Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 50 of 2013

What a year... No metaphor could do justice to the madness of this year's musical developments; the listeners, for years now, have had their ears steadily filled to the overwhelming brims... It's gotten to the point now that, in any given year, there is so much that one COULD listen to, that it becomes difficult to figure just what stood out more than anything else.

Kanye West went all Metal Machine Music on us, shattered all the big bright production bulbs for harsher aesthetics, dark, doom-laden techno-punk fits sampling sacred songs and boldly self-deifying himself. In a way, both West's Yeezus and French dance-domination duo Daft Punk's Random Access Memories could both be album of the year. Yeezus seemed to strike the battle cry of: ...Fuck it!

Everything and nothing all at once, all bets off, let's try this, let's try don't like it, it's your
problem. While Memories found two cold, unknowable robots taking their sleek, digitally-immaculate sound and perfectly punched dance-beats back to a hotter, heavier, fuller sound, a more human sound, with live instrumentation and multiple collaborators sharing in their once introverted world, a cry against the airless, nihilistic, sweat-free world of Facebook's illusory blur, a beating heart to pump blood back into the feeds of a disillusioned dystopia, with full on throwback funk fucking up the status quo of midi-electronica.

But then, maybe this was the year for Vampire Weekend. I utterly begrudge the fact that they wound up at the top; but I also can't deny that I was drawn to the entirety of the record, responding to its lyrical sentiments and intrigued by the quirky effects employed throughout so as to creatively crust up their ever maturing make of wavier, wearier indie-pop. My best compliment to their Modern Vampires Of The City was that, heretofore, I've found Vampire Weekend insipid, underwhelming and loved-enough, really, by everyone else, so as not to really need anymore thumbs-up, least of all from me. But, for this year, alongside the inimitable Bars of Gold, they get some thumbs-up from me...(I mean, really, can interchange BoG and VW...the scales may even tip in favor of BoG, but I could waffle all day. In fact, speaking of Waffles.......)

But really, as I said, symptomatic this new decade's musical manner - where everyone can listen to everything at almost every waking second by any means imaginable - it could, truly, have been any of these records that stole the show. But there's no more show to steal... The curtain's torn away and there's hundreds of spotlights. And no more script.
Take 2! Action!

50. Rober Glasper - Black Radio II
49. Tim Hecker - Virgins
48. Chvrches - Bones Of What You Believe
47. Arcade Fire - Reflecktor
46. Lorde - Royals
45. Unknown Mortal Orchestra II
44. Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr - Speed Of Things
43. Jamaican Queens - wormfood
42. Disclosure - Settle
41. Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise
40. Four  Tet - Beautiful Rewind
39. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
38. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Jama Ko
37. Inside Llewyn Davis -Original Soundtrack
36. Foals - Holy Fire
35. Oscillating Fan Club - Oscillations Of A Beast
34. El P and Killer Mike - Run The Jewels
33. Polvo - Siberia
32. Shigeto - No Better Time Than Now
31. James Blake - Overgrown
30. Wooden Shjips - Back To Land
29. Lee Ranaldo & the Dust - Last Night On Earth
28. Bill Callahan - Dream River
27. Of Montreal - Lousy With Sylvanbriar
26. Jagwar Ma - Howlin'
25. Cass McCombs - Big Wheel
24. Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
23. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
22. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
21. Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin
20. Duende - Murder Doesn't Hide The Truth
19. Danny Brown - Old
18. Cave - Threace
17. Kurt Vile - Walkin On A Pretty Daze
16. Savages - Shut Up
15. Janelle Monae - Electric Lady
14.  Smith Westerns - Soft Will
13. Speedy Ortiz - Major Arcana
12. Kanye West - Yeezus
11. My Bloody Valentine - m b v
10. Neko Case - The Harder I Fight
9. Frontier Ruckus - Eternity of Dimming
8.  Haim - Days Are Gone
7. Adult. - The Way Things Fall
6. Saturday Looks Good To Me - One Kiss
5. Willis Earl Beal - Nobody Knows
4. King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
3. Superchunk - I Hate Music
2. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
1.  Bars Of Gold - Wheels

Honorable Mentions:
Valerie June - Pushin' Against a Stone
Sebadoh - Defend Yourself
Terrible Twos - Horror Vacui
Drake - Nothing Was The Same
Eddie Logix Plays Lykke Li
Darkside - Psychic
....and too many.... 

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