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Best Records of 2013

Best Records of 2013

Well, it’s that time again. My favorite albums released in 2013.

Thanks to things like BandCamp, SoundSupply, and Spotify, it’s never been easier for a music nerd to try out tons of new music. This year, I tried really hard to listen to one new album every day. Not all of them were released in 2013. Not all of them got a full spin (if I didn’t care for it), but I gave everything a fair shot. Because of that, this year’s list is a little more eclectic and ridiculous, compared to years past.

If this list wasn’t enough, check out last year’s!

The order of the top 10 really changes based on my mood. At the moment, this is where things stand.

The Top 10!

10. Twin Forks – S/T
I’m not sure what genre to call this, but it seems like “new-grass” is fitting. Acoustic strings, up-beat, and really well written tunes. It’s fronted by Chris Carrabba (you know him from Dashboard Confessional), and is just a fun ep that is straight and to the point.

9. Volcano Choir – Repave
This is Justin Vernon’s (Bon Iver) experimental side project. It has his sonic fingerprints all over it. Fun dynamics, layers, textures, as well as his recognizable vocals. This album creates a great mood, and is proving to be a wonderful winter-time record.

8. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with a new NIN record. Part of me let them go after their ‘Final Tour’ of 2009. I had embraced the new era of Reznor, with video game/movie scores, and HTDA. I was cautiously optimistic about a new NIN record, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Great sound design, experimental tones and moods, and some killer songs. Keep it up, Trent.

7. City & Colour – The Hurry and the Harm Dallas Green’s “Little Hell” was one of my favorite records of 2011, so I was really excited for this one. It’s a darker, moodier, more atmospheric record compared to previous releases, but it’s a great listen.

6. Owen – L’Ami du Peuple
You can’t go wrong with an Owen release. Another mathy, percussive, densely layered release. L’Ami feels a little more upbeat than some of his previous albums, and tends to be a bit grittier. Great mathy folk-rock record.

5. Their / They’re / There – S/T
I was anxously awaiting this album from the I heard these guys were jamming. Mike Kinsella (Owen ^, #6), Evan (Into It Over It), Matt Frank (Loose Lips Sink Ships) getting together for a math-rock record? SOLD. It was released on RSD2013, and was my most anticipated record! It delivered.

4. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork
QOSTA has been somewhat hit or miss on the last couple records, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. On the first listen through, and I had an absolute blast. It may not rock has hard as previous efforts, but the songs are just so solid. The moods are perfect, and the production is great. Killer record.

3. Cloudkicker – Subsume
At this point, if Ben Sharp releases a Cloudkicker record, you can pretty much assume it’ll end up on my top 10 list. Subsume combines some of his more experimental movements with some of his heaviest riffage since Beacons. There isn’t anyone writing better instrumetal music out there.

2. Into It / Over It- Intersections
I don’t know how Evan writes so much quality music. This record picks up where the previous Proper left off. A mathy tip of the cap to Mock Orange, Death Cab, with a stunning production. The instrumentation is great, and the story-telling is top notch.

1. Butch Walker – Peachtree Battle
In other years, I’m not certain that this would be on the top 10, let alone the number one record. But in 2013, with the records that were released (or not released, TLAT/Tool), this one just absolutely did it for me. It’s a great upbeat pop folk rock record. Love the production, instrumentation, song writing, story telling, everything. It just had what I was looking for! The lap / pedal steel work is a blast as well. Just an absolute fun listen!

Runners Up
Ultra mathy / tappy / clean crazy guitar indie band. Fun.

Intronaut – Habitual Levitations
Think Isis & Tool, but proggier.

O’brother Disillusion
If I did a top 11 list, this would have been listed above. Killer dense, atmospheric, heavy record.

The Dear Hunter – Migrant
There are some killer songs on here, and wild instrumentation!

Thereafter – signs ep
The drummer from The Felix Culpa’s solo release. Heavier proggy stuff that reminds me a bit of Oceansize.

Moving Mountains – S/T
Just a great melodic heavy altrock record.

How To Destroy Angels – Oblivion.
Trent Reznor & his wife making an album akin to The Social Network Soundtrack, with female vocals.

Foals – Holy Fire
After making it this far, I’m wondering how this didn’t make the top 10. Such a fun, upbeat alt rock record.

From the Petrified Forest- Mostly Mort
Proggy instrumetal solo artist that just keeps plugging along. GREAT STUFF.

Honorable Mentions
Tilts- s/t
MBV – s/t
Polygraph – Time and Beyond Time
Gentleman Rogues – S/T
The Bitter Life Type Cast – Strange Party
The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
Man or Astroman – Defcon 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Ghost Idols- S/T
The Shouting Matches – Grownass Man
Turnover – Magnolia
Sigur Ros – Kveikur
Digital Noise Academy – Synemy
Palms – S/T
Native – Orthodox
Vast Robot Armies
Matt Nathanson – Last of the Great Pretenders
Russian Circles – Memorial
Pelican – Forever Becoming

Biggest Disappointment:
Coheed & Cambria- The Afterman: Descension
What the hell happened to these guys? Perhaps I’m growing out of them.

Most listened to record, NOT of 2013?
Without a doubt, it’s Butch Walker & The Black Widows “I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart”. It lives somewhere between the Beatles White Album and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. For whatever reason, this record owned my soul for about 3 months straight. I don’t know the last time that happened to me. So Good.

What I am looking forward to in 2014?
– Supposedly a new Tool record
– New The Life & Times full length.
– Another Butch Walker release is supposedly on the way.
Cut Teeth full length.
Hidden Hospitals LP!


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