I loved 2013 for music - loads of huge and really fresh material. The second half of the year in particular was a constant stream of amazement, with Burial, Beyoncé and a new E+E release just missing the boat for most of the end-of-year coverage too. I did masses of lists and writings for the end of year, and here they are (in roughly chronological order). At the bottom I've jotted down another list of albums that were great but which you are less likely to have come across outside my writing and end-of-year contributions.
Wire's January 2014 issue (#359) was its annual Rewind issue. I contributed some reflections and an essay on the year in the online underground featuring vaporwave, newcomposed vaporwave (Eyeliner, PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises), hardcore pastiche (Yen Tech, Gatekeeper), post/para/quasi-vape beats (Contact Lens, Blank Banshee), weird beats (RAP/RAP/RAP, Karmelloz, Pazz Cherofoot, Suicideyear) and the new epic collagists (E+E, Diamond Black Hearted Boy, Total Freedom, TCF) with nice pics of Suicideyear, E+E and Diamond Black Hearted Boy. There's also a review of 18+'s MIXTAP3 by me, which I picked as my release of the year. And as ever, Wire's Rewind issue is worth a look, with a great list of best releases and everyone's reflections. At some point everyone's lists will be accessible online too.
DummyDummy did a load of stuff, much of which I got involved in voting and writing for, including best albums (click here), best tracks (click here) (ft. me on Autre Ne Veut's 'Ego Free Sex Free'), best EPs (click here), best mixtapes (click here) (ft. me on James Ferraro's Cold and 18+'s MIXTAP3) and everyone's individual lists (click here). I did one of the 'Trends of 2013' pieces too, on Neo-Eski, Alien Shapes and the New Grime (click here).
My Pattern Recognition column for Electronic Beats became a couple of best-of-2013 lists covering the online underground, one for non-vaporwave (click here) and one for vaporwave (click here). These are pretty good for releases you might have missed, and the second one is a good intro to vaporwave and its recent activities.
I also wrote some reflections, which included a list of my 'Top 5 Fancy Breakfasts of 2013' (click here).
I did an end-of-year list for the online music shop Boomkat (click here to see it). It's probably the best list if you want to know what I liked this year, and features an almost lifesize and increasingly outdated pic of me. If you needed persuading.
No Fear of Pop
Top-notch mp3 blog No Fear of Pop came to me wanting to realise an offhand comment I once made (here, actually) that 'maybe one day the chart will rate musical objects of the year' and the result was a gorgeous page featuring lists contributed by myself and NFOP's writers (click here to read), with an introduction to musical objects written by me. The project ended up with a personal and thoughtful character, and was beautifully designed to - do check it out. I wrote about Burial, Janelle Monáe, war dubs, Laurel Halo, Autre ne Veut, Yen Tech, Metallic Ghosts, Lou Reed and Drake, the others picked a great range of specific musical tidbits and experiences.
Longer lists of less famous stuff can be found in the Electronic Beats pieces (see above)
Recommendations of Less Famous Stuff
a i r s p o r t s: BE THE 1 I DREAM OF
Alak: Guardian Petted
Blank Banshee: Blank Banshee 1
Bloom: Maze Temple
Cakes Da Killa: The Eulogy
Contact Lens: Free Throw Banquet (CL keeps taking this one down from Bandcamp but it's worth seeking out. Much of it's on Youtube - e.g. here)
Cyan Kid: Free
Diamond Black Hearted Boy: Father, Protect Me
E+E: Recortes (currently down from Bandcamp)
E+E: The Light That You Gave Me To See You
Egyptrixx: A/B til Infinity
Eyeliner: LARP of Luxury
Glass Eyes: Cero
Infinity Frequencies: Computer Death (gorgeous bit of vaporwave, this)
Karmelloz: Bud Air
Luxury Elite // Saint Pepsi: Late Night Delight (gorgeous bit of vaporwave, this)
Magic Fades: Obsession
Marie Dior: Euphrates
Nima: Spirit Sign
Yearning Kru: Cracked Lacquer / Vanadium
Yen Tech: Revengeance