J. Bannon, Black Hearted Brother, and more
J. Bannon (Converge, founder of Deathwish, Inc.)
Best of 2013, in no particular order:
● Depeche Mode Delta Machine
● Zola Jesus Versions
● ASG, Blood Drive
● Mazzy Star, Seasons of Your Day
● Nails, Abandon All Life
● Magic Circle, Magic Circle
● Carcass, Surgical Steel
● Satyricon, Satyricon
● Enforcer, Death by Fire
● Red Hare, Nites of Midnight
● Blast!, Blood
● Friends and loved ones
● “Diamonds and Rust”
● All things Deathwish
J. Bannon is the vocalist of Converge and the founder of the label Deathwish, Inc., among many other roles.
1. Alessi’s Ark, The Still Life
2. Tim Kasher, Adult Film
3. Smokey Robinson, Being with You
4. Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions
5. I saw a tree grow out of a crack in a rock.
6. Human kindness
7. Incredible sunset
8. Beautiful moon
9. Kim Deal, “Are You Mine?”
10. My sweet dog, Dragon
Former Neva Dinova leader Jake Bellows released his debut solo album, New Ocean, in 2013 on Saddle Creek.
The Black and White Years’ Landon Thompson
Been a great year for upbeat, Gloria Estefan-inspired tracks and ‘60s inspired West Coast vibes. Here are some of those and others.
● St. Lucia, “Elevate”
● Haim, “Falling”
● Haerts, “Wings”
● Jagwar Ma, “Come and Save Me”
● Pure Bathing Culture, “Pendulum”
● Vampire Weekend, “Hannah Hunt”
● White Blush, “Jolene”
● Stephen Steinbrink, “Animate Dust”
● Foxygen, “San Francisco”
● Rhye, “Open”
● Foals, “Inhaler”
The Black and White Years will be releasing their new album Strange Figurines on Modern Outsider on 21 January 2014.
Black Hearted Brother
M.I.A., Matangi: Finally back and making some great noises and pushing forward once again…really inventive and inspiring.
Boards of Canada, Tomorrow’s Harvest: Quite predictable for me to love this, but when it’s great it just is…and you just have to go with the flow. Back to doing what they do best, and it shows.
The Flaming Lips, The Terror: They just keep getting better and better…where next?
Young Husband, Dromes: A great British psychedelic band who remind me of the Jesus & Mary Chain or something like that.
Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic: Not nearly as good as their debut but still playful and worth getting a copy.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, ii: The unique sounding Unknown Mortal Orchestra who pick up from where ‘i” left off with maybe even stronger songs.
The Mantles, Long Enough to Leave: A proper indie-pop album which is very concise—honed like an indie six-pack.
Black Hearted Brother, consisting of Slowdive’s Neil Halstead, Seefeel’s Mark Van Hoen, and Opulent Oog’s Nick Holton, released its first album Stars Are Our Home on Slumberland in 2013.
Preston Maddox (vocals, bass):
1. Dreamcrusher, Suicide Deluxe
2. The History Of Colour TV, Emerald Cures Chic Ills
3. My Bloody Valentine, m b v
4. Riff Raff, Neon Icon
5. New Canyons, Everyone Is Dark
6. R. Kelly, Black Panties
7. SPC ECO, Sirens and Satellites
Jake McCown (drums):
1. Kanye West, Yeezus
2. Dreamcrusher, Suicide Deluxe
3. Tyler, the Creator, Wolf
4. New Canyons, Everything Is Dark
5. My Bloody Valentine, m b v
Kim Calderon (samples)
1. KVB, Immaterial Visions
2. La Femme, Psycho Tropical Berlin
3. Tropic of Cancer, Restless Idylls
4. Still Corners, Strange Pleasures
5. Soft Metals, Lenses
6 Wolf Eyes, No Answer: Lower Floors
7. Jenny Hval, Innocence Is Kinky
8. Steel Hook Prostheses, The Empirics Guild
9. Dead Leaf Echo, Thought & Language
10. Austra, Olympia
Austin noise-rockers Bloody Knives released the Death EP on Saint Marie in June 2013.
● Deerhunter, Monomania
● Julianna Barwick, Nepenthe
● Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold
● Cosmic Machine, Various Artists
● Oneohtrix Point Never, R Plus Seven
● Jacco Gardner, Cabinet of Curiosities
● Kurt Vile, Walking on a Pretty Daze
● David Bowie, The Next Day
● No Joy, Wait to Pleasure
● Earl Sweatshirt, Doris
● The Courtneys, The Courtneys
Portland dream-pop act Blouse released Imperium on Captured Tracks in September 2013.
Boysetsfire’s Nathan Gray
● I Am Heresy, Thy Will
● Mogwai, Rave Tapes
● Behemoth, The Satanist
● Current 93, I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: A Channel
● Imogen Heap, Sparks
Post-hardcore mainstays Boysetsfire released While a Nation Sleeps (Bridge Nine) in June 2013.
The Brother Kite
Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You: It has everything I like—really catchy songs, meaningful lyrics, but not self-conciously so; and at times, it is a wicked bummer. If you don’t decide to re-examine your life after listening to “Calling Cards”, then I am seriously worried for you, friend. One for the somber, newly autumn weather record rotation.
My Bloody Valentine, m b v: I had given up hope that anything was going to be heard from them again, and just like that, it was available to the masses. I am amazed that it stands up to the years of expectation. Loveless it isn’t, nor does it need to be. It takes the sonic conceptuality of their early 1990s output and makes it much more organic without sparing us all the woozy fucked-uppery that made us love them in the first place.
Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City: This band is constantly doing things that should sound terrible (heavily pitch shifted vocals, punk songs without guitars, etc), but it’s almost always great. That’s inspiring.
Spring Breakers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: I didn’t hear a lot of records from 2013, so I’ll use this opportunity to crow bar in a mention for a movie I loved. Everything about the movie is terrific, including the music. Get in on the ground floor and see this if you haven’t. It will be ripped off for many years to come…so hook your cart to the original and rub it in your hipster friends faces.
The Stepkids, Troubadour: The Stepkids follow up their excellent self-titled debut with an equally excellent album of psych-soul-jazz-funk jams. Recommended listening outside on an extra-sunny day. For bonus points, check out their covers of “Get Lucky” and “Suit & Tie” on YouTube!
Candy Claws, Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time Forever: I had never heard of this band when I came across this album randomly this year, and it’s awesome. It is dense and hypnotic, and unlike anything I’ve heard in awhile. It is apparently a concept album set in the Mesozoic Era, but the dream-like music has been enough to warrant repeated listens without even diving into the story.
The song that was stuck in my head most during 2013 (besides all of the ridiculous songs we sing to our cat, Duncan) was “The Wire”, by Haim. It has such a great, earnestly ‘80s feel, and it always reminds me of singing into hairbrushes and curling irons with my sisters when we were kids.
One of my other favorite songs of the year was “Dropla” by Youth Lagoon. His debut album was in my top ten a few years back, so I was thrilled to hear what he’d do next. I love the sincerity, and vulnerability of his voice. Simply interesting and creative stuff.
Julianna Barwick, Nepenthe: Ambient music (in an Eno sense) created from layered, almost entirely wordless vocals. The album can actually make you feel weightless. Truly gorgeous music made from a pretty simple concept.
Mikal Cronin, MCII: Classic pop songwriting presented through a garage rock prism. The guitars are crunchy, but the album has a warmness about it that reminds me of Elliott Smith. I really loved Mikal’s first LP, but this one has a soulfulness about it that really grabs you.
In 2013, Rhode Island power-pop band the Brother Kite came out with its fourth album in 2013, Model Rocket (Clairerecords), which premiered on PopMatters.