Albums and songs of 2013
Here is my yearly round-up of music that did it for me. It was a great year, especially for the more left-of-centre stuff. I spent many hours trawling BANDCAMP, helped fund a few projects on PLEDGE MUSIC and hung out at my usual hunting grounds: eMusic, Beatport and iTunes.
There are only ten albums, but they are ones I spent a lot of time with. I’ve included my stand-out track to check out with links to preview. In no particular order:
Lead singer of Ladytron’s solo crowd-funded album. Perfect electro-pop. Try The Hunter
Mostly voice and piano. Folky but nudging classical. Delicate, dark and contemplative. Try Dorian
For some reason the critics didn’t like this album. Don’t know why…I thought it was even better than the last. Quirky indie-surf. Try Fade Away.
South African electro. Confident, moody and ethereal with some classic electronic influences. Try Harm
Stumbled on this randomly. Dude played in various punk bands and then released psych-pop gems from his bedroom which led to a Fatcat signing. Sometimes Arcade Fire lite with strong 80s new wave pull (in a good way). Try Crystal Clear
Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill and Le Tigre) releases new album by her side project The Julie Ruin. Guitar-driven, raw and very shouty. Try Oh Come On.
Classical with experimental electronic loopy undercurrent. Very slow, expressive and sad in a sad soundtrack kinda way. She also released and album called Nepenthe which I downloaded and somehow lost…Try Call.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the sky away
I’ve been very critical of Mr. Cave recently because the albums, well, haven’t been particularly good. Don’t even mention that Grinderman rubbish. This though, is a true return to form and the only CD I purchased this year. Try Jubilee Street.
Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is beauty
Folk music for goths and ex-goths alike. Works equally as well for those leaning to the darker side of country, murder ballads and such. Try Feral Love
Imagine The Shangri-Las through a fuzz-box. Try Next Stop.
This compilation gets a special mention:
Bonobo – Late night tales (Compilation)
The latest in this amazing range sees Bonobo pick an introspective and influential selection of classical, jazz, folk, soul, ambient, electro and indie soundscapes.
So then…no place for Arcade Fire, The National, Foals, Weeknd or the new Knife as far as albums go, but there you go. Perhaps they’ll grow on me over the years.
There were so many songs to choose from this year. None of the songs here are from any of the above albums list. Either the album as a whole didn’t stand up for me or it was all I heard from the band. I pull music from so many places and it’s difficult to check out everything. So as not to get too carried away, I’ve limited the lists to a Top 10 in each category:
Top 10 INDIE/POP tracks of 2013
Joy Formidable – This ladder is ours
Dum Dum Girls – Lost boys and girls club
Angel Olsen – Forgiven/Forgotten
Top 10 COMEDOWN tracks of 2013
Blurred City Lights – Circles (the male half of Curve’s new project)
Ampersand – The hoarder (Off JHB based Warren Cohen’s new EP)
Boards of Canada – Reach for the dead
Billie Joe & Norah Jones – Down in the willow garden (Greenday dude and Norah Jones. Surprisingly good too!)
Chloe Howl – How proud (So much better than Lorde)
Daughter – Get Lucky (This Daft Punk cover is my song of the year)
London Grammar – Wasting my young years (Just loved this song…and their cover of Nightcall)
Lower Plenty – Strange beast (Doomy Sinatra/Hazelwood type of thing)
Sarah Neufeld – Hero brother (Violinist from Arcade Fire’s solo expedition)
Valerie June – Twined and twisted (quirky little track from her country/gospel/Appalachian/bluegrass inspired album)
Lookout for two 2013 mixes I’ll be posting on my MIXCLOUD page featuring the above tracks and more: Indie2013 and Comedown2013.
Last year, for a bit of fun, I did an all-dance mix which proved popular. I’m busy with an ULTIMIX@6 mix for 5FM which will feature all my top 2013 dance tracks that will be aired sometime in January. Once it’s played, I’ll add it to Mixcloud. It’s already in the planning stages and so far Yo Grapes, Hello Phones, Factory Floor, Baio, Connan Mockasin, Rory Philips and Daughter have all got the nod.
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