Live4ever’s Essential Listening: Ten Albums Of 2013…So Far

As summer gets ready to rear its all-too-fleeting head, it’s that time once again when we at Live4ever take a look back through the many top quality albums to have passed our way since the new year rolled in to view. From that list we’ve picked out ten records which have particularly had our writers’ juices flowing during the past six months for you to take a look through. As ever, Live4ever’s Essential Listening series doesn’t aim to preach, it merely aims to recommend some of our own favourite releases which we hope you’ll share a passion for.

Click on the album artwork to bring up our reviews in full, and make sure you let us know your own essential albums of 2013 so far by leaving a comment below.

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10: The Joy Formidable – ‘Wolf’s Law’

“The sheer weight of imaginative ambition harnessed within this consciously cathartic rock record, which empowers our natural environment, sets down a marker for continued evolution as the band continue to climb a few extra rungs of the ladder in pursuit of their own lofty musical ideals.”


9: Bastille – ‘Bad Blood’

“It would be difficult to find a band with such a weight of knowledge and ease in cultivating history to span out poignant analogies for the current struggles of youth in the modern age. This record will speak to many, but particularly young adults at that confusing stage of life where thoughts inevitably turn to how best to utilise your time on earth so as to grow old with few regrets.”

awayalnd8: Villagers – ‘{Awayland}’

“Villagers triumph remains in their construction of (often) uplifting façades to bleak underlying texts, but that’s not to say ‘{Awayland}’ is a disheartening album. There are hints, such as in ‘Rhythm Composer’, of salvation. But even this song is a double-edged sword as we learn, ‘In actuality, only the rhythm composes you’. One can only admire O’Brien’s musical and lyrical dexterity – there are more twists and turns than a corkscrew and ‘{Awayland}’ feels like a band that has finally found its feet.”


7: Peace – ‘In Love’

“Like many debuts, ‘In Love’ is as much an amalgamation of Peace’s record collection as it is an original, forward-thinking statement, and in less assured hands it could well have been a disaster. But it’s not. Why? Quite simply, because pound for pound these are ten of the best songs you will hear this year, baggy or otherwise.”


6: The Men – ‘New Moon’

“Then again, this blatant disregard for natural convention has been the hallmark of The Men’s career so far, and on ‘New Moon’ they have simply learned how to properly play up that strength.  Abrupt endings, odd song sequencing, deliberately left-in studio banter – all of it expertly underscores the whole just-us-five-dudes-jamming-out-in-a-cabin vibe that ultimately makes this record as strong as it is.”

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5: I Am Kloot – ‘Let It All In’

“For newcomers to I Am Kloot, ‘Let It All In’ is the perfect starting point; an album that seesaws between a gentle breeze of tranquility, orchestral turbulence and back again. I Am Kloot have consistently produced quality albums throughout their career, but with their latest they have created their first masterpiece.”


4: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘II’

“‘II‘ easily lives up to the anticipation, taking the sun-baked psych-pop simplicity that defined the first record and twisting it just enough to add a previously missing layer of musical and emotional depth. If the debut was a hook-filled series of summery singalongs, then this one is its reflective, late night counterpart that replaces a reliance on catchy choruses with a bent towards stretched-out ruminations on loneliness and isolation.”


3: And So I Watch You From Afar – ‘All Hail Bright Futures’

“What really steers ‘All Hail Bright Futures’ isn’t the expanded vocabulary, as the real shift arrives alongside an infusion of added instrumentation and stylistic variance. This is driven home with the album’s centerpiece, a dynamic three-song suite that features everything from brightened four-on-the-floor techno throbs, to Caribbean cruise steel drums, to cinematic string orchestration and lonely trumpet calls.”

Laura Marling Once I Was An Eagle

2: Laura Marling – ‘Once I Was An Eagle’

“We don’t need to know the myth to understand Laura Marling. ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ is the wind howling at your window in the dead of night; it’s rejecting the lies you can’t make yourself believe. Laura Marling speaks the truth about herself. That’s heart-wrenchingly hard for any human being, never mind a songwriter.”


1: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – ‘Specter At The Feast’

“They’ve always been a band with a subtle taste for the macabre, indulging their darker side without making a pantomime of it. This is their Macbeth; an exploration and a celebration of life and death, brimming with phantoms and pathos, held together with a sound so easy to fear and to revere in equal measure. This is indeed a classic you see before you.”

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  1. Bobby Walker 28 June, 2013
  2. Dave 10 July, 2013

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