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Best Of 2013: Albums, Concerts, Unsigned Bands To Watch

Best of 2013Every year, Infectious’ staff put together our “Best of” lists to bring you our favorite albums, concerts, and recommend unsigned bands from 2013. This year, we are pleased to bring you our tops, including A Day To Remember, Fall Out Boy, Frank Turner, and more.

Check it out below, and don’t forget to purchase a CD or buy concert tickets from each band’s website. Check out our best live shots of 2013 here.

Best Album

Crown The Empire The Fallout (Deluxe Edition)

Although The Fallout came out in 2012, the band re-released a deluxe edition which featured re-recorded songs from their first EP in December 2013. This album has heart and has been at the top of the AP readers charts for months for a good reason. It offers a balance of heavy breakdowns with anthemic choruses that will have you singing along in no time. (Alisa Halis)

A Day To Remember Common Courtesy

Fans were really able to see who A Day To Remember is with their self-released album that came out in November. The album had a good mix of soft and hard songs to jam out to. (Ashley Altus)

Counterparts  The Difference Between Hell And Home

Words can’t describe my love for counterparts. They have never released an album I didn’t like, but The Difference between Hell and Home is by far the best album they have ever put out. Not only does it sound absolutely perfect, but the lyrics are more heartfelt and meaningful. You can hear the emotion they put into every song on the album. Definitely worth a listen. (Sara Allen)

Sara Bareilles  The Blessed Unrest

I could easily fangirl and say, Don’t Panic! It’s Longer, by All Time Low, but I’ll hold my tongue. 2013 has been a fantastic year album-wise, and it’s difficult to pick the best…but, Sara Bareilles may have cracked the code to an awesome album. As the follow-up to her incredible sophomore album, Kaleidoscope Heart, she released The Blessed Unrest, which has since been nominated for a Grammy as Album Of The Year, and for good reason. With her signature melodic flourish, Sara is a powerhouse both vocally and as a pianist. It’s a bit more adventurous than its predecessor, but allows listeners to see another side of the songwriter. (Liv Simister)

Portugal. The Man Evil Friends 

Portugal. The Man has released a full album every year since 2006, and needless to say, I was anxious for this one to come out after the 2011 release of In The Mountain In The Cloud. And it was definitely worth the wait. Evil Friends was produced by Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Jack White). Every album from this band is so different from the other, a huge reason why I love this band so much. Evil Friends has the high-quality production you’d expect from the famous producer, tantalizing synthesizers and big, driving choruses supported by those beautiful pipes on John Gourley. (Joel Allen Pytynia)

The Wonder Years The Greatest Generation

I’ve been a fan of The Wonder Years for so long  that my Hank the Pigeon sticker is sadly peeling off my car. These guys always release great music, but The Greatest Generation really took me by surprise and blew me away. The way in which they were able to capture a more mature sound while still producing perfect pop-punk was amazing. The album also did a fantastic job of showcasing Soupy’s vocal talents. See the first track “There, There” for an excellent example.  (Samantha Shields)

The Wonder Years The Greatest Generation

This album holds a special place in my heart. 2013 was the year The Wonder Years were brought into my life, and I couldn’t believe how relatable their music ended up being. It’s so refreshing to stumble upon a band that just gets it. They understand the struggles of 20-somethings, and they don’t sugar coat any of it. The Wonder Years show you the raw, ugly side to being adult, and somehow make you feel better about all the stuff you’ve gone through. There are definite moments of clarity throughout this album. You truly feel less alone after listening to it. (Sami Marshall)

Fall Out Boy Save Rock And Roll

I don’t think I need to mention how excited everyone was when Fall Out Boy announced their comeback and the release of their new album. I will say I was wondering what the band was going to re-enter the music world with, as their previous record Folie à Deux was not one of their best creations in my opinion. Save Rock And Roll  however is absolutely brilliant! The band was able to blend a variety of sounds, collaborations (they did a song with Elton John, that’s pretty rad), and those ever well-written Fall Out Boy lyrics into an amazing piece of art. I don’t think we could have asked for a better comeback. (Samantha Shields)

Mayday Parade Monsters in the Closet

Mayday Parade released what is easily their best work in October of 2013. The lyrics are solid and the instrumentals are perfection. The best part of this album was the addition of vocals from bassist Jeremy Lenzo. This album includes songs that have a harder rock feel to them, as well as classic pop-rock tunes and the ever so popular sing-a-long ballads that Mayday Parade does so fantastically. If there’s one thing Mayday Parade knows how to do, it’s make an album that satisfies. (Sami Marshall)

The Maine Forever Halloween

After listening to this album in its entirety one time, I was shocked by the direction The Maine has taken. The album opens with an upbeat, pop-rock song, which does anything but foreshadow what is yet to come. Many of the songs have a darker, more sinister, if you will, feel to them. To listen to their older material, then transition to Forever Halloween, the evolution is almost unbelievable. You no longer get the band of boys with punk rock hair singing about love and all that sappy junk. What you have now is a group of men who have experienced heartbreak and sadness, and have essentially transitioned into a more grown up style of music. For those fans who are close in age with the group, like myself, it’s comforting to have music that gets you and understands the places you are at in your life at this very moment. (Sami Marshall)

I The Mighty  Satori

On their debut full length, I The Mighty explores the world of post-hardcore/alternative rock with an innovative approach. Satori spends 51 minutes combining beautiful melodies and raw emotion, with the occasional time signature change that sounds absolutely seamless. Blake Dahlinger (drums) and Chris Hinkley (bass) hold down a strong rhythm section and create the perfect canvas for vocalist Brent Walsh and his magnificent range to croon over. Ian Pedigo (lead guitar) adds intricate riffs to finalize what is a catchy, introspective, honest, and incredibly impressive debut release. (Jason Cox)

Balance and Composure The Things We Think We’re Missing

As a big fan of Balance and Composure’s debut full length (Separation), I was very unsure of how they could top such an impressive release. However, B&C proved to be immune to the sophomore slump and released their best record to date. Spending two weeks in a cabin away from civilization resulted in The Things We Think We’re Missing, a cohesive record from start to finish. This record introduced a very heavy grunge influence to their already unique sound. Simply put, this record sounds massive. If you are looking for a guitar-driven record that will make you bang your head incessantly, this one is for you. (Jason Cox)

Frank Turner Tape Deck Heart

I really can’t say enough positive things about Frank Turner. By the time Tape Deck Heart came out I was just beginning to really dig into Turner’s discography—yet I’d been playing his tracks on repeat for about a year. When his latest album finally came out and I had the opportunity to review, I was beside myself. 8 months after its release, Tape Deck Heart is still one of my most played albums. (Angela Mastrogiacomo)

Best Live Show

Fall Out Boy  The Studio at Webster Hall, NYC

Who would have thought Fall Out Boy would be playing shows in 2013? After a four year hiatus what more could a die hard fan ask for than a string of intimate shows. Seeing them rock a 300 capacity venue after announcing they were officially back, was mind blowing to say the least. From classics to new songs to b-sides, the room felt alive with an undeniable energy. (Alisa Halis)

Twenty One Pilots

Their set had tons of crowd interaction including bringing out a drum set that the crowd held up. This band really knows how to put on a show and their energy brings the entire room together. (Ashley Altus)

Fall Out Boy Save Rock And Roll Tour

In June, I was lucky enough to see Fall Out Boy live, after years of being a fan (and about nine years of wanting to see them live). The performance was FANTASTIC, and everything I’d ever hoped it would be. The lighting, the music, the crowd—all of it was incredible, including the openers: New Politics. Their lead singer can pop it and lock it like a pro! (Liv Simister)

Joyce Manor  Sinclair Cambridge, MA

This was a very difficult decision for me regarding the fact I’ve had the opportunity to see all of my favorite bands this year, but Joyce Manor knows how to put on a spectacular show. Although the venue was not too big in size it was packed full of dedicated fans. Joyce Manor really connected with the fans as did the other bands that played that night. In the end the show was filled with good vibes and stage dives. (Sara Allen)

Local Natives

Being at a Local Natives show is an unreal experience.  And even with their godly fantastic recordings, their live performance reigns supreme (their manager Phil Costello even admitted it).  After finishing their US/Europe tour this year, they’ll be headlining for Kings of Leon in 2014 so go and see them live in action.  (Courtney Nguyen)

Minus The Bear  The Bluebird, Bloomington, IN

I got up close and personal for it. Jake Snider and Dave Knudson’s pedal rigs themselves were enough to blow me away. They had us loving every second of it, and I’d say a more-than-average number of dancers were present than the usual MTB show. I also had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Jake after the show outside the bar. This one goes down in the books. (Joel Allen Pytynia)

The Color Morale/We Came As Romans  Tracing Back Roots Tour @ House Of Blues Chicago

Since these guys were on the same tour I had to include them both. This was my first time seeing The Color Morale, and although I loved their music beforehand, I wasn’t at all prepared for how phenomenal their live show would be. Not only did they have fantastic stage presence and sound great, I can truly say I have never once felt more inspired after watching a band. The amount of emotion those guys put into their music. Also, vocalist Garret Rapp is such an inspiration himself, and if you aren’t sure how I sincerely urge you to check it out. We Came As Romans was just as wonderful. I can’t tell you the number of times both bands stopped to thank the fans and to mention that life can really suck sometimes, but no matter how bad things get, they’re always going to get better. Neither of these bands use the word “hope” as a marketing  tactic. They gladly share their stories and struggles on stage (and off stage) with fans, and truly hope their words help. It’s evident that hope isn’t a moneymaker, for them it’s a real thing. Honestly this show changed my life.  (Samantha Shields)

Brighten, This Century, A Rocket To The Moon, and The Maine 8123 Tour, Jacksonville, Florida

This tour was the last tour for A Rocket To The Moon in the States. It was so bittersweet to see a band that you have admired most of your teen years and early 20s disband, but give it a last run for their fans. It was easily the best performance I have ever seen them give. For the final number of the night, all the bands on the tour came out on stage and sang The Maine’s song “We’ll All Be…” It was the most perfect moment. Instant tear jerker. (Sami Marshall)

Cartel The Glamour Kills Tour, Orlando, Florida

Orlando was one of the last dates on the 2013 Glamour Kills Tour, which also featured Mayday Parade, Man Overboard, and Stages & Stereos. But the standout band on that date of the tour was Cartel. This is a band that you should really be ashamed of yourself for if you have never seen them live. They have been in the business for so long and have so much class that other bands should really take notice. They know how to perform and know how to entertain a crowd of people. This particular night, they not only showed how skilled they are, they ultimately stunned an entire venue of people. Their performance of “The Minstrel’s Prayer” stopped everyone dead in their tracks. The whole venue went quiet and you could hear Will Pugh’s voice echoing throughout the room. It was a beautiful moment and I can’t even begin to describe how honored I am to have witnessed it. (Sami Marshall)

Underoath  The Palladium (Worcester, MA)

The metal/post-hardcore scene lost a premier powerhouse this year with the breakup of Underoath, but not before a few extremely memorable shows around the country. Playing songs that spanned a large majority of the band’s career, Underoath proved why they were a staple on many high profile tours over the past few years. Farewell, Underoath. You will be missed dearly. (Jason Cox)

Frank Turner, Northampton, MA

I know I kind of, sort of, already gushed about Frank Turner up in the “best albums” section, but I mean, the man is consistent!  Plus, I think it’s safe to say that among most music lovers, one of the coolest things to hear is that you’ve converted a friend or loved one to becoming a fan of your favorite band. Thus was the case with Frank Turner’s Northampton date earlier this year. Spewing raw energy, talent, passion, and undeniable audience connection, there was no doubt in my mind by the end of the night that it was one of the best shows I’d ever been to. But when I heard a loved one who was previously unfamiliar with Turner’s work utter those same words—I was smitten.

Marina and the Diamonds, Boston Calling

One of my favorite things about getting to a show early is that there’s always that possibility that you’re about to stumble onto your new favorite band. After all, that’s how Infectious was born. When I happened to arrive early to Boston Calling’s headlining set this past May, that’s exactly what happened. As I wandered into City Hall Plaza and towards the stages, I was suddenly struck by glitter, poise, massive  cheers, and honestly, one of the strongest, yet softest,  female voices I’ve heard in a while. I ended up staying at that stage for the full set, and although I caught the re-play on Youtube the next day, it wasn’t the same. There’s something to be said for a live performance capturing you si unsuspectingly like that. (Angela Mastrogiacomo)

Unsigned Artists To Watch In 2014

Attention Thieves (LIYL: You Me At Six, The Used)

Attention music lovers! Attention Thieves is an exciting new British band that will surely grow in popularity in 2014. They offer a rock sound with unique vocals that range from clean singing to powerful growls. (Alisa Halis)



Old Gray (LIYL: La Dispute or American Football)

Oh man, Old Gray is definitely a band you should look out for in 2014. They have such a unique sound that just draws a listener in. Not only do they make good music but each member in the band has an amazing personality. To add to their appeal, Old Gray is a very hardworking band. Head over to their bandcamp and give them a listen. You won’t regret it.  (Sara Allen)


Cape Mandala (LIYL Radiohead, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective)

Full of crunchy melodies and tender indie-rock lyrics, Cape Mandala recently debuted their EP Rotunda Days. This southern California-based band emanates raw feelings from hazy beach days to late-night mischief. Let the “dream cycle begin.” (Courtney Nguyen)

States (Listen If You Like: Lydia, Hey Monday, Arkells, etc.)

Yay for Hometown Heroes! States is an amazing indie-alternative five-piece that are honestly impossible to resist. The female-fronted band packs a punch with poetic lyrics, accompanied by beautiful melodies and harmonies, and instrumentals to die for. “I Hope You Stay Gone” may be one of the ultimate break-up/“’eff you” tracks (just sayin’). If you like music that makes you want to sway and sing along as loud as possible, or even just lead you on a lonesome (but not lonely) drive, States is it. I honestly cannot believe they aren’t signed! (Liv Simister)


Sun Club (LIYL: Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Morning Teleportation)

These guys are out of Baltimore and play a genre they describe as strawberry-indie-fusion-pop. We brought them in to play a show in Bloomington, and they are such a fun band to see live. Their high energy on stage reflects their upbeat, dance-happy music. In addition to that, they are one of the nicest, goofiest bands I’ve ever met and worked with. (Joel Allen Pytynia)


Real Friends (LIYL: Citizen, The Wonder Years)

Real Friends. Real Friends. Real Friends. I can’t say it enough! Beautiful lyrics, songs you can listen to over and over without ever getting bored. They’re interestingly enough a band I like to listen to when I’m feeling down, or feeling really happy. I can’t say too many of those exist.
You can catch Real Friends on tour with The Wonder Years starting in 2014. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Check out “Late Nights In My Car” off of the band’s Put Yourself Back Together EP:


Stages and Stereos (LIYL Mayday Parade, The Killers)

 I guess you could say I am little biased when it comes to Stages & Stereos. They are good friends of mine, but that’s not why I think readers should be on the watch for them in 2014. They put out two astounding EPs in 2013 and amazed concert-goers during the Glamour Kills Tour. They were the hardest working group of individuals in 2013 and impressed me beyond belief this year. 2014 is going to be their year, mark my words. (Sami Marshall)


Paper States (LIYL Stages & Stereos, A Rocket to The Moon)

I had only been listening to Paper States for one day before they were crashing on my couch while on tour with Stages & Stereos and Truth or Consequence. Not only are they some of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life, they are also some of the most talented as well. When I found out lead vocalist Ryan Stack was only 22 years old, and guitarist James Wolff was only 20, my jaw nearly hit the floor. The talent possessed by these two, both vocally and instrumentally, is beyond their years. They put out a phenomenal EP in December of 2012, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for them. (Sami Marshall)


PVRIS (LIYL: Saosin, Conditions)

This alt-rock trio from Lowell, MA is quickly taking the scene by storm after releasing an incredibly impressive EP in March. The combination of infectious melodies and pure emotion (courtesy of frontwoman Lynn Gunn and her raw meets beautifully delicate voice) are forming their own niche in a stale scene. Performing at both the Massachusetts and Connecticut dates of Warped Tour for the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, PVRIS emerged as one of the four nationwide finalists (they will be competing for the grand prize in California in early 2013). After completing their first U.S. tour in support of A Skylit Drive and For All Those Sleeping, PVRIS has no plans of slowing down. Be on the look out for their debut full length coming out in 2014. (Jason Cox)

PVRIS – “The Heartless” Music Video


Exiting The Fall (LIYL: August Burns Red, Life In Your Way)

I had been getting very bored with the large majority of metal-based music over the past year. However, Exiting The Fall’s debut full length Windchaser completely cured my distaste of the scene and won a consistent spot in my daily playlists. Combining the best elements of metal and hardcore, ETF has created an extremely unique sound that is hard to find anywhere else. Driven by inspiring faith-based lyrics, deafening screams, emotive clean vocals, melodic and ambient guitar riffs, and powerful drumming, this hard-working band has a bright future in store. (Jason Cox)

“Windchaser” Lyric Video

Born Ruffians (LIYL: Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend)

There’s something seriously catchy and intriguing about Born Ruffians. Their sound is the kind of ragged, rough around the edges, slightly unpredictable sound that one might instinctually turn away from. And yet, I simply can’t turn away—and apparently I’m not alone. Vocalist Luke Lalonde’s signature vocals alongside those insanely catchy choruses makes for one memorable act.


Plus, they participated in this little gem:


Fritz Montana (LIYL: Black Keys, The Strokes, Jack White)

A while back Fritz Montana took over Infectious’ Twitter while they opened for bands such as Kings of Leon, Vampire Weekend, Queens of the Stone Age, AFI, Arctic Monkeys and Capital Cities after they won a spot on the show via 105’s Not So Silent Night—and for good reason. With a bluesy rock vibe that brings to mind the Black Keys, and The Strokes, Fritz Montana are without a doubt a band to watch in the new year.


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Angela Mastrogiacomo

Founder of Infectious Magazine & Muddy Paw Public Relations. Lover of passion, ice cream, and books.

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