Exclaim!'s 2013 in Lists: Top 10 Underappreciated Albums

Exclaim!'s 2013 in Lists: Top 10 Underappreciated Albums
Roly Porter
Life Cycle of a Massive Star
(Subtext)



Although Porter's roots lie in dubstep, his solo work is characterized by grand gestures and heavily textured fields of malleable sound. This album, his sophomore outing, is undeniably gargantuan in scale; the aftershock should have been felt far and wide. Sadly, the incredible swirling mass of sonic matter was almost entirely swallowed up in a black hole and pretty much ignored. (Bryon Hayes)

Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels
(Fool's Gold)



Underground stalwart El-P and ex-Purple Ribbon All-Star Killer Mike, new partners in crime/rhyme, linked up this year for their speaker-shattering collab project Run The Jewels, which unjustly flew under the radar. Chock full of aggressive bars, El-P's Battlestar Galactica-meets-Bomb Squad production and a tight little guest spot by Big Boi on "Banana Clipper," this album kills. If the album art is any indication, you best tuck your chain in if you ain't feeling this one. (Mark Bozzer)

Sean Nicholas Savage
Other Life
(Arbutus)



Despite its crackling spiritual hearth, Other Life is the sound of homelessness. Rejecting symbolism, self-awareness and masculinity, its low-rent soul grooves and bleeding sincerity belong instead to a brighter future, where unironic self-expression is restored in the public eye as popular art's lifeblood, rather than its enemy. (Jazz Monroe)

Son Lux
Lanterns
(Joyful Noise)



Ryan Lott hit his creative stride on his third album as Son Lux. Lanterns is a surreal chamber hip-hopera, where organic orchestral instrumentation bonds with woozy beats and ethereal tweaks, the gravity of the compositions underscored by the morose poetry of the hypnotically processed vocals. This one deserved Sufjan Stevens-level praise. (Alan Ranta)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
II
(Jagjaguwar)



Despite their signing with stalwart label Jagjaguwar and tours with Grizzly Bear and Foxygen, psych-rock trio Unknown Mortal Orchestra didn't manage to get the attention they deserved for their sophomore record, II. The album features technically impressive musicianship mixed with a playful attitude — the songs are funky and hooky enough to lodge themselves in the listener's ears without being too kitschy. (Matt Bobkin)