2013’s Best Tracks

1. Sigur Rós - Brennisteinn

The opening number of the Icelanders’ gothic and gorgeous seventh LP Kveikur is a masterpiece of the juxtaposition of light and darkness. Trembling with volcanic basslines and glimmering with Jónsi’s peerless falsetto, “Brennisteinn” is the finest song both of Sigur Rós’ career and of 2013.

2. Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal

Unfurling as slowly and gracefully as a rose, this deep house juggernaut is the year’s most thrilling electronic track. Its quicksilver bassline and meticulous beats weave around each other for eight minutes of pure ecstacy. Hats off, Hopkins.

3. My Bloody Valentine - In Another Way

The climax of My Bloody Valentine’s comeback album m b v is a narcotised rollercoaster of breakneck drums, seraphic vocals and serpentine guitar lines. The melody that kicks off at 1:25 is the year’s longest hook, and one of its most sublime.

4. Boards Of Canada - New Seeds

Of all the tracks to love on BoC’s recent Tomorrow’s Harvest, none is as spellbinding as “New Seeds.” Fluttering guitars. Eerie synths. Glacial keyboards. Six minutes of total electronic bliss.

5. How To Destroy Angels - Welcome Oblivion

Holy mother of bass. “Welcome Oblivion” is a sci-fi anthem of industrial sounds delivered with dubstep aggression. Mariqueen Maandig shifts effortlessly between futuristic banshee and cool-voiced nymph.

6. My Bloody Valentine - Only Tomorrow

The elysian “Only Tomorrow” is yet another testament to Kevin Shields’ ability to make beauty out of noise, serenity out of chaos, grace out of heaviness, and melody out of a fucking racket.

7. Boards Of Canada - Nothing Is Real

BoC have spent a career conjuring songs of retro-analogue-polaroid beauty, yet few ache with the gorgeous nostalgia of “Nothing Is Real.” Its swirling synthline says but one thing: home.

8. Atoms For Peace - Amok

The title track from Atoms For Peace’s debut is the sound of beats skipping like stones over an ocean of Thom Yorke’s vocals and piano chords, before building to a sensational climax.

9. Lorde - White Teeth Teens

Though every song on Pure Heroine is superb, the enchanting melody and razor-sharp message of “White Teeth Teens” distinguish it as Lorde’s finest track so far.

10. Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear - Doin’ It Right

The most electronic moment on Random Access Memories proved the most captivating. “Doin’ It Right” is a late-night hymn of spiralling robotic voices and Panda Bear’s iconic cuckoo calls.

11. Franz Ferdinand - Right Action

Everything we love about Franz Ferdinand – the punch, the flair, the sexiness, the Talking Heads obsession – condensed into a glorious three-minute blast of glam rock.

12. Atoms For Peace - Reverse Running

Stuttering beats and forlorn guitars dance around one of Thom Yorke’s most beautiful and unforgettable vocal deliveries ever.

13. David Bowie - You Feel So Lonely You Could Die

The dramatic penultimate track on The Next Day comes complete with a choir, string section and marching band to reinforce the song’s epic melody and sense of doom.

14. Akron/Family - No-Room

An agile math rock groove gradually swells into a plateau of guitar feedback and chants from Easter Island heads. The opening track of Sub Verses is colossal, sun-baked and ancient.

15. Kanye West - Black Skinhead

Dystopian bass pulses? Thundering industrial beats? Sounds like Kanye discovered Death Grips! Credit where credit’s due; “Black Skinhead” is violent, visceral and addictive.
This article first appeared in Issue 26, 2013.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 6th October 2013 by Basti Menkes.