The Kingsbury Manx, Leverage Models, and more
The Kingbury Manx’s Ryan Richardson
Kelley Stoltz, Double Exposure: Sub Pop’s best-kept secret over the course of three terrific albums is now Third Man’s best-kept secret.
Jacco Gardner, Cabinet of Curiosities: This cabinet is apparently haunted by the ghost of Syd Barrett.
The Holydrug Couple, Noctuary: Sounds like somebody’s trippin’ balls down in Chile!
Adrian Younge, Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics: Dark soul that’s sounds as fresh as it does classic.
Whatever Brains, Whatever Brains (2013): Third full-length from damaged art-punkers dives further down the weirdness wormhole.
Thee Oh Sees, Floating Coffin: One of the very few bands that can justify putting out a new record every six months. Keep ‘em coming!
Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold: Remember when it was totally cliché to compare everything to Pavement? In this case it’s not that far off the mark, and I mean that as high praise.
Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic: With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good.
Radar Bros., Eight: Underappreciated indie vets add some new colors to their palette.
Sonny & the Sunsets, Antenna to the Afterworld: Another great installment of understated tunes from the loveable loser of San Francisco.
In March 2013, indie vets the Kingsbury Manx released the well-received The Bronze Age, via Odessa.
Nick Krill (The Spinto Band and Teen Men)
Best musical event in Philadelphia: Opening of the Boot and Saddle
It is always refreshing when a classy small capacity venue opens up. Not only does this club have a fun atmosphere, but the main sound guy there actually pays attention and is fun to work with….which can be rare in any venue, but especially a small 150 capacity club.
Best thing for California: Cheers Elephant is moving to California
One of my favorite Philadelphia bands, Cheers Elephant is moving away…but Philadlephia’s loss is California’s gain. Yes, the whole state of California’s gain! I am confidant that the Cheers Elephant guys are gonna hit the whole left coast like a ton of bricks.
Best thing for pop music: Ariel Rechtshaid
Between his work with Vampire Weekend, Haim, Sky Ferreira, and Charli XCX, dude man has been involved with some pretty cool sounding records this year.
Best musical milestone: Fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ first albums!!!
In 1963, the Beatles busted out loose with their first two LPs. Please Please Me came out in March and then eight months later With the Beatles sliced teenager’s ears off.
Best music video: Mike Quinn, “Hope It Goes Away”, directed by Ben Berman
Honestly, the best music video award probably has got to be the interactive Bob Dylan “Like Rolling Stone” video, but that guy doesn’t need to be on another list…so I gotta give it to Ben Berman and Mike Quinn (who’s actually the guy who gave me my first and only Bob Dylan mix tape).
Nick Krill’s new band Teen Men just released their first single and music video for the song “Hiding Records (So Dangerous)”. The Spinto Band released the full-length Cool Cocoon in 2013 (Spintonic).
LA Font’s Greg Katz
Top 13 L.A. band songs of 2K13:
1. Body Parts, “Helpless Child”
2. Wavves, “That’s on Me”
3. Heathers, “I Don’t Wanna Be Adored”
4. yOya, “I’ll Be the Fire”
5. Bleached, “Next Stop”
6. Young Hunting, “Ride On”
7. Spaceships, “Little”
8. Fever the Ghost, “Rounder”
9. No Age, “I Won’t Be Your Generator”
10. GRMLN, “Blue Lagoon”
11. Pageants, “Musings of the Tide”
12. Hands, “Videolove”
13. Jenny O, “Lazy Jane”
L.A.‘s LA Font just put out its new album Diving Man in November 2013.
League of Extraordinary Gz
The best of moment of 2013 for us personally was being able to complete and release our debut album #LEAGUESHIT. What began as a mixtape project in 2009 came full circle on 10/15/13 when we were able to share our story with the world.
In no particular order, our top 10 favorite music projects of 2013 were:
● Freddie Gibbs, ESGN
● Rittz, Life and Times of Johnny Valiant
● Jay-Z, Magna Carta
● Big K.R.I.T., Live from the Underground
● Killer Mike / El-P, Run the Jewels
● Max Frost, Low High Low
● Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady
● League of Extraordinary Gz, #LEAGUESHIT
● A.Dd+, DiveHiFlyLo
● Sertified, FilthyFckingHumans
League of Extraordinary Gz released its first LP #LEAGUESHIT in October 2013.
Pheno S., Kani: One of my drummers, Max, spent a month in Malawi helping to set up a music school. One of my favorite records he’s since introduced me to on tour is this Bandcamp self-release. Traditional Malian forms collide with hip-hop-influenced bedroom production; drum machines, Auto-Tune, rap in French patois, and a low-fi mixtape vibe. The whole record is minimal, free of production bombast, hypnotic in a matter-of-fact way.
Binary Cumbia Orchestra: I award this “Best Artist’s Soundcloud Feed That Lead Me Down a Serious Obsessive Compulsive Wormhole This Year”. I think this is mostly the work of a single producer from Argentina. This and a lot of the artists they sample have been really inspiring to me lately.
Rhye, Woman: We are all so fucking savvy and well armored against marketing these days. So the new marketing WMDs are usually cloaked in either irony or calculated mystery. Fuck a calculated mystery. I avoided this record for quite awhile for these reasons. Maurice Fulton’s very good remix of “The Fall” convinced me to listen. Then I bought the single. Then I bought the album. Then it became a staple post-show-driving-comedown record I really can’t find a misstep on this album. Everything is in good taste. Everything perfectly paced and placed. In my maladjusted head that’s usually the definition of a record I will never care about, but the songs are so good, so seductively sad, focused, and emotionally evocative that I can’t help but be taken in by it. And I don’t believe in guilty pleasure so I’m going to go ahead and own my pleasure here, for the record.
Pantha du Prince & the Bell Laboratory, Elements of Light: Studies for bells and winter melancholy disguised as a dance record. Also a dance record.
Julia Holter, Loud City Song: An excessively mannered record that wants to topple under its own theatrical weight and only topples in slow motion into the generosity and gorgeousness of its second half. A brave record of difficult and rewarding gestures. And some songs.
Son Lux, Lanterns: So good it makes me care about excessively earnest music with accomplished New Music orchestration again. So good it depresses me over my lack of skill and training as a composer. So good it comforts me when I’m sad about that. One of my favorites this year. It really is stunning and reaches me on every level.
Charles Waters Quartet, 13 Visions of the City: Charles is an outsider composer in the truest sense of the word. With very little support, he never stops making new ensembles, new works, and making connections between brilliant people with flashier moves who probably go on to more acclaim. He’s one of the most perpetually under-recognized musical talents I know and he’s due for a retrospective of his ridiculous number of records, cassettes, and fearless scores drafted on the backs of postcards and envelopes.
Helado Negro, Invisible Life: I am not objective here but Roberto’s intuitions are completely untouchable. And every record he’s made as Helado Negro has quantum leapfrogged the last. This one is gorgeous, slow-danceable, saline, lush, and one of the records we’ve listened to most on the road this year.
GOL & Ghédalia Tazartès, Alpes: Good luck finding this, but if you can’t, please dig into Ghédalia Tazartès’ back catalog. Preemptively shear your head from your shoulders. Towering.
Sam Amidon, Bright Sunny South: I’ve known and played with Sam for a long time so this is another lack-of-objectivity moment. I saw what I think was the first Samamidon solo show at the Bowery Poetry Club. He sang folk songs, drew “comics” on an overhead projector, recited passages from Melville at three times normal human speeds, and took unnaturally long sustained scream-drone solos with his voice in the middle of heartbreaking ballads. It was instant love, for me. Sam’s is a completely singular genius and his records are only ever half the story. But this one is pretty damned great.
Moonface, Julia with Blue Jeans On: I really like Spencer’s voice and his words. But everyone else will probably say enough about this.
Jensen Sportag, Counting Down Stealth of Days: Jensen Sportag’s years’ worth of smooth but often manic dance singles and EPs are monumental architectures. I idolize them as master craftsmen. This record is a change of pace to something more atmospheric and dreamy but no less masterfully crafted—I want to live inside it.
The Cleaners from Venus, In the Golden Autumn: Only reissued this year but out of print since the ‘80s, I believe. Everything Martin Newell touches is gold to me.
Tiny Hazard, self-titled EP: Self-released, made in 2012. Heard in 2013. One of the most exciting new bands in New York that nobody knows about.
Chance the Rapper, Acid Rap: Essential tour van listening. Everything I wanted Kendrick Lamar to be from a production standpoint. A great record end to end.
Syclops, A Blink of an Eye: Maurice Fulton is one of my favorite new producers. Gnarly, often ugly choices, mangled sounds, and an understanding of how a body like mine needs to move.
Celestial Shore, 10x: A record that radiates heart and enthusiasm with reckless abandon. Even when that heart is playing dress-up and dodging behind sofas and getting lost in its own brilliance, it’s too obvious to ignore. Also this is a record that can get lost in its own brilliance and thank god for that.
All of Slava’s mixes on Soundcloud this year: Because.
Ashley Paul’s “Soak the Ocean” & Pete Swanson’s remix of the same: Yes.
Leverage Models, founded by Stars Like Fleas’ Shannon Fields, released their self-titled debut in October 2013 on Hometapes.
Lewis & Clarke’s Lou Rogai
2013 has been a good year. Seriously, it made 2005 look like 1973. (Full Disclosure: For the sake of credible journalism I didn’t include some of my favorite releases, as they coincidentally happen to be released on my own imprint [La Société Expéditionnaire].)
Savages, Silence Yourself: This band reminds me of why I was attracted to Siouxsie Sioux as a young boy, and it’s something I needed to be reminded of.
Mazzy Star, Seasons of Your Day: Picking up where they left off, but better. Comeback of the decade, and they didn’t skip a beat.
Zachary Cale, Blue Rider: Old world-style songmanship, lyricism, and delivery with the finest contemporary twist. In an alternate authentic world where craft matters, Cale is the new Dylan.
Chains of Love, Misery Makers Vol. 1: This is super sexy rock ‘n’ roll music, like if the Ronnettes were doing their thing now, only better.
Hammock, Oblivion Hymns: This album is utilitarian. It prevents stress. Try it when trapped in frustrating traffic trying to enter NYC via the Holland Tunnel. Or the Lincoln Tunnel. Surprise guest vocals by Tim from Strand of Oaks.
The Stargazer Lilies, We Are the Dreamers: Big, dark, dreamy…bold.
Benoit Piolard, Hymnal: Impressionistic collage tones, Super-8 visions, nostalgia for a childhood in a past life. It’s basically perfect.
Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Awards performance: I swear Marina Abramović was behind this. You’ll see, it will go down as one of the greatest all-time art pranks.
Lewis & Clarke are currently preparing a new full-length.