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13 best albums of far

Hi, my name is Justin Barney A.K.A. The Intern. I write articles for our website, produce and edit specialty shows, and, of course, make the coffee here at 88Nine. I also listen to a ton of music. We are 7 months into 2013 and it is time to check our musical barometer. 2013 has been an incredible year in music so far and I am about to give you MY favorite albums of the year thus far. It is not a definitive list. It’s just, like, my opinion, man.  

13. Hanni El Khatib- Head in the Dirt

This album was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and it sounds like it. I want this album playing when I am riding through the desert on my motorcycle. 

12. Parquet Courts- Light Up Gold

Garage rock hold the strings of my heart together. Slack rockers from Brooklyn, Parquet Courts released Light Up Gold early in the year and it has not been forgotten.

11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- II

NPR’s music show All Songs Considered asked fans “What band is making the most original music right now?” Fans answered with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and I would have to agree. Every song on this album is a new experience.

10. The Uncluded- Hokey Fright

I didn’t know what to expect when I heard that  Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson were collaborating on an album, but I was really pleased with the outcome. Hokey Freight is a safe space for anyone who has ever felt different or alone. The album creates a positive energy that fills me with warmth every time I listen to it.

9. Rhye-Woman

LA duo Ryhe created an album that is irresistibly sensual. My hips sway ever so slightly and I get all dreamy eyed when I drop the needle onto their song Open. As evidence of the beauty of this album, here is Rhye performing while silhouetted in candlelight.

8. Bryan Ferry Orchestra- The Jazz Age

Bryan Ferry Orchestra’s The Jazz Age is the kind of album that dedicated music fans just love. The ambitious work of Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry, The Jazz Age is a re-orchestration of the artists earlier work into 1920’s jazz songs. In The Jazz Age, Bryan Ferry took hits like Love Is The Drug and replaced the synth and guitars with dirty brass horns and marching band bass drums. The sound is plain cool.

7. Shannon and the Clams-Dreams in the Rat House

Shannon Shaw, the sugar in my coffee, teamed up with Cody Blanchard to release an album that you can load up in the tape deck, hit the beach, and twist the night away to. Shaws voice is like a female Roy Orbison, with the reverb turned way up. I am in love.

6. Baths- Obsidian

Baths intentionally created a darker, melancholic album in comparison to their earlier work. The minor piano chords and accented strings pulled me in, but I stayed for that crackle in songs like Ironworks that sounds like a head massage feels.

5. Foxygen- We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

Foxygen mixes late Beatles psychedelia, hippie love, and Jagger’s sexuality to create one of the most dynamic albums of the year.

4. Portugal. The Man- Evil Friends

I have been a fair weather fan of Portugal. The Man since 2008, but they never really grabbed me until now. I think that the difference is that they had Danger Mouse produce it. The album is incredibly well put together. For an album that relies on low fidelity, it has a surprising amount of range, and it catches me on every bridge and hook.

3. Hunx and his Punx- Street Punks

This album came out on Tuesday and it has already made it into my top three. Street Punks clocks in at under 20 minutes, and I have been eating it like candy. In past albums, Hunx has sounded a bit more like a bubblegum pop girl group (which I love), but in this album he turns on the sass. But the punk doesn’t get too abrasive. It is punk for the faint of heart, punk for the lovers.

2. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down- We the Common

When this album first came out I looked right passed it. About two months later I decided to give it a listen and I bought it that day. It is hard to pick just one song because they are all so different and each one has things that I love in it. It’s funky and unpredictable. I never know what Thao is going to do, and that is a good thing.

1. Chance the Rapper-Acid Rap

Finally, the number one album. Yea yea yea yea yea yea yea  yea yea. I give it whole heartedly to Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap. {GAH} I can’t help but be elated with happiness and energy for every song on this album. This album is pure joy. If you have been listening to the station you might have heard Interlude (That’s Love). I would be happy if we just played this album front to back on air. Nannananananana.  Chance got that juice and I am sippin’ it. 

Sorry if I missed your favorite album, let me know what you think in the comments. 

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee