Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Scene Awards - Album of the Year

Well here we have it, folks. It's our final Scene Award and final post for 2013 - Album of the Year! There's been so many amazing releases throughout the year and we've wrapped the best of the best into one neat little package for you below. All we're going to say is, 2014 has A LOT to live up to.


#20. Once I Was An Eagle
by Laura Marling

What we said: "The album, which dances somewhere between country, rock and folk is a modern concept album in three parts (marked by three separate tunings). Marling described the album as a journey of one character who experiences the gamut of the emotions of love. Many of the songs blend into each other. The album is guitar and vocal driven, with elements that feel like a film underscore. Marling’s voice is the hero and her supporting stars a clear and expertly played acoustic that dances back and forth to complex rhythms that excite me in a way that can’t be described, only felt."

Read More:
Laura Marling - Woman of the Year (4th place)

#19. Shaking The Habitual
by The Knife

What we said: "The entire album to me, feels apprehensive and apocalyptic. It’s an extension of their previous work as shown in tracks like, ‘Ready to Lose’, ‘A Tooth For an Eye’, ‘Without You My Life Would be Boring’ and ‘Full of Fire’ but shows growth (not like a tumor) and a desire to clearly express their political and social stance both lyrically and by employing cinematic soundscapes to express the nervousness they seem to be feeling about the world’s current political and social climate. As a generally political album it stands alone in its unique execution and delivers an onslaught of aural stimulation, which successfully drew me into their electro world and punched me in the face with their message."

#18. In Rolling Waves
by The Naked and Famous


What we said: "The second album for any band is always a difficult one, especially when the first was so strong and garnered a reputation as a band to watch out for. Ultimately, regardless of where they are from or how much hype there is, this is an album I like. Somehow The Naked And Famous manage to make every song epic without making them sound the same, they make each track as interesting as the last and they've created an album I'll be playing all summer long. When I think of 2013 years from now, I know some of these tracks are going to place me straight back in this year because they've created some songs that are bound to make my own soundtrack, if not many others."

#17. States
by The Paper Kites

What we said: "I hate using the word to describe things, because sometimes I feel lazy, surely there’s another way to describe something as special as this. However, the word is all encompassing, it takes you through the feelings of hope and fun, through the journey of misunderstanding and trust, through heartbreak and heartfelt. It describes the bluesy rock on ‘Lesson From Mr Gray’, it describes the folksy swing on ‘Never Heard A Sound’, it describes the minimal sounds of ‘St Clarity’. It describes the feeling of innocence and naivety that is all encompassing and the maturity and growth that sits beside, impressive and surprising for a debut album. States is an album that can only be described in one way and the way the dictionary defines the word I choose to use is perfect; “possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear and think about and delighting the senses or mind”. Yes, quite simply, The Paper Kites debut album, it is beautiful."

#16. Days Are Gone
by Haim

What we said: "Launching into 'Falling' in all its reinvented 80s pastiche glory, its only too easy to find yourself swept away by Danielle's vocal charm and the dreamy sibling harmonies. That distinct Californian flavour emerges in 'Forever', but its truly realised in album standout 'The Wire'. Like the best Cristine McVie-led Fleetwood Mac tunes there's killer hooks, guitar lines to die for and choruses to singalong to with friends at festivals, in the car, in your backyard, at the shops, at this year's Christmas parties. The 'Sound Of' 2013 indeed."

#15. Lightning Bolt
by Pearl Jam

What we said: "There's a lesson I learnt about my love of music when I put this album on. While I sit at my laptop and write about music I love and some I don't every week, some music and some bands have made their way into my life without my control and they're the ones that mean the most, regardless of who thinks what about them on whatever blog or website or magazine I happen to be reading. I adore Lightning Bolt like I do all the other Pearl Jam albums I own and love, because as anyone who reads regularly knows, my relationship with music is a special one, and some bands have played an especially important part in that relationship. Pearl Jam are one of those bands and, like music and I, we have a history, a special something that won't ever change." 

#14. Cave Rave
by Crystal Fighters

What we said: "There are nine songs on Cave Rave that will leave you smiling simply because they are full of singalong, jump up and down, dance around energy. Fast, sometimes quirky lyrics that you can't help but love, even as you sometimes struggle to keep up with the Crystal Fighters' pace. There is one song on Cave Rave that will leave you smiling, but you feel like you maybe shouldn't be. 'Bridge of Bones' is a very different Crystal Fighters song than what we've come to expect. It's also possibly their best, at least on par with 'At Home.' Listening to it makes me feel like I've lost something that I can't get back, but whatever it was had a huge impact on me. So I can't help smiling. Maybe you'll feel the same way."

#13. AM
by Arctic Monkeys


What we said: "This is an album that is essentially everything Arctic Monkeys, but everything new. The four piece are obviously comfortable with who they are as musicians and are now at a point in their career where they're content to play what they are familiar with and yet confident enough to create sounds that still sound fresh. This is rock songwriting at its best and a rock band at their most comfortably mature to date. I love it when albums like AM remind me of bands I like and make me re-visit albums I've forgotten about. I love it when bands like the Arctic Monkeys re-teach me lessons about music I already know. While sometimes things in rock are obvious, don't always assume you know where a clip or a band is going to take you, because sometimes they take you to places and songs you don't expect and sometimes they take you straight back to track one to hit play and experience the whole thing over and over again." 

#12. Yeezus
by Kanye West

What we said: "I know I'm biased, but if Kanye can be arrogant, I can be biased (I'm a Daft Punk fan so I'm just going to say it) the best part of this album is the fact that Daft Punk have been involved; 'Send It Up' being a standout, the restrained siren sound mesmerising and reggae style ending were totally unexpected. It's the final track 'Bound 2' that I loved the most of all though, this is the track that will make it to my all time Kanye playlist, where he reminds us of where he's been and why he is the musician he is today. Unexpected samples, such 'romantic' lyrics, the soul sound that he does best is a fabulous way to end an album that some are going to love and some are going to hate. Either way, there's no denying Kanye West is an artist defining a time of music that can sometimes be a little bland, and if there's one thing Kanye isn't, it's bland." 

#11. Kiss My Apocalypse
by Abbe May

What we said: "On the haunting 'Want Want Want' there's a feeling that something's missing; a feeling of loss. It's hard to argue with the doom pop label on a song like this one, but when you're listening to May's voice and the music backing it up, you wouldn't have it any other way. Did I mention this album's pretty damn sexy? One listen of Abbe May crooning her way through the title track, "kiss my apoca-lee-ee-ee-ypse" and you'll be right where she wants you. Kiss My Apocalypse is sure to charm the pants right off you. Listen for the ballsy, risk-taking music... listen for the words and the message... listen for one of Australia's finest vocalists... listen for the sex factor. Just don't be surprised if you end up in the shower afterwards, with or without a cigarette." 
#10. The Last Good Party
by Gay Paris

What we said: "The Last Good Party is the gravelly voiced, rock’n’roll, punch in the undies that will have you hailing Satan. Well, maybe. Opening single ‘Ash Wednesday Boudoir Party’ has some killer guitar riffs and will have you alternating between dancing and shaking your hair around violently. These feelings of both love and brutality continue in ‘Trash Bird At Confessional’ through to ‘The Demarcation Of Joseph Hollybone’."

Read More:

#9. Tales of Us
by Goldfrapp

What we said: "Compared to other albums, Tales Of Us is a slow burning ember relying less on “in your face” big beats, synth tricks and pop hooks, and more on the lyrics and stories held within the thick cinematic atmospheres created by the duo. Fans of Goldfrapp’s definitive disco/electro-pop might be lost on first listen and make the mistake of writing it off as background music, but given time, one can appreciate the sparse, moody orchestral arrangements on which Alison’s ethereal and haunting vocals float effortlessly and only ever dragged under with the heavy current driven by the emotional and poetically stirring lyrics."

#8. The Bones of What You Believe
by Chvrches

What we said: "You know sometime when you hear a song you know it's going to be included in your memories of a time, a year, a space you've existed in for a while? I heard those songs over and over again on this album and while they sing "all that's golden is never real" on 'By The Throat'; I don't really care, because this album is truly golden, a sparkling sense of hope in a genre that's already over-saturated and if this album isn't real than I'll just hang out here in a fantasy world for a while, thanks. You know how the best music should let you do that? Well, Chvrches do and have created a beautiful oasis of escape in a beautiful debut album."

#7. Sleep In The Water
by Snakadaktal

What we said: "Snakadaktal have created an album so rich with atmosphere, you almost feel exhausted after listening to it. Like a night spent reflecting on the beach as you gaze into the water, that leads into a perfect day in the sun that you never want to end... that's Sleep In The Water. Who could have envisaged that we'd go from dreaming of dance bears to listening to an album that's even more brazenly imaginative than that? Get this album and dream of the ocean and all the possibilities the future might bring." 

#6. Rookie
by The Trouble With Templeton

What we said: "Everything about Rookie feels natural and uninhibited, fluid from beginning to end, each song feels like it can stand successfully on its own without making the album feel disjointed and momentum is only broken to deliberately introduce unhinged moments of well-crafted delirium. Although Rookie does genre hop, no single song sounds like an afterthought, rather each is a fully realized functioning element in one ecosystem. Like night to day; summer to autumn, winter to spring, Rookie is vast and different from start to finish."
#5. Vs Head Vs Heart
by Emma Louise

What we said: "Hands on her shoulders, hair down her back, lying to her lover at home." A haunting vocal introduces '17 Hours,' a somewhat surprisingly chilled introduction that sets the tone for Vs Head Vs Heart. These tracks aren't designed to earn a ton of commercial airplay; they build beautiful layer upon beautiful layer, Emma Louise singing stories of childhood, wasted love and growing up. They take their time to develop, drawing you in so close to her you'll find the words bouncing around in the back of your mind for quite some time. 'Stainache' could be the most stunning moment in the collection; as Louise reveals, "but I can feel you, chasing me in the dark," you feel deeply involved in an intimate moment that leaves you holding your breath an instant longer than you'd expect."
Full album review.

#4. Pure Heroine
by Lorde

What we said: "The astronomical rise to prominence from sixteen year old New Zealander, Ella Yelich O'Connor has been beyond impressive and her debut LP, Pure Heroine, sets Lorde up nicely as the voice of her generation, as well as giving older listeners a nice reminder of what it was like living, breathing and thinking like a teenager. There's hopes and dreams for the future... love, hate and everything relationships hold in-between. Some moments are like a conversation with your younger self, explaining the transition from innocence to seeing the world for what it really is. The most surprising thing about Pure Heroine though, given the mildly apathetic nature and sparse atmosphere of 'Royals', is how much heart the album has."

#3. Lamentations
by Ngaiire

What we said: "An album a lifetime in the making, Lamentations is an enviable debut. Ngaiire's talents are all laid out to bare; the voice, the songwriting and an ambition and creativity that deserves to be celebrated. This is an album so good I know that I'll still be listening to it in five, ten, twenty years time and hopefully there will be a whole bunch of other Ngaiire albums to go with it. This is the true beginning for Ngaiire. Make sure you join her for an unforgettable journey."
Full album review.

Read More:
Ngaiire - Woman of the Year (3rd place)

Runner-Up: Mosquito
by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

What we said: "Mosquito is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the top of their game, proving they still have some new tricks up their sleeves to impress fans old and new. While there's electronic touches throughout (and even a guest verse from rapper Dr. Octagon), at its heart Mosquito is pure rock and roll. Heavy one moment with anthemic sounds that make you want to jump up and down, a well-placed quiet breather here and there and a closing 'Wedding Song' that somewhat mirrors the seminal track, 'Maps.' Yeah, Mosquito is everything you could want from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs record. And then some."
Full album review.

WINNER: The Electric Lady
by Janelle Monae

What we said: "Janelle Monáe confidently draws on a huge range of influences and reinvents them for a modern audience. It’s awesome. It’s pure musical awesomeness that promotes genuine talent and creativity instead of shock and awe. It’s positive and uniquely sexy in a way that doesn’t throw its message in your face (Born This Way) or skank it up (Miley Cyrus). The Electric Lady is a modern classic, epic beyond what we would consider to be normal human imagination. Which makes sense, because the stories come from a 25th-century robot named Cindi Mayweather. Everyone can enjoy Janelle Monáe; you, your mum and dad, your too cool hipster friends, your tiny, tiny children. This is an artist the world should be supporting, so jump on board and celebrate the ambition of Janelle Monáe. She’s like no other."
Full album review. 

Read more:
Janelle Monae - Woman of the Year (Runner-Up) 

2012 Winner:
Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
Runner-Up: Jack White - Blunderbuss

2011 Winner:
Seeker Lover Keeper - Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Kimbra - Vows

2010 Winner:
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

To the artists, we say thanks for the music. To you, we say thanks for reading.
Happy New Year, beautiful readers and see you in 2014! 


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