20 Best Debuts of 2013
The past 12 months exploded with exciting new artists, both on the charts and throughout underground – from A$AP Ferg's trippy trap music to Brandy Clark's bullsh*t-calling country to Lorde's world-weary teen-rap to Parquet Courts' neo-Nineties indie rock, from hip-hop to EDM to country. Here are the 20 best debut albums from a year teeming with them.
20. Darkside, 'Psychic'
Is their name a tribute to Pink Floyd? You could be excused for thinking so, given electronic music savant Nicolas Jarr and Dave Harrington's fondness for cosmic, proggy drift, falsetto vocals and opening an album with an 11-minute moon shot. It's the sound of luxury shuttles orbiting the Earth – full, rich, gorgeous and sleepily funky.
Courtesy Matador Records
19. AlunaGeorge, 'Body Music'
Recently, Britain has produced a lot of electronic soul duos in the tradition of Yaz and Erasure. This one adds some hip-hop to the mix; it's the sound of London after dark. Aluna Francis purs over producer George Reids' smooth-tronic beats and breaks. For maximum nostalgia factor, the group covers Montell Jordan's "The Is How We Do It" like they were taking a swing at an Otis Redding tune.
Courtesy Universal Music Group
18. Laura Mvula, 'Sing to the Moon'
A conservatory-trained British soul singer who separates herself from Adele Nation (and, franky, raises the stylistic bar on Ms. Adkins) with sheer diversity; Sing to the Moon draws on and smoothly amalgamates jazzy melodies, pop ballads, orchestral doo-wop and smart gospel. There doesn't seem to be anything she can't sing, belt and make her own.
Courtesy RCA Records
17. Palma Violets, '180'