The 10 Best Albums of 2013

Picks from MoJo music critic Jon Young, from psychedelic folk to blistering punk.

<A href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkins-thiel/3235580166/in/photolist-5VVcfW-5VQQFn-5VQQSp-bW1k3E-7Stpf3-ebiLXB-bEH2wR-vNV8G-aSuUEX-8bXHZM-8wnkcJ-dsu7LS-94jNuT-5rkkBw-8YntSU-6hpYpz-6o5Ea3-4SmeR4-4SmeUx-4Sqspd-6tHzpq-4r5fnj-5Lqq1t-4r19mi-5LuD7o-5Lqpoz-6QBHok-c8ihn7-ahuc7-auDiGB-j7TDP-5SSPh7-4oPrjr-ahDnER-7E5bpY-4q8eV8-5rkiVw-cgec9j-bjXuFR-7CNe8H-f9B97N-9TH2xw-9TH5Um-9TH1MG-9TH8KJ-bsB1Zc-dnwDZR-5wr8ja-dBHfaw-5rfYKk-5rki73/">Michelle Hawkins-Thiel</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


We saw a ton of great music coming through this year and we’ve culled through it to pull out the gems for you. Below, in no particular order, are the year’s top 10 from our music critic Jon Young—albums he’s found himself going back to again and again.

 

1. Speedy Ortiz’s Major Arcana: Fronted by the charismatic, loquacious Sadie Dupuis, this muscular Boston quartet updates early ’90s faves Pixies and Pavement. (Read full review.)

2. Heliotropes’ A Constant Sea: Four Brooklyn women mix grunge, metal sludge, and psychedelia to stunning effect in an unforgettable debut.
 

3. Various Artists, King Bullard Version: Songs of the BOS Label: From Numero Group, America’s most creative archival label, comes stunning late ’60s gospel, via Cleveland.
 
4. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (film, DVD/Blu-ray):
Flawed but intriguing, this lovingly crafted documentary chronicles the brief, unhappy life of the revered (albeit overhyped) ’70s Memphis pop band led by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. The soundtrack of the same name shows why they endure.

Robyn Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock earlier this year at South by Southwest (Listen.) Jacob Blickenstaff

5. Robyn Hitchcock’s Love from London: The durable ex-Soft Boy continues to muse on sex, death, and whatever in surreal, deceptively heartfelt psychedelic folk rock.

6. Radiation City’s Animals in the Median: Portland, Oregon’s Lizzy Ellison floats on air as she croons wistfully, evoking half-forgotten memories. (Read the full review.)
 
7. Van Dyke Parks’ Songs Cycled: Brian Wilson’s pal makes a triumphant return, whimsically mixing old-fashioned Americana, 20th-century classical. and goofball outsider pop. (Read the full review.)

8. Tony Joe White’s Hoodoo: Defying age, the “Polk Salad Annie” man casts an irresistible swamp-blues spell. (Read the full review.)

9. Venom P. Stinger 1986-1991: Rude and crude, this boisterous Australian quartet made the competition seem staid, with demented frontman Dugald McKenzie spearheading the attack. (Read the full review.)
 
10. Bettie Serveert’s Oh, Mayhem!: Led by the charming Carol van Dijk, the graceful Dutch pop band produces its liveliest set in many moons.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate