You'll by now have seen our list of albums of the year, but what have the bands atop that list been listening to in 2013? We asked the likes of Foals, Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend for their favourite releases from the last 12 months...
Yannis Philippakis, Foals
Jai Paul, 'Jai Paul'
“I like all the confusion around it. I like the mystery. I think it’s important and refreshing that it was this underexposed record and that it wasn’t clear. It highlights that it’s not really important who it is and how it’s released because the music speaks for itself, especially with songs as strong as that. To me it sounds like the most exciting pop music I’ve heard in a long time. Sonically it’s intriguing. It’s got hooks and it sounds like nobody else. It’s just great. It’s the record I’ve gone back to more than any other. This years been great and there’s been loads of great records, but this one has drawn me back. I think it’s fascinating how he puts things together, the lyrics are good and it’s just a proper record.”
Matt Helders, Arctic Monkeys
Ghostface Killah, 'Twelve Reasons to Die'
“We've been listening to that one a lot this year, the whole band, so that's a good choice to represent the four of us. It were that Adrian Younge who did it with him, and the production on it is brilliant: it's the kind of record that any band would want to make. We've obviously taken it in a certain direction with our new album, but to do something like that, with the full band, would be amazing. Although it's a very hard thing to pull off!”
Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend
Kanye West, ‘Yeezus’
“It’s just a great album. It’s serious, it’s funny, it’s important. Speaks of the moment, it’s personal, it’s political, it’s got a great group of artists collaborating on it. Extremely fresh. I was very excited when it came out. It was the most fulfilling.”
Ryan Jarman, The Cribs
The Strokes, ‘Comedown Machine’
“I thought it was classic Strokes. ‘Chances’ is the best Strokes song in years. They haven’t been touring it, which is a shame because I think that’s one of their best records. In some ways it’s less obvious – it’s a different sound, but it’s got all the hallmarks of what made them good. It’s got great melodies. I still listen to it a lot now, which is the only way I can gauge what really is a good album in my eyes.”
Black Sabbath, ‘13’
"It’s the first Sabbath record in a hella long time, and for me it just kicks, I‘ve been blasting it a lot. I was so glad to hear something new from them that any drawbacks were quickly forgotten."
Chilli Jesson, Palma Violets
Parquet Courts, ‘Light Up Gold’
“We saw them at SXSW when we were playing out there. We’d seen so many shit bands and they were an amazing live band. Then we heard the record and I just think it got me in a certain way. They know what they’re doing and it feels like they’ve been doing it for a while. They’re doing something right and they’re doing it their own way, and the kids are reacting to it.”
Katie Crutchfield, Waxahatchee
All Dogs and Slouch, split
“It came out as a seven inch and it's nine songs of pop punk, a bit like The Muffs or Fastball.”
Lauren Mayberry, Chvrches
Waxahatchee, ‘Cerulean Salt’
“I got ridiculously obsessed with it in a really teenage way. I haven't relistened and relistened to an album like that in a really long time. Her voice is so powerful – when you listen to it on headphones, it feels like she's right inside your head. Lyrically it's really interesting, there's a lot of stuff that I find relatable. It's melancholic but also there's also a lot of stuff about hope and relationships and friendships – things that anyone can relate to.”
Jono Ma, Jagwar Ma
Factory Floor, ‘Factory Floor’
“I’d heard of them and heard a couple of EPs, but then we played a show with them in Australia which is when I saw them first. This album is just brutal. It’s analogue, electronic music, but I just love the sound of it. The artwork is amazing, it plays really well and I quite like having a challenging record. It’s not an easy listen, but it’s rewarding. I listen to it on vinyl so I don’t even know particular tracks – I think that’s a healthy way to listen to an album – but as soon as I put the first track on I was completely drawn in.”
Tyler, The Creator, ‘Wolf’
“He’s doing things his own way and is all the better for it.”
Conor O'Brien, Villagers
Jon Hopkins, ‘Immunity’
“I listen to it almost every day. It gives me a sort of meditative feeling; it’s something you can tell was a labour of love and it just blows my mind. I would like to get into making something like it in the future because I am getting more into making electronic music.”
Aaron Dessner, The National
"There's something incredibly soulful and beautiful and natural about Matthew's singing, and with the production and analogue delays it's a very organic record, but there's something slippery about it. It hits right in the sweet spot of where it should be and it's a complete experience listening to it - it's not like there's one song I like, I like listening to the whole thing. There are very few records that can pull that off."
Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz
Earl Sweatshirt, 'Doris'
"Compared to 'Earl', Doris is a lot more personal and interesting and honest. The production's great on it. He's doing his own thing, he's said it's more personal and less shock focused than before. I like 'Chum' a lot."
Andrew Hung, Fuck Buttons
James Holden, ‘Inheritors’
“It’s been on my headphones a lot. Luke Abbott, who’s on James’ label [Bedroom Community] DJed at my birthday a couple of years back. He played a few tracks from James’ album and I was like, “Fuck, this is mental!” But he wouldn’t give them to me, of course. Obviously Holden’s got a really good understanding of techno, but he’s very consciously trying to get away from that – his tastes seem to lie in krautrock, older music. It’s less about the kickdrum and more about texture – it’s very fuzzy, which I like. But there is a lot of groove to it.”
Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Iceage
Puce Mary, ‘Success’
“She’s one of our friends from Copenhagen, she’s toured with us around the UK and Europe this year. She’s a solo performer, she plays power electronics and in my opinion she’s one of the best in that field in the world right now. She changes up what she does a lot from set to set, every time you hear her there’s something different.”
James Holden, ‘The Inheritance’
“It's got this wild freedom to it. It's genuinely experimental. He spent several years designing his own software to control various modular synths he'd bought over the years. It sounds like it's barely under control itself. It sounds very outdoors. In fact, it's almost Celtic in its wildness, and to do that with electronic instruments is pretty special.”
Head to NME Video to watch Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Phoenix and more pick their favourite albums of 2013.