When we launched the new-look NME in October last year, we were chuffed to start including the Official Record Store Chart in our pages: a list of the top-selling LP’s each week, compiled from 100 of the UK’s best independent record shops. But what were the Official Record Store Chart’s biggest-selling albums of 2013? At Number 20 it’s Kurt Vile with his fifth studio LP ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’.
What a way to make a comeback, eh? At Number 19 it’s Scottish lot Franz Ferdinand, who made their triumphant return after a four-year hiatus with ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’. In his review for NME, Dan Stubbs hailed their back-to-basics brilliance and simple swagger, concluding: “They return, four years after the misfiring ‘Tonight…’, with an album that might be their best ever.”
We had so much faith in the life-affirming racket of Palma Violets that we stuck them on the cover of NME way back in October 2012. And they repaid us in spades: their debut album ‘180’ was one of the year’s finest, funnest and most energetic romps, and it bags a more-than-worthy Number 18 on the Official Record Store Chart for 2013.
“It feels as if there’s no arena, stadium or field big enough to contain ‘Holy Fire’ – although you get the feeling plenty of them will be filled with these songs over the next 12 months,” wrote David Renshaw in his 9/10 review of Foals’ third LP. A natty prediction on his part: the Oxford bunch released a career-best album last year, and claim the Number 17 spot on this chart to boot.
On ‘Pale Green Ghosts’, John Grant declared himself to be “the greatest motherfucker”. A lofty boast, but Nick Levine agreed in his 8/10 review, describing the singer-songwriter’s second album as “audacious stuff” and praising his “rich voice”. The record-buying masses concurred, too, making it the 14th best-selling LP on 2013’s Official Record Store chart.
Fiercely intelligent, intimidatingly stern and pleasingly noisy, Savages were one of the finest breakthrough bands of 2013. Their debut album, ‘Silence Yourself’, was a post-punk masterclass and is richly deserving of its Number 13 spot on the chart. As NME’s Eve Barlow declared: “Savages enter the world so fully realised and neurotically confident they’re met with a unanimous round of applause.”
London Grammar top off a fine year with yet another accolade. The trio’s debut bow debuted at Number Two on the Official UK Albums Chart when it was released last September and, according to the Official Charts Company, it’s the 33rd top-selling album of the year. Little surprise, then, that they’re at Number 12 in the Official Record Store Chart as well.
The most stubborn chart-botherer since Adele, singer Emeli Sande’s ‘One Version Of Events’ was released back in February 2012 but it’s still hugely popular with the masses. It’s at Number 12 in the Official Record Store Chart, and is also the second biggest-selling record of the year, according to the Official Charts Company.
At Number 11, it’s New York prepsters Vampire Weekend with their third effort ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’. “They’re thinking with their guts this time,” said John Calvert in his 7/10 review of the LP, as Ezra Koenig and co shed their brain-box leanings to deliver an album that was slicker, subtler and decidedly more human than their previous efforts.
Jake Bugg may have stumbled upon ‘Shangri-La’ with his second studio album this year, recorded with uber-producer Rick Rubin in the US, but it’s the Nottingham singer-songwriter’s self-titled debut that’s at Number 10 on 2013’s list of the top-selling albums courtesy of the Official Record Store Chart.
‘Babel’, the second album from Mumford & Sons, was released back in September 2012 but that hasn’t halted its mammoth sales figures: it still shifted enough copies to take Number 9 on the Official Record Store Chart. The band also had the honour of headlining last year’s Glastonbury festival, although they’re now taking a well-earned hiatus.
2013 was full of high-profile returns (and, without wanting to give too much away, we’ll get to some of those later). And Boards Of Canada had plenty of folk excited with ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’, their first new album since 2005. Matthew Horton praised their “brilliant melodies and intricately textured sounds”, and it’s at Number 8 in the Official Record Store Chart’s top-sellers of 2013.
At Number Six, it’s Queens Of The Stone Age, who roped in a star-studded list of collaborators for ‘…Like Clockwork’. But while there were cameos from Alex Turner and Elton John, QOTSA are never in need of gimmicks. NME’s Leonie Cooper called it an “unrelenting juggernaut” in her 9/10 review, as Josh Homme and friends served up arguably their finest offering since ‘Songs Of The Deaf’.
Number 5 belongs to the ever-wonderful Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ ‘Push The Sky Away’, with highlights including the stirring ‘Jubilee Street’ and menacing ‘We No Who U R’. “What Cave and co have managed here is no mean feat,” said NME’s Jenny Stevens. “A masterpiece that merges the experimentation and freedom of their side projects with Cave’s most tender songcraft.”
Buoyed by the success of hit single ‘Get Lucky’, Daft Punk’s triumphant return – a grandiose affair encompassing tightly-kept secrets, movie-style trailers and cameos from Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers – ensures that the French duo’s LP ‘Random Access Memories’ takes the Number 3 spot on the Official Record Store Chart.
Alas, Arctic Monkeys! In 2013, the Sheffield boys headlined Glasto and nabbed a mightily-impressive 10/10 review in NME courtesy of Editor Mike Williams (in his own words: “Absolutely and unarguably the most incredible album of their career”). But ‘AM’ just misses out on the top spot in the Official Record Store Chart, having to settle for Number 2 instead. Who could have pipped them to the post?
Who else was it going to be? 2013 belonged to David Bowie, as the legendary singer released his 24th studio album to widespread acclaim and takes Number 1 spot on the Official Record Store Chart. “It demands that you listen to it in this moment, and its songs more than live up to the demand,” said NME’s Emily Mackay in her 8/10 review. Congratulations then, David – no-one deserves it more.