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Albums of the Year 2013

After the usual careful deliberation, here are our Albums of the Year.

Top 50 Albums Top 50 Reissues Top 50 Bestsellers

Bestseller of the Year 2013

Hookworms - 'Pearl Mystic'

Hookworms - 'Pearl Mystic'

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2.

Sleaford Mods
Austerity Dogs

Austerity Dogs is the 6th album by Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods, but it’s the one that got them noticed. Since its release in 2013, the band have gone from strength to strength, being a necessary mouthpiece and cathartic outlet for many in the these austere times. They mix a punk snarl with ...view item »
3.

Public Service Broadcasting
Inform - Educate - Entertain

Here, finally, is the debut full-length from the acclaimed duo Public Service Broadcasting, who build accessible post-rocky pop instrumentals around archival samples from wartime broadcasts and public information films. The tracks remind me of a more concise, less intense ...view item »
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4.

Grouper
The Man Who Died In His Boat

Originally released in 2013, this album was recorded by Liz Harris alongside her best-known work, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill. It’s in the same stylistic ballpark - ethereal, heavily reverbed electric guitar and vocals with dark and mysterious undercurrents, sometimes swimming into clearer focus when Harris switches to ...view item »
5.

My Bloody Valentine
m b v

It was the “where were you moment” for the ‘Loveless’ generation when My Bloody Valentine finally, halfway through Match Of The Day, decided enough is enough, it’s coming out. At no point in the last 20 years did such a thing seem remotely possible. A quote from a fri...view item »
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6.

Thee Oh Sees
Floating Coffin

We have a dilemma here at Norman Towers this week - do we award our coveted Album of the Week trophy to The Knife’s ambitious and sprawling new 3LP masterpiece or this latest offering from Californian garage rock overlords Thee Oh Sees? The notoriously prolific ...view item »
7.

Four Tet (Fourtet)
Beautiful Rewind

The new way to release records seems to be with as little fanfare as possible. Just ‘drop’ it when no-ones looking and let the fans clamour themselves silly. Fourtet is a busy man, and gives the impression of being a confident one although I’m sure he is as drenched in doubt as everyone else. This ...view item »
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8.

Low
The Invisible Way

There is no such thing as a bad Low album, just good, very good and mediocre. Their last effort ‘C’mon‘ had a few killer songs but also a fair few forgettable ones. It seems since the wild experimentation of the very good ‘Drums and Guns’ they have retreated into a safe Low-shaped ho...view item »
9.

Fuck Buttons
Slow Focus

Four years ago Fuck Buttons proved their phenomenal debut album was no fluke with a similarly amazing Weatherall-produced effort, and now for the first time they’re producing themselves on album number three, ‘Slow Focus’, further refining t...view item »
10.

Forest Swords
Engravings

I just listened to the execrable new album from Money, or at least as much of it as the office could bear before Phil insisted I switch it off some way into track four. My despair has been eased somewhat by the fact that I have this absolute corker of a new album by Forest Swords...view item »
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11.

Holden
The Inheritors

Ever since our office promo of the new Holden album turned up it’s never been too far from the office stereo, since it’s one of the rare records that everyone here can agree on - a lengthy voyage of finely detailed analogue synths, stumbling beats and occasionally surprising instrumentation (check...view item »
12.

Edward Artemiev
Solaris - Original Soundtrack

It’s fair to say we love our old film soundtracks here at Norman, so I’m delighted to get my teeth into this new vinyl pressing (for the first time ever) of Edward Artemiev’s score to Tarkovsky’s influential 1972 sci-fi classic ‘Solaris’. Both film and score were way ahead of their time, with a mixtures of dys...view item »
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13.

The Flaming Lips
The Terror

Thirteenth studio album from the mighty Flaming Lips and we’re subjected to a much more darker theme than other recent efforts like ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ and ‘At War With The Mystics’. Here Wayne Coyne speaks of a life without love and the “terror” o...view item »
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14.

The Knife
Shaking The Habitual

Oh gawd, look what I’ve landed on the review carousel today. None other than the welcome return of mysterious Swedish avant-techno-synth-poppers The Knife, a whopping seven years (is it really that long? I feel old) after their previous effort ‘Silent Shout’. Now I like The Knife as much as t...view item »
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15.

Anthroprophh
Anthroprophh

I know from our sales figures that a lot of you are already pretty into cult UK psych titans The Heads, so you probably don’t need me to tell you that Anthroprophh is the alter-ego of their visionary songwriter and axe-mangler Paul Allen, who here dish...view item »
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16.

Parquet Courts
Light Up Gold

I’m convinced this lot have impressed me before somewhere but this seems to be the first of their records we’ve stocked so who knows where I previously encountered them. That’s not important, though. What’s important is that we’ve got their debut LP right here in our office to sell to you, and it’s really good...view item »
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17.

EOD
EOD Volume 1

This Norwegian electronica super-kind has already amazed us with recent EPs 'Utrecht' and 'Questionmarks', the latter possibly still available from the label in America, the former sold out its two pressings on the amazing 030303 imprint in record time. Why? Because he's the latest in a long line of true braindance masters and his tracks are uni...view item »
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18.

Kurt Vile
Wakin On A Pretty Daze

I learned something today. I learned that Kurt Vile is not a pseudonym but in fact the actual name of popular singer and songwriter Kurt Vile. I know! Me neither! Anyway, Mr Vile’s got a new album out this week and he wants me to tell you about it. It’s called ‘Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze&rsq...view item »
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19.

Death And Vanilla
From Above

Fire Records have kindly re-issued this two track 7" from everybody's favourite post-Broadcast swirling dream-poppers Death and Vanilla. Originally released on the Great Pop Supplement it has already been re-pressed twice selling out quickly each time. Comes on blue vinyl and is re-issued alongside Death And Vanilla’s debut self-titled alb...view item »
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20.

Jon Brooks
Shapwick

‘Shapwick’ is an album created by The Advisory Circle/Ghost Box Records composer Jon Brooks based on an imaginary impression of a quaint little village in Somerset. Brooks tells of an unplanned car journey one autumn evening through the village and the imag...view item »
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21.

Hookworms
Hookworms

Here's what our Mike had to say when the tape first came out on Sun Ark in 2011:   Yeeeeah!! Here we have the long-anticipated audio cassette from Leeds's finest psychedelic upstarts, Hookworms, who are full of nice people who've played in other bands as is the Leeds 6 way. Out in an edition of 150 so you'd better make sure ...view item »
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22.

Mogwai
Les Revenants Soundtrack

Mogwai have been hard working boys recently, with the sounds of ‘Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will’ still ringing in our ears they’ve come back with this original soundtrack for French TV zombie fest ‘Les Revenants’!All the usual ‘Gwai trademarks are here but ...view item »
23.

The Haxan Cloak
Excavation

The cover on this looks uncannily like a Prurient sleeve, an indicator to the darkness that lurks within. This is the follow up to the well received self titled debut from Bobby Krilc on Aurora Borealis. An album high in many of 2012’s end of year lists. Imagine the slow motion dread of ...view item »
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24.

Various
Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2; Experimental German Rock and Electronic Musik 1971

Sadly I missed the boat on the first of these awesome kraut comps on Soul Jazz, which is now long gone, but it only takes the most cursory glance at the tracklist to tell I’m in for a fun time here. There’s Can, Popol Vuh, ...view item »
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25.

Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest

I’ve been waiting far too long for this moment being a massive fanboy but finally I get to hear the long awaited Boards of Canada album! I found ‘Campfire Headphase’ a bit of a letdown (after liking pretty much every single track they did beforehand) so I’m hoping ‘Tomor...view item »
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26.

These New Puritans
Field of Reeds

Okay, stop right there. Take everything you think you know about These New Puritans, throw it in the waste paper basket and let’s start again. One of my bigger gripes about modern day popular music is the lack of risk taking, the consensus seeming to be find your signature sound, spend the r...view item »
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27.

Joanna Gruesome
Weird Sister

"Heard it all before blah blah blah". I'd like to be all "whatevers" about this album but it's so damn lovable and exuberant that I'd feel like some schoolyard shithead that's just knocked the specs off some poor shy kid and stolen his Monster Munch. I'd feel bad if I accused them merely of aping early ...view item »
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28.

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
Poison Apple

Here’s the new single from the elusive and heavily hyped Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats (are they just calling themselves Uncle Acid now?), ahead of next month’s new album. ‘Poison Apple’ is led by a heavy stomping glam riff and some sweet vocal harmonies. The things whic...view item »
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29.
30.

Factory Floor
Factory Floor

Oh! Here’s the record that many of us have been waiting for for literally years. Yes, after what seems like an age of just putting out limited singles and EPs Factory Floor have finally taken the plunge and done a full-length album. My knowledge about the dance musics is limited, and countless column inc...view item »
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31.

Tropic of Cancer
Restless Idylls

I don't really know whether Henry Miller was an influence insofar as their elegantly alluring moniker goes but this increasingly renowned LA-based artist Camella Lobo somehow produces incredibly erotic and sensual music from the most spartan ingredients. Shame all her lyrics are about death, loss, depression and such cheery romance-slaying issue...view item »
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32.

Fuzz
Fuzz

Those of you who were a little put off by Ty Segall’s recent slow-down on the dreamy ‘Sleeper’ can put away your tissues and put on your air guitar shoes because Segall’s new trio Fuzz finally drop their debut LP on In The Red this...view item »
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33.

Photodementia
Fig. 04

The next installment in the series that has got Brian hot under the collar of late. A 15 year old recording that was strangely left unreleased at the time. Initially a collaboration between three mysterious boffin-like producers aiming to marry the sounds of their contemporaries  Dopplereffekt, ...view item »
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34.

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
Mind Control

Uncle Acid's previous album ‘Blood Lust’ triggered a flipper frenzy, with some copies of the first pressing going for frankly insulting prices on Discogs and eBay as collectors scrambled over one another to get a piece of the pie. I guess that’s a clear sign that ‘70s revivalism is alive and well, as this lot churn out a ...view item »
35.

Vangelis
Blade Runner

Composed by Vangelis for Ridley Scott's 1982 classic, the Blade Runner soundtrack has assumed legendary status amongst fans of synthesizer music. Its combination of classical compositions with synth work perfect mirrors the futuristic atmospheric ambient noir of the original film. A classic of the genre. ...view item »
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36.

Savages
Silence Yourself

These four wiry Londoners  have been experiencing some serious hype of late for their gritty post-punk pop posturings, looking to be the darlings of this summer’s festival circuit with their theatrical brand of Joy Division-meets-The Kills darkpop. Minimal pound...view item »
37.

The Cosmic Dead
The Cosmic Dead

Leeds psych label Cardinal Fuzz seem to be making quite a name for themselves over the past few months with mega-limited releases from the likes of The Heads and Hookworms (and a live Goat album on the cards!), and it’s becoming i...view item »
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38.

Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires Of The City

I’ve heard so many good reports of Vampire Weekend’s new record that I was literally chomping at the bit to hear it. All of which evaporated in a tick at limp opener ‘Obvious Bicycle’...have I even put the correct CD in the tray? It’s a really dull plodder so I’m o...view item »
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39.

Deerhunter
Monomania

It’s been a strong morning today. First I had the delights of the new Still Corners and Georgiana Starlington LPs to review, and now the new Deerhunter has turned up! Thi...view item »
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40.

Hookworms
Radio Tokyo

Currently riding high on a wave of critical and public acclaim, Leeds’ psychedelic heroes Hookworms return this week with a 7” on Too Pure featuring two brand new cuts not included on their ‘Pearl Mystic’ LP, which is a great album but lacking in obvious singles due to the drawn-out natur...view item »
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41.

Goat
Stonegoat / Dreambuilding

Oh, hello! I’m sure Goat need no introduction by now since the blogs and broadsheets alike are in thrall to their unique blend of classic psych rock and rhythms, bursting onto the scene fully-formed with killer LP ‘World Music’ last year. After a select handful of ritualistic shows which saw the...view item »
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42.

The Soundcarriers
The Other World Of…

They’ve made the sleeve look like those ‘Music For Pleasure’ records from the ‘60s. You know, Mrs Mills, that lot. No-one could get away with looking like she did these days, she’d be dieted and scrubbed and plucked and airbrushed. So anyway this is a very limited vinyl edition of tracks taken from ...view item »
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43.

Sigur Rós
Kveikur

Norman Records have given me the absolute honour of saying a few words about the new Sigur Ros album ‘Kveikur’, perks of the job indeed. Now down to a three piece after the departure of keyboard/guitarist Kjartan Sveinsson, ‘Kveikur’ sees these Icelandic fellows entering into more da...view item »
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44.

Ruth White
Flowers Of Evil

I honestly can't think of a finer record than this that has passed through the walls in all the years I've been working at Norman Records. For me to score this holy grail on vinyl is an absolute joy. I gotta give props to the Creel Pone label for sharing this one back in 2006. I've never seen an original copy of this for sale and were...view item »
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45.

John Carpenter
The Fog

My copy of Death Waltz's re-issue of John Carpenter's The Fog arrived today. This is seriously a soundtrack I've been dying to get. I've grown up with both the music and movies by John Carpenter, but There's Something In The Fog that makes it the best soundtrack ...view item »
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46.

Temples
Colours To Life

Might as well not even bother reviewing this as it’s shitting out... If you managed to grab the coloured vinyl version you no doubt have a collector's item on your hands. Heavenly have managed to snag themselves the UK’s answer to Tame Impala, which is no bad thing really i guess. &ls...view item »
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47.

EOD
EOD Volume 2

Is it just me or is acid back with a vengeance lately? There’s been all sorts of ace comps, the new Ceephax is devastatingly good, Clan Destine have made a very strong start to a series of ‘Dark Acid’ 12”s and this Norwegian guy Stian Gjevik has turn...view item »
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48.

Pet Shop Boys
Axis (Boys Noize Remix)

Oh, excitement! There’s a box here from the Pet Shop Boys’ new label x2 containing this indies only 12” single and their brand new album ‘Electric’. After last year’s reflective ‘Elysium’ the PSBs have deliberately decided to make a dancefloor-oriented re...view item »
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49.

Mazzy Star
Seasons of Your Day

Flicking to the reviews pages of The Guardian this morning, I was curious to see what their take was of Mazzy Star’s long awaited return. Instead their feature album is by Jessie J. What hope is there? Anyway the fact they gave the awful new MGMT record a good write-up shows that ...view item »
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50.

Bill Callahan
Dream River

I was thinking this morning: "Why don’t I own more Bill Callahan records?"   I tend to always like what I hear of him (certainly post-Smog, who didn’t always do it for me). For the uninitiated, he has a rich, chocolate-brown voice and sings sad, slow laments which could eventually see him be...view item »