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M+N Critics Poll 2013

The results are in for our annual critics poll. We count down the top 25 Australian records of 2013, a diverse year with a few clear frontrunners.

25. World’s End Press

World’s End Press
(Liberation)

What we said: “I’d love to find some negative aspects, for the sake of balance, but I’ve got nothing. I’m floored.”


24. Underground Lovers

Weekend
(Rubber)

What we said: “If Weekend was simply the seventh Underground Lovers album it’d be considered exceptional. That it’s appeared after so long a break makes it nothing short of amazing.


23. Summer Flake

You Can Have It All
(Rice is Nice)

What we said: “Stephanie Crase knows the beauty in brooding. It’s all over her debut album as Summer Flake … part low-key confessionals to the listener and part circular conversations with the proverbial mirror.”

More reading: Track by Track


22. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Push the Sky Away
(Bad Seed Ltd.)

What we said: “Nick Cave is beyond having to prove anything to anybody. But Push the Sky Away is testament to the singer-songwriter’s ability to successfully flex against the constraints of his own craft.”


21. Machine Translations

The Bright Door
(Spunk)

What we said: “I’m not sure if the name is an in-joke, but I can’t think of many people making music more achingly human than Greg “J” Walker. His are ordinary machines: imperfect, breathing and sighing.”

More reading: Interview


20. Don Walker

Hully Gully
(Independent/MGM)

What we said: “It’s a record with an intense, assured feel and a clean, inviting sound .... I look forward very much to spending a long time in its company.”

More reading: Interview


19. Cut Copy

Free Your Mind
(Modular)

What we said: “If you appreciated them as weightless dancefloor stylists and covert pop classicists, Free Your Mind will hit the same sweet-spot.”


18. Bushwalking

No Enter
(Chapter)

What we said: “I could expound on what is dynamic, thought-provoking and enjoyable about No Enter indefinitely, but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as actually listening to it.”


17. Big Scary

Not Art
(Pieater/Inertia)

What we said: “These are youth raiding the FM airwaves of the ’80s. They’ve got a ‘big’ album. Big like a Don Henley record.”


16. Beaches

She Beats
(Chapter)

What we said: “Beaches transcend time in a sound that is at once unique and familiar, grounded and otherworldly.”

More reading: Interview


15. Abbe May

Kiss My Apocalypse
(Independent/MGM)

What we said: Kiss My Apocalypse is May’s best record so far and also the most likely to succeed commercially.”


14. The Necks

Open
(Fish of Milk/Fuse)

What we said: “The cumulative effect is a kind of transcendent stasis, a liminal state of blissful relief much greater than the sum of its parts … It’s a stunning piece of work.”


13. Primitive Calculators

The World is Fucked
(Chapter)

What we said: “This is a nasty, vicious, misanthropic, spiteful album and I never want to hear it again.”

More reading: Track by Track


12. Kirin J Callinan

Embracism
(Siberia/Remote Control)

What we said: “Kirin J Callinan makes you think. Sometimes, that’s all you can really hope for.”

More reading: Track by Track; long-form feature


11. Gardland

Syndrome Syndrome
(RVNG Intl/Inertia)

What we said: “On first blush another slice of abstract techno, maybe produced anywhere between Detroit and Berlin, but listen closely and you’ll begin to hear a very local landscape.”



10. Angel Eyes

Final Fare
(Bedroom Suck)

What we said: “It’s strange to imagine that there’s a hidden meaning behind the distorted moans, but the record is stronger for having that meaning left in the distance.”


9. Ooga Boogas

Ooga Boogas
(Aarght)

What we said: “This is the best record of the year, and the Ooga Boogas are the best band in the world.”

More reading: Track by Track


8. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Float Along/Fill Your Lungs
(Flightless/Dot Dash)

What we said: “As far as their place in psychedelia goes, they make the Tame Impala/Pond coterie seem like little boys playing in the sand with toys.”

More reading: Interview


7. Courtney Barnett

How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose
(Milk!)

What we said: “It’s hard to imagine an ambassador better suited than someone as acutely insightful as Courtney Barnett.”

More reading: Long-form feature


6. Bed Wettin Bad Boys

Ready for Boredom
(R.I.P. Society)

What we said: Ready for Boredom captures four guys who use rock and roll not as some kind of salvation but rather just as a way to deal with getting older.”

More reading: Interview


5. Standish/Carlyon

Deleted Scenes
(Chapter)

What we said: Deleted Scenes is so far removed from rock’s regular physicality that it feels like an abstraction: the sound of desire rather than the desire itself.”

More reading: Track by Track


4. The Native Cats

Dallas
(R.I.P. Society)

What we said: “Packaging experimentation and earnest poetic songwriting into a singular and palatable piece of work.”


3. TV Colours

Purple Skies, Toxic River
(Dream Damage)

What we said: “It is a self-assured record and one of the year’s best.”


2. Dick Diver

Calendar Days
(Chapter)

What we said: “These songs romanticise insignificance, their characters observing a world that carries on unaffected by their everyday problems.”

More reading: Interview


1. The Drones

I See Seaweed
(Independent/MGM)

What we said: “There’s not a note wasted on I See Seaweed and the result is eight songs as streamlined in intent as a shark at dusk … I’d say it’s the best Drones record so far.”

More reading: Interview


TOMORROW: The results of our annual Readers Poll

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Compiled from the votes of Max Easton, David Nichols, Jules LeFevre, Lawson Fletcher, Patrick Emery, Steph Kretowicz, Edward Sharp-Paul, Aaron Curran, Ian Rogers, Anthony Carew, Andrew P Street, Tim Scott, A.H. Cayley, Jody Macgregor, Doug Wallen, Darren Levin, Tim Fitzpatrick, Mitchell Judge, Barnaby Smith, Kate Hennessy, Luke Telford, Samuel J Fell, Hannah Brooks, Everett True, Christopher Lewis, Freya Zaknich, Trevor Block, Jeremy Story Carter, Adam Curley, Jake Cleland, Nick Argyriou and Matt Shea.

  -   Published on Thursday, December 19 2013 by Mess+Noise.
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Your Comments

Kenickie  said about 9 months ago:

FIRST


Kenickie  said about 9 months ago:

Also - no Amusements?


chrisj  said about 9 months ago:

cut copy LOL


gabbo  said about 9 months ago:

drones deserving. feel release earlier in the year may have hurt it's positioning in other polls.


klaximopark  said about 9 months ago:

violent soho couldn't even scrape into the top 25? you guys are weird.


unvisible  said about 9 months ago:

Congratulations to all the Brisbane bands in the top 25! Ha just kidding.


anonymous  said about 9 months ago:

Congratulations to all the Brisbane bands in the top 25! Ha just kidding.

haha, outrated by Adelaide and Hobart and Canberra! Thanks Can Do.


FrankieTeardrop  said about 9 months ago:

Well done, Native Cats! Well done, Primitive Calculators too... you don't want to be liked too much.


Ash-showoff  said about 9 months ago:

Solid selections to a brilliant year.


jimmy hutspah  said about 9 months ago:

i know he aint all that mess and noise, but that paul kelly record was surely in the best 25 oz albums of 2013.


mrmagoo  said about 9 months ago:

Not a bad list, but I'd find a place for Jagwar Ma, Peak Twins and SWH


geneclark70  said about 9 months ago:

Jimmy do you mean Paul Kelly's Spring and Fall? That came out in 2012, made the M+N poll results at the time (because its excellent). This year was the Kelly/Finn live concert CD, right?

Mrmagoo, you have a point. I'd also add Spinning Rooms and the Darling Downs to the consideration set.


unvisible  said about 9 months ago:

Yeah Spinning Rooms wuz robbed.


FrankieTeardrop  said about 9 months ago:

unvisible said 15 hours ago:
Yeah Spinning Rooms wuz robbed.

Yeah, what the... ? What an oversight!


unvisible  said about 9 months ago:

At least it got some love in the readers' poll.


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