2013. Right. Let’s do this. Big thanks (again) to Waub for making me cycle through hot lead singer’s La$tNaMe$ to login to WordPress once a year. While I’ve neglected the site, rest assured gallons of my digital ink spilled into unfunny writing elsewhere, as any of my procrastinating-email recipients know. Or the sad bastards following me here.
It was a tough but spectacular year. Brain & budget-busting travel (Santa Teresa, ATX x 2, NYC x lots, MTL x 2, LA, Rome, Venice, Florence, London &…wait for it…Bologna, which is the bo’lo’mb.), art attacks & shenanigans. Overall, less music-y & more word-y, but we can’t have it all, right? Right?
Zipping through the Google Calendars of my mind, a few things pop out (besides hundreds of notifications for unattended gym classes). This was a year of screenings, performances, shorts, mo’docs, sketches & specs. Music was the quirky zing-throwing roommate in the background, no longer the co-star-romantic-interest. Sorry, music.
Sidenote: Turning 33 is weird. It’s half of 66 (you can type math into the browser, key 2013 lifehack). According to Time, this is your lifespan’s TSN Turning Point for happiness. One tries to not hate these happy(ier than us?) young people, but they aren’t making it easy, are they? How do you not harbour HAL9000-levels of suspicion towards interns that’ll inevitably usurp us with Tumblring SnapChats? Get off your phones to capture the important things coming out of our human verbal email holes, you little sprouts of entitlement! </sidenote>.
So like most other years I can’t restrict myself to 10 LPs (Draft #1 had 61). I’m musically schizophrenic. Or maybe Bi-Po’laylist. It’s less Baby Boomer-y than years past, tho. This might be a budding trend. Regretting those Lulu/Loutallica jokes. Oh dear.
Anyway, there’s two big buckets to 2013’s soundtrack: “My special Monday morning tape for YOU” (active) & “Barry, I just want something I can ignore” (passive).
Atoms For Peace – Amok: True, Flea’s basslines aren’t as groovy as his Young MC guesting, but remember how consistently solid Thom Yorke is. Now we can focus on finding those pants on eBay. I still go back to Eraser, but this is a beautiful b.g. record.
Bill Callahan – Dream River + Neko Case – The Worse Things Get: These are lethal when paired with open ears & hearts. BUT – if you’re zoned out & have’em low enough, they swirl like the twangy hum of a steam radiator. These lyrics will depress the daylights out of you. Neko doesn’t screw around with fruity analogies. Snippets of true moments’ll annihilate you with raw sadness & regret. Enjoy!
Beams – Just Rivers: History will be kind to this debut. Anna’s voice is spectacular, while the band comes together seamlessly in a rich warm country sound to support her. They live up to their live shows’ promise & drop a Portishead cover to sweeten the deal. & I’m not just plunking this into the list because of my love of the band IRL, even NOW mag gave it a glowing review. So there.
Deer Tick – Negativity: Despite grumbling above, this young lad gets a raw deal because of his age. This record was on repeat for months because of its perfect short sparse tunes. They picked up where your precious Whiskeytown left off, and you’re sitting around complaining about no more Whiskeytown albums.
DIANA – Perpetual Surrender: The band so nice I saw’em twice. In two days. During NX. They might get written off as a ship in the post-irony-fleet of yacht-rock, but they are truly, sincerely beautiful. Plus: Sax solos sweeter than Huey Lewis & the News.
The Internet – Feel Good: If you’re not old enough to remember the Brand New Heavies, well, I expected you to stop reading after the intro; I’m sorry I resent your youth. That’s my wrinkle to work out this year. You’ll get wrinkles someday. Mwhahaha. AND if you like this record, you owe it to yourself & listen to everything that came out on Delicious Vinyl during the mid-90s.
Lou Doillon – Places: Get out of here with your Zou Bisou Bisou, cable nuts. She has a Bill Hicks tattoo for chrissakes. She is obviously from another planet of effortless cool. Daughter of Jane Birkin. Step-sis to Charlotte Gainsbourg. DNA aside, Places is a light sweet French macaron with the tiniest bit of tartness in the occasionally sassy lyrical aside.
Tony Scalzo – My Favorite Year + Wendy Colonna – Nectar: Anyone who’s known me for the past 10 years knows that the mere mention of Austin turns me into Golden Girls’ Rose musing about St. Olaf. It is a mythical, magical place where things are just better. Because. Proof: These two albums from exceptionally talented singer-songwriters who craft the killingest bridges in modern pop. Trust.
V/A – Arts & Crafts: X: This probably shouldn’t count as a record-record, but 2014’s about breaking silly rules. Or at least bending. The collaborations on this comp are pretty inspired. Gonzo + Stars; Feist + Timber Timbre; the other ones pairing up with each other. You know it’s good cause it’s A&C. Just get it already.
Alt-10: At any point these were on the list, too:
Braids – Flourish // Perish
Anna Calvi - One Breath
CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
David Lynch – The Big Dream
Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
Laura Mvula – Sing To the Moon
Oh Land - Wishbone
Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium
PARTYNEXTDOOR – s/t
Ty Segall – Sleeper
Here’s 19 LPs – some mixes, EPs, freebies, soundtracks – that’d make my special Monday Morning Mix. Coincidentally, 19’s also how old everyone looks when I go to a venue with a liquor licence. So there’s that. Bolded the top 5.
ASAP Rocky – Long.Live.ASAP
David Byrne & St. Vincent – Brass Tactics EP
Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
J Cole - Born Sinner
Drake – Nothing Was The Same
The Dream – Climax EP
Raz Fresco – Cakey Pocket$ (Actually came out in 2012 but I’m an old white lady so give me a break)
Superstar Jay – I Am Mixtapes 148 (This should probably be categorized under V/A but I’m getting lazy)
Jay-Z – Magna Carta…Holy Grail (Alphabetizing this one was hard)
Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back
Shad – Flying Colours *+* The Spring Up EP w/ Skratch Bastid
Tyga – Hotel California
V/A – The Great Gatsby Soundtrack (the movie was a hot mess, but I loved the s/t. Always a sucker for a cover.)
Wale – The Gifted
Kanye West – Yeezus
Young Dolph – South Memphis Kingpin