It’s standard practice for music review sites and blogs to give a year-end, best-of list and seeing as I’ve reached the end of my first year as a ‘blogger’ I’ve decided to join the festivities albeit a li’l bit late. I guess my criteria for a great album is pretty straightforward, I like catchy songs which hopefully have something to say or express. Basically the Oliver Sachs notion of an ‘earworm’, tunes which stick in your brain…but in a good way. Anyway, here are some of my picks for the best albums of 2013.
Quasi – Mole City: Label:Kill Rock Stars
Crunchy, inventive, psychedelic rock from one of my favorite bands. Sam Coomes (vox, guitar, roxichord (his invention)) never disappoints with sometimes cryptic lyrics which are nonetheless affecting especially as they are supported by beautiful melodic lines. A double album to boot!!
Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana: Label: Carpark
It’s no small wonder our lead singer, Sadie, was formerly in a Pavement cover band. I continue to listen to this album and have yet to get sick of it! Plus they’re pretty damn righteous live (https://philiplynchmusic.com/2013/12/31/the-breeders-and-speedy-ortiz/)
Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold: Label: What’s Your Rupture
Punk pop fun songs. Laid back cool guy singer name-checking NYC neighborhoods. How can you go wrong with a lyric like “Socrates died in the fucking gutter!”? heh
Savages – Silence Yourself: Label: Matador
I cannot get This song out of my head and you know what? I don’t care!! Great power here, Jehnny Beth (lead singer) has drawn comparisons to Siouxsie of Siouxsie and The Banshees and rightly so but Savages a faster rock, more edge less gloom.
Julia Holter – Loud City Song: Label: Domino
Atmospheric and mysterious. I really enjoy this album. It’s a nighttime album. Julia is a very interesting composer arranger performer. Spend some time with this one the pay-off is well worth it.
I Heard The Angels Singing, Electrifying Black Gospel From the Nashboro Label 1951 – 1983:
I am not a religious person and I was in the midst of telling a friend this upon entering Other Music (15 East 4th Street, NYC) and they were playing this album which immediately shut my mouth and turned my head on it’s ear!! i.e. seems obvious but this is some of the most inspired music there is plus there are 4 glorious discs!!
David Bowie – Next Day: Label: ISO Records
Everyone and their grandmother seem to be focusing on the design of Next Day, Bowies album ‘Heroes’ cover with a white square over it. What impresses me most about this album is that David can afford to kick off the album with a more middle-of-the-road track rather than something attention grabbing. As you listen further the songs get better and better and then you realize what a great overall album this is. A true return to form! (not that I’m “against” Heathen or the Tin Machine stuff but this is better)
Califone – Stitches: Label: Dead Oceans Records
I love the Red Red Meat album ‘Bunny Gets Paid’. When that band disbanded and formed Califone Tim Rutili carried on with a similar aesthetic and man oh man I couldn’t be happier. Acoustic fuzz, broken imagery and the beauty of persisting despite it all.
Let’s all have a great 2014!!