Rock Revolver's Albums of 2013 - Part 1

As we descend into the annual festive madness, there couldn't be a better time to reflect on the year's finest releases. 2013 was a transformative year that saw the unlikely return of music legend David Bowie and Glastonbury headliners Arctic Monkeys claiming a stake as Britain's finest band.
New bands such as Haim, Drenge, Peace and Palma Violets also released genre-bending albums that has set them up for continued success in 2014. Join us as we countdown the top 15 albums that have shaped 2013. Ranging from #15 to #11 - part 1 of our extensive countdown includes something for everyone.
15 - The Courteeners 'ANNA'
Manchester underdogs The Courteeners have had a hell of a year in 2013, progressing a step closer to cracking further afield than just their loyal following appear to populate Twitter, basking in intense devotion to the four-piece and who appear ready to spring into action at any given moment.
Tracks such as 'Are You In Love With A Notion?' and 'Van Der Graaff' ensure its place as one of the finest albums of what has been another remarkable year in music - but only just. In places, the album falls short of reaching the potential it had to begin with, we're left with sub-standard indie-pop that only die-hard fans will have time for.
Despite their shortcomings, the group led by Liam Fray played two massive homecoming shows at Manchester's Castlefield Bowl back in July. Support came from The Strypes, Miles Kane and The Heartbreaks. This came shortly after making their third appearance at this year's Glastonbury Festival on the John Peel Stage.
'ANNA' was released on 4th February and charted at #6 in the UK Albums Chart.

 14 - Palma Violets '180'
At the end of last year, Lambeth four-piece Palma Violets were cutting their teeth on the underground scene. That quickly changed when the hype machine went into overdrive and bloggers/publications were falling over themselves to feature the lads.

2013 has seen the indie-rock quartet grow with artistic credibility. The group appeared on the 2013 NME Awards Tour, along with Peace, Miles Kane and Django Django, whilst June saw them conquer at Glastonbury Festival on the Park Stage. Their debut album ‘180’ came as a distinct highlight. Having created an authentic and winning sound, the record is an elegant mix of garage rock blended with psychedelic undertones.

Stand-out tracks include ‘Tom the Drum’ with its scratchy guitars compelling self-assured charm that is conveyed. The mellowed ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ is one that exists within a dreamy yet ferocious vein. Whilst, lead single ‘Best of Friends’ is equal parts explosive, equal parts deft.
‘180’ was released on 25th February and charted at #11 in the UK Albums Chart.

13. Biffy Clyro 'Opposites'
2013 was the year Scottish rock trio Biffy Clyro took their sound to epic proportions with the release of their sixth studio album ‘Opposites’. As well as this, they headlined Reading & Leeds Festival and Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Derry.

‘Opposites’ is a solid and engaging listen from start to finish. Tracks such as ‘Sounds Like Balloons’ and ‘Biblical’ hit hard, whilst on the likes of ‘Stingin’ Belle’ and ‘Black Chandelier’ frontman Simon Neil’s commanding vocals move the tracks a step away from previous material. Throughout the duration of the entire album the instrumentation is bound tightly together.
Another that warrants mention is ‘The Joke’s On Us’ a heartfelt supersized anthem justifying exactly why Biffy Clyro was announced as the second headliner for Reading & Leeds. It’s no mean feat pulling off a double album, but it’s one the three-piece have mastered with style and substance.

‘Opposites’ was released on 28th January and charted at #1 in the UK Albums Chart.

12. Phoenix 'Bankrupt!'

With a name like ‘Bankrupt!’ French alternative rock four-piece Phoenix’s fifth album didn’t look as if it was to have a promising start. Boy did that change. After 2009’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ questions were raised as to whether they would be able to match its success – they did.

Expanding the group’s range, ‘Bankrupt!’ is a banger of an album that’ll have you abusing the repeat button once its subtle charms have been unveiled. Prominent tracks such as ‘Trying To Be Cool’ and ‘Entertainment’ incorporate crowd-pleasing hooks and infectious melodies that are devastatingly accomplished.
It’s been an exceptional year for the group who appeared on Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Kimmel Live showcasing new material from the album in early April. The group also played to crowds at this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival on the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage.
‘Bankrupt!’ was released on 22nd April and charted at #14 in the UK Albums Chart.

11. Drenge 'Drenge'
Earlier this year, Castleton blues-rock band of brothers Drenge issued one of the finest debut albums this country has ever seen, whipping up a storm and leaving a path of destruction in the wake of their emergence.

The thrashing energy of their self-titled debut has definitely been a high point for music in 2013 and, with celebrity fans such as Matt Helders and Westminster politicians, Tom Watson, latching onto their ferocious yet compelling sound what’s not to love?
An all-out, ready to attack assault on the ears; it is highly recommended that you listen with caution. What’s more they stormed this summer’s festivals including Glastonbury, Latitude and Reading & Leeds as well as supporting Californian duo Deap Vally on tour and making a hometown appearance at Sheffield’s Queens Social Club.
‘Drenge’ was released on 19th August.

Words Lauren Wade

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