Alec’s “Top 13 Albums of 2013”

top13As the year begins to wind down and we look ahead on the work we have for 2014, all of us at want to extend our sincere thanks to each of you who have supported us in what marks our fifth year as “Georgia’s Indie Music Hub.” Some of us are newer than others, and we’ve expanded to not only have a close focus on music in Georgia, but to also expose our readers across the globe to the incredible music scenes throughout the Southeast. We asked each of our staff and team of writers to compile a list of their personal favorite releases from 2013 for our year-end features. Since each of us have different preferences, we felt individual lists would be the best way to give maximum exposure to the bands we’ve grown to love. We hope you’ll take the time to listen to these artists and appreciate your feedback. Happy New Year! –

Alec Stanley’s “Top 13 Albums of 2013″

LORDE13. Lorde — Pure Heroine

Starting off the list at number 13 is an album that, with much hesitation, I have grown to truly enjoy. It’s too concise to get you really thinking, yet just deep enough to have you dancing at the wheel of your car. This dream-pop-meets-girl-you-wish-you-didn’t-ignore-in-high-school debut from 17 year-old New Zealander “Lorde” has me singing along with every word.

Standouts: “Royals”

bigjesus12. Big Jesus — One

With heavy riffs and great melodies, Big Jesus has delivered rock gold with their debut full length, One. Available solely through the band’s Bandcamp page, this is a gem. To be a completely independently produced album, this equals in production value to that of an early Nirvana. This is the best band you’ve probably never heard of.

Standouts: “Cold Fire”

Mel Washington HOUSES11. Mel Washington — Houses

Former All Get Out guitarist, Mel Washington, has released a heartbreaking album about pain, shortcomings, and breakthroughs. With his soulful voice and catchy choruses, Mel Washington has delivered folk-country hit after hit with this release. This record will have you begging for more, even if you think your heart can’t take it.

Standouts: “Whiskey Bent”

Kurt-Vile-Waking-On-A-Pretty-Daze10. Kurt Vile — Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile really knows how to strike a chord with my inner troubadour. His not-so-perfect vocal tracks and almost Dylan-esque song structuring make me put this record on when I have nothing better to do than mope around the house. Kurt Vile is the Jim Morrison of the 2010s. Although I can see his popularity being very short-lived, I’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Standouts: “Walkin’ on a Pretty Day”

daftpunk-13679459659. Daft Punk — Random Access Memories

Daft Punk have surely outdone themselves with this record. I’ll find myself hearing an amazingly produced, well thought out song playing in whatever random place I find myself, checking to see who it is, and lo-and-behold, it’s off of this record. The only reason this album isn’t further up is because, as with all of their music for me, it gets a bit silly.

Standouts: “Get Lucky”

AvettBrothers_MagpieDandelion8. The Avett Brothers — Magpie and the Dandelion

No stranger to these ears, The Avett Brothers blow me away once again. With the some of the most well-articulated and meaningful lyrics to be penned this year, this record has literally brought me to tears. A bandmate turned me on to this record, and I am very glad that he did. This record should have come with a warning label; I can only listen to it about once a week without slipping into a deep depression.

Standouts: “Skin and Bones”

justin-timberlake-the-2020-experience-full-album-stream7. Justin Timberlake — The 20/20 Experience

By far the most well-produced album of this year, Justin Timberlake has shocked me with provocative songs that I might catch myself singing along to with my mother. The instrumentation is impeccable, yet somehow leaves room for JT to shine vocally. Obviously this record has done extremely well critically, but don’t let your too-good-for-radio-music ears miss out on this amazing feat of musical mastery.

Standouts: “Pusher Love Girl”

Print6. The National — Trouble Will Find Me

This record came to me at a time when I thought I might have lost all hope for The National. They have knocked the ball out of the park with song after song of melodramatic melancholy. With blunt lyrics and simplistic arrangements, this is definitely their most accessible release to date.

Standouts: “Demons”

kevin_devine_bubblegumsq5. Kevin Devine and TGB — Bubblegum

Kevin Devine has done it again. This is my favorite release from him so far. I’m not usually this enthralled by politically minded music, but Devine really proposes his thoughts in such an angry, enigmatic and somewhat anarchical way that it’s hard not to get all riled up with him. With more structured arrangements delving into my preferred side of the rock/punk spectrum, this one has struck gold.

Standouts: “Fiscal Cliff”

atoms4. Atoms for Peace — AMOK

Electronic supergroup Atoms for Peace have delivered an impeccable debut album. Fronted by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, it’s surely an act of pure genius. With thought provoking lyrics and eloquent instrumentation, this record, if none other on this list, will leave you speechless and in awe.

Standouts: “Before Your Very Eyes”

JasonIsbellReview3003. Jason Isbell — Southeastern

Wow. That’s really the first thing that comes to mind when trying to write my thoughts on this release. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve stumbled across an artist that seems so real. You feel the pain in his voice with every note, and you believe the anger in his words. Southeastern will make you believe Isbell would beat a man within an inch of his life with his bare hands, then sweetly sing him back to life. Well done Jason, well done.

Standouts: “Elephant”

NIN2. Nine Inch Nails — Hesitation Marks

With their first release in half a decade, NIN have delivered another masterpiece. From Trent Reznor’s thought-provoking and envelope-pushing lyrics to his mastery of an analog synth, he has created nothing short of a work of art. Easily the most accessible NIN record to date-he still found a way to stay true to fans that have been with him since 1989 brought us Pretty Hate Machine. Don’t let your past judgments on this band dissuade you from picking up a copy; Hesitation Marks is nothing to be taken lightly, and I’m sure each reader will find something that they like about it.

Standouts: “Copy of A”

QUEENS1. Queens of the Stone Age — …Like Clockwork

After a routine knee surgery left lead singer Josh Homme dead on an operating table, music was the furthest thing from his mind. After making a return of sorts to their stoner rock roots with previous release, Era Vulgaris, QOTSA left fans thinking that was the direction the band was taking. The soul-shaking experience that Homme faced when he quite literally came back from the dead shows through immensely on this record. This is the most thought out, well-written record that I have come across in the last five years. They’ve seemed to have found a middle ground of sorts when it comes to their sound with this record. It’s still very guitar-driven, yet the chord structures and arrangements of the songs are mind-blowing. Hell, even SIR ELTON JOHN himself wanted to be, and eventually was, a part of making this record happen. I’ve never said this before, and it might be the most applicable (yet vastly inappropriate) time to say this; I would have died to make this record.

Standouts: “I Sat By the Ocean”