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April 24, 2014

Top 13 Albums of 2013

JavinTop13

Originally for Sisipillé

        A multitude of LPs (long plays) and EPs (extended plays) have been released this year in a variety of genres. Popular trends in music have been electronic modern day beats with retro undertones and influences. In no specific order I have amassed the top thirteen albums of 2013.

1) Kurt Vile – “Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze”

     “Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze” is a testament Kurt Vile’s songwriting abilities and overall genius music skills. Though lengthy for a single LP, Vile captures the listener’s ear from beginning to end. The backing musicians give what is needed and nothing more to each song, all the while Vile’s relaxed voice woos you. Perfect for homework or intense music appreciation.

        Must Hear Tracks: “Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze,” ”Shame Chamber,” and “Goldtone”

2) Portugal. The Man – “Evil Friends”

        Politically poignant with a perfect pop vibe, “Evil Friends,” is a work of art. Every song flows and speaks to the listener. It excels in musical ability, powerful lyrics, and impressive vocals. The local band is beyond talented, they’re on their international tour right now.

Must Hear Tracks: “Plastic Soldiers,” “Evil Friends,” and “Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue”

3) My Bloody Valentine – “m b v”

        My Bloody Valentine’s first LP in 23 years, “m b v” follows their nineties classic, “Loveless.” It is as confident, beautiful, and masterfully composed as its predecessor. “ m b v” has the original confident air of My Bloody Valentine, that is intoxicatingly delivered in a wall of sound. A remarkable album from a stunning shoegaze band.

        Must Hear Tracks: “she found now,” “new you,” and “only tomorrow”

4) Foals – “Holy Fire”

        It is hard to imagine a stadium large enough to contain some of the songs of “Holy Fire.” Foals have taken the best of their past albums and have created something so gut wrenching and emotive, one can not stop listening. Tumbling rock n’ roll and wispy experimental influences have come together to evict an emotional response from the listener.

        Must Hear Tracks: “Inhaler,” “Bad Habit,” and “Out of The Woods”

5) Savages – “Silence Yourself”

        Armed with the pixie cut of Dolores O’Riordan and the voice of Siouxsie Sioux, Jehnny Beth leads post punk band Savages. One of the most commanding albums of the year, “Silence yourself” is lyrically confrontational and musically powerful, and is nothing but a statement.

        Must Hear Tracks: “Shut Up,” “Husbands,” and “I Am Here”

6) Pixies -”EP1”

The Pixies broke up in 2002, only to recently reunite without bassist Kim Deal, to create the four track EP, “EP1.” The first two tracks have a more poppy vibe,  but final track “What Goes Boom” sounds like it could fit on “Bossanova.” Musically, Deal’s strung out and steady bass lines and foxy voice is missed; however, the Pixies can honestly do no wrong in my book.

Star Track: “Another Toe In The Ocean”

7) Eminem – “The Marshall Mathers LP2”

      A continuation of Eminem’s 2000 LP,“The Marshall Mathers LP2” is one of the most popular albums of the year, and a must for an Eminem fan. Just as lyrically clever and speedy as his older works; amusing metaphors and startling concepts are used extensively. Yoda makes an appearance on track “Rhyme or Reason.”

        Recommended Tracks: “Bad Guy,” “Rhyme or Reason,” and “Rap God”

8) The National – “Trouble Will Find Me”

        The National is at the top of their game in “Trouble Will Find Me.” A band who stereotypically seeks to explain the more depressing sides of life, while maintaining a delicate and pretty sound. Warning: do not listen to get pumped.

        Recommended Tracks: “I Should Live in Salt,” “Fireproof,” and “Don’t Swallow the Cap”

9) Wild Nothing – “Empty Estate EP”

Wild Nothing has the effect of swimming underwater. Incredibly relaxing and tasteful for electronic music, “Empty Estate EP” is the perfect example of present day culture and music. Wild Nothing explores new concepts for them as a band, hopefully hinting at what is to come within the LP that was insinuated to be released next year. Perfect for weekends  and to zone out to.

Recommended Tracks: “The Body in The Rainfall,” “Ocean Repeating (Big-Eyed Girl),” and “A Dancing Shell.”

10) Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito”

        The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a predictably unpredictable band. Talented in both rock anthems and ballads, “Mosquito,” is a cornucopia of sounds and skill. Ripping guitars, pounding drums, and the occasional synth creates the base for Karen O to present her sweet but powerful vocal abilities. Full of variety, but somehow maintains to keep the structural integrity of a cohesive LP.

        Must Hear Tracks: “Sacrilege,” “Buried Alive (ft. Dr. Octagon),” and “Wedding Song”

11) Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

The most cohesive and polished work of Arcade Fire, “Reflektor” provides a hazy air of nostalgia and excitement. The album is in two pieces, each with dips, valleys, and irrefutably complicated and interesting music.

Recommended Tracks: “Reflektor,” “Afterlife,” and “You Already Know”

12) Run the Jewels – “Run the Jewels”

        Some have said that Run the Jewels have restored their faith in hip hop music. There self-titled record is simultaneously fresh, witty, and gritty. If you are looking for the best rap album of the year, skip Kanye West and look no further than “Run the Jewels.”

        Recommended Tracks: “36” Chain,” “Job Well Done,” and “Get It.”

13) The Dodos – “Carrier”

Influenced by a band member’s death last year, The Dodos have taken their reflective songs and morphed them into a more solaced but darker album. Front man Meric Long is one of the most underrated guitarist of our lifetime. Breaking from his recurring theme of acoustic guitar on previous records, Long almost exclusively uses electric in “Carrier.” The change provides a more steely sound, though maintains a perfect symbiosis with other member Logan Kroeber’s drums. “Carrier” is the most professional and sensitive albums of The Dodos so far.

Must Hear Tracks: “Confidence,” “Substance,” and “The Current”

2013 was an over all solid year for record. Both bands who have been together for the age of time and new, up-and-coming artists have produced and released polished, creative, and captivating albums. Look forward to 2014 and the tunes it will bring, but for now, happy listening.

Honorable Mentions

Strokes – “Comedown Machine”

Local Natives – “Hummingbird”

David Bowie – “The Next Day”

James Blake – “Overgrown”

The Flaming Lips – “The Terror”

Cage the Elephant – “Melophobia”

Surfer Blood – “Pythons”

The xx – “Coexist”

Arctic Monkeys – “AM”

Kvelertak – “Meir”

Phoenix – “Bankrupt!”

The Civil Wars – “The Civil Wars”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Push the Sky Away”

The Growlers – “Hung at Heart”

Bosnian Rainbows – “Bosnian Rainbows”

Patty Griffin – “American Kid”

Meat Puppets – “Rat Farm”

Deafheaven – “Sunbather”

STRFKR – “Miracle Mile”

Justin Timberlake – “The 20/20 Experience”

Youth Lagoon – “Wondrous Bughouse”

MGMT – “MGMT”

Matana Roberts – “Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile”

Daft Punk – “Random Access Memories”

Super Chunk – “I Hate Music”

Ty Segall – “Sleeper”

Okkervil River – “The Silver Gymnasium”

Braids – “Flourish // Perish”

Jake Bugg – “Jake Bugg”

FKA Twigs – “EP2”

Darkside – “Psychic”

Iceage – “You’re Nothing”

Nils Frahm – “Spaces”

 

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Comments
14 Responses to “Top 13 Albums of 2013”
  1. tigerwine says:

    Mike and Pi – since one of you mentioned Celtic Woman so, I’m going to chime in with my favorite current group Celtic Thunder – a wonderful group of young men from Ireland (both north and south) plus one Scot. I wish someone had given me an album by them for Christmas, but, since they didn’t, I’ll just use some of my Christmas money and buy me a couple of them for myself!!! They have so many neat songs, I’ll not post a bunch of links, just go to Google and search for CelticThunder. My favorites are: 7 Drunken Nights, Halleliua,
    All God’s Creatures and Home From The Sea, but every day I find a new one I like better, so try them all.
    Not only can they sing, but eye candy as well as well ENJOY!!

  2. mike from iowa says:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/benghazi-us-consulate-deaths-deadly-mix-of-false-allies-crude-video-20131229-hv72o.html

    Benghazi attack result of anti-Muslim video,not al-Qaeda as wingnuts insist.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    Here’s a remake of the old familiar whine(not by mosquitoes) we pay too much in taxes,boo hoo.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/alaska-trying-to-bring-back-oil-production/

  4. mike from iowa says:

    Thanks Pi. Those were cool. Didn’t understand a word,but figured out the motions. Seals must be tough critters to haul in from the actions of those two gentlemen. :) :) Double like. Gonna be humming Ocean Prayer all day.

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    Ok, Foals’ Inhaler is pretty amazing- kinda weird but pretty neat.
    Other than that, I don’t see anything of interest to me on the list. Dang.
    Any Mudpups see one worth tracking down?

    I loved Blackbird Raum’s A Rat in Thy Dream from this year :-) Makes me laugh
    And Chinoy y Nano Stern doing Chinoy’s Klara. Stunningly beautiful.
    But mostly, even though it is a couple years old, I love the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir’s St Hubert album the bestest and mostest this year.( I’m always a half step behind the times anyway, so what’s a couple years off the Top Albums of the year ?)

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