Favorite Music of 2013

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Released: 12/31/2213

Favorite Albums of 2013

25) Sigur Rós – Kveikur
24) The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
23) Touché Amoré – Is Survived By
22) The Fling – Mean Something
21) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away

20) Kyle O’Quin – Kyle O’Quin: I’ve waited well over 3 years to hear Kyle’s solo venture and it was well worth it.

19) Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City: Less quirk, more subtleties make for a more grown up sound.

18) Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: A much more eclectic variety of moods and sounds from these So Cal pals.

17) City and Colour – The Hurry and the Harm: Dallas has found his sound and he’s happy delving into it.

16) Colin Stetson – New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See More Light: Wailing saxophone pitted against Justin Vernon in a cacophony of noise sounds much better than the description.

15) Russian Circles – Memorial: A polarizing of the fringes ends up diluting their potency.

14) The Dear Hunter – Migrant: Casey showcasing his songwriting abilities rather than his storytelling prowess.

13) Sainthood Reps – Headswell: Not as abrasive as their debut but much more cohesive.

12) Telekinesis – Dormarion: Another solid collection of upbeat tunes.

10) The National – Trouble Will Find Me & Local Natives – Hummingbird: I’ve never had a tie before but this year I could NOT come to a conclusion on which album I enjoyed more. It seems fitting that these two are paired since Aaron Dessner played a role in both albums. The National released a masterful collection from its 1st track to the last while Local Natives ebbed and flowed with emotion. Both were surprises in their own way; Hummingbird was a little weaker than expected while Trouble startled me with its enjoyability. Ultimately, both were solid enough to warrant their mutual photo finish.

09) Paramore – Paramore: It’s great to see a band rise from the ashes of imminent destruction. After the drama in 2010, the band not only came back but came back strong. In what sounds like an anything goes conglomeration of influences and experimentation, they came out all guns a-blazing and released a solid and fun album.

08) Atoms for Peace – Amok: Thom Yorke has some pretty talented friends without even mentioning his mates in his day job: Radiohead. Joined by Flea, Nigel, Joey & Mauro, the album bursts with groovy beats and glitchy sounds; not a surprise since Radiohead has been experimenting with these sounds more recently. Front to back, it’s a jittery ball of entertainment.

07) Palms – Palms: The amalgamation of amazing musicians does not always yield the sum of its parts. In this case Isis + Chino Moreno (of Deftones) paid off in full. Boisterous and expansive instrumentation play a perfect partner to Chino’s soaring vocals. Moreno’s vocals may never have met their musical match until now.

06) Yellow Red Sparks – Yellow Red Sparks: Maximum emotion with minimal instrumentation. That short statement sums up the long-awaited debut full length from these So Cal natives. Breaking from the sunny sound of their peers, YRS paint a dark and delicate painting with vocals, strummed chords, brushed drums, and a bevy of strings.

05) Native – Orthodox: This album is a blaring alarm that not all is right in the world. While most bands present an album as a collection of songs from a distinct period in time, Native chose to assemble a shortlist of tracks that brought the band’s social and political issues to the forefront. You can’t help but feel that lead singer Bobby Markos is yelling at you with his caustic delivery and yet the emotion conveyed leaves you no choice but to yell back.

04) O’Brother – Disillusion: Few bands possess the talent or courage (let alone both) to merge the raw emotion of Deftones & the colossal atmosphere of Sigur Rós as fluidly or precisely as these Atlanta natives. Their sophomore album is a complete behemoth. On one hand, there is plenty of space to take a breath but there is not a moment void of emotion.

03) Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends: John Gourley & Co. have been churning out psychedelic pop for almost a decade now but with assistance from Midas himself a.k.a. Brian Burton, they achieved a plateau on their 7th album. Gems like “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” & “Creep in a T-Shirt” balance well with Beatles-esque “Sea of Air” & groovy “Atomic Man.”

02) Kiev – Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth: Kiev have an extraordinary amount of talent and aren’t afraid to show it. Stirring vocals float atop a mountain of layered atmospheric instrumentation colored by jazz, pop, and electronic flourishes (often simultaneously) keep the album moving seamlessly through its hour-long playing time. The album weaves the best qualities of Radiohead, TV on the Radio, and Pink Floyd while retaining its own persona.

01) NK – Nothing to be Gained Here: There’s nothing about this album that should work; the quasi-rap delivery of “Shoulder Gorilla” backed up to “Vacation Days’” whistle-worthy swooning. Dichotomies such as the raucous, hard driving “Confessional” are a stark reality to “Memo” which creeps and crawls past your ear. Somehow the year’s most hodge-podge album melds itself together perfectly to create a sound, and style, all its own.

Honorable Mentions
Death – …For the Whole World to See: An album recorded in 1974, released in 2009 and presented to me via the wonderful documentary “A Band Called Death” this year.

Other Fantastic Albums of 2013
Junior Astronomers – Dead Nostalgia
Anthony Green – Young Legs
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll
The Shouting Machines – Grownass Man
Daylight – Jar
Alexander Ebert – All is Lost
Josh Tillman – The History of Caves
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
Shone – Heat Thing

Favorite Extended Plays of 2013
Vinnie released a great set of tunes as did Andrew. Geoff actually makes it on this list twice; once with his solo effort and also with Strangelight. It is bittersweet to be including We Barbarians since the announcement of their demise. Sleeping at Last released a couple EPs as part of an ongoing project. Harley Cortez released a fantastic set of EPs which cover quite a bit of ground in every great direction. Oh yeah… Puig Destroyer.

Vinnie Caruana – City by the Sea
Halfbluud – Femme / Shibuya
Geoff Rickly – Darker Matter
Halos – Renegade
Sleeping at Last – Atlas series
Andrew McMahon – The Pop Underground
Hesitation Wounds – Hesitation Wounds
We Barbarians – Mexico, NY
Lakes – Armacost Avenue
Puig Destroyer – Puig Destroyer
Strangelight – 9 Days
Zozobra – Savage Masters

Favorite Songs of 2013
Fall Out Boy “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)”
NK “Vacation Days”
The Civil Wars “The One That Got Away”
King Krule “Easy Easy”
HRVRD “Cardboard Houses”
Portugal. The Man “Creep in a T-Shirt”
Sigur Rós “Brennisteinn”
Halfbluud “Androgyny”
Kanye West “Black Skinhead”
The Fling “Pull the Hood”
Palms “Shortwave Radio”
Sainthood Reps ”Run Like Hell”
Telekinesis “Laissez-Faire”
Wild Belle “Backslider”

Most Played Artists in 2013 (totaled by last.fm)
1) NK 239
2) O’Brother 222
3) Portugal. The Man 199
4) Local Natives 182
5) Kiev 166

Favorite Vocals of 2013
Robert Brinkerhoff (Kiev)
Chino Moreno (Palms)
Joshua Hansen (Yellow Red Sparks)

Favorite Album Art of 2013
Kiev – Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth
O’Brother – Disillusion
Native – Orthodox
Sleeping at Last – Atlas series

Most Underrated Artists of 2013
NK
Kiev
Yellow Red Sparks

Biggest Surprises of 2013
NK
King Krule
Daylight

Albums I Missed in 2012
Caspian – Waking Season
Metric – Synthetica

Favorite Albums of 2012 Revisited
5) Good Old War – Come Back As Rain (originally 4)
4) Deep Sea Diver – History Speaks (originally 2)
3) Father John Misty – Fear Fun (originally 3)
2) Alt-J – An Awesome Wave (originally 11)
1) Grizzly Bear – Shield (originally 1)

Matt Zimmerman

I have a bachelors in music enthusiasm with an emphasis on physical collection. If you'd like to know more about my major, see what I'm listening to at: http://www.last.fm/user/nametakenrox84

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