This week on New Hot, we're taking a look at three of the most under-the-radar, acclaimed albums of 2013 spanning garage rock, alternative hip-hop and shoegazey metal.
Deafheaven — Sunbather
Deafheaven's sophomore album Sunbather is the best reviewed album of 2013 according to Metacritic — and that's by a longshot. It's not often that a quasi-metal record takes this kind of honor, but it's no surprise that Deafheaven was the band to do it considering the inordinate amount of buzz ahead of the record's release. The San Francisco quintet has gathered a slew of comparisons as far-reaching as Swans to Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. On the outset, the album looks like something of a psychedelic pop record, with a simplistic pink-orange cover meant to resemble the colors seen when you close your eyes when laying in the sun. With only seven tracks spanning a hour, it's definitely music to explore and envelop yourself in.
Run The Jewels — Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels is one of the best reviewed hip-hop albums of the year, and the duo of El-P and Killer Mike are getting loads of attention for how well their partnership works under this new moniker (and many are noting how the two have put out a much better record than the famed Kanye/Jay Z collaboration with Watch The Throne). In reality, the guys have worked together in some respect for years, but this is really the crown jewel of achievement, combining both of their signature sounds flawlessly to create an alternative blend of hip-hop that feels extremely refreshing. The self-titled album has been released for free by their record label Fool's Gold.
Speedy Ortiz — Major Arcana
The first moment you hear Speedy Ortiz, you can list off a string of influences from the golden age of '90s rock 'n roll. And that makes sense considering the band worked on their debut Major Arcana with people who are credited with honing the sound for records by Thurston Moore and Dinosaur Jr. And the icing on the cake is that frontwoman Sadie Dupuis has long played in a Pavement cover band. But Speedy Ortiz doesn't want to be known as some kind of knock-off of these acts, and they're sometimes vocally critical of modern bands trying their hand at emulation a little too closely. Major Arcana joins the ranks with Run The Jewels and Deafheaven as one of the most acclaimed records of 2013 so far.