Let's state the obvious: 2013 has been a hell of a year for music.

We're only halfway through and there are already more exciting, interesting and addicting records than last year. There's been so much to listen to in the past six months that it was easy to miss something, even if you weren't busy listening to just one album on repeat. Titans of the early-aughts reminded us why they matter. Buzzy, late-aughts indie rockers declared that they're not going anywhere. Bands we thought we'd lost forever smashed our brains with a comeback. Then there was Daft Punk. And then there was Yeezus.

Below, some of the must-hear music we've reviewed so far. Maybe you should just call out sick, stock up on croissants and binge.
(Courtesy )


Kanye West, Yeezus


At the outset, he asks, “How much do I not give a fuck?”

“The answer is that Kanye gives zero fucks and that he gives more fucks than us mortals dare grapple with. He's interested in besting himself and making Art ... More than ever, Kanye is forcing us to examine our reactions to his music ... and this is what art is supposed to do. He got us. Yeezus isn't flawless ... But it makes you think and feel and sounds fantastic in the process. Kanye didn't step off the cliff. He flung himself off and we're running over the edge after him like lemmings.”

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City  

“‘Wisdom's an honor but you'd trade it for youth.' One of the most poignant phrases Ezra Koenig utters on Vampire Weekend's third album is also one that could sum up the entire record ... Koenig's lyrics are still clever and chock-full of literary and strange cultural references. Rostam Batmanglij is still crafting songs that reference nearly every musical tradition between chamber choirs and hip hop ... But this time around, they've managed to sound both more mature and more accessible ... There's a lot of wisdom and youth on Modern Vampires of the City.
Vampire Weekend, "Modern Vampires of the City"
Vampire Weekend, "Modern Vampires of the City" (Courtesy )
Vampire Weekend didn't have to trade one for the other and they made their best record yet.”

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories  

“This is an absurd journey in which two men posing as robots go analog and defy expectations. Some casual Daft Punk fans are expressing disappointment. The word “boring” has been tossed out by those who want it harder, better, faster, stronger, one more time. Letting people down is the pitfall of mystery and hype, but Daft Punk have never shied away from risk ... If you want to think of music as a living organism, Daft Punk has definitely succeeded at creating life on RAM. The attention to detail in every disco groove, click track, vocal alteration and carefully deployed collaboration is fairly astounding. Almost every part feels like it has a purpose — like the album needs it to function.”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito

Mosquito is something between Fever To Tell and It's Blitz!, with an injection of soul. It's as aggressive as it is polished and artistically interesting ... The sound makes sense for a band that's alternatively displayed swagger, sexuality, depression, aggression and a love for a good groove. Mosquito could be the most exciting package for all of those things.”

Deerhunter, Monomania


“Deerhunter's fifth album doesn't make any sharp turns or present many difficult-to-digest moments. It rocks ... The neon sign album art sets the scene for everything that follows. Monomania is what it sounds like when Deerhunter goes to the dirty neighborhood bar.”

More required listening: My Bloody Valentine, mbv; Wavves, Afraid of Heights; Chance the Rapper, Acid Rap; The Strokes, Comedown Machine;