Will I complete this countdown by the end of the year? Perhaps a Top 30 was too ambitious with everything else I've got going on, but there were so many great records I wanted to mention, I didn't want to leave the last ten out. Anyway, here's the second third...
20. John Murry - The Graceless Age
I knew nothing about John Murry before I tripped over The Graceless Age; I know little more now. But it is a lovely record, from the same place as The National or Father John Misty (though not as fun as the latter), with echoes of the Stones and Dylan (particularly on the opener, The Ballad of the Pajama Kid, which is heavily indebted to Knocking On Heaven's Door). Worth a punt...
Top Track - Little Coloured Balloons
19. Suede - Bloodsports
Blimey, who let Suede back in the door? I was happy enough with Brett's solo albums, but this came as a joyous surprise. Like they'd never been away...
Top Track - It Starts And Ends With You
18. Skint & Demoralised - The Bit Between The Teeth
Sadly, this turned out to be the last album under the S&D monicker from Wakefield's greatest beat-poet, Matt Abbott. Let's hope he returns soon in another guise because he's far too engaging a songwriter and storyteller to fade into obscurity. The epic, visceral and heartbreaking opening track - Jarvis Cocker meets Mike Skinner meets Martin Sorcese (!) - is worth the price of admission on its own.
Top Track - Amores Perros
17. The Electric Soft Parade - Idiots
Always good to have the ESP lads back too, and this was possibly their best record yet: a pure blast of summertime indie that reminded me of all the best bits of 1996 with a few lashings of ELO thrown in for good measure. And let's face it, they had me at the album title.
Top Track - Summertime In My Heart
16. The Indelicates - Diseases of England
Considering every previous Indelicates album has made my Top 3 come the end of its release year (and their debut is still my favourite album of the 21st Century), Simon and Julia will probably be disappointed at a Number 16 placing (yeah, like they give a shit). Diseases of England was a fine record by anybody else's standards, but a little too all-over-the-shop to form a cohesive whole (it didn't help that they released it in three chunks due to financial hardship). Still great: just damned by comparisons to its predecessors.
Top Track - Pubes
15. Lloyd Cole - Standards
Lloyd, on the other hand, just keeps on churning them out... and every one's a gem. The record company (Lloyd and his son?) tried to differentiate this one by telling us he'd gone electric and dragged in a full band again. Whatever, it was business as usual... and what a business!
Top Track - Period Piece
14. Thea Gilmore - Regardless
Thea, too, seems incapable of making a bad record. This didn't stray far from her usual playpen, but if it ain't broke...?
Sadly, the glorious Ms. Gilmore (who's guaranteed a place in this countdown any time she releases a record) is the only female artist to make my list this year. I don't know why that is. If you want to recommend a few women I missed hearing in 2013, fill in the box below.
Top Track (well, the only one I can find on youtube) - Love Came Looking For Me
13. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
Might have placed higher if Nick hadn't roped Ray Winstone in for the x-rated Jubilee Street video. That aside, this was his most consistently satisfying records since The Boatman's Call. And The Higgs Boson Blues is the year's scariest song... not just because Nick starts perving over Miley Cyrus halfway through.
Top Track - The Higgs Boson Blues
12. Justin Currie - Lower Reaches
While JC's third solo record doesn't reach the misanthropic heights of his last two, it confirms his position as National Songwriting Treasure. Lower Reaches begins at a funeral and ends at a wedding... and I reckon Justin probably enjoys the former more than the latter. Much as he wishes he wasn't at either.
If we are going to hell
We might as well enjoy the fall...
Top Track - Falsetto
11. Eels - Wonderful, Glorious
If there's a pattern emerging in this countdown, it's that a lot of the artists I loved ten, twenty - even thirty (!) - years ago are still producing great records, and while they might no longer be troubling the charts, they're still giving me a helluva lot of pleasure. Yes, I am officially a middle aged white muso, and most of the records I buy are by the same... although you might still be surprised by a couple of my Top Ten choices. Until then... enjoy this cracker from the latest Eels album. Age does not wither E...
Next week, the Top Ten. Until then, enjoy that Christmas thing, as much as you can. Thanks for reading...