'Proteus' by Astro Children

‘Proteus’ by Astro Children

This is not a best of 2013 list, just the albums I played and enjoyed the most in 2013. As is the custom in such lists I have ranked these in order which more or less means the closer to 1 they are the more I played and enjoyed them. Simple…

There is no science in this. Nor is there any particular claim to artistic merit, but feel free to read whatever you want into the rankings (and omissions) – it’s more fun that way!

(If I’ve written something here about the album during the year there will be a link to that.)

So… PopLib’s Top 10 Favourite Albums of 2013 were:

10 – Inside a Replica City – Strange Harvest (self-released) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/amnesia-by-strange-harvest/
9 – Pearl Mystic by Hookworms (Gringo Records)
8 – A Pebble & A Paper Crane by Kane Strang (self-released) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/a-pebble-a-paper-crane-by-kane-strang/
7 – Plumes by Ginnels (Tenorio Cotobade) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/plumes-by-ginnels/
6 – Tumult in Clouds by Ela Orleans (Clandestine) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/tumult-in-clouds-by-ela-orleans/
5 – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas by Courtney Barnett (Milk!) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/avant-gardener-by-courtney-barnett/
4 – Slow Summits by The Pastels (Domino) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/slow-summits-by-the-pastels/
3 – Waiting for Something to Happen by Veronica Falls (Slumberland/ Bella Union)
2 – II by Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Jagjaguwar) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/unknown-mortal-orchestra-ii/
1 – Proteus by Astro Children (Muzai Records) https://poplibnz.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/proteus-by-astro-children/

Astro Children at the Kings Arms in Auckland, December 2013. Photo by Ben Howe from http://flyingout.co.nz/blogs/news/10897141-jangle-all-the-way-xmas-party-photos

Astro Children at the Kings Arms in Auckland, December 2013. Photo by Ben Howe from http://flyingout.co.nz/blogs/news/10897141-jangle-all-the-way-xmas-party-photos

[I think ‘Tumult in Clouds’ by Ela Orleans was first released in 2012. I heard it mid 2013 and it is set for re-issue in 2014 (the original Clandestine pressing sold out). For the purpose of this list I’m treating this timeless double LP classic as a 2013 release.]

Other contenders – Calendar Days by Dick Diver, Any Port in a Storm by Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, Tussle by Day Ravies, The Man who Died in his Boat by Grouper, Floating Coffin by Thee Oh Sees, The Flower Lane by Ducktails, Victoria & Jacob by Victoria & Jacob, The Argument by Grant Hart.

The only reasons these albums didn’t burst into the Top 10 are (1) The Top 10 is only 10 and it is already full and (2) I haven’t had as much time to listen to these yet as the others so they are ‘less played’ so far (but not necessarily less enjoyed when they were played).

The album by Victoria & Jacob arrived just before Christmas (from the wonderful Where It’s At Is Where You Are (WIAIWYA) label in the UK). It’s a cracker. If you want to like CHVRCHES but just can’t get past the sugary sheen of their electro-pop or the gratuitous use of “V” in their name, then I recommend the Victoria & Jacob album as a much better exploration of that genre. It’s electronic pop, with beautiful vocals and big beats. But it’s also a bit darker, heavier and somehow dreamier than CHVRCHES & much more satisfying as a result. There’s a slight reminder of early Cocteau Twins and an even bigger reminder of 90s Scottish electro-dreampop outfit One Dove (both favourites here) and I have enjoyed the Victoria & Jacob album a lot in the short time I’ve been playing it.

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