It's that time of year isn't it? When people get excited about adverts, leaves fall from the trees, and Simon Cowell ramps up his annual campaign to troll UK music fans. The prick. We're not too bothered because televisions turn off and radios can change stations. There are so many good things in the world that we won't waste our energy engaging with the bad (The 'unless it's particularly funny' disclaimer goes here).

It seems to me that there are two types of people when it comes to end of year coverage on sites like this one: there's the curious, and then there's the cynical. We welcome you both.

To the curious folk amongst you, I say this:

There comes a point in every year when we have to sit down and think about what to include in our end of year coverage. We get the editorial team together, one of us gets the drinks in, and then we scream and shout and fight each other for hours about what should be included. When we start the process, it's always overwhelming, to look back and realise how much we've ingested over the course of the year.

For the albums list, our writing staff created a longlist of about 100 albums for us to work from. Which definitely helped, but we all have differing tastes, and any one of those 100 records could be your favourite album. That is the beauty of it. Why it matters. A communally agreed list, like all of the lists in our coverage actually, becomes more than just an arbitrary list of things. It becomes an ode to the genetic makeup of us, The 405, as a collective of writers, critics, journalists and artists. It represents us as a team in a way that our individual pieces could not on their own.

Behind everything that we do at The 405 is our love of music. We believe that good music is worth shouting about. That music can change your life for the better. That it matters. I hope that our passion for music, both new and old, shines through in everything that we publish. I hope that our enthusiasm is infectious. That we can inspire you to support the artists that you love. To get out to gigs and galleries and shows. To feel alive. I hope, that as we try to shine a light on all of the good things we see happening, that you seek to do the same. Sharing is caring my Mum always said, and she was right, because we do care. Music is too often seen as a commodity, treated like stocks and shares, like it will somehow be devalued if more people are in on the secret. More often, it has somehow become entwined with the individuals feeling of self worth, like that whole 'knowledge is power' principle that I never understood. What makes it sad is that the same people would agree with me when I say, one of the greatest pleasures in life is hearing a great song for the first time. We want to share these moments. That's what we are about.

I hope that you enjoy all of the music and videos in our roundup of 2013 as much as we do. I hope you enjoy exploring the tracks, mixtapes, EPs and albums that you haven't heard. Each one was fought over and deliberated on at great length. We think that they are all 'worthy' of your time.

To the cynical, I say this:

It'd be real easy to look at these end of year things as an arbitrary click bait ordeal. Same as it'd be real easy to click through, see what we've chosen, judge us and move on to the next site.

With that in mind, we've tried to make something more from our coverage, to make it useful to you. We've tried to make as much of the content of these lists available for you to listen to or watch right away, we know that these days it's much easier to curate the contents of your sphere of interest, that you are the best judge. So we've tried to use this coverage to shine a light on the things that interest us. In the hope that they will interest you.

We decided to use the same format as last year for the albums list, we pay particular attention to the top five albums. Then for every album chosen, we've listed a couple that are similar. So if you only know you like one of the bands, you can use it like a reference document, to check out some more that we think you'll like too. I hope that this will work like a gateway into a scene, that it turns this from a standard list, into something that helps. The related albums aren't limited by a genre tag, sometimes we've linked them by the mood, or their attitude.... and honestly, as we've worked through all this, I've discovered a bunch of great music that I had previously dismissed. I would encourage you to take a good look, in the hope that you do the same. Relax, turn off your scrobbler if you have to.


Yeah me too. Hasn't it been a great year for music? We all say that every year. When we look back in a few years we'll realise it's been the year of the big blockbuster sequel. The massive PR campaigns of Daft Punk and Arcade Fire. The smaller, more cryptic trail, left by Boards Of Canada. Or the non-existent, shock tactics of Bowie and My Bloody Valentine. It has been the year for big headline comebacks and we've tried to cover them all, but under the surface, there has been a number of scenes and sounds producing the most incredible groundbreaking music.

So in between documenting every breath that Kanye has taken, we've tried to focus on the unbelievable amount of amazing new music appearing from everywhere all at once. We've tried to follow up and support the artists in the best way we can, by being honest about their art. I think the lists you are about to look at over the coming weeks, are a genuine reflection of what we are about, of the music that we collectively love and want to champion.

I hope that you can put it to good use.

With love,

Team 405.

P.S. Thanks to our friends over at Urban Ears, we're giving away every model from their collection of headphones (Bagis, Kransen, Medis, Humlan, Plattan, Zinken). Just use the competition form below and we'll pick a winner at random on January 1st 2014. Good luck! (Despite what the rules say, the competition is open for everyone, not just U.S. citizens).