Top 25 Alt/Indie Albums of 2013

For the most part, this was the year the synth-bots finally enslaved their guitar masters, with the year's best punk coming from electro-tyrants The Knife, and The Dismemberment Plan returning with Devo-ish keyboards front and center. Vampire Weekend's instant classic third album barely featured guitars at all, and even Arcade Fire attempted a dance album. Yo La Tengo's hymn-like "Ohm" begins as an electronic drone, while Kathleen Hanna returned after a nine-year absence with The Julie Ruin, another New Wave revival project.

But bands like Polvo and Unknown Mortal Orchestra quietly tinkered away at their axes, while Deerhunter loudly slathered everything in distortion, even on their token country song. Free Energy opted for Thin Lizzy-style twin leads that were laughably (or boldly!) out of sync with the world. Tricky and M.I.A. did what they do best with electronics that don't even fit under the "electronic" label. Meanwhile, Bettie Serveert and Superchunk revived their expert '90s power punk, and Neko Case tightened up her sound viciously with the loud, careening "Man" manifesto. And no one else does what Sleigh Bells are doing -- no one would do it better anyway.

  1. The Knife, Shaking the Habitual
  2. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  3. Rachid Taha, Zoom
  4. Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight ...
  5. Superchunk, I Hate Music
  6. Sleigh Bells, Bitter Rivals
  7. The Dismemberment Plan, Uncanney Valley
  8. Deerhunter, Monomania
  9. Bettie Serveert, Oh, Mayhem!
  10. Yo La Tengo, Fade
  11. M.I.A., Matangi
  12. Rilo Kiley, RKives
  13. Arcade Fire, Reflektor
  14. Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold
  15. No Age, An Object
  16. Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob
  17. Kate Nash, Girl Talk
  18. Ceramic Dog, Your Turn
  19. Best Coast, Fade Away [EP]
  20. Free Energy, Love Sign
  21. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito
  22. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, II
  23. Tricky, False Idols
  24. The Julie Ruin, Run Fast
  25. Polvo, Siberia
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