The 30 Best Albums of 2013? 

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Since they took the positively old-fashioned step of turning themselves into a properly brutal live band before recording too much material, an extended listen to the UK post-punk band of the moment actually feels long overdue. Fall and winter recording sessions now concluded, we know we’re getting it this year, though the specific whens and wheres remain somewhat mysterious.

Tyler, the Creator,
Wolf, Summer
After the veritable shitshow that surrounded the release of his divisive 2011 album Goblin, Tyler the Creator will have everyone's undivided attention when he releases its follow-up. That attention is exactly what he's always wanted, of course, regardless of how loudly he insists it's not; what remains to be seen is whether he has enough to say to hold onto it.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra,
II, February 5
The hazy, out-of-time feeling of this New Zealand-by-way-of-Portland pop group’s first record didn’t conceal its infectious grooviness. On “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark),” the first song released from its follow-up II, that misty morning Martian feeling remains but in service of a gentle, folkie melody. If this is a sign that their beats are hiding entirely inside the psychedelic fog this time, at least it’s lovely sounding cover.

Vampire Weekend,
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With three years since Contra, you would expect Vampire Weekend's new album to feature painstakingly intricate pop bearing even wider cross-continental influences… which may actually turn out to be a bad guess. In a recent interview with an Australian website, Ezra Koenig hinted taking a more traditional route: “I think there will be a few surprises for people, but some of the songs we got the most excited about for this record came from very simple things, like a great old piano.” We also have Twitter confirmation that an accordion has made a studio appearance.

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Inside every punk is a dark, romantic heart. Keeping in line with human anatomy, then, VÅR sees Danish punk youngsters Elias Ronnenfelt of Iceage and of Loke Rahbek of Sexdrome expose a less aggressive but by no means less intense persona. Early teases of the synth-laden side project’s LP sound remarkably like a meeting point between Ian Curtis’s death and New Order’s birth. Very 2013.

Veronica Falls,
Waiting for Something to Happen, February 12

A good indie-pop band’s second record is typically the moment when the fuzz clears a bit and the melodies start to come into focus. London’s Veronica Falls don’t seem eager to buck that arc from the sound of things. But they were so sharp and smart to begin with that a slight adjustment to either should end up just swell.


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