This year's best world music offers up evidence of the artist's confidence in the audience. Do they trust you to be interested in two discs of avant-garde Korean zither or vast archives of live Syrian party music? They do and they should.
PopMatters lets the artists become the critics, giving them a chance to offer their picks from music and pop culture in 2013. Part 3 features PopMatters favorites the Pastels, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Windhand.
PopMatters lets the artists become the critics, giving them a chance to offer their picks from music and pop culture in 2013. Part 2 features PopMatters favorites Ha Ha Tonka, Medicine, and the Notwist.
In the four years since mixtapes became anything but a mix on tape, rap listeners have grown accustomed to the idea that not only should they feel like a brand new album, but also that they should probably be better than the product you pay for.
PopMatters lets the artists become the critics, giving them a chance to offer their picks from music and pop culture in 2013. Part 1 features PopMatters favorites Zachary Cale, Dum Dum Girls, and Robbie Fulks.
To counterbalance the set of disappointing albums, there are those that you probably barely noticed at first, or ones that you thought nothing of upon release that slowly but surely knocked your socks off.
There's a thrilling breadth of styles and approaches explored by the best albums hailing from Canada in 2013, ranging from good ol' garage rock to East-West "noh-wave", from traditionalist country to First Nations' EDM.
So now we go back and look at the records we maybe missed when we sped through the year, back to great dream-pop records from January, or great rock records from the spring, or great rap records we're still figuring out.