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Top 10 Australian Albums of 2013


As we all try so hard to keep the resolutions we made just a week ago, we look back at the best bits of 2013 with our Top 10 Australian Albums of 2013.

It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: 2013 has been a HUGE year for music. Australia, in particular, has seen countless fantastic album releases that have become music lover’s life soundtracks for the past twelve months. There are countless Australian albums that have impressed us here at AAA Backstage this year, so we decided to pick out ten of our favourites.

 the trouble with templeton

The Trouble with Templeton, Rookie

If you listened to The Trouble with Templeton’s 2011 LP Bleeders and their 2013 release Rookie back to back, you’d almost think they were from different bands. Expanding into a five piece and into rockier territory, TTWT have formed a release full of haunting imagery, stunning melodies, captivating soundscapes and soaring vocals (Thomas Calder, your voice is ridiculous). The Trouble with Templeton is a standout in the oversaturated folk rock genre, and with songs like these, how could they not be.

 Big Scary

Big Scary, Not Art

Not Art is a difficult album to pigeonhole, but sometimes the most undefinable of things are the most fascinating. Melbourne’s Jo Syme and Tom Iansek have created an emotive, mesmerising record that crams countless pop, hip hop and 90s rock influences into eleven tracks with surprising ease. From Tom’s howling vocals in Belgian Blues to Jo’s glitchy drumming in Luck Now and the gospel harmonies in Why Hip Hop Sucks in ’13, Not Art is a piece of brilliance.

 Cloud Control

Cloud Control, Dream Cave

Three years after their 2010 debut Bliss Release, Cloud Control released their sophomore album Dream Cave, a body of work that explores new stylistic territories, whilst staying true to their signature dream pop sound. Dream Cave manoeuvres through various genres and influences, but thankfully the result of this is not one of non-cohesion, and rather a body of work that keeps a hold on the listener until its end.


McKisko, Eximo 

Eximo, the sophomore release from Brisbane’s McKisko ticks all the boxes. Helen Franzmann and Kurt Read, with the help of Franzmann’s beautiful, melancholic voice, have released a body of stunning, mellow indie-folk that meanders through minimalism and lullabies. Even at its most upbeat moments, Eximo is the soundtrack to dreamscapes.

 bliss n eso

Bliss n Eso, Circus in the Sky

‘I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor, that’s not my business.’ Bliss n Eso’s fifth LP may open with this line from Charlie Chaplin’s rousing speech, but Circus in the Sky proves that whilst the boys may not aim to be emperors, they are definitely some of the Australian hip hop scene’s pioneers. Including collaborations with Nas, Daniel Merriweather and 360, reinventions of Bluejuice’s Act Yr Age and Emma Louise’s Jungle and Bliss n Eso’s trademark cheek and brazen style of writing, Circus in the Sky is a record that highlights why they are such an important part of the Australian hip hop landscape.


Northlane, Singularity

Voted the Triple J listener’s top punk/hardcore release of 2013, Northlane’s Singularity is a bold and captivating record that is all too deserving of the band’s recent hype. Although Singularity is not groundbreaking in terms of genre, the appeal in this record is how well the genre is done, demonstrating a level precision and confidence that other bands can only hope to reach.

 the cat empire

The Cat Empire, Steal the Light

For a band that has released five strong LPs and holds the status of one of Australia’s best live acts, any new music is met with an air of expectation. Thankfully, the talents of Felix Riebl, Harry Angus and band have once again failed to disappoint. Steal the Light is a fun, energetic record that, whilst not holding any singles as celebrated as their debut Hello, combines their ska/Latin/pop influences into one big party.


Karnivool, Asymmetry

Karnivool’s 2013 follow-up to 2009’s Sound Awake is Asymmetry, an album that somehow manages to ‘do everything’ whilst remaining cohesive. Throughout its hour plus duration, the Perth prog-rock quintet explores new territories, with the math rock rhythms and technical guitar riffs pushing Ian Kenny’s vocals out of their comfort zone. Asymmetry may take some time to sink in, but the rewards are worth it.

 boy and bear

Boy & Bear, Harlequin Dream

Harlequin Dream, the follow-up to Moonfire, Boy & Bear’s 2011 five Aria award winning debut LP,proves that Boy & Bear is not just a one album wonder.

A continuation of the band’s trademark neo-folk style, Harlequin Dream shows a new maturity to the band’s music that can only come with time and experience. An album that moves away from Mumford & Sons and more towards the pop structures of Fleetwood Mac, it’s performed with a bucket load of sincerity that can only draw the listener in. 


Snakadaktal, Sleep in the Water

In the year of the youngsters, Snakadaktal once again prove that age in no way influences quality. Their debut LP, Sleep in the Water, is a dreamy release that is full of XX-esque soundscapes, gentle boy-girl vocals, and reverb-drenched textures interrupted by staccato guitar lines. To see such a confident release from a band so young is an impressive feat in itself. 

Another ten honourable mentions, because we definitely weren’t able to settle on just ten:

The Drones, I See Seaweed

Skinny Jean, The Diving Saucer Returns from a World Where the Sun Never


Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away

John Steel Singers, Everything’s a Thread

Emma Louise, Vs Head Vs Heart 

RüFüS, Atlas

PVT, Homosapien

Busby Marou, Farewell Fitzroy 

Jagwar Ma, Howlin’

Birds of Tokyo, March Fires



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