To round out PopMatters’ coverage of the best music of 2013, we hand things over to the artists and give them a turn at playing critic. The lists and thoughts that follow reveal some of the artists that other artists revere the most, as well as some unsung pros’ pros and heretofore unknown up-and-comers worth your time and attention, now and in the future.
Ghost Wave’s Matthew Paul
My top songs of the year:
1. Brian Jonestown Masssacre, “Illuminomi”: I love everything about this song, probably my favourite of the year.
2. Primal Scream, “2013”: The song that made the most sense to me this year in a political way.
3. Deerhunter, “Neon Junkyard”: Favourite rhythm of the year.
4. Magic Castles, “10 100”: Favourite melody and made most sense to me in a political way after Primal Scream.
5. Foxygen, “No Destruction”: Favourite smoking pot in the subway song of the year.
6. My Bloody Valentine, “Who Sees You”: Favourite record to listen to once the pot was finished.
7. Surf City, “NYC”: Favourite use of tremolo this year.
8. Ariel Pink, “Baby”: Favourite ‘70s cover of the year.
NZ garage rockers Ghost Wave came out with their debut LP Ages on Flying Nun in August 2013.
1. My beautiful best wife opened a killer vintage/new/badass store in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where we live and it rules!
2. Carlisle also elected its first African American mayor, Mr. Tim Scott. Pro-gear, pro-attitude, pro-gressive
3. Thursday country/western swing night at the Empty Bottle Chicago
4. Open mic country night at Franklintown Firehall, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
5. Karaoke at BBQ on the pike, Carlisle
6. Super-heavy pour at the G-Man, Carlisle
7. The Heart, She Holler, Adult Swim
8. Haim, Days Are Gone
9. Ableton Push
10. Triangle Piece, cool group/man from Columbus, Ohio
Daughn Gibson released Me Moan on Sub Pop in July 2013.
Gliss’ Martin Klingman
● Babyshambles, Sequel to the Prequel
● Fionn Regan, The Bunkhouse, Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo
● Iceage, You’re Nothing
● Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe
● Gliss, Langsom Dans
● Ron Sexsmith, Forever Endevour
● The Knife, “A Tooth for an Eye”
● Phoenix, Bankrupt!
● Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
● Arcade Fire, Reflektor
Shoegaze-inspired L.A.-based Danish/American outfit Gliss released Langsom Dans this year on Modern Outsider.
Ryan Graveface (Graveface Records, The Casket Girls, Black Moth Super Rainbow)
As the “pusher” of all things Graveface, I tend to listen to A LOT of Graveface stuff throughout the year. This year had a jam-packed release schedule with LPs from the Appleseed Cast, Serengeti, Xiu Xiu, Stargazer Lilies, Dosh, Whirr, Hospital Ships and many more. It was crazy. So my list is certainly biased, but I tried to throw in a few non-Graveface-related tracks so it doesn’t seem like a sales pitch. There’s no order to anything. Some stuff isn’t new, but that doesn’t matter to me. Additionally, I threw in some food/drink/fun that impacted me in a positive way.
These meant something to me in 2013:
● Serengeti, “Karate”
● WNUF Halloween Special VHS
● The Appleseed Cast, “Cathedral Rings” + live at the Fireside Bowl
● The Haitian Sunrise cocktail at Gin Joint in Charleston, SC
● The Stargazer Lilies, “How We Lost”
● Raven’s Grin Inn haunted house
● Hospital Ships, “Lost Folk Song"HOSPITAL SHIPS - LOST FOLK SONG
● The Sword Burger at Kumas Chicago
● Whirr, “Sandy”
● Buying the prom photo of Bradley Scott Pauley at the Mission in SAV
● Young Prisms, “Four Hours”
● Buying my first human skull (engraved “odd fellows skull from 1888”)
● Purity Ring, “Lofticries”
● Swans live in Chicago
● Monster cereals coming back (“Fruity Yummy Mummy”, etc.)
● Thee Oh Sees, “Toe Cutter-Thumb Buster”
● The Merchant in Madison, WI
● Nina Simone, “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”
Ryan Graveface is the owner of Graveface Records, guitarist of Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a member of Casket Girls, which releases True Love Kills the Fairy Tale via Graveface on 11 February 2014.
Top ten things from the year:
● Gnar boys
● Diarrhea Planet
● Waffle House
● Nobunny music video
● Burgerama caravan to SXSW and back
● Quitting weed
● My friend Kelly
● Hardly Art
L.A. garage rocker Colleen Green released her full-length Sock It to Me in 2013 on Hardly Art.
● Julia Holter - Loud City Song
● Forest Swords - Engravings
● Yvette - Process
● Matana Roberts - Coin Coin 2 Chapter 2: Mississippi Moonchile
● Boards of Canada - Tomorrow’s Harvest
● Clinic: Free Reign II
● Laurel Halo - Chance of Rain
● Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
● Dirty Beaches - Drifters/Love Is the Devil
● Ty Segall - Sleeper (tied with) of Montreal - Lousy with Sylvianbriar
Brooklyn noise-rock act Grooms put out Infinity Callerin September 2013 through Western Vinyl.
Gross Ghost’s Mike Dillon
Top ten things I loved in 2013:
1. Moving into my new house, Chateau Moby Dick. Bands traveling through NC, get up with us if you need a show.
2. Getting a dog. It’s like having a friend that can never really disagree with you, because they rely on you for food.
3. The massage stand at the mall…So cheap. So good. So necessary.
4. Hopscotch Music Fest: Particularly dropping in right in time to catch Merzbow melt my face at KINGS.
5. Putting out our second record with Odessa. I feel like most musicians know the process from writing, recording, and releasing a record can feel like forever. Finally glad it’s out in the world!
6. Getting back into skateboarding…slowly but surely…thanks Geezer Ward!!
7. Sanjay and Craig: An awesomely warped Nickolodeon cartoon. Particularly the “Maximum Dennis” episode.
8. Thee Oh Sees on Halloween at Krankies, in Winston Salem. Great bill, small room, double drums…so awesome.
9. Season 4 of Eastbound and Down. “The FIXXXXINNNNS!!!”
10. KRATOM. SAVED. MY. LIFE.
North Carolina indie duo Gross Ghost released Public Housing via Odessa in October 2013.