Culture, Music

Best albums of 2013: 25 to 21

Aaron's Best albums of 2013 collage 25-21It’s that time again to decide exactly which albums are among the year’s best. Albums that have pulled me through the bleak hours, albums that have clocked up hundreds of minutes as I’ve clocked up the miles and albums that have been the soundtrack to good times.

In what has been a turbulent year of change, we’ve had terrific albums from the likes of Lady, Caro Emerald and Blludd Relations, as well as some mixed debuts from Chvrches, Deap Vally and the Strypes. We’ve even had Beyoncé’s shock release of her fifth studio album at the eleventh hour, which goes to show you just can’t write-off the year in music until it’s all over. But none of those artists have made it into my top 25. And I thought it was tough choosing a top 10 last year – that was without hearing half of the spectacular 2012 albums that I arrived late to this year.

Culture, Music

Is the Mercury Prize 2013 shortlist ‘too commercial’?

Laura Mvula in WFUV studio, by WFUV (Apr 2013) (585x329)

If it was any other awards ceremony, commercial success would be applauded. But it’s the Mercury Prize, so, naturally, it’s another reason for the pundits to get their soapbox on.

There are no obligatory ‘token’ albums from folk and jazz acts this year. And no indie starlet, sneaking in at the last minute to become the bookies’ favourite – as The xx and Alt-J have done in the past.