The 10 Best Albums of 2013... So Far

If you look at dance music, it's always been more of a singles-driven market. The idea of a smash album has always been there, and artists have crafte

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Complex Original

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If you look at dance music, it's always been more of a singles-driven market. The idea of a smash album has always been there, and artists have crafted some of the most compelling longplayers in music history via the electronic realm. Yet with the growth of the iTunes nation, the act of listening to an album straight through is as foreign of an idea to many as buying a CD. Times change. That doesn't stop artists and labels from abandoning the format, and we applaud that.

Sometimes, you need to throw a willing artist into a zone where they concentrate on one project and let it all hang out. Some will just take their 10-12 biggest beats and throw them onto one release, while others truly take their time, compiling a solid picture of where they were at musically. It's a great medium for dance music to showcase why its important, or why you shouldn't be so quick to pigeonhole artists and genres. And in a given year, it can be tough to remember some of the creative, album-length projects that these producers put their time into.

And let's be frank: Once Daft Punk's Random Access Memories drops, we might forget any other projects existed in 2013. DAD doesn't want to do that. So, as we strive to be elephants in this game, let's look back at the 10 best albums released in 2013, so far.

Hospitality Drum & Bass 2013

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Label: Hospital Records

Release Date: January 28, 2013

Hospitality as a night is full of fun, sitting as an important part of the Hospital Records experience. Their Hospitality compilations are a great sample of what you can find at their nights, highlighting huge tracks (like the lead-off, Mampi Swift's "Gangster") and darker, more minimal vibes (from artists like Emperor), showcasing the wide variety of drum & bass sounds that Hospitality provides.

Rene LaVice - Insidious

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Label: Ram Records

Release Date: February 10, 2013

Notable Tracks: "So Inspired to Fail" / "Vicecream"

With so much going on in the Ram Records stable, we're glad that Andy C and company made it a point to push Rene LaVice's debut album out first. It really set the tone for the year within drum & bass, and let people know that quality, forward-thinking sounds are alive and well in this scene.

Dirtybird Players

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Label: dirtybird

Release Date: February 27, 2013 (Part 1) / March 11, 2013 (Part 2)

Notable Tracks: Eats Everything - "The Withywood Walk" / J. Phlip - "Coefficient"

dirtybird has been on such a tear lately, helping many rediscover (or reignite) their love for house with their, well, dirty ways. Artists like Justin Martin, Eats Everything, Catz 'n Dogz, and Shadow Child have all shined bright on Claude von Stroke's imprint, and bringing them all together for this massive project was magical.

Anjunabeats Volume 10

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Label: Anjunabeats

Release Date: March 4, 2013

Notable Tracks: Above & Beyond “Walter White” / Andrew Bayer “England”

From trance to big room, the latest project from Anjunabeats satisfies many. 30 exclusive tracks from some of the freshest talent worldwide, mixed expertly by Above & Beyond over two discs? If you couldn't make it to Ultra or any of the other spots in Miami, you could pop this compilation on and feel like you were there.

Sasha - Involv3r

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Label: Ministry of Sound

Release Date: March 18, 2013

Notable Tracks: Ultraista - "Smalltalk (Sasha Involv3r Remix)" / Sasha - "Shoot You Down"

For 20 years, Sasha's been at the forefront of the dance music scene, and for Involv3r, he compiled something special; part mix-album, part original work, Sasha took the time to create special edits of damn near every tune on this compilation, highlighting how a lot of DJs work. It's not just blending two songs at the same tempo - it can be editing tunes to fit your sound, crafting special tracks to work within a set, and much more. A true piece of art.

Bonobo - The North Borders

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Label: Ninja Tune

Release Date: March 21, 2013

Notable Tracks: "Antenna" / "Cirrus"

Bonobo's one of those producers whose work will always resonate with DAD. He's another producer that tows that line between leftfield sounds that are steeped in that "beats" aesthetic (or whatever it's being called in 2013), but when he throws on some danceable rhythms, we just get lost. You won't be ringing these tracks out at the hottest nightclubs, but if you need something to keep you going during a long trip, or just want to expand your mind with sound, this album should be at the top of your list.

Nu:Logic - What I've Always Waited For

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Label: Hospital Records

Release Date: March 25, 2013

Notable Tracks: "All the Things" / "What I've Always Waited For"

The duo of Nu:Tone and Logistics have been crafting tracks for Hospital for damn near all of their careers, and while we don't know how long this album was being worked on, we're loving the results. If you'd been away from the dnb scene for a while and wanted a good primer, this would be the album we'd recommend.

Dirty South - Speed of Life

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Label: Phazing

Release Date: April 2, 2013

Notable Tracks: "Champions" / "Something Like You"

This album felt like it was a long-time coming for fans of Dirty South, and he definitely made up for the wait with a release that works as well in the club as it does in the comfort of your own home. When its time to party, he kicks out the jams; when its time to mellow out, we brings you down calmly. A project that should bring hope for the future of the EDM scene.

James Blake - Overgrown

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Label: ATLAS / Polydor

Release Date: April 5, 2013

Notable Tracks: "Retrograde" / "Life Round Here"

There's no way of undoing the emotional grip that takes hold when you hear James Blake's "Retrograde" for the first time. The announcement of that single shook the world, and left many mesmerized by its beauty. The question was if he could deliver, and he shattered any notions you had about his next project by delivering a beautiful album in Overgrown.

TOKiMONSTA - Half Shadows

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Label: Ultra Records

Release Date: April 9, 2013

Notable Tracks: "The Force" / "Foolish"

Was anyone else doubly intrigued about TOKiMONSTA's sophomore album when they heard she'd signed with Ultra Records? When we finally got a chance to preview the material, we were equally excited for the fact that she hadn't strayed from the sound that we grew found of. Half Shadows is definitely one to throw on and get lost within.

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