Yes, you were all great, Arcade Fire, Haim, Yeezus, Lorde, “Get Lucky”, Vampire Weekend and Arctic Monkeys. But here's the best music you, the reader weary of groupthink, may have missed in 2013. Go forth and Spotify.
Best Daft Punk Impression: Darkside
Ambient producer Nicholas Jaar teamed with guitarist Dave Harrington on Daftside, a downtempo reimagining of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. So good they parlayed it into another EP, Psychic.
Best Folk: Phosphorescent
If Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill abandoned the bombast and took a poetry class from Bob Dylan, he’d be Phosphorescent. His seventh album, Muchacho, might be his best. Top cut: "Song for Zula," a smoky ode to Johnny Cash.
Best Soundtrack: Prince Avalanche
The quiet character study of David Gordon Green’s latest was helped immeasurably by Explosions in the Sky’s sometimes quiet, sometimes dynamic and occasionally jarring post-rock musings.
Best Import: Jagwar Ma
The Aussie trio seems to be of another era … or, shall we say, eras. Tracks like “Let Her Go” are all ‘60s pop harmony, while “The Throw” is the best of the psych-tinged, early Manchester raves of the '80s.
Best Rock Album: Foals
On Holy Fire, the U.K. band veers from synth-pop to pensive ballads to guitar rave-ups, with plenty of falsetto vocals. Since Muse didn’t have an album and MGMT unfortunately did, here’s your compromise.
Best Box Set: On Air - Live at the BBC
OK, maybe you’ve heard of The Beatles. But you’ve never heard most of the songs here — unreleased covers, alternate takes and a few classics, recorded live for British radio in the early ‘60s.
Best “Teen” Act: Radkey
Three young brothers from Saint Joseph, MO, craft a ‘70s/’80s punk-fueled soundtrack of discontent. Frontman Dee Radkee perfectly channels The Misfits, The Ramones and golden-age CBGB.
Best Hip-Hop Maturation: Danny Brown
Old is, natch, a wiser outing by the oddball Detroit rapper (who called his last album XXX) – one that dabbles in synths, EDM and dubstep … as well as Brown’s own contemplation of mortality.
Best Baby-Making Music: Rhye
It's hard to imagine that Rhye's silky vocalist – Milosh – is a dude. But along with prominent Danish producer Robin Hannibal, he crafts an R&B debut masterpiece with an agenda, appropriately titled Woman.
Next Best: The Chain Gang of 1974
That ‘80s-style synth-rock anthem grooving over the ads for GTA V? “Sleepwalking” by The Chain Gang of 1974. Remember that. New album in February. If you like M83, this is your new thing.