TV Ghost, Emily Jane White, and more
● Anna Calvi, One Breath
● Broadcast, Berberian Sound Studio
● Dawn Of Midi, Dysomnia
● Wax Idols, Discipline & Desire
● Camera Obscura, Desire Lines
● The National, Trouble Will Find Me
● SUUNS, Images du Futur
● Caveman, Caveman
● Julianna Barwick, Nepenthe
● Helado Negro, Invisible Life
Indiana post-punk act TV Ghost released its third album Disconnect via In the Red in September 2013.
Letherette, Letherette: Let me begin with that I don’t consider my taste to be in one genre—it’s just gotta slap. These are the tapes this year that really filled my one requirement. Slappp. And as for my first choice, that is exactly what this project did. To me, this sounds like a dance soundtrack that utilizes the wide world of synths as well as insane samples. Made for a great album. To all those looking to send me some instrumentals in the future, remember I love the crazy synths and the even crazier samples. Back to the subject, though, Letherette’s self-titled album in all feels like feel good music.
Cam’ron, Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1: No year is complete with out Killa Cam droppin some Bird Gang vibes. The album artwork alone made this tape classic, but what really made this one of my frequent slapps was that Killa Cam came through with that classic Cam’ron/Dipset clappage, just new tracks.
Kanye West, Yeezus: In short I understand what Kanye did. That alone makes it a great album for the year.
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories: I love it because, for some reason, it was exactly what I wasn’t expecting. This scares some fans off, but for me a nice twist in a group’s album (when done tastefully) really makes all the difference and guaranteed this one a spot in my faves of the 2013.
Steven Price, Gravity soundtrack: I really fuck with the combination of sounds and visuals; personally, after hip-hop or even during my hip-hop career, I would love to make scores for everything from movies to video games to cartoons. And what Steven Price did here was nothing short of amazing: I can see the movie when I listen this. Hopefully, at some point someone can say the same for me. Much love to Steven—his work made this movie for me both with or without the pictures.
Xuice, AV8: Illie spits that soul rap and completes every beat. BARs…really nuff said, treat yo self to this one.
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience: I love the beats and the vocals, the whole thing just slapps. This dude really brings the whole package.
Earl Sweatshirt, Doris: Earl had the dumbest flow throughout the whole album and the beats were clean. This is exactly the vibe I would come to expect from someone from the Odd Future crew. Then on some tracks, it was the opposite, made for a slapp of an album. The visuals for the album were really nice as well.
In October 2013, Sacramento MC/producer Tynethys put out a mixtape with Oakland’s Main Attrakionz.
United Nations’ Jonah Bayer
● Bottomless Pit, Shade Perennial
● Deafheaven, Sunbather
● Touche Amore, Is Survived By
● Jake Bellows, New Ocean
● Jason Isbell, Southeastern
● Laura Stevenson, Wheel
● Overseas, Overseas
● Russian Circles, Memorial
● The Night Marchers, Allez Allez
● The Head and the Heart, Let’s Be Still
United Nations are a NYC-based screamo act.
Upset’s Ali Koehler
1. Crystal Fairy
2. The Punk Singer
3. The Source Family
4. This Is the End
5. Only the Young
1. Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt
2. Swearin’, Surfing Strange
3. Radiator Hospital, Something Wild
4. Kanye West, Yeezus
5. Speedy Ortiz, Major Arcana
6. Potty Mouth, Hell Bent
7. Dead Dog, Most Precious Child
8. Tony Molina, Dissed and Dismissed
9. Ovlov, AM
10. Mikal Cronin, MCII
Upset, the new project of ex-Vivian Girl Ali Koehler and Hole’s Patty Schemel, released its debut She’s Gone (Don Giovanni) in October 2013.
1. Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold
2. Yo La Tengo, Fade
3. My Bloody Valentine, m b v
4. FUZZ, FUZZ
5. Boards of Canada, Tomorrow’s Harvest
6. Savages, Silence Yourself
A shoegaze band from Tel Aviv, Vaadat Charigim put out its debut The World Is Well Lost on Burger/ANOVA in November 2013.
Graphic novel top ten!
1. Jodorowski and Moebius, The Incal
2. Charles Burns, Black Hole
3. Chris Ware, Building Stories
4. Robert Crumb, The Book of Genesis
5. David B, Epileptic
6. Craig Thompson, Habibi
7. Dash Shaw, Bottomless Belly Button
8. Joe Daly, Dungeon Quest Books 1-3
9. Jim Woodring, Weathercraft
10. Daniel Clowes, Wilson
Veteran Calgary musician Chad VanGaalen, whose last full-length was 2011’s Diaper Island (Sub Pop), is also a graphic designer.
The Velcro Lewis Group
Dust, Dust and Hard Attack reissues: We all know that Mark “Marky Ramone” Bell played drums and that Richie Wise and Keny Anderson went on to produce KISS and other madness, but until this reissue, only a few knew how hot and heavy this band was. It was nice to hear a proper master of these records. The earlier copies I had were Akarma bootlegs. Out of all the bottom-of-the-barrel, obscure ‘70s rock reissues, the two Dust records are actually worth the price and the listens. Plus, fantasy art master, Frank Frazetta, did Hard Attack’s cover art.
The Electric Prunes, Live Prunes Stockholm ‘67 reissue: If the Prunes had been allowed to bring the power and attitude of this live set into the studio, none of us would give a shit about the Stooges and certainly not the MC5. This recording is a big middle finger to everyone, even the crowd. Surly and intense.
Acid Mothers Temple & Space Paranoid, Black Magic Satori: Truth in advertising. It sounds like Flower Travellin’ Band’s Satori and Black Sabbath! It is very heavy and spacey and very restrained for an AMT release. Their jam on “Paranoid” stretches to a point that you forget that it’s a cover. Great production, too.
John Bellows, Fast Hits: I won’t call him a mad man and I won’t call him crazy, but that’s not to say that this album isn’t. Fast Hits is a collection of anthemia jams, dirt glam, saccharine (albeit ragged) pop, a little “What the fuck is this?”, and a whole lotta party. Ever been to a diner party where the guy in the dirty vest is saying all kinds of shit and you think he’s nuts, but then that next afternoon you finally pick up on what he was laying down? That’s John Bellows.
Verma, “Rangarok” 7”: I’ve only heard these songs on the radio, but that doesn’t stop me from liking this single. Verma is grinding psychedelic rock, like Chrome, with a tight motorik beat with a lot of interesting stuff goin’ on. Great sounds, tasteful vocal effects (which I am a total dick about), and weird guitar rhythms make Verma one of the best contemporary Chicago psych bands.
GZA, Liquid Swords reissue: There hasn’t been a rap record this good since it came out in ‘95. I consider it the hip-hop equivalent to Alice Cooper’s Love It to Death: a perfect record start to finish. The reissue is ridiculous as it comes with four LPs and a chess set! If only it had a pop-up book…
Eraserhead soundtrack reissue: I may not be able to see the screen to enjoy the movie’s images, but I can still get creeped out by the soundtrack. Flutters, noises, dialog, noises, and the “In Heaven” song. You can mix this over any prog record and make it better. Try “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, it’s way better.
Self-proclaimed “funk rock occultists”, the Velcro Lewis Group came out with Open the Sky (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond) in October 2013.
Victory’s Robert Fleming
1. Al Pacino does his best “Al Pacino as Phil Spector” impression.
2. Arcade Fire lights up Saturday Night Live.
3. Robin Thicke makes pop cooler and sexier than ever with “Blurred Lines”.
4. Dent May makes glasses cooler and sexier than ever with “Born Too Late”.
5. Paul McCartney unknowingly reunites surviving members of Nirvana on live television.
6. Steve Buscemi gets awkward and intimate with Vampire Weekend.
7. Eastbound and Down ended one of the greatest music-on-TV franchises in history with its series finale.
8. Stumptown Coffee opens in downtown Los Angeles.
9. Unknown Mortal Orchestra breaks into the mainstream-of-consciousness with ii.
10. Victory MANIA begins with the music of Victory selling Cadillacs on TV, “Play It” and “System Strange” rocking baseball fans at Dodger Stadium all season long, and the release of the debut full-length LP Victory Is Music (note: the word “mania” is loosely defined in the aforementioned context).
Victory, as aforementioned, released its first album Victory Is Music in April 2013.
2013 was an interesting transitional period for music. The charts are no longer filled to the brim with generic dance records. With indie becoming the new pop, there is much more diversity among the songs that are catching people’s attention. Listeners are craving substance and creativity over hype. My favorite release this year was Lorde’s “Royals” song and video. Amazingly fresh.
1. Lorde, “Royals”
2. Wallpaper, “Good 4 It”
3. The Neighbourhood, “Sweater Weather”
4. YG, “My N****”
5. New Politics, “Harlem”
6. Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines”
7. Paris, “Magic Man”
8. Daft Punk, “Get Lucky”
9. Frank Turner, “Recovery”
10. A$AP Rocky, feat. 2 Chainz, “F*ckin’ Problems”
Bryce Vine will be releasing his new EP Lazy Fair in early 2014.
Voyeur (Robert Seawell)
● Blue Hawaii, Untogether: 2 cool.
● Migos, “Hannah Montana”: Obviously love the “Versace” video, BUT “Hannah Montana” is the most hype.
● Actress, Silver Cloud: Favorite musician to listen to when driving.
● Burial, Truant / Rough Sleeper: Favorite musician.
● Tricky, “Valentine” (Andy Stott remix): Andy Stott is future.
● Cliff Martinez, Spring Breakers soundtrack: Spring Breakers was my favorite movie of 2013. Cliff Martinez, killing it since ‘89, and obviously Nicholas Winding Refn’s films would be about 65% as cool without his soundbed.
● Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time: A potential victim of “2 much pre-hype” doesn’t mean she isn’t hyper cool/stylish, and her music puts a smile on face every time.
● Riff Raff, Neon Icon: Calling it early, Riff Raff is it.
● Chief Keef , “Don’t Like”: Katy Perry likes it.
● Earl Sweatshirt, Doris: Obviously the rising king of actual rapping.
● Pusha T, “Numbers on the Board:” MNIMN so hot. Representing my hometown Virginia Beach.
● Iggy Azalea, “Work”: Love Iggy. She’ll be bigger next year.
Electronic artist Voyeur came out with the Little Death EP in November 2013.
Emily Jane White
1. Julianna Barwick, Nepenthe
2. Pharmakon, Abandon
3. Savages, Silence Yourself
4. David Bowie, The Next Day
5. Matmos, The Marriage of True Minds
6. Townes Van Zandt, High, Low and In Between (reissue)
7. Tim Hecker, Virgins
8. Scout Niblett, It’s Up to Emma
9. Grouper, The Man Who Died in His Boat
10. Barn Owl, V
In November, Emily Jane White released Blood/Lines (Important), which made it onto PopMatters’ best overlooked albums of 2013 list.
1. Bill Callahan, Dream River
2. Kanye West, Yeezus
3. Johnny Fritz, Dad Country
4. Mirror Travel, Mexico
Austin singer-songwriter Jess Williamson is preparing to release her full-length Native State (Brutal Honest) on 28 January 2014.