13 of my favorites of 2013. And since, they are my favorites- of course I own them in some format, which we should all be doing particularly if you're deeming them a "top" something or "favorite" of the year. Please spread the good word of artist appreciation and support for your favorite music. Ranking isn't always the best way accomplish an overall appreciation of many varied offering but these 13 albums I feel deserve a second look if you missed them, or to be celebrated for the achievements they are.
La Luz- It's Alive
Surf leaning anything and I'm a fan, coupled with fantastic harmonies and great songs...related: I sent an email to the band when I came across their first recordings on bandcamp about putting out their record, obviously it didn't materialize and Burger, Suicide Squeeze, and Hardly Art/Sub Pop all had the same idea :)
Wooden Wand- Blood Oaths of the New Blues
James Jackson Toth, J.J Toth, Wand, Wooden Wand...whatever he wants to call it, the dude writes good songs. While I may not always agree with his essays or music think pieces, they, like his songs, are always well crafted, inspiring, and provocative.
Labeling this record simply as "shoegaze" or never moving past the vocal nods to Mazzy Star do a complete diservice to a complex yet seemingly effortless album. As much as I like the album, their set at Treefort last March blew me away.
Yo La Tengo- Fade
Simply one of my favorite bands of all time. There are some who say sections of this album are "boring." I see what they mean, in the same way a coastal sunset or an encounter with things of great beauty are "boring."
Charles Bradley- Victim of Love
If you've heard it, you know.
Courtney Barnett- The Double EP: Sea of Split Peas
We were introduced via Eric Gilbert's Antler Crafts show on Radio Boise. Our relationship started with the meandering, 60's slacker vibe of Avant Gardner but as I got to know the Melbourne singer/songwriter better I couldn't help but like almost everything she's done. A good collection and if 2013 wasn't her break out year, 2014 should be.
Kurt Vile- Wakin' On a Pretty Daze
A perfect morning, summer-porch sitting record. or a perfect mid-afternoon grass lounging record. or a perfect late, late night/early morning couch slouchin' record. You get the idea, there are many moments this record is perfect for and to me, almost all of them involve sitting/lounging of some sort.
Electric Eye- Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time
This record has almost everything I love in a rock album; feedback harmonies, droning riffs, lots of fuzz guitars. This psychedelic burner is right up my alley, which is why I can't stop spinnin it, and I won't.....
Pure Bathing Culture- Moon Tides
I loved their s/t EP, but Moon Tides is a fully realized vision that the EP hinted at. It's easy to get lost in the synths and nostalgic tones (which is not a bad place to be) but this is pop music on par with any of the timeless greats.
Powder Blue- dream in black
I know in music writing these days the adjective "dream" or "dreamy" is probably overused, but it's right there in the album title, so it's a legitimate reference, right? The albums perfectly titled. You should just stop reading this right now and let this album wash over you.
Foxygen- We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic
I like the record, 60's vibes are my thing, and I dig. Some of the other externals I could take or leave.
My Bloody Valentine- mbv
Being a fan of earlier MBV makes being a fan of mbv the album an easy step. Especially when it's crafted (and re-crafted) over 20+ years and the band has a leg up on any shoegaze competition becase they are allowed (and celebrated) for sounding just like My Bloody Valentine.
Jacco Gardner- Cabinet of Curiosities
I stumbled upon this album and bought it before it was released based on my respect for what Trouble in Mind Records out of Chicago is doing these days. A great year for them, and I'm sure more excellence to come from them in 2014. Though I bought this record based on the label's description alone, it has become one, perhaps the, top played record of mine this year. It's all good. Easily fits in with classic psychedlic pop masterpieces from The Zombies, Beatles, et. al High praise, I know, but you'll be glad you opened up Cabinet of Curiosities (see what I did there?)
Thanks for reading, now go find some new favorite music. And buy it.