female vocalist, one that sort of had the poise of Jessie Ware and the more timid front of Romy from The XX. But no, there is no leading lady involved in Rhye's music. In fact, the act is Mike Milosh and Quadron's Robin Hannibal. It's Toronto-born producer Milosh who lends his gentle Falsetto tone to the 10-track album. This fun fact makes the album all the more intriguing.
'Woman' is a chilled, tranquil listen but not a boring album by any means. The duo creates songs that fill with distant, mysterious moods. But, it still feels like an intimate album piled high with textured layers. 'Open' offers a stunning, rest-assured opener with strings evolving into a familiar clicking beat with keys. The breathiness in the majority of tracks allows for comparisons to The XX, particularly in 'Shed Some Blood'. Droplet-like sounds sparsely scatter themselves in 'Verse', which are reminiscent of James Blake. 'The Fall' sounds like it's about to burst into a down tempo Bruno Mars before introducing some elongated 'ooooohs' which sound very Alt-J from their track 'Ms'. Odd combo.
There are also a couple of fine disco-ish tracks to be had. Unexpected, they bring some jazz to the record in 'Last Dance'; "game on, game tonight" is murmured seductively over the soulful brass sections and playful riff. The same can be said for 'Hunger'. '3 Days' is a song that provides the lyric "Oh I'm famished, so I'll eat your minerals". Interesting.
Continue reading: Rhye - Woman Album Review