Time for the Top Ten reveal in our Top Albums of 2013 countdown. Definitely the most diverse list style wise I think of all years it has been running. By far and away this year we had more new music submitted than ever before, and the shortlist started at over 100 albums, so there are going to be some really good albums that missed out, these ones just managed to stand out that bit more and made the final cut. It has been a great year for many styles of music. Thanks for following along the countdown during the week, as with the rest of the list, there are streams provided for you to check out any releases you may not have heard, or want to give another shot as well as a bit of a description for each one. Look around online at the various lists going around, they are all quite varied, it was a great year for new music whatever your main choice of genre may be. Expand this post to see what came in this year from #1 to #10, as well as the rest of the list.

Off With Their Heads - Home

#1. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS – HOME [EPITAPH RECORDS]

Back in 2010 these guys topped my list with ‘In Desolation’, and this time around they’ve done it again with ‘Home’. This one is a step up from the last album, which is no easy feat, and was an instant click with me. Often with the very anticipated releases, you build it up a bit much in your head and wind up let down. Not here. It has that no bullshit, honest, and in your face approach to it that got me into the genre all those years back. It’s pretty well known now that if you are looking for a pick me up positive record, then these guys should be the last on your pile to go for, though there is a slight glimpse of the bright side briefly with ‘Focus On Your Own Family’… However it is that raw honesty that becomes a highlight, there is no trying to be something they are not, it’s all there, warts ‘n all on the plate for all to see, and a lot of folks can relate to it. Also helps that it is musically very solid too. It’s been by far and away my most played record of the year since release back in March and I haven’t once got sick of it yet. Was great to hear a bunch of the tracks live too on their recent tour. Hopefully they are back to do it all again soon. In the meantime, these tunes will fill the time waiting just right.

ADD ‘HOME’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Vinyl (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]

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RVIVR - The Beauty Between

#2. RVIVR – THE BEAUTY BETWEEN [RUMBLETOWNE RECORDS]

This mob are one of the more exciting punk bands to emerge in the past few years, they’ve got no shortage of releases under their belt, but this one released earlier in the year is the jewel in their crown. Not afraid to speak their minds, their social and political consciousness runs right through the record, which has managed to put some people offside, (funny, isn’t that what punk rock is meant to be all about?) but it certainly isn’t affecting the band as their profile grows and their messages are spread wider. You don’t have to be right into the nitty gritty to enjoy the music though, but you’ll probably get that little bit more out of it if you are. It’s highly energetic, uplifting and just plain good fun. They want you to know what they are about, but don’t shove it down your throat either. ‘Wrong Way/One Way’ (see below) is one of the best punk rock songs I’ve heard in a while and there are plenty more highlights to be found on the record. A very DIY approach, the band run their own label on which releases are available by donation, make their own videos (look them up, they are all great) and are on top of their own affairs with no one to answer to but themselves, watching this album grow from it’s initial release as people catch on over time has been great, and by the looks of it a debut Australian tour is coming in the first half of 2014. They will be shows you don’t want to miss. Get on board now, and this album is the perfect starting point.

ADD ‘THE BEAUTY BETWEEN’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (Rumbletowne)]
[Buy Vinyl (Poison City)]
[Buy Digital (Bandcamp)]

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#3. Fat Freddys Drop - Blackbird

#3. FAT FREDDY’S DROP – BLACKBIRD [THE DROP]

These Kiwis have been in the game a while now, I’ve never found their recordings to match the quality of their live show though until this album. They are flawless on stage and can make even the staunchest non-mover bust a move or two on the dance floor. This album they have managed to bring that vibe into the studio and their dub / reggae / soul vibe is at its very very best. You won’t find a better record to chill out to this year, be it as background music at a gathering, people will take notice and be getting into it or alone, you’ll try and hit those sweet notes as you sing along, hopefully the bass will drown out hearing yourself fail though. There is more variety on offer than a $2 shop here sound wise, and the way they manage to blend styles effortlessly, and always change things up at the perfect moment is brilliant. There are 9 songs on this one, majority of which sit between 6 and 9 minutes in length, you won’t find a boring moment though. The louder the better for this one. It’s far from punk rock, but I think many will appreciate what they serve up this time around. It’s a cracker.

ADD ‘BLACKBIRD’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Vinyl (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]

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Paper Arms - The Smoke Will Clear

#4. PAPER ARMS – THE SMOKE WILL CLEAR [POISON CITY RECORDS]

As ‘Tanks Of Dust’ kicks in, you can already feel that step up from their ‘Days Above Ground’ album. A few years gap between releases, and a lot of things change in that short time. Plenty of which is referenced in the strong lyrics that are a highlight of this album. Tales of life experiences that many can relate to, delivered in a powerful melodic fashion. The album has provided a busy year for the band, especially on the international front, touring on some big line ups. On the local front, I’d like to think the best is yet to come for the band, known well in the tight knit community that embraces this style, this album definitely has the potential to expand on that audience and tap into new corners, hopefully all the right ears hear it and can appreciate its quality. Haven’t heard it yet? Get listening, get into it beyond the music layer and you’ll find some great songwriting.

ADD ‘THE SMOKE WILL CLEAR’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)] [Buy Vinyl (JB Hi-Fi)]

[Buy CD (Poison City)] [Buy Vinyl (Poison City)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)] [Buy Digital (Bandcamp)]

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#5. Isaac Graham - Glorious Momentum

#5. ISAAC GRAHAM – GLORIOUS MOMENTUM [INDEPENDENT]

After flogging the life out of his previous album, I was keen for some new material, but also a tad curious at what could be done to top it. It took some time to get out, the single ‘Nomads’ was online well before the release, so long before that an updated version appears on the album to what you see on the video below. But good things come to those who wait, and now, as good as that last album was, it is like listening to a bunch of demos compared to this one. You won’t get the usual gravel throated dude with an acoustic here. You will however get that story telling vibe in the lyrics. These are well constructed folk / rock / pop type numbers that will have the feet tapping and head nodding before you even know you are doing it. Every song is a gem, no weak moments to be found. There is also a brilliant cover of NOFX’s ‘Lori Meyers’ thrown in the middle too. While the production is pretty schmick, his live sound is not at all far from this quality, a great strong voice that knows how to write a captivating tune with some quality musos doing their thing in the background.

ADD ‘GLORIOUS MOMENTUM’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (Bandcamp)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]
[Buy Digital (Bandcamp)]

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Balance And Composure - The Things We Think We're Missing

#6. BALANCE AND COMPOSURE – THE THINGS WE THINK WE’RE MISSING [NO SLEEP RECORDS / SHOCK]

Probably one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I was not let down. 2011′s ‘Separation’ was a cracking album which earned them some well deserved exposure, and a debut Australian tour. After the release of this one, I think next time they visit our shores it will be an even warmer welcome. There is no settling in with this album, right from the end of your first listen, you know it’s a winner as you race back to track one to repeat the process. While ‘Separation’ had a couple of ‘filler’ type tracks, this time around there is none of that, and they hold your attention right through. It is an album that works well as both a casual background listen, and one that you can go deep into and pull apart. Either way, you end up with quality. They are going to knock up some serious touring on this one I’m sure as more and more people get put onto it, definitely their finest work to date. It’ll be topping more than a few lists I’d imagine.

ADD ‘THE THINGS WE THINK WE’RE MISSING’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Vinyl (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]
[Buy Digital (Bandcamp)]

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Violent Soho - Hungry Ghost

#7. VIOLENT SOHO – HUNGRY GHOST [IOHYOU]

With this album there are some instant bangers and a bunch of growers, on the first few listens I had it in my head that this would make a great EP if the filler was cut out. But once the spins became more frequent, the word filler no longer applies to any of these 11 tracks. Maybe it is the smoke of those bangers spreading across the tracks that follow when you keep going back to them and drawing you in, or that they just need time to grow I’m not sure. But don’t write it off early. The songs which have been most pushed, ‘Dope Calypso’, ‘Covered In Chrome’ and ‘In The Aisle’ are those instant stand outs, easily listened back to back multiple times without getting sick of them. They are the definite highlights, but then you have ‘OK Cathedral’, ‘Liars’, and ‘Lowbrow’ that give them a run for their money, with the rest not far behind. It’ll pass the longevity test no hassles and is bound to spawn a couple more singles before it’s done I reckon.

ADD ‘HUNGRY GHOST’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Vinyl Sold Out - Stay tuned for a second pressing]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]

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The Bronx - IV

#8. THE BRONX – IV [WHITE DRUGS / SHOCK]

This one seemed to split the fans a little, which puzzled me, as I reckon it is their best effort since the monster debut. Sure it may not have the same foot to the floor energy as that debut, (they perfected it back then, why try and re-do it?) but it’s a fucking great rock album. Why it seemingly went over many people’s heads, I’m not too sure. I’m glad they are continually evolving though. It’s still aggressive, in your face, but also at times catchy as, they balance it all out well and show they can pull it off. This is their party record I reckon, it’s all good fun and never fails to lift the spirits when put on and the songs also fit just fine in their always A+ live show. It didn’t grab you? Give it another shot, I reckon it’s worth it.

ADD ‘IV’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Vinyl (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]

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Northlane - Singularity

#9. NORTHLANE – SINGULARITY [UNFD]

The rise of this young band is pretty crazy, but definitely very well deserved. Known for a busy touring schedule the band secretly tucked themselves away to record and prepare this one, and as they announced it via a well constructed plan, the release was only a matter of weeks away, then it hit with some serious impact. An impressive #3 chart debut, and from there on it was non stop for the band. Still as fresh now as it was back in March, this album is definitely one which stands the test of time. Not afraid to try new things, and making them work well with what they already have is what makes this one stand out from the many similar styled releases doing the rounds at the moment. They nailed all the elements in this one, promotion, imagery and music. It’s great to see bands still caring about the complete package. Like it or not, there is a new breed of heavy music in the country that isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and these guys are up there leading the way.

ADD ‘SINGULARITY’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD (JB Hi-Fi)]
[Buy Vinyl (24Hundred)]
[Buy Digital (iTunes)]

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Captain We're Sinking - The Future Is Cancelled

#10. CAPTAIN WE’RE SINKING – THE FUTURE IS CANCELLED [RUN FOR COVER RECORDS]

This Scranton, Pennsylvania four piece released this 12 track effort back in January. One of those albums that doesn’t quite show all it’s colours on first listen. You know there is something about it, but it takes quite a few listens before the true quality stands out. The lyrics are dark, and very story like. The music, whilst being relatively simple, is very powerfully delivered, which I think is what grabbed me most a few months after release. They don’t follow a formula, nor do they fit into a specific pigeonhole, but if you invest a little time into this album, you’ll get a good return. There are many highlights, spread all across the album which holds your attention right until the end. I haven’t seen much footage online, but if they can pull the sounds and energy off live like they do on this album, I think they would deliver quite a show in the right rooms. A very underrated album that I think some folks may have written off after a quick listen. This is one of those ‘switch off from everything else’ and listen to type records.

ADD ‘THE FUTURE IS SINKING’ TO YOUR COLLECTION:
[Buy CD, Vinyl (Run For Cover)]
[Buy Vinyl (Poison City)]
[Buy  Digital (iTunes)]
[Buy Digital (Bandcamp)]

From earlier, #11 – #20 [Listen to these albums Here]
#11. BODYJAR – ROLE MODEL [UNFD]
#12. THE BENNIES – RAINBOWS IN SPACE [POISON CITY RECORDS]
#13. LETLIVE. – THE BLACKEST BEAUTIFUL [EPITAPH RECORDS]
#14. TOPNOVIL – BLAST THE STEREO [INDEPENDENT]
#15. HRVRD – FROM THE BIRD’S CAGE [EQUAL VISION RECORDS]
#16. HELLIONS – DIE YOUNG [UNFD]
#17. FRANK TURNER – TAPE DECK HEART [UNIVERSAL]
#18. DEAD LETTER CIRCUS – THE CATALYST FIRE [UNFD]
#19. VIGILANTE – QUALITY OF LIFE [RESIST RECORDS]
#20. ELWAY – LEAVETAKING [RED SCARE]

From earlier, #21 – #30 [Listen to these albums Here]
#21. THE DEAR HUNTER – MIGRANT [EQUAL VISION RECORDS]
#22. DEFEATER – LETTERS HOME [BRIDGE NINE RECORDS]
#23. ADALITA – ALL DAY VENUS [LIBERATION]
#24. APART FROM THIS – IN GLOOM [POISON CITY RECORDS]
#25. I EXIST – FROM DARKNESS [RESIST RECORDS]
#26. FOXTROT – GONE FISHIN’ [JACKKNIFE]
#27. MOVING MOUNTAINS – MOVING MOUNTAINS [TRIPLE CROWN RECORDS]
#28. BAD RELIGION – TRUE NORTH [EPITAPH RECORDS]
#29. DREAM ON DREAMER – LOVELESS [UNFD]
#30. NANCY VANDAL – FLOGGING A DEAD PHOENIX [EROTIC VOLCANO]

From earlier, #31 – #40 [Listen to these albums Here]
#31. BANQUETS – BANQUETS [BLACK NUMBERS]
#32. SHE’S THE BAND – ONE FROM THE TOP SHELF [PEE RECORDS]
#33. WARBRAIN – VOID OF CONFUSION [RESIST RECORDS]
#34. TIM VANTOL – IF WE GO DOWN, WE WILL GO TOGETHER! [EMINORSEVEN]
#35. PROTEST THE HERO – VOLITION [SPINEFARM]
#36. ALKALINE TRIO – MY SHAME IS TRUE [EPITAPH RECORDS]
#37. ONE VITAL WORD – PICTURE PERFECT [PEE RECORDS]
#38. MELBOURNE SKA ORCHESTRA – MELBOURNE SKA ORCHESTRA [FOUR|FOUR]
#39. AUTHORITY ZERO – THE TIPPING POINT [3WISE]
#40. OUTSIDERS CODE – EXILED FROM BIRTH [RESIST RECORDS]

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You can also view the Top Shortform releases of 2013 list [Here].
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