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.
The Underachievers 'Indigoism' - The best hip-hop album released this year. AK and Issa Gold rhyme with pure venom as their bars of mysticism, enlightenment, philosophy and a New World Order aim to teach and spread fear among the established rap elite. There's a new order emerging in hip-hop and they own Beast Coast.
Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampires in the City' - It goes from one exceptional, intelligent ditty to the next. The New Yorkers have graduated with honours from their role as indie rock's understudy to become the best band in the world right now.
Justin Timberlake 'The 20/20 Experience' - Pop's returning prince didn't let down with his first instalment of 'The 20/20 Experience', experimenting with pop's past to create, I hope, what will be most like pop's future. Turns out Timbo has still got it too, not that anyone would have thought otherwise.
Grandemarshall 'Mugga Man' - Late night bass and laid back licks, Grandemarshall might not be on everybody's radar yet, but he has already proved himself as a talent to be reckoned with thanks to his second mixtape.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra 'II' - Probably my most listened to album of the year, maybe after The Underachievers, UMO make such agreeable music it's hard to ignore their transient hooks and grooves. On 'II', they've only improved from where they first began on their self-titled debut and will hopefully only get better.
Joanna Gruesome 'Weird Sister' - Like fellow Valleys-dwellers Los Campesinos! only louder, angrier and covered in fuzz - not the soft and cuddly kind either. 'Weird Sister' is a debut album to be reckoned with, but also a record to have endless amounts of fun with too.
Kool A.D. '63' - Sure he recycles verses, but that's art, man. The former Das Racist man has released three solo mixtapes, one collaboration with Kassa and drummed on some hardcore stuff with his band Party Animal. Of all the stuff he's done, '63' is his best for 2013.
Hooded Fang 'Gravez' - Criminally overlooked for the majority of the year, the Canadians may have shuffled their ranks before going into 'Gravez', but Dan Lee, April Aliermo, Lane Halley and D. Alex Meeks emerged from the studio with an album that is steeped in influences from the past thirty years of indie rock and manages to sound fresh yet still nostalgic.
El-P & Killer Mike 'Run the Jewels' - It's only short, but it's absolutely brimming with raw power and aggression, not to mention occasionally hilarious. 'Run the Jewels' moves "with the elegance of an African elephant" and doesn't take s*** from anyone, much like El-P and Killer Mike.