Best of 2013: Finnmark!

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Finnmark released two great singles on February this year. As a matter of fact, “Everyone’s Dying,” was the first release February had since coming back from hiatus. Finnmark still has EPs available for purchase, too, if you haven’t managed to get yourself a copy yet. Finnmark’s own Edward Forth put together a lovely in-depth list of his favorite albums of 2013. I think we all feel the same way about that Garlands LP, too.

When it came to thinking about my top ten albums of the year 2013, I instantly thought “Right, The Garlands album at the top,” but then I realised that it was actually released at the end of 2012! A good start!

I was also going to put Just Handshakes’ “Say It” in too, but I have had to discount it from the list as I played bass on it, so I’m not allowed to include it on the principle of self promotion!

I always find these lists quite difficult, but this year, I found it especially hard as I have been listening to a lot of older stuff, but I finally came up with it, and enjoyed listening back over the year. When looking over the list, I realised that all of the albums are in fact European, so well done Europe!

In no particular order, here it is:

Fear of Men – Early Fragments
When I first heard “Mosiac” at the end of 2012, I thought it was brilliant, and this was one of my hotly anticipated releases when 2013 came round. More a singles collection than an album, it still sits together perfectly. I got to see them at Indietracks in the summer, and again in Leeds recently, and they were great both times. Interesting drumming, shimmery guitar and great vocals. Fantastic.
Listen to: “Mosaic”

Yast – Yast
Yast are a band that I discovered through the studio they recorded in. I really like this album; jangly, woozy, summery, lovely. I had really enjoyed the singles before it was released, but was really pleased to find an album full of great tracks. And brilliantly recorded at Studio Möllan in Malmo.
Listen to: “Stupid”

Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
This was an easy choice! I loved the first album, and this one is similar, just replacing the gothier side with more pop! “Buried Alive” is my favourite track from it, but there are plenty to choose from!
Listen to: “Buried Alive”

Dutch Barn – Lighter Later
I first heard of Dutch Barn through the brilliant Eardrums Pop who posted up the lead single from this album. I liked it so much I bought the album straight away. Brilliant singing, brilliant melodies, brilliant guitar, brilliant songs. I like this a LOT!
Listen to: “Lighter later”

Spook School – Dress Up
I first saw the Spook School at last year’s Indietracks, and I liked them, but it wasn’t until they were on a Cloudberry Fanzine compilation that I really stopped and took notice. A fantastic live band, the album shows that there are some really great songs, above all the nakedness and jokes of the live show. Some brilliant slower quieter songs too, showing a different side to the band. See them live, buy the record and fall in love!
Listen to: “Are You Who You Think You Are”

Shout Out Louds – Optica
I have always been a huge fan of the Shout Out Louds, so when they released this piece of ’80s-sounding pop brilliance, it was to inevitably end up in my top ten! Sadly, this is the first of their albums that I haven’t seen them play live, as they haven’t played any Northern shows in the UK, but I am looking forward to it when they do.
Listen to: “Sugar”

British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy
Another band I have been a fan of for years. This album is somewhat of a return to the less experimental/more pop side of the first three albums, and I love it. Classic BSP.
Listen to: “Machineries of Joy”

When Nalda Became Punk – Farewell to Youth
When Nalda Became Punk are one of my big discoveries of the year. A brilliant band from Spain with an album absolutely full of great pop songs. I won’t go into much explanation, just buy the record and you won’t be disappointed! What made it even better was meeting them at Indietracks and seeing them play my favourites live. A great band and absolutely lovely people!
Listen to: “Before5”

Makthaverskan – Makthaverskan II
There is so much good pop music coming out of Gothenburg at the moment, and a lot of it is on the Luxury label (Alpaca Sports, Westkust, The Sun Days, School). The first Makthaverskan album was quite brilliant, and the second one certainly doesn’t disappoint! Expanding on the themes of the first album, it adds a little more jangle and chorus, and sounds great! Both albums you can stream on their bandcamp, and I would recommend that you do.
Listen to: “Asleep”

Ice Cream Cathedral – The Drowsy Kingdom
This Danish band should be far bigger than they are, as they are quite brilliant! “The Drowsy Kingdom” is quite an apt name for the album, as they make the dreamiest of dreampop! With stunning vocals, beautiful synth sounds and relaxed electronic drum beats, they tick so many boxes! Released as a 500 copy 12″ by a Copenhagen collective, this album is beautifully obscure and underground, but has been on solid rotation on my record player. They also have a pay-what-you-want EP on their bandcamp, which is just as good and I would very much recommend having a listen.
Listen to: “The Ranger”

Roll on 2014!

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