(End of the Year Lists) My Top 15 and other notables
So I sat down and listened to about 40 new albums this year– just about enough to barely qualify as a music journalist. Yes, I know, I should have listened to enough new music to make a top 50. When it comes to music I am picky to the point of full-on autism though (though far less than when I was younger), I’ll freely admit, so I’m not sure attempting a Top 50 would have worked out well anyway. Hopefully next year I will listen to more new music all the same. Here is my list of my top 15 albums of the year, followed by some honorable mentions, then a list of albums I will probably be re-listening to. Now granted, the albums listed in this post are not ALL the 2013 albums I’ve listened to. And there are honestly about 10 or so albums from 2013 that I still haven’t listened to yet that I probably should have. I’ve been scrambling at the last minute to listen to a few more important albums from this year, hence why this post is being published so late. I will post the rest of my listening log for albums released in 2013 in a few days (I’ve already been writing it down in a journal, might as well post it here too). Most of the albums in my top 15 have already been reviewed on this blog– for some of those I have not, I have briefly commented where I wanted to. Hope you enjoy this, and happy new year!
1. Julia Holter– Loud City Song
2. Föllakzoid– II
3. The Necks– Open
4. Cass Mccombs– Big Wheel and Others
I didn’t even bother trying to review this massive roadtrip of an album. It’s generally a waste of time to expend a lot of effort trying to review songwriters you already love. You really ought to just be enjoying yourself and trying to pick up the lyrics. Like, fuck…stop being a hipster and genuinely enjoy it for christ’s sake.
5. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds– Push the sky away
6. Federico Durand– El Idioma de las Luciernagas
7. Celer– Weak Ends
8. Grumbling Fur– Glynnaestra
9. Ulaan Passerine– Ulaan Passerine
Steven R. Smith is someone whose music doesn’t always connect with me. However, I’ll always be a loyal fan, as I consider his albums with Mirza to be absolutely fucking genius. His new project Ulaan Passerine is challenging but melodic and deserves a respectful nod for a higher level of compositional excellence alone. Time willing, I’ll revisit parts of this album again and again.
10. Destruction Unit– Deep Trip
This went hard. Seriously, it’s good shit. Savage and uncompromising, but with more than a few earworms. Out of this whole psychedelic punk rock scene that’s been dominating the hip youth culture of our strange and sordid times for some time, Destruction Unit deserves recognition as one of the best of the best. Also, I’ll just take a moment to note that Sacred Bones Records have an absolutely mind-blowing roster right now. Just about everything they’ve been putting out has been either fire or noticeably good.
11. The Dead C- Armed Courage
12. Arcade Fire– Reflektor
“Normal Person” says it all really. For real, Arcade Fire are the only thing in modern music that does a good job continuing the crossover art rock of the eighties that our parents bequeathed us. This is a damn good record– sexy, sincere, and magisterial in that distinctive Arcade Fire way.
13. James Holden– The Inheritors
14. Boards of Canada– Tomorrow’s Harvest
Both Boards of Canada and Autechre stepped back into the limelight this year. So this new Boards album isn’t up to par with their best work…so what? Boards of Canada were one of the first electronic music acts I got interested in. I was bound to find a way to love this record. “Nothing is Real” and “Reach for the Dead” deliver.
15. Danny Brown– Old
Polvo- Siberia, White Manna- Dune Worship, Chelsea Wolfe- Pain is Beauty, Nihls Frahm- Spaces, Keiji Haino/Jim O’Rourke/Oren Ambarchi- Now While It’s Still Warm Let us Pour in all the Mystery, Zs– Grain, Kwaidan- Make all the Hell of Dark Metal Bright, Weather Exposed- Ring of Bone, Charles Bradley- Victim of Love
Albums I will probably revisit at some point (for various reasons):
Tim Hecker- Virgins, Autechre- Exai, William Basinski- Nocturnes, Broadcast- Berberian Sound System, Lumerians- The High Frontier, Plankton Wat- Drifter’s Temple, Jon Hopkins- Immunity, Eleanor Friedberger- Personal Record, My Bloody Valentine- m b v, Main- Ablation, Fire! Orchestra- Exit!, Barn Owl- V, Grouper- The Man Who Died in his Boat, Glenn Jones- My Garden State, The Holydrug Couple- Noctuary, Bardo Pond- Peace on Venus, Ashley Paul- Line the Clouds, Pere Ubu- The Lady from Shanghai, Janelle Monáe- The Electric Lady, These New Puritans– Field of Reeds, Eluvium- Nightmare Ending, Candy Claws- Ceres and Calypso in the Deep time, Date Palms– The Dusted Sessions