1. Of Monsters and Men, My Head is An Animal
The epic rise of Iceland sextet Of Monsters and Men introduced the world the genre of chamber pop. Hailed as the new Arcade Fire by some, in truth they sound more like a witty mix between Indie-rock starlets Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and popular folk rockers Mumford & Sons. Their debut album is a diamond in the rough and may be Iceland’s best export yet.
2. Beach House, Bloom
The aptly-named Bloom represents a coming of age for the captivating, soul-stroking music of this enigmatic duo from Baltimore. Their fourth album is a sheer listening experience; a journey through time and space rather than solely an amalgamation of songs.
3. Mumford & Sons, Babel
Outdoing a debut album like 2009’s Sigh No Moreseemed a daunting if not almost impossible hurdle for the now familiar Mumford & Sons,. Babel keeps the best of what we remember from its predecessor, which is rare for a second album. Little wonder that their 2013 show at Falconer Salen has sold out so quickly.
4. Grizzly Bear, Shields
Shields is as experimental and as contemplative an album as you’ll hear this year. Rock/electronica à la New Yorkers Ratatat meets alt-rock influences not too unlike those of Icelandic heavyweights Sigur Rós in a marriage woven in the clouds.
5. John Talabot, Fin
Barcelona’s John Talabot has somehow managed to weave a mix of house disco and indie together with the panache of a true innovator. Fin is Barcelona in an album; vehemently unique and ice cool albeit welcoming and accessible at the same time.
The best of the rest:
6. Hot Chip, In Our Heads
7. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Here
8. Chromatics, Kill For Love
9. Grimes, Visions
10. Orbital, Wonky