2013 was one of the strongest years for music in recent memory. The amount of high quality releases was unprecedented, and many received the attention that they deserved. But while Vampire Weekend, Touché Amoré and Daft Punk may have dominated top ten lists, a long list of albums slipped under the radar. Here are just five of the many albums that you may have missed in 2013.
Allison Weiss – Say What You Mean
A Kickstarter success story, Allison Weiss released her second full-length album in April of 2013. The record is a ten-track punch of power pop and indie rock that showcase the depth of Weiss’s songwriting abilities. Songs like “I Was an Island” and “How to Be Alone” really speak to her talents as she pushes herself to her limits. Weiss takes heed from fellow female rockers Meg & Dia, as well as the indie rock charisma of Kevin Devine to make an easily accessible and immensely personal album that will keep you hooked for days.
Listen to: “Nothing Left”
Cartel – Collider
While Cartel holds a special place in many listeners’ hearts, the band’s struggle for mainstream success has rendered them irrelevant. The band’s self-released fourth album, Collider, brought Cartel back to Earth. The album’s lead single, “Uninspired” is indicative of a fully realized sound that they have worked to achieve. It pushed them forward while satisfying old fans, but unfortunately failed to penetrate beyond the Cartel Cult. A mature and consistent pop punk affair, Collider is a worthwhile listen that brings the band to new heights.
Listen to: “Best Intentions”
Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
Kacey Musgraves may have been the breakout country star of 2013, but she is destined for much bigger places. Her debut album, Same Trailer Different Park is a special record. From the opening lines of “Silver Lining” to the final note of “It Is What It Is”, this album will keep you invested for all 40 minutes. Same Trailer Different Park is able to capture country and pop fans alike, giving us the finest debut of 2013. Kacey may be pretty popular now, but she is destined to make it to the top of world.
Listen to: “Follow Your Arrow”
The Summer Set – Legendary
After a solid sophomore effort, Everything’s Fine, it was surprising to see The Summer Set return to their bubblegum roots for their third full-length. While their debut, Love Like This, was nothing more than a guilty pleasure, Legendary is the purest form of sugary pop. Each song is destined for the top of the charts, and from beginning to end, speaks to the maturity of the band. While it may be a pop record on the surface, Legendary is truly remarkable. Detractors may be quick to dismiss it, but this album is a real treat.
Listen to: “The Way We Were”
The Strokes – Comedown Machine
Two years removed from their five-year break, The Strokes returned to the scene with their fifth studio album, Comedown Machine. The band decided to avoid promoting the release by way of a media blackout, so there was understandably less hype surrounding it. The album however, is a fine affair. Songs like “All the Time” aim to please old fans, while “Welcome to Japan”, among others, looks to seek out new ones. It may not be a return to Is This It, but the group expands their sound while keeping their roots in check.
Listen to: “Tap Out”