This was a pretty great year for music, as all serious critics seem to agree. Last year, I couldn't find anything to listen to apart from the heartbreaking Perfume Genius record and "Bloom" by Beach House, which I practically played out.
By contrast, this year I had a full list of favorites by halfway through. Some make appearances on many critics' year-end lists; others aren't mentioned anywhere, from what I can see. When I look back at 2013, from any vantage of later years, I'll remember it as the time I was listening to and loving these records:
At least as much as any of these records, I loved a little release by an Icelandic band called Hynmalaya. They have no distribution deal in America, and haven't even bothered to set-up an Amazon page with a few of their CD's, but they're giving away the whole record (MP3) free on their website. It's quiet and beautiful music, with full string and horn sections that seem to know their place, as so few such sections do. And lyrically, it reminds me of the best book I read this year, which you should also seek out.
The Love Language Ruby Red
Veronica Falls Waiting for Something to Happen
Foxygen We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic