There’s lots of talk about the lack of great new bands on the scene these days, but when you look at the amount of quality debut albums released in 2013 it seems that new music is in great shape. So let’s stop being defeatist and revel in some of the great first albums released this year.
Below is a list of all the debut albums I’ve enjoyed most this year. It’s in no particular order as I don’t want to get into all that ‘best of 2013’ nonsense – just a simple collection of debut albums that I think everyone should listen to, if they haven’t already!
As always with this kind of list, let me know what your favourite debut albums of the year were in the comments at the bottom. If you’re a Spotify user then get on my playlist here:
Disclosure – Settle
The Lawrence brothers brought house music back to life and back to the mainstream in 2013 with this accomplished, creative and confident debut. Expect to see their star rise and rise in the next year, with more big-name collabs to add to their growing CV.
Jagwar Ma – Howlin
Jagwar Ma proved in 2013 that Aussie psych-rock doesn’t start or end with Tame Impala with this vibrant, trippy and varied debut album – blending psychedelia with straight up rock and acid house grooves to great effect.
Swim Deep – Where The Heaven Are We
The first 5-6 songs on B-town band Swim Deep’s debut are easily the most joyful, life-affirming indie-pop tunes you’ll find anywhere. ‘Francisco’, ‘King City’, ‘Honey’, ‘Colour Your Ways’, ‘Make My Sun Shine’, it just goes on and on.
Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
Maybe not strictly a debut, if you count his many free mixtapes, but as Doris is Odd Future member Earl’s first proper, label-backed, debut album I think it deserves to be in this list. Intellectual rap backed with virtuoso technique and disorientating beats made Doris a stand-out hip-hop album in a year of huge releases.
Savages – Silence Yourself
Intense but controlled, angry but composed, Savages’ debut album manages to sound both bleak and uplifting – like there’s big, and depressing problems with the world but there’s also people willing to take them on head-first.
Drenge – Drenge
There’s been a lack of quality, guttural, grungey music in the past few years, so Drenge’s self-titled debut shone like a beacon of hope for fans of individual and relatable rock music in 2013.
Public Service Broadcasting – Inform, Educate, Entertain
Not so much an album title than a mission statement, PSB’s debut album informed, educated and entertained in equal measure by blending archival public announcements with driving guitar rhythms. If you’re yet to be convinced, listen to ‘Night Mail’ – which takes Auden’s famous poem to places you’d never have thought possible.
CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe
Glasgow trio CHVRCHES staked a claim for ‘breakthrough of the year’ with a debut album that’s up there with the very best electro-pop records of the past decade. The Bones Of What You Believe oozes class from every precision-engineered angle.
Factory Floor – Factory Floor
DFA signees Factory Floor’s debut album was legendary before it was even released, thanks to the four-year wait. When it arrived, though, it didn’t disappoint.
The Child Of Lov – The Child Of Lov
Featuring guest spots from rapper MF DOOM and Damon Albarn, Dutch artist The Child Of Lov’s debut album was always going to be worth listening to. It’s a tour de force of genre-mashing excellence, with sprinkles of funk, glam, rnb and hip-hop combining into a satisfying whole that reeks of early promise.
Peace – In Love
Along with Swim Deep, Birmingham band Peace made ‘B-town’ a thing in 2013 – raising the 90’s back to prominence without it sounding hackneyed, which is no small feat since it sounded hackneyed back in the 90’s!
Outfit – Performance
If I was giving an award out for most underrated album of 2013, then Performance by Liverpool band Outfit would be a strong contender. It’s credible and inventive dance-pop in a similar vein to Hot Chip, and deserves a lot more attention – so if you haven’t given it a spin yet I strongly recommend it.
NO CEREMONY/// – NO CEREMONY///
Mysterious Manchester trio NO CEREMONY/// would probably be Outfit’s biggest challenger for the underrated prize, as their self-titled debut album deserves to be huge. It may not be as consistent as CHVRCHES, but the electro-pop highlights are above and beyond what the Glasgow trio managed in 2013.
So there’s the 13 debut albums that caught my ear in 2013 – share yours in the comments below….