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Re: Best of 2013

Best of 2013
January 01, 2014 04:16AM
An extremely busy year in indie music and keeping up meant (for me anyway) much exclusion for other media. Busiest I can remember. But fookin 'ell rewards were thick, with the unanticipated rollouts of career redefining statements from MBV & Bowie (a tactic then used by Beyoncé); chunky offerings by Nick Cave, Kurt Vile, BRMC, No Age, Los Campesinos, Arctic Monkeys, YLT, Waxahatchee, Ty Segall, Lee Ranaldo, Thee Oh Sees, GBV (OK, not news per se), Deerhunter and dozens more. And there were an inordinate number of surprising debuts like Speedy Ortiz, Chvrches, Pity Sex, Spook School, Savages, and Perfect Pussy. I'm not sure if the speed of music culture is detrimental but it's not like there are choices. Plus, there are 100 million more people in the US than there were in the eighties and, one assumes, more musicians, more listeners. Will music become more of a cottage industry?

The passing of Lou Reed clarified his position as a pan-genre touchstone. There was chestbutting from whoever calls themselves Black Flag, obliging Kanye nonsense (how did Morrissey suddenly become the obsession of utterance cults?), Pixies employment programs ("Bruce!? Mind if we call you Kim?"), and a mainstream that offered decent titles like Andrew WK, Vampire Weekend, QotSA and Arcade Fire; resurgence of rawk, metal; more vinyl (mbv is, incredibly, analog through to vinyl); and dozens of garage kids exploded off Soundcloud and onto...cassette! And crazier than your bigoted, stasis holiday-relatives, there were tons of old-gods-done-good this year, ex.>
Motorhead slammed out their best in 20 years
Throwing Muses returned for none less than their magnum opus
Same from Grant Hart
Neko Case gave her grandest, most pathos-infused statement
Bad Religion gave one of their most varied and intense
Same for returners House of Love and Richard Thompson
Bowie offered his best since Outside, if not Scary Monsters
and Macca his best since Venus & Mars, if not Band on the Run.
Newly elder statesmen'd Sebadoh and Superchunk made career-definers
Stooges pushed yr buttons
Neutral Milk toured; as did Breeders
etc.
A renascence from the (not actually) dormant.

Just as 2012 was the year of GangNam-Stall (Psy had a second one as good as the first but apparently no marketing push?), 2013 was the year of Blurred Lines, a classically dumbed-down hit pop song (corroborated> 10 seconds of music in a presumptively endless loop, seemingly innocuous at first exposure, leavening disinterest on the 2nd, anger on the 50th). But the year in mainstream belonged to Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Bruno Mars and...Mumford and Sons. Very little movement from past years! (The sales picture may be worth noting: Kanye didn't actually make top 20 in sales and Beyoncé outsold it within hours). The commercial aspect of 2013 is interesting, though, because labels (and artists) found big ways to roll out product; to tool rather than be tooled. Tough to do as fast as things change, e.g. teens in 2013 thinking Facebook stench but guitar idols dank again(1*). The internet as a distribution tool is finally pushing labels into taking more chances.

Yet, in the underground, a completely different story of movement and changes. Along with the relative oddity of all the merch tables with stacked cassettes, many life-altering albums were released; enough that it was all but a fool's gimmick to cull some categories to ten. The underground did a lot of breathing - a 2010s rennaissance, prima facie. Congruously there were plenty of non-Kanye distractions, such as the media's resurrection and attempted meme-ing of 2005's dance move, twerking (which few actually do, and which mainstream media incorrectly attributed to kinesis as off-target as river dancing). Miley distracted to the point that we all know she's the biggest thang, yet we levy our niece to hear the actual songs. And good for her (Miley. OK, your niece, too); we all benefit from the resurrection of the pop star. Good times, 2013. Music comin' oucha ass.

-- 10 Best Albums --
Bad Religion - True North
Courtney Barnett - A Sea of Split Peas
Besnard Lakes - Until in Excess Imperceptible UFO
Best Coast - Fade Away
Bowie - The Next Day
Ex Cops - True Hallucinations
My Bloody Valentine - mbv
Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
Radar Bros - 8
Wavves - Afraid of Heights


-- 10 Thank the Gods --
Fall - Re-Mit
House of Love - She Paints Words in Red
Iggy & Stooges - Ready to Die
McCartney - N E W
Meat Puppets - Rat Farm
Sebadoh - Defend Yourself
Superchunk - I Hate Music
Thermals - Desperate Ground
Transplants - In a Warzone
Yo La Tengo - Fade


-- 30 Best Singles/Other Artists/Must-Hear Tracks --
Aye Nako - Cut it Off
Beach - Send Them Away
Bleeding Rainbow - Waking Dream
Blitzen Trapper - Ever Loved Once
Nick Cave - Jubilee Street
Caveman - Never Want to Know
Cayucas - Cayucos
Mikal Cronin - Weight
Eels - On the Ropes
Elf Power - Total Annihilation
Future of the Left - The Male Gaze
History of Apple Pie - Do it Wrong
Robyn Hitchcock - Be Still
Peter Holsapple - Laugh it Up
Jagwar Ma - Come Save Me
Love Language - Golden Age
Johnny Marr - New Town Velocity
Merchandise - Anxiety's Door
Ministry - Fairly Unbalanced
National - Graceless
No Age - C'mon, Stimmung
Raspberry Bulbs - When a Lie Becomes the Truth
Smith Westerns - Varsity
So So Glos - Son of an American
Throwing Muses - Slippershell
Torres - Honey
Dean Wareham - The Ticking is the Bomb
Wire - Love Bends
Wooden Shjips - Back to the Land
Youth Lagoon - Dropla


-- 5 Best EPs --
Fall - Remainderer
Gibby w/Jack White - Paul's Not Home
No Joy - Pastel & Pass Out
Pixies - 1
'Mats - Songs for Slim


-- Best Singer/Songwriter (Female) --
Neko Case - The Worse Things Get the Harder I Fight the More I Love You
---runner up:
Marnie Stern - The Chronicles


-- Best Singer/Songwriter (Male)(*2) --
Richard Thompson - Electric


-- The 10 Must-See Videos --
Beach House - Wishes
Bowie - Where Are We Now?
Duck Sauce - It's You
Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone (channels)
Hanni El Khatib - Family
Dillon Francis - Without You
Phoenix - Trying to Be Cool
Superchunk - Void
YLT - Is That Enough
YLT - Ohm


-- Best Late Night Distant Radio Track --
Poliça - Chain My Name


-- Best Starbucks/NPR --
Costello & Roots - Wise Up Ghost


-- Best Unexpected Gift --
Bowie
MBV
Macca
(hell, all 3 of 'em)


-- Best Americana --
Bill Callahan - Dream River


-- Most Ironic Dissapointed Expectations --
Weekend - Jinx


-- Best Holiday Album --
Bad Religion - Christmas Songs (*3)


-- Best Jam Band Album --
White Denim - Corsicana Lemonade


-- Best New Band --
History of Apple Pie


-- Best Debut Album --
Pity Sex - Feast of Love


-- Best Obscurity --
Aye Nako - Unleash Yourself


-- Most Potential --
Bored Nothing


-- Slow Sigh of the Jumping Shark --
Flaming Lips - The Terror


-- Sophomore Slump Award --
Beady Eye - BE


-- Sophomore Anti-slump --
Jake Bugg - Shangri La


-- Most Underrated --
Radar Bros
(few today have the patience for albums that require 3 or 4 repeats unless the initials "A.F."are on the spine - or a jesus reference)
---runner up:
Bowie - The Next Day
(accolades, sure; also given ageist write-off from many outlets)


-- Most Overrated --
Kanye


-- Best Dark Metal (not that I slogged through enough to really judge and anyway everybody is calling this death metal when it's really screamgaze; way more Fucked Up than Pitbludgeon Pussheim) --
Deafheaven - Sunbather


-- Best Metal (again, few reference points, but trust me) --
Kvelertak - Meir


-- Best Reissue --
Mountain Goats - All Hail West Texas Bonus


-- Most Fun to Hype --
Candy Claws - Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time


-- Best to Piss Off Neighbors or Landlord --
Fins - s/t
(track pick = "Wander")


-- Best Stoner --
White Fence - Cyclops Reap


-- Best Hardcore/Old School Emo --
Modern Life is War - Fever Hunting


-- Best Europop --
Phoenix - Ban Krupt!


-- Best Mainstream Rock/Power-pop Song --
Jake Bugg - What Doesn't Kill You


-- Best Archive Box --
Dead - May 77


-- Best New Singer/Songwriter --
Lorde


-- Least Discernible Influences --
Blanche Blanche Blanche - Papas Proof


-- Most Fun to Namedrop --
Potty Mouth - Hell Bent
(track pick = "Rusted Shut")


-- Best Live --
Radar Bros


-- Best New TV --
Drunk History
---runner up:
Les Revenants


--Best Series, TV --
BB


-- Biggest Fan Indulgence --
Rush - Vapor Trails Remixed


-- Most Indulging Fans --
Reflektor is a song that finally and accurately addresses the inflated schism between the increasingly proletariat masses and the crass commercialism of the corporatization of broadcast media as delineated by the interaction between the spiritual self and the intellectual self while simlutaneously embracing and denouncing the depersonalisation of the current state of interface betweeen art and artists, albeit cognizant of the multiculturalism inherent in any attempt at communication through formats that decentralize the individual's position in society while managing to explore issues of faith in both God and man in ways that reflect our particular modes of consumption in Western life in a scathing critique of time spent blah blah blah blah
(Actual, overwrought reviews of this lyric:
I don't know what it’s for
If I can’t find you there I don't care
I thought I found a way to enter - It was just a reflector
)


-- Best Title --
Of Montreal - Lousy with Sylvianbriar


-- Best Packaging --
Throwing Muses - Puragtory/Paradise


-- Best Lyrical Phrase --
These Days I'm Captive in this Borrowed Time


-- Best Book --
Morrissey - Autobiography


-- Best Metal-Industrial --
Ministry - Beer to Eternity


-- Best Alt Country --
Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw


-- Best Split --
Alex G/RL Kelly - 7"
---runner up:
Melvins/Fucked Up - Sugar Daddy


-- Best Still Missing in Action --
The new MBV



-- Supposed Meme of 2013, the year memes became their own exploitations --
YOLO!
(try it on your s.o. tonight!)


-- Worst Meme --
Mentioning twerking (but first waiting until 2013)
---runner up:
Mentioning your porn search words
(wait...best meme?)


Quotes

Guitar players are a pain in the ass. All of 'em. Every fuckin' one of 'em! Fuckin' six strings, brother; you got six strings, you got a pain in the ass! That's the rules of the road
-Tommy Stinson

Phony blues wailing or an ill-suited style attempt will send my own dog running. Yet when it’s "so-right-it’s-scary", my four-legged audience is guaranteed; though I must say he’s yet to come up with a decent bridge
-Westerberg

I can clear bars with a look. And people still cross the road in town
-MES

Anyone under the age of 60 should not be wearing Wellington boots on stage
— Johnny Marr

[buying a] Greatest Hits - that's like being a part-time lover, just saying, "I'm only gonna go out with you on Friday nights"
-Brownstein

[Meriwether] Lewis is like if Morrissey had a blog and a canoe
-Alie Ward

I'm not old yet, but getting old sucks
— Nathan Williams

I feel like a jukebox - put a quarter on my tongue, twist my ear, and I'll shit out the hits so that people can crash into each other like wild rams, fight, and throw shit at the stage
-Jourgensen

If my sole purpose in playing music or in life was just to make money, I would have made a lot of different career choices. I definitely would not be in a guitar rock band in 2013
-Randy Randall

It's good to look a bit straight - a clean shirt and all that...I've started to wear underpants.
-MES

insert: (every page of first half of Autobiography by Morrissey)

footnotes:
1. Teens leave Facebook, and not because the site shills for the NSA
2. Categorical gender-basing seems trite in 2013 but I'm of limited combinatorial Ikebana
3. A benefit project with proceeds to SNAP

edited:: typos, misplaced title



Post Edited (08-08-14 00:39)
Re: Best of 2013
January 01, 2014 05:39AM
Insanely comprehensive as usual, Paganizer. Even if I had the time to listen to all the stuff here (and I never will), I'm sure I wouldn't have the patience or fortitude to prepare such an amazing list. I'll never hear half of this shit, but I wish I could.
Re: Best of 2013
July 17, 2014 06:03AM
Hence categories.
Something will change your life.
But where''s everybody else's?
Re: Best of 2013
July 19, 2014 10:53PM
here's a mixdisc I made for my favorites from 2013 with slapdash annotations--

1) Future Vanishes - Rose Elinor Dougall (Future Vanishes ep) - former Pipette, forlorn pop with the best kind of '80s precision.

2) Were Before - Cults (Static) - a bit twee & a bit tribal.

3) Followin' Ya - Breathe Owl Breathe (Passage Of Pegasus) - reminiscent of Bill Callahan, arguably folkier & goofier, with great hooks from the female vocalist.

4) Great Lake Derelict - The Appleseed Cast (Illumination Ritual) - more emo should sound like this, practically postrock, anthemic yet cutting.

5) 20/20 Suuns (Images Du Futur) - like Clinic with extra meat on the bones.

6) A Liking Song - Sans Parade (Sans Parade) - twinkly wooshy indiepop goodness.

7) Lessons - Ha Ha Tonka (Lessons) - lyrically apt indie guitar leadeness.

8) On Bright Days - Drowner (You're Beautiful, I Forgive You) - the Cure after a month of Fridays in love.

9) Midnight Mass [At The Market Street Payphone] - Pond (Hobo Rocket) - sounds a bit like the Flaming Lips in the '90s, only more dynamic shifts.

10) New You - My Bloody Valentine (m b v) - almost clear vocal catchy confidently propulsive.

11) Pretty Green - White Denim (Corsicana Lemonade) - country rock flavored indie a bit less weird but more immediate than previous albums.

12) Lisbon - The Wave Pictures (City Forgiveness) - more literate version of the Violent Femmes also more prone to disjunctive guitar solos.

13) Coast To Coast - The Blank Tapes (Vacation) - sixties & slacker influences meet under a beach umbrella.

14) Blurred Lines - Postmodern Jukebox (Twist Is The New Twerk) - youtube square dance revisionism ie "you're the hottest gal in this barn."

15) Nostalgia Kills - Quasi (Mole City) - primal wail.

16) Death Graduates - The Octopus Project (Fever Forms) - mechanical & fussy indie pomp.

17) Pilot Light - The Love Language (Ruby Red) - overstuffed melodic pop extravaganza oohing choirs! strings! drums! loud! just piano!

18) Singing Time - Eleanor Friedberger (Personal Record) - singer-songwriting gone right.

19) It Disappears In The Least Likely Hands - Robert Pollard (Honey Locust Honky Tonk) - despicably memorable for fatuous nonsense--which might just sum up the whole of 2013.
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