Why isn’t Deafheaven on this list?! Too much good music! More solid than 2012.

CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe

CHVRCHES

The Bones of What You Believe

Virgin Records

Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty

Chelsea Wolfe

Pain is Beauty

Sargent House

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend

Modern Vampires of the City

XL

David Bowie - The Next Day

David Bowie

The Next Day

ISO Records

Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)

Steven Wilson

The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)

Kscope

White Denim - Corsicana Lemonade

White Denim

Corsicana Lemonade

Downtown

Amplifier - Echo Street

If forced to describe this band from Manchester, I could only distil them as a rock band that makes heavy use of guitar effects. Each release has a different take on engineering, songwriting, and even subgenre. As a result, you come to expect the unexpected. 2010’s The Octopus was a two hour conceptual space prog opus four years in the making. Then this successor took only two months to record.

This is a subdued affair, immediately apparent by an opening minute of distant ambience. So faint, you may reach for the volume before an affected-vocal and slow-strummed guitar takes over. Extended track lengths are brought over from The Octopus however they are less riff-oriented. BPMs slow down in favour of tension-filled sections. Dynamics do take hold with some ecstatic highs thrown into the mix. For instance, soaring guitar heroics sending out 12 minute “Extra Vehicular” harken back to the psychedelic metal of Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil. Three-part vocal harmonies of intimate interlude “Between Today and Yesterday” sees the band also taking a step into folk waters.

The result is more head-nod than headbang. For me it happens a headphone-enhancing atmospheric journey hit the spot to become declared the best music of 2013.

Best Songs of 2013:

Primal Scream – “Culturecide”
Arcade Fire – “Here Comes the Night Time”
Birds of Tokyo – “This Fire”
Manic Street Preachers – “This Sullen Welsh Heart”
Dave Grohl, Joshua Homme & Trent Reznor – “Mantra”
Moving Mountains – “Eastern Leaves”
Shearwater – “Natural One”
Sigur Rós – “Brennisteinn”
HRVRD – “Timid Scripts”
Kvelertak – “Bruane Brenn”
Deafheaven – “The Pecan Tree”
The Haxan Cloak – “Excavation (Part 1)”
Front Line Assembly – “Killing Grounds”
Biffy Clyro – “Victory Over the Sun”
Coheed and Cambria – “Dark Side of Me”
Chelsea Wolfe – “Reins”
Covenant – “Ignorance & Bliss”
Brandt Brauer Frick feat. Erika Janunger – “Miami Theme”
James Blake – “Voyeur”
Nine Inch Nails – “Copy of A”
Amplifier – “Mary Rose”
Vampire Weekend – “Hannah Hunt”
Restorations – “Civil Inattention”
Gary Numan – “Love Hurt Bleed”
How to Destroy Angels – “Ice Age”
Skinny Puppy – “illisiT”
White Denim – “Pretty Green”
Melt Yourself Down – “We Are Enough”
John Grant – “Black Belt”
Steven Wilson – “The Watchmaker”
Boysetsfire – “Never Said”
Cruel Hand – “3’s”
Future of the Left – “Things to Say to Friendly Policemen”
The Bronx – “The Unholy Hand”
The Night Marchers – “Thar She Blows”
The Smith Street Band – “Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams”
Coliseum – “Fuzzbang”
Cult of Luna – “In Awe Of”
Kinski – “Throw It Up”
Mouth of the Architect – “Patterns”
And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Stay Golden Pt. 1”
EF – “Bells Bleed & Bloom”
Karnivool – “A.M. War”
TesseracT – “Of Mind – Nocturne”
The Ocean – “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny”
The Black Angels – “Black Isn’t Black”
Jesu – “The Great Leveller”
True Widow – “Fourth Teeth”
Queens of the Stone Age – “Smooth Sailing”
CHVRCHES – “We Sink”
Jagwar Ma – “Come Save Me”
The Knife – “Full of Fire”
The Necks – “Open” [OK, this is cheating]