Shalom Life | April 18, 2014

Jewish Top 10s: Albums of the Year

2013 has been an absolutely exceptional year in music. With several Jewish artists contributing to the realms of indie, rock, electronic, hip hop, and more, we are please to announce Shalom Life's Top Ten Albums of 2013

By: Daniel Koren

Published: December 13th, 2013 in Culture » Music » News

Welcome to Jewish Top 10s, where we compile lists that highlight the best and the brightest of everything yehudi, from delicious recipes to funniest actors, to most obnoxious Jewish wedding songs.

With weeks away from the year 2014, naturally, tis the season for end of the years lists. Besides Rob Ford, Edward Snowden and Miley Cyrus headlines, this year has also brought us an abundance of amazing music, television, literature and film, and also, several developments in the world of business and technology.

Both Jewish men and women have contributed significantly to these various industries, and subsequently, we at Shalom Life feel inclined to list the very best of 2013, starting with the best albums to have graced the proverbial stage.

Jewish artists this year have found immense success, with many artists and bands on this very list being mentioned on every single End of the Year compilation to have come out so far. It's no surprise, then, that the Jewish Top 10 Albums of the Year is absolutely jam packed with colourful pop numbers, hard hitting rap anthems, rockin groovy tunes, and much more.

So without further adieu, enjoy this wonderful feast for the ears - and eyes - as we list Shalom Life's Top Ten Albums of the year. Make sure to stay tuned next week, as we continue listing the best in everything 2013.

TOP TEN

10.


Artist: Cayucas

Album: Bigfoot

Highlights: "Cayucas"; "High School Lover"

Cayucas, previously known as Oregon Bike Trails, is an indie pop band based out of Santa Monica. Consisting of our own Breakthrough Jew Zach Yudin, his twin brother Ben Yudin on bass, and Charles Koons and Casey Wojtalewicz, the band released its debut album Bigfoot to much acclaim, garnering comparisons to fellow tropical-pop enthusiasts Vampire Weekend.

In addition to receiving props on this list, it's also been featured on Paste's Top 50 Albums of the Year, and has been reviewed on Pitchfork and NPR. The band spent the year introducing listeners to the sweet jams like self-titled "Cayucas" while touring with Ra Ra Riot.

9.


Artist: Yuck

Album: Glow & Behold

Highlights: "Memorial Fields"; "Middle Sea"

When Yuck lead singer Daniel Blumberg left the band earlier this year, fans and critics alike were - to say the least - disappointed, though excited to hear what the UK band's next album would sound like. The result is Glow & Behold, which follows the band's disposition towards 90's college rock anthems, inspired by bands like Dinosaur Jr, but is also more polished, less scuzzy, and more accessible then anything they've done before. Max Bloom, who took over lead vocal duties following Blumberg's departure, has done a stellar job maintaining the band's apathetic discourse, while still evolving their appetite for fuzzy, washed out sounds. Overall, it's certainly a smoother and cleaner successor to the band's eponymous debut.


8.


Artist: MGMT

Album: MGMT

Highlights: "Alien Days"; "Your Life is a Lie"

When Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden first appeared on the scene with the explosive hits "Time to Pretend," "Electric Feel" and "Kids," their swarms of fans were a tad disappointed when the duo followed up the critically acclaimed Oracular Spectacular with Congratulations, which resembled the more obscure, psychedelic sounds of the debut. The duo remained unabated, however, in their quest to put out music that reflects their own idols and influences, even releasing a song named after Brian Eno. With their third, and self-titled LP, the band dwell further down the road of strange and eclectic behaviour. MGMT has been hailed as weird, but strangely refreshing, allowing these two music junkies to do exactly what they want, and too bad for those who don't enjoy it. I'll admit it may take several listens - this album's a grower - but it's certainly worth it.

7.


Artist: Action Bronson

Album: Blue Chips 2

Highlights: “Pepe Lopez”; “Twin Peugots”

Action Bronson continues to climb the ranks of New York’s most coveted, though unlikely, M.C’s. Appealing to mainstream audiences with his collaborative EP with producer Harry Fraud – though critics were not as equally impressed – Bronson made up for it in spades with the release of Blue Chips 2, the sequel to last year’s mixtape with eclectic producer Party Supplies. Listening to him rap over The Champ’s “Tequila” merits multiple listens alone. Bronson, who we named our Top Jewish Rapper earlier this year, confirms that you can rap over pretty much anything, or at least, he can. In the fashion of the first Blue Chips, Action raps free-fall, taking multiple attempts at certain verses, and reminding us all why this Albanian Jew from Flushing, Queens – who was, and still is, a gourmet chef – has been hailed by all as New York’s saving grace of hip hop.

6.


Artist: Wild Belle

Album: Isles

Highlights: “Keep You”; “Love Like This”

Wild Belle is made up of brother-sister duo Elliot and Natalie Bergman. Together, they comprise lovely reggae-infused tropical pop anthems that will bring you to the beach even while facing the harshest of winters. “Keep You” alone is a wonderful pop gem, encrusted with sultry vocals from Natalie, and boisterous brass movements from Elliot. Using afrobeats, steel drums, electric guitars, and fusing them with contemporary pop, Isles is a thoroughly consistent album that will likely keep a smile on your face through and through. There is a theme to all their diversity, though. “The record is called ‘Isles’ and we sort of think of each song as its own island,” explains Natalie during an interview with The Line of Best Fit. “There are different sounds on different tracks but everything makes sense together because they all come from the same place.” If you’re looking to get away to the beach from the comfort of your home, or a snowy park perhaps, put on Isles and let it ride. Strongly suggest multiple listens.


Continue reading for our Top 5 Albums of the Year

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