Narrowed down to 25, all fantastic.
25. THE PASTELS - Slow Summits
"In the end, Slow Summits sounds like Illumination with stronger songs. And even if part of my love for this album is stemmed in nostalgia – I don’t care. What I care for is a good tune. That and Stephen Pastel’s unforgettable croon."
24. ED ASKEW - For The World
"Everything about For The World is just so tasteful and nice: the cover painting showing the man himself, a song called “Gertrude Stein” (which sounds like an accomplished sketch) and, most importantly, the actual music. Which is folk music – impressionistic, poetic, timeless-sounding."
23. MARNIE STERN - The Chronicles Of Marnia
"This is not a great comparison, but I’d bring up the name of Jesca Hoop here. I get the same sense of edgy, spontaneous wonder when I listen to them. Which I’ve never really minded. A wild, charming, exciting album. A little all over the place, but in a way that actually works."
22. ROBYN HITCHCOCK - Love From London
"Strictly for fans, of course, but I don’t see why a newcomer would not feel moved by the clever melodies and the unfading charisma of a man who’s too odd to be John Lennon and too normal to be Syd Barrett."
21. THE STROKES - Comedown Machine
"The amount of flak Comedown Machine is getting is truly staggering. Because, and I want to stress my point again and again, these songs are not in any way worse than the ones that made up Is This It."
20. HOWE GELB - The Coincidentalist
"The music is genuinely good. Listening to The Coincidentalist is like drinking warm tea with milk on a nasty November day."
19. THE FALL - Re-Mit
"Smith still has it. Re-Mit is as idiosyncratic and awe-inspiring as ever. Depending on your point of view, you may consider this frightening, hilarious, ridiculous. What you absolutely can’t deny is the blinding greatness of the whole thing."
18. ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER - Personal Record
"I don’t mind personal records – as long as the person in question is interesting enough. Eleanor Friedberger is."
17. CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION - American Twilight
"If you thought Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ latest was a little too soft, you might want to hear the latest album by this Australian band."
16. ARCTIC MONKEYS - AM
"While the first two songs don’t betray too many changes (still, both were singles for a reason), the shameless falsetto opening “One For The Road” is where you know you are into something new."
15. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS - Push The Sky Away
"However much I love the screaming, rip-roaring Cave, there’s just no denying that he always had the knack for writing a haunting, striking ballad."
14. BABYSHAMBLES - Sequel To The Prequel
"Sequel To The Prequel (which is the sort of title that should have probably been invented sooner) has Pete’s best songs since Down In Albion. However hard you try, you just don’t waste your talent completely. "
13. ROY HARPER - Man & Myth
"The whole thing is masterful. If I have to thank Joanna Newsom for that, I will. But mostly let's be grateful to Roy Harper himself for keeping it up and, in the process, recording one of the best albums of 2013."
12. THE BITTER SPRINGS - Everyone's Cup Of Tea
"Everyone’s Cup Of Tea is two CD’s filled to the brim with songs of such undeniable greatness that you might as well start hating yourself for coming so late to the party."
11. MARK KOZELEK & JIMMY LAVALLE - Perils From The Sea
"There’s no point in accusing Mark Kozelek of sounding monotonous and depressing. Besides, for all its sadness, the tunes are perfectly appealing. “Ceiling Gazing” is actually one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever heard."
10. ALELA DIANE - After Farewell
"There’s so much depth, beauty, style to this. An album that sounds timeless from day one. Timelessness that is not just felt in a sad guitar line or Alela’s vocal intonation or even one whole song. It inhabits this album naturally, and never leaves it for one second."
9. LUKE HAINES - Rock And Roll Animals
"You can often hear critics say that at this point this or that artist can do whatever the fuck he wants. Which often doesn’t really mean anything. Luke Haines, on the other hand, does exactly that: whatever the fuck he wants."
8. EDWYN COLLINS - Understated
"He was good and foppish when he was Orange Juice, and he is equally good (though certainly a lot less foppish) now that he keeps his winning streak going."
7. GRANT HART - The Argument
"A sprawling, overblown concept album based on Milton’s Paradise Lost? 20 songs, each done in a different style? All the way up to Heaven and all the way down to Hell? A less than great songwriter would have flunked it. Grant Hart succeeds on all counts."
6. NEKO CASE - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
"In the absence of Kate Bush’s albums, I’m more than happy to have Neko Case. Because regardless of your opinion, the lady is awesome. No other word for that."
5. GABRIEL BRUCE - Love In Arms
"Love In Arms is full of reference points: there’s a little Nick Cave, a little Leonard Cohen, a little Tindersticks along the way. And yet, despite all that, there’s not a second on the whole album that lacks ambition or sounds in any way derivative."
4. DAVID BOWIE - The Next Day
"We all know that David Bowie is pop music’s greatest figure. Bar none. The Next Day is further proof."
3. ARCADE FIRE - Reflektor
"They don’t just write songs. There’s artistic growth. There’s development. There’s a song called “Porno”. There’s James Murphy. And there’s of course that album cover."
2. THROWING MUSES - Purgatory / Paradise
"Purgatory/Paradise sounds like a work of a terrific and obsessive songwriter courageously going through an attention-deficit phase. It’s nothing to fear though: even the 1-minute songs are hook-filled and well-written."
1. OF MONTREAL - Lousy With Sylvianbriar
"Your mother hung herself in the National Theater
When she was four months pregnant with your sister
Who would have been thirteen years old today
Does that make you feel any less alone in the world?"
Kevin Barnes, "Colossus"