Top 10 albums of the year (so far)
It's July already? Guess it's time to round up the best albums of the year so far. Here's what topped my playlist in the first six months of 2013:
(Editor's note - in a few weeks, we'll be doing a live chat where we will run down the best music of 2013 so far, and will be asking you for your picks!)
10. The Flaming Lips, The Terror
This is your brain on drugs. Bad drugs. The freak brothers come down hard from their psychedelic love-in, crash-landing in a claustrophobic netherworld of cheap synths and twitchy beatboxes.
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito
It's been ages since they've been a buzz band. But Karen O and co. have never sounded sharper -- or spread their wings wider -- than they do on their eclectic and infectious fourth album.
8. Primal Scream, More Light
More everything. Bobby Gillespie and co. open wide on their 10th, unleashing waves of noisy alt-rock, Fab psyche-pop and dubby bossa nova -- all informed by BG's grim worldview.
7. David Bowie, The Next Day
Don't call it a comeback. Call it THE comeback. The return of the thin white duke introduces a new evolutionary stage of music's greatest chameleon and fiercest innovator.
6. Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
With JT, it's all about the vision thing. On his first disc in seven years, the boy-bander takes an ambitious, challenging and just plain freaky trip into a musical looking-glass.
5. My Bloody Valentine, MBV
The more things change, the more Kevin Shields and MBV remain the same. To wit: Unpredictable, uncompromising, sometimes frustrating and often glorious.
4. Mavis Staples, One True Vine
The circle is unbroken. Gospel legend Staples reunites with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy for another heavenly masterpiece that marries her earthy sincerity to his contemporary sonics.
3. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
"I'm not excited," worries Ezra Koenig. "Should I be?" Fans of the clever NYC indie-rockers have ample reason to be thrilled about their odder, more reflective third release.
2. Queens of the Stone Age, ...Like Clockwork
It's about time. And about time. After six years, ginger giant Josh Homme returns older, wiser and armed with a seductively murky fusion of muscular robo-rock and post-glam.
1. Kanye West, Yeezus
Jesus saves. Yeezus raves -- about racism, sex and croissants -- over abrasive, starkly produced synths on his most outraged and outrageous album yet (which is saying something).