The Very Best Australian Albums Of 2013

In no particular order…

1. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Float Along - Fill Your Lungs

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What starts off as easily definable and comparable transforms about 1:36 seconds into Float Along - Fill Your Lungs’ epic opening track “Head On/Pill.” From there, the album is a journey through psychedelia, rock and George Harrison-esque sitar solos. The final product is an album that shows Australian music is an ever-evolving form that is yet to be defined.

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3. Cloud Control, Dream Cave

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Dream Cave is a solid follow-up to 2010’s Bliss Release. Songs like “Promises” and “Scar” demonstrate the potential of one of Australian music’s brightest 21st Century bands. The album wanes a little as it progresses, transcending more and more into dreamy sub-pop. Still, it’s a good album with enough quality tracks on it to warrant its spot on this list.

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5. Palms, Step Brothers

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They teased the whole of Australia with a series of singles and EP’s but Palms finally delivered the goods. Step Brothers begins and ends with the same uproarious vocals and thrashing guitars which become a signature of lead singer Al Grigg and Co. Ignore this album at your own peril.

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7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Push The Sky Away

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In what was to be their 15th studio album, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds showed there’s definitely still a place for them in the often over-produced and electronic modern music scene. Perhaps a staple of most of their work, the band keeps it simple with a myriad of small guitar rhythms, gentle drumming and layered instrumentals, allowing Cave’s voice (and lyrics) to ring true. A fantastic album from one of Australia’s greatest still-recording bands.

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9. Bliss n Eso, Circus in the Sky

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Bliss n Eso use their 5th studio album to highlight their proficiency as both lyricists and samplers. Whilst this may have been something a lot of fans already knew, Circus in the Sky is sure to turn the heads of an already expanding audience. The album immediately shot to No.1 on iTunes upon its release - and rightfully so - with songs like “My Life (feat. Cheeky Jones)” and “Reservoir Dogs” showing just how good these guys can be. Worth a listen front to back, and then back to front.

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11. Big Scary, Not Art

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For a band that (for the most part) is only two people, Big Scary manages to make a MASSIVE range of sound. You’d be forgiven for attempting to pigeon-hole this band into a set genre - but as their debut album demonstrates - it’s easier said than done. The album certainly grows on you, taking more than one listen to inject itself into your brain, but once it does the effect is marvelous.

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13. Violent Soho, Hungry Ghost

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In what seems a hybrid of early Pavement records and more recently, Japandroids, Violent Soho still manages to put their own unique sound through a genre which is filled with repetition and cliché guitar riffs. The end result is a phenomenal and rip-roaring album that ultimately deserved more acclaim and recognition than it received.

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15. Day Ravies, Tussle

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We know that comparisons aren’t always the greatest compliment, but when the comparison being made is to the likes of My Bloody Valentine and a rocked-up Belle & Sebastian you’re doing something right. Such is the case with Day Ravies’ Tussle. Shoegaze one minute to indie-rock the next, this debut album from the Sydney-based quartet was a highlight of 2013.

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17. Jagwar Ma, Howlin

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A step up in the Australian electronic music scene, Jagwar Ma delivered a wonderful (and somewhat nostalgic) album full of tasty loops and great rhythm. Further, they managed to do it without sounding like everyone else. Which most find very hard. A flexible album that suits all occasions with equal pleasure, Howlin stops just short of overdoing it and the end result is one of the best albums of 2013 and possibly one of the brightest lights in Australian electronic music since The Avalanches in 1997. A big claim, but the album backs it up.

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19. The Drones, I See Seaweed

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A band that has become somewhat of a stalwart in Australian music returned this year, with The Drones’ I See Seaweed delivering yet again. Whilst not the happiest of albums (especially if you listen to the lyrics), it is still beautiful and uncompromising. The power in lead singer Gareth Liddiard’s lyrics and voice are left to vibrate through the body and with each muttered line it all crescendos to a powerful finale. Enjoy this - but make sure you’re in the right mood.

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21. Zeahorse, Pools

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For those that like it a lil’ harder, Zeahorse released a great album this year that fully demonstrated Australian music’s diversity. Whilst a but of a sleeper as far as recognition goes, “Pool” conjures up thoughts of The Pixies and Mudhoney whilst maintaining a unique spin. The album deserves its place, and the recognition.

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23. TV Colours, Purple Skies, Toxic River

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Relaxing. Calm. Gentle. All ways not to describe TV Colours’ Purple Skies, Toxic River. Along the same vein as Zeahorse, TV Colours (spelt the correct way, with the ‘u’) layers sound and vocals to create a sound that is unique in the Australian music scene. Some would argue the album gets a little ‘samey’ - but they’d be wrong. After a few listens, the intricacies and thoughtful inclusion of synth and bass allow the album to stand out on its own.

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25. RÜFÜS, Atlas

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Sold out tours across the country paired with an ARIA No.1 debut charting, RÜFÜS (whose umlaut use is both irritating and cute) have created one of the most dance-able albums in Australian music. RÜFÜS have picked up the mantle that was left behind by The Presets, creating one of the stronger debut albums of the year.

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27. Beaches, She Beats

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Whilst not as powerfully perfect as their 2008 self-titled debut, She Beats still delivers with psych-rock, sun-kissed tracks that could be the soundtrack to both this summer and the next.

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29. Dick Diver, Calendar Days

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Following on with more possible soundtracks of summer, Calendar Days is more refined than She Beats and it is this clean, high-vibe sound that makes this album such a success. Each song ads to the next - the result being a very well formulated album.

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32. Flume, Flume

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Released in November, 2012. Doesn’t count!

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34. Tame Impala, Lonerism

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Released October, 2012. Doesn’t count!

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36. Honorable Mentions:

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37. Russell Morris, The Very Best Of Russell Morris

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A great compilation from a great man in Australian music. But as well all know, COMPILATIONS DON’T COUNT.

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39. The Preatures, Is This How You Feel?

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A great EP and we look forward to their album which (we hope) will be out in 2014.

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Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
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