Bryan’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

Hammock – Oblivion Hymns

“Picking this as my album of the year was a tough call, but Hammock does too much with this album for it to be ignored. Hammock has always been known for gorgeous music that creates images and landscapes. Oblivion Hymns does this again, but with new tactics and original ideas. This is definitely one of the best ambient albums not only this year, but in the past few.”

 

Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe

“It’s wonderful to see someone as talented as Julianna Barwick starting to rise in the ambient/ambient folk realm. She has a unique sound of looped vocals and her latest album, Nepenthe, might be her best yet. She keeps her traditional sound, but incorporates a children’s choir and some electronic flair. This adds up to an album that is beautiful and haunting. A must listen.”

EF- Ceremonies

“I thought EFs Ep last year, Delusions of Grandeur was as close to perfect as the band can get. While Ceremonies isn’t flawless, it gets damn close. This is a testament to the fact that post-rock doesn’t have to be the prescribed notion of build-up to breakdown. The instruments are gorgeous, the vocals flow seamlessly into the music. EF is staking their claim as one of the best and most influential post-rock bands with this album and their contributions to music.”

 

Caspian – Hymn for the Greatest Generation EP

“Not a full album, but definitely on the top of my list. I didn’t know how Caspian could possibly need an EP after Waking Season, but they proved me wrong. The title track sounds like it was a tough cut from Waking Season. The Heart That Fed is a more traditional post-rock song, but uses vocals as a build-up instead of guitar and has an epic breakdown. Finally, CMF sounds like a goodbye to their wonderful bassist who passed away this year. These three tracks work alone and as a unit. Caspian continues to push the boundaries of this genre and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for 2014”

Eluvium – Nightmare Ending

“The return of Eluvium was fantastic this year. Few acts can capture feeling across two cds, but Eluvium did it. I could go on for days about the use of strings and the overall mood and feel of the album, but this wins my award for ‘Album that You can Put on and Forget About.’ It just flows from track to track and gives you a mood to live in. A fantastic return to form by a fantastic artist.”

Olafur Arnalds – For Now I am Winter

“It’s hard to describe why and how Olafur Arnalds succeeds. If you know him, you understand and if you don’t you need to listen. I was skeptical of the vocals, but listening to the album dozens of times and seeing it performed live made me understand how the vocals fit with the music. An outstanding album from a younger musician and definitely worth a few listens. For Now I am Winter is an evolution for Arnalds, but one I can fully endorse.”

 North Atlantic Drifts – Monuments

“I could ramble about this album for awhile, but there’s one thing about this album that gets it into my list: every minute is good. That might be a strange reasoning, but this is the kind of album I would recommend to those wanting to know what the ambient genre is about. It’s completely solid from start to finish. Just put it in, enjoy it, and be glad it exists.”

Mountains – Centralia

“Probably the most subdued of my top ten. This album is hard to describe. The flow of the music and the smoothness of the guitar is really what brought me back to it. Probably my favorite album to put on while relaxing and it does a good job of mixing the acoustics of the guitar with some synth.”

65daysofstatic – Wild Light

“This album got a lot of mixed reviews when it came out. I was never a big 65days fan, but something about this album grabbed me. To me, it’s just fun post-rock with some great tones and riffs. Perfect music for the car and one of the most fun albums I listened to all year.”

Sigur Ros – Kveikur

“I’d be remiss to not include Sigur Ros on this list. They somehow manage to pump out solid release after solid release. Admittedly, this album seems to have more critics, and it took me longer than I’d expected to really get into it, but once I did there was no going back. Sometimes heavier and definitely pulsing, this is a great album that was a pleasure to see live. “