The Best Music of 2013 (So Far)

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It’s been a bleak year for music.

Not “bleak” in the sense that there hasn’t been any good music. On the contrary, 2013 – only halfway through – has already outstripped both 2012 and 2011 in quality of albums (and quantity of those albums, too). I mean “bleak” in the sense that somebody needs to cheer all these poor musicians up. This is a year in which both Frightened Rabbit and The National have released customarily pitch black records, where even the two best pop albums of the year (Tegan and Sara & Kid Canaveral) so far have dealt heavily in heartbreak. It’s all great, but man, these guys all need to go out and get some sunlight.

There have been some disappointments. Telekinesis followed up a solid first two albums with a third that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be, and suffered for it. Phoenix strained under the weight of expectations. Woodpigeon just sounded uninspired. But there has been a tremendous amount of music worth returning to this year, and the best news is that it doesn’t look like it’s tapering off anytime soon. Many artists responsible for some of the best albums of past years are gearing up for new releases: Neko Case, Mew, Sigur Ros, and Okkervil River have all announced new albums, and Arcade Fire, The New Pornographers, and Tokyo Police Club are either in the studio or due to be. It’s been a solid year, and with any luck, that won’t be stopping any time soon. In no particular order, here are a handful of this year’s best songs.

Bibio – A tout a l’heure

From the album Silver Wilkinson

Camera Obscura – This Is Love (Feels Alright)

From the album Desire Lines

CHVRCHES – Now Is Not The Time

From the Recover EP

Cloud Cult – You’re The Only Thing In Your Way

From the album Love

Daughter – Still

From the album If You Leave

Frightened Rabbit – The Woodpile

From the album Pedestrian Verse

Kid Canaveral – The Wrench

From the album Now That You Are A Dancer

Nataly Dawn – How I Knew Her

From the album How I Knew Her

The National – I Need My Girl

From the album Trouble Will Find Me

New Order – Hellbent

From the album Lost Sirens

Portugal. The Man – Atomic Man

From the album Evil Friends

Shout Out Louds – Blue Ice

From the album Optica

Tegan and Sara – Goodbye, Goodbye

From the album Heartthrob

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