It was another big year for EDM, with some memorable people, places and moments. And there were a slew of chart-topping releases from producers, massive releases whether you dig the harder styles of four-on-the-floor big-room bangers or the soft trance melodies. There were a lot of hot releases in 2013, almost too many to count. Of all the music that was released, there were ten records that stood out from the pack to us. Here are the ten best EDM albums of 2013.
10. Sweater Beats - That Feel (Symbols Recordings) New York producer Sweater Beats (aka Antonio Cuna) makes the kind of smoothed out dance music that closes down a night better than anything else. That Feel is filled with sexy melodies, namely "Do It For Me," which features Erin Marshall's sweet voice laying down a love song. Basically, this album is all sex, wrapped up in a sweet package of mellow, downtempo cuts.
9. Major Lazer - Free The Universe (Secretly Canadian) Major Lazer takes the credit on this album, but the countless frequent flyers in the EDM world that are featured on it really add to the momentum of the whole piece. Aside from "Bubble Butt," the rump shakin' throw down designed to make girls twerk their dignity away, "Jah No Partial" gets a good nod, as does the Ezra Koenig feature on "Jessica." Dance much? Then you definitely Major Lazer.
8. Low Steppa - The Cloak (Simma Black) House music, once again, rules the charts. U.K. producer Low Steppa brought the bounce with The Cloak and subsequently, brought a chain of remixes right after the release. "Dub 2" keeps the pace of the whole album -- a steady house beat with a deep bass line -- but everything is really summed up on the closer, "Thoughts."
7. Kill Paris - To A New Earth (OWSLA) The now Boulder resident released this three track EP, and with it, came a slew of new fans. The songs border on the banging dubstep side of things, but the melodies are on point with what a party needs to get turnt up. It's mellow in its mood, but funky in the bass and flute sounds found on "Catch You."
6. Claude VonStroke - Urban Animal (Dirtybird) The Dirtybird artist didn't hold back on this minimal house and electronica album. Organs, vocal distortion, bouncing bass and deep house beats will keep you enraptured for the whole record. On dance albums, it's difficult to maintain a story line that will hold the listeners attention for the entirety, but VonStroke manages to do it with ease by not complicating the sounds with distracting drops, but instead by focusing on core beats and viable lyrics.
5. Savoy - Three Against Nature (Self-released) This Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boulder trio dropped this multi-faceted four song EP like the act had to prove something. It doesn't. The harmonizing choruses and use of vocoder shows progression, but the album stays true to Savoy's enormous sound.
4. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Columbia) Although it isn't the Daft Punk of old, the highly anticipated album proved once again that the French act can steer a genre in whatever direction it wants. "Get Lucky," featuring Pharrell Williams, was the most remixed track by producers all over the world. Enlisting pioneers Giorgio Moroder and musician Nile Rodgers, Daft Punk secured its place in the modern disco evolution.
3. Avicii - True (PRMD Music / Universal Island) Swedish producer Tim Bergling stepped out of his shell on this one. On the strength of the wildly successful single "Wake Me Up," which features the soulful vocals of Aloe Blacc, Bergling has gone from a rave go-to straight to garnering massive mainstream acclaim. This album covers a spectrum of genres with catchy acoustic guitars, jazzy drum beats and that ever-present dance thump that keeps moving.
2. Disclosure - Settle (Island Records) Proving that EDM can hold its own in the mainstream world, Disclosure's debut full length album struck chords similar to the way Daft Punk's "Homework" did in 1997. With hit singles "Latch," "White Noise," and "When a Fire Starts to Burn," Disclosure went from playing intimate venues to headlining the biggest festivals in the world.
1. Break Science - 7 Bridges (Pretty Lights Music) Adam Deitch is a fucking monster on a drum kit, and partnered with Borahm Lee, the two created an album that mixes rock and roll, electronica and hip hop all into one groovy frappe. With Deitch commanding respect on the drums, Lee builds beats around the percussion, and the two ended up with fluid album where each track balances one another.