2013 Best New Album Nominees: Who Grabs The Newbie?

There’s something for everyone in our Best New Album of 2013 Newbie Awards nominees. Frankly, the diversity of our writers’ musical tastes made this category pretty wide open and it was thus hard to narrow the list down to a manageable number. We anticipate the final voting margin to be this close.  

Our six well-deserved nominees (in alphabetical order):  



It was a long time coming, but hip-hop artist Danny Brown finally released his album, Old, this fall on Fool’s Gold Records…the follow-up to his acclaimed 2011 LP, XXX.  The Detroit native actively tweeted the record’s progress to his loyal followers and the final product features appearances from A-list guests including A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX. 

At just 19, Earl Sweatshirt has been a fixture in the L.A. hip-hop scene for some time.  We did a Featured Artist profile on him in April, noting how he was discovered by Odd Future impresario Tyler, The Creator when he was just 15.  Born Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, the rising star appeared on fellow OF member Frank Ocean’s Grammy Award-winning (and BestNewBands.com 2012 Newbie Awards winning) channel Orange album.  We caught Earl live in October, promoting his debut album, Doris (on Tan Cressida/Columbia), and our reviewer raved: “It takes a big presence to fill (Seattle’s The Neptune) and make the hollow theater intimate.”

Los Angeles-based indie band Foxygen have been around for several years—the co-founders, Jonathan Rado and Sam Chance are only in their early ‘20s—but really only broke through in 2013, the result of touring and the release of their second album, We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic (on Jagjaguwar Records).  The album title’s lofty expectations notwithstanding, our reviewer noted their “fascination and love for the music of yesteryear.”  We caught the garage rockers’ energetic live show this summer when they “charged their way through a carousel of 60’s California psychedelic pop.”

Our writers were early fans of Los Angeles-based sisters Este, Danielle and Alana of trio Haim, touting their “infectious brand of pop” last January in “4 Artists To Watch In 2013.”  Since then, they’ve toured the world on a full swing of headlining dates and festivals pre-promoting their debut album, Days Are Gone, released late September on Columbia.  Our Featured Artist profile noted “their luscious brand of alternative-meets new wave-meets sunny, California pop” and that certainly describes their popular “Don’t Save Me,” which was released last year and included on their debut LP.

OK, what is it about 19-year-old phenoms this year?  England’s Jake Bugg has made a splash in 2013 promoting his late ’12 self-titled debut on Mercury.  We saw his recent sold-out gig at L.A.’s Fonda Theatre where certain female members of the audience urged him to, well, undress.  Our reviewer called him “the real deal” offering “simple rock, simple melodies, stunning lyrics, pitch perfect, expertly driven vocals.”  Bugg was the subject of a Featured Artist profile last April, which noted the guitarist “has the right mix of persona, stage show and songs.”

If you haven’t yet heard of Brooklyn’s Lucius, it might be because the indie pop band only formed last year. Or perhaps because their debut LP, Wildewoman, on Mom + Pop Music, was released in mid-October, barely making our eligibility cutoff date.  Two female lead vocalists, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, front the quintet and they’ve been packing houses wherever they’ve played and getting spots on numerous “band to watch” lists.  Our reviewer caught an “amazing” hometown show in September and raved about the “sheer vocal strength” of the two singers.  Lucius is currently in Europe and then returns to the US for extensive club dates through February.

This year, we’re encouraging our readers to vote online for their favorite nominee in each category.  You’ll find the simple voting form on each of the four category pages:

See our nominees for Best New Band and vote for your favorite HERE

See our nominees for Best New Male Artist and vote for your favorite HERE

See our nominees for Best New Female Artist and vote for your favorite HERE

Eligibility was based on artists’ recording and touring activity from November 1, 2012 – October 31, 2013.  Voting ends Friday, December 6.  The winners will be announced the following week.