As much as we strive to be the best source for new and emerging talent, we will be the first to admit that we miss some hits from time to time. With every blog in the world focusing on the top albums of the year so far, we thought we’d spin things a bit and offer the best albums of 2013 so far that we have somehow missed. Instead of hitting you with the same names you see on UTG daily we’re giving you the best of the rest, and hopefully you’ll help us add any names may have missed.
What follows are 10 artists who released albums in 2013 that you need to do everything in your power to hear and support as soon as you possibly can. These are not ‘best of’ leftovers, but rather releases that were for one reason or another overlooked when they first hit shelves. It was our mistake, and starting with this column we plan to give them their due on our feed moving forward.
We know there are a dozens of great artists we have yet to cover on UTG, so if you don’t see your favorite of 2013 on this list leave a comment with a link and we’ll be sure to listen.
1. Harbour – All My Exes Are Dead To Me
Hailing from canada, Harbour offer a unique take on pop punk that fans of the current Man Overboard/Wonder Years trend will flip over. It’s honest, hard-hitting music that packs a technical punch that matches, if not surpasses the depth of the diary-like lyrics. “Better Days” perfectly showcases this sound, and offers one of the many catchy choruses found on the release to begin converting you to a full-on diehard. If this band isn’t in the feeds of everyone in the scene by the end of 2013 I will be shocked. – James Shotwell – Founder/Editor
2. WFFW (Weirdos Forever, Forever Weirdos) – Whatever Fits Four Words Mixtape
Every new rapper or hip hop collective that emerges on the national scene like to claim they’re the voice of a new generation, but WFFW may be the first act in a decade to actually speak the truth. Comprised of members below the age of 18, this crew has quickly built a reputation in the mixtape market for high-quality releases with tight flows and original concepts. “Rick James” is probably the most accessible track on Whatever Fits Four Words, and should serve as a fitting introduction for the unaware. These kids are not wild like the members of Odd Future, and they certainly don’t have the violent tendencies of NWA or street cred of Wu-Tang, but WFFW have that innate quality in their music that makes quite an argument for them finding a place on the national level in the years to come. – James Shotwell – Founder/Editor
3. Vanna – The Few And Far Between
Okay, you got me. Vanna are not exactly an unknown band, but we did make the unforgivable mistake of not posting our review of their near-perfect album, The Few And Far Between. The most aggressive effort in their already thunderous history, TFAFB finds Vanna stepping out without clean vocalist/songwriter Evan Pharmekis and coming out better as a result. The lyrical intensity of this album is second-to-none in 2013, and when all is said and done will forever be known as one of, if not the finest of all Vanna’s efforts. – James Shotwell – Founder/Editor
4. This Old Ghost – Family Room
This Old Ghost was a diamond in the rough find on Bandcamp. I immediately fell in love with their new album, Family Room. Mixing folk, pop and indie rock with relatable lyrical content about love and accepting your transition into adulthood, This Old Ghost have crafted one of my favorite albums of the year. One that I feel deserves a much larger audience. – Brian Lion, Front Page Editor
5. RVIVR – The Beauty Between
RVIVR’s new album, The Beauty Between, is a refreshing punch of tough punk sound with heartfelt lyrics. The album seems to be produced from the band pulling some skeletons out of the closet and they belt out their emotions in a “screw you, this is the way it is” way. With an early The Distillers-type feeling carried through the album, you’ll be throwing your fist in the air and singing along in no time. – Leanne Cushing, news writer
6. Deniro Farrar – The Patriarch II
Due to the lack of a defined hip-hop scene, Deniro Farrar may not receive the amount of love he deserves from his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, but rest assured, Farrar’s music will continue to spread far outside of the Queen City. The Patriarch II displays the rapper’s ability to spit raw, revealing lyrics focusing on painstaking life struggles while his booming voice and focused flow go hand in hand with the record’s selection of lush yet simultaneously brooding beats. Most listeners of hip-hop will devote their attention to the recent releases of Kanye West and Mac Miller or J. Cole and Jay-Z, but there’s no doubt the year’s best album from the genre to date is The Patriarch II. – Michael Giegerich, news writer
7. Deafheaven – Sunbather
“It’s all been done before,” you say unknowingly as you read through reviews and albums to check out. “I miss genuine creativity,” you reflect. Well, you’re wrong, because it hasn’t all been done and creativity isn’t gone. A mix of black metal and My Bloody Valentine level shoegaze, Deafheaven’s new album has a fitting title, as Sunbather sounds like having a perfect day in the sun and you peeling away the dead skin after the burns. You’d think the juxtaposition of influences would snap the listenability in half, but instead it just tears my heart to pieces. I am in love with this album. – Dan Bogosian, music critic
8. Bad Luck – The Things That Get You Down
Everybody is already occupied enough with listening to today’s bands who have been rehashing the grunge sound that they have neglected one of the other prominent genres to have its own resurgence from the 90s alt-scene: emo. Florida’s highly-underrated Bad Luck brings that to the table with their latest EP, The Things That Get You Down, in one of the most refreshing ways possible with some tinges of pop-punk and hardcore to go on the side. – Adrian Garza, music critic
9. The 1975 – IV EP
A Brit-Pop band from Manchester, England that’s catching an incredible amount of buzz. Rich with ambient guitar and synth, injected with infectious melodies, and wrapped in a shroud of cross-Atlantic mystery, The 1975 is on their way to truly great things. Their IV EP is a fine example of what the listener can expect to hear on their upcoming full-length. – Jacob Tender – Editor
10. Old Best Friend – Keep In Touch
After performing as a touring musician for a different act, Mike Comite struck out on his own. The result of some studio time at Watch City Studios in Waltham, MA was Keep In Touch, one of the most impressive 5 song EPs I’ve ever laid my ears on. This record makes a perfect companion to a late-night drive and leaves you wanting so much more. The lyricism is top-tier and bolstered by some phenomenal vocal melodies. Both are laid on a bed of comforting and exciting instrumentals. For a début, Keep In Touch is a real treat. – Jacob Tender – Editor