2013 Tracks of the Year: The Full List

14 Dec

Tracks of 2013 - The Full List

This week, after previewing the 15 (21 with honourable mentions) acts we think you should Listen Out For in 2014, this week we started counting down our favourites from 2013. We began by listing the 25 songs that more than tickled our fancy and made us feel all warm and tingly where it matters, amongst other emotions.

As with our list of artists we love and expect great things of next year, we’ve put together a consolidated post of all 25 tracks, and a playlist of the lot below (except Young Hunting’s “Annabelle” which isn’t on Soundcloud). Should you wish to read more about each track, just click on their name to see the original post.

Enjoy.


#25 All We Are – “Utmost Good”

”It’s a white-suited John Travolta walking down the street at half-speed with a bassline that exudes cool and a beat that nudges your shoulders from side to side while the trio sing lovely falsetto shapes. The whole thing makes for quite a superb piece of dreamy psychedelic laid back funk that’ll make you want to break out the lava lamps, joss sticks and giant yin yang tapestries.”

#24 A Weekend At The Feelies – “Lowly Buzzard”

”It’s gloriously languid in style and almost shoegazy, dreamy and intangible, smoke like almost. Smooth vocals dissipate into its eerie chasm of sonic wistfulness. There are gentle depths and rises, twists, turns and dark corners of sound hidden away, waiting to be discovered.”

#23 Marika Hackman – “Bath Is Black”

”Showcasing Marika’s delightful way with words with playful yet heartfelt lyrics, “Bath Is Black” is a catchy and upbeat gem. It’s a fantastically visual track, more like a novel or short story layered over a sumptuously intricate musical arrangement.”

#22 Horse Party – “Back To Mono”

”It’s the simplicity of the beat and the opening riff, the repetition that just gets under your skin and won’t come out. Also, it kinda rocks. The pound of the drum, the crash of cymbal, the grind of guitar and the slight element of challenge in the vocal, a smidge of attitude that is almost defiant.“

#21 TV Girl – “Laura”

”…“Laura” is a fantastically vibrant piece of throwback pop music, infectious and melodious throughout. …It’s an upbeat and summery affair and ridiculously catchy with a danceable hip-hop style beat entwined with cascading piano melodies and twinkling xylophonic sounds.”

#20 Gems – “Medusa UN₡U₮”

”It’s still sparse but it doesn’t float, it is tethered to the ground, desperate to break free. These opening two minutes are like a walk through a long corridor in a stately home. Polished black and white tiles lead us to a great atrium where “Medusa” takes flight to the open sky above. It’s just wonderful.”

#19 John Grant – “GMF”

”The melody whispers and swirls like a solo waltz in the midst of shrapnel from a shattered and exploded relationship. Detritus lies all around, a memory here, a keepsake there, a heart still and cold discarded forlornly to one side as John stoically rises and falls through it all, bloodied but unbowed.”

#18 Mononoke – “Alice”

”It’s a single tear of exquisite emotion with simple and stark chords alternating with finger clicks as the vocals caress the memories of a life that never was. It’s a beautifully haunting ballad that uses the imagery of Alice In Wonderland as a metaphor for something altogether more heart wrenching and bewitchingly beautiful.”

#17 Mega Emotion – “Brains”

”With their debut track, Mega Emotion announced themselves to the world with big seventies pop guitars and neo-disco basslines, brash, angular riffage and dark electro flashes. “Brains” is hyper addictive and bold, raw and powerful.”

#16 Lorde – “Royals”

”Lorde’s rich, soulful vocal resonates against the sparse beat and barely there tune. It’s bold and confident, yet restrained and understated.”

#15 Velvet Two Stripes – “Fire”

”Sara wields her guitar like a weapon of mass destruction, letting fly with grinding, wailing licks that could bring a city to its knees and “Fire” is a bluesy riff driven slice of ka-boom that will stir heart, mind and anywhere else that could do with some life injecting into it.”

#14 Violet – “Where The Wild Things Grow”

”While we continue to wait patiently for a fully mastered version that thus far hasn’t come, we remain bewitched by the demo’s rich, soaring beauty and more Lana than Lana sensibilities. It is simply gorgeous.”

#13 Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

”It’s hard to listen to the smooth, soulful melodies without feeling compelled to indulge in a little armography and leg flickering yourself. Featuring the sultry voice of Caroline Polachek from Chairlift, “Chamakay” channels Terence Trent D’arby, D’Angelo and “Liberian Girl” crooning MJ into slow jam R’n’B grooves as a sexy sax sound disguises the heaviness of emotion within.”

#12 Ms Mr – “Fantasy”

”Painting from a broader palette, the result is a wonderful explosion of pop sound and colour; it’s effervescent and infectious. The drums are incessant, driving pulsating rhythms that evoke memories of Florence and the Machine but while never losing any of that glorious MS MR darkness and intrigue.”

#11 Dancing Years – “Here’s To My Old Friends”

”Like reading an old diary or looking through an old photo album, it’s full of warm remorse, happy memories that bring a smile to your face and a tear to the eye. Like watching the sun set on the last day of summer, it’s plaintive and beautiful and as the sun finally falls, the violins rise and let out a mournful, yearning cry for a time that is gone but will never be forgotten.”

#10 Brooke Annibale – “Tragically Beautiful”

Taken from the sublime Words In Your Eyes EP, Brooke Annibale’s “Tragically Beautiful” was, to start with, just one of six wonderful tunes that we loved. Then, bit by bit, like a gradual frost creeping silently across the fields and countryside, we suddenly found ourselves consumed, covered entirely by the fragile, pristine and picturesque loveliness that is “Tragically Beautiful”. It is delicate and evocative; it swoops, soars and glides effortlessly across the winter sky as the clouds turn pink with the sun. Heartfelt and poignant, Annibale’s lyrics and winters breath vocals hang in the air, resonating with the listener before dissipating into a swirl of guitar and strings.

#9 Pawws – “Slow Love”

”It is a glorious tune, everything that good pop should be and then some. If skittles let you “taste the rainbow” then “Slow Love” makes you “see, hear, feel, and surf the rainbow”.”

#8 Empress Of – “Hat Trick”

”Bookended by twinkling, almost shrill, synths the beat and melody swoon and sway along like cavorting partners, clinging to each other in the low light of a slow dance. It is a gloriously misty piece of electro-pop and one we couldn’t get enough of since its release.”

#7 Public Service Broadcasting – “Night Mail”

”It moves relentlessly, excitingly forwards with majestic, rolling scenery all around it. It’s fantastic and as the conductor yells “now” and the train whistle blares out, guitars and drums meet in a perfect storm of controlled energy and ambition as the track steams along.”

#6 Avec Sans – “Shiver”

”It’s so glorious and catchy; it’s a proper earworm tune. If they could find a way to weaponise it, this would be how Avec Sans took over the world. We don’t think anyone would mind too much though.”

#5 Sivu – “Better Man Than He”

”Brimming with elegance and sophistication, it is blessed with the kind of understated beauty that can take your breath away. It sounds so simple but the sounds have been deftly woven by a skilled craftsman to disguise their intricacy as well as their intimacy.”

#4 Young Hunting – “Annabelle”

”“Annabelle” might just be one of the most heartwrenchingly beautiful things we’ve ever heard. There are no extraneous flourishes; no flamboyances and each detail augments the narrative of the lyrics and aural caresses of the musical arrangements.”

#3 Chvrches – “Gun”

”The synths shoot across the night sky entwined with Lauren’s so-sweet, sometimes breathy and occasionally almost demure vocals, dancing into the drums before the track quietens down as the display looks to be ending, only to fire off one last great crescendo of light and sound.”

#2 Curxes – “Further Still”

”Dark, emotional and subtle, it whispers where you might expect a roar, even as the drama is ramped up it tip-toes through the sterile rooms behind the bright primary colours of the camp outside, scalpel in hand as it comes to slice into our ears and implant itself there for evermore.”

#1 Nicole Atkins – “Red Ropes”

”It’s a slow burning track, full of gentle drama at first before taking on an altogether more dense and powerful conclusion with the addition of choral backing vocals as Nicole Atkins‘ soft vocals reach up with increasing force. It is cinematic in feel, Lynchian almost (but less confusing) with that sort of retro-noir style to it that Tarantino can do so well too.”



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