Shooter’s Top Picks of 2013

 Welcome to Staff Picks week here at Postrockstar! This week our writers will be going over their favorite albums of 2013.

Please click the album art to go to the artist’s Bandcamp/Website/Facebook/etc .

And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures

“I really like fun. And that’s why I really enjoy this album. It’s the most outright fun I’ve had with any kind of music since Two Door Cinema Club released their debut album in 2010. I want to bounce around the room just thinking about it.”

EF – Ceremonies

“There’s something about the innocent sweetness of Ef’s first album that I never thought could be recaptured. The vocal passage in “Hello Scotland” made me feel warm and fuzzy like no other song did. I was wrong, because “Bells Bleed and Bloom” now has that effect too. On top of this, Ceremonies is a much more sophisticated work than any of Ef’s past releases, as it relies less on repeated crescendo-vocals-crescendo structures, and instead succeeding more consistently in its ever-intricate melodies and captivating flow.”

Lights & Motion – Reanimation

“It’s no surprise that Lights and Motion seems to have blown up in this, its monumental opening year. Lights and Motion’s music is inspiring, uplifting and immediate to the utmost. This is what makes it perfect for movie trailers and scores, so it’s also no surprise that Hollywood has been knocking at the door of Deep Elm in 2013. What makes Reanimation stand above the follow-up Save Your Heart, in my opinion, is the way in which the album seems to float through its captivating dream-like narrative, particularly in its final half.”

Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo – Prince Avalanche OST

“No matter the number of imitators or the media platform, Explosions in the Sky’s music has always has a distinct, heartfelt quality that shines through in everything they do. Whether it’s the reverb-soaked swells and melodies (“Dear Madison”), or the eruptions of sound that inspire parade-like celebration (“Send Off”), Explosions in the Sky know how to make me feel good. It’s hard to say exactly where Explosions in the Sky’s contribution ends and David Wingo’s begins — or even if there exists such a distinction — but regardless, this is a match made in heaven.”

Russian Circles – Memorial

“Though I’m partial to Empros’s more wandering structures, Memorial demonstrates Russian Circles at their most refined. There are walls of sound so dense and intoxicating that every riff is felt to be beating mercilessly at the chest. But it’s the impassioned, inventive drumming that steals the show.”

The World is a Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Whenever, If Ever

“Undoubtedly the poster child of the so-called “emo revival”, The World Is a Beautiful Place… with their debut full-length tap into that warm feeling of sentiment. Whenever, If Ever recalls Moving Mountains’s Pneuma, but with the distant, conceptual lyrics now supplanted by relatable, nostalgic imagery.”

Mooncake – Zaris

“Mooncake has always been enamoured with the “third wave” of post-rock, yet until now I felt as though they had never quite pinned down where they want to be. Their debut album Lagrange Points was beautiful in its own right but also at times lacked focus. With Zaris, it seems that Mooncake know exactly what kind of music they want to make — calming and beautiful post-rock that drifts and wanders as much as it soars. And they succeeded.”

Umber – Sunshine Young

“Sunshine Young is umber’s latest full-length, and it’s the perfect example of beauty in simplicity. This is an ambient album that can exist either in the background or as the focus of your attention. Unintrusive ambient wanderings bleed into delicate melodies and back again. My mind loves to get lost in this.”

Daughter – If You Leave

“Daughter are a band that seems to have been taken under the wing of the British indie scene, no doubt thanks to the accessible vocals and catchy — yet never overbearing — hooks. Daughter are different, though, in that they are clearly influenced heavily by the post-rock aesthetic. Guitar melodies and textures are drenched in reverb so delectable that every song is brimming with an enchanting atmosphere. The album is dark, too, and with its vocal and musical style it resembles a more cynical and bleak Immanu El.”


There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright

“I can’t even remember the last time I was this floored by an album on first listen. The Dark, Dark Bright is, simply put, incredible. The vocals remind of Biffy Clyro, yet they’re laced over a beautiful and cinematic instrumental approach that recalls none other than Sigur Ros’s Takk… Combine that with the explosive and impassioned climaxes of Athletics’s Who You Are Is Not Enough; throw in the wistful and soaring passages of Gates’s You Are All You Have Left To Fear; and you might come close to imagining what There Will Be Fireworks’s sophomore album has to offer.”