An album is a vastly different critter than a song. Songs can scamper about and amuse. They can invade your space and distract you for a few minutes’ reverie. Albums, on the other hand, are an invitation to an in-depth conversation, or perhaps a commitment to traverse a certain distance. Good albums work hard to capture your attention in new ways with each listen. Albums have layers. Songs can have layers, too, but they’re over in a few minutes (rather, most of them are, I should say, setting aside Joanna Newsom and Sufjan Stevens, etc.)
I picked ten 2013 calendar releases. I wrote one line about each album. There were plenty more on my list, but time is finite. Here they are:
10. The Happiness Waltz by Josh Rouse
Josh Rouse first warmed his way into my young heart with his self-assured bilingual album Subtítulo.
9. Herein Wild by Frankie Rose
Haunting and self-assured.
8. Shaking the Habitual by The Knife
An album of perpetual left-hand turns and precipice-hugging navigation.
7. Love’s Crushing Diamond by Mutual Benefit
Tranquil and meditative, deeply reassuring and filled with questions.
6. At Home by Keep Shelly In Athens
An album of epic proportions that manages to feel intimate and DIY.
5. Limits of Desire by Small Black
Small Black are the new Nada Surf.
4. The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES
This album shows up on every other 2013 ‘Best of’ list I have read to date.
3. Trouble Will Find Me by The National
Love the fact that it is a National album, through-and-through… entirely un-disappointed.
2. After Dark 2 by Various Artists
I was slain on the doorstep of Johnny Jewel and his cadre of musicians for many months.
1. Metrics of Affection by Bombadil
No two ways about it- Bombadil took the escalator up and friggin’ ARRIVED.
And there you have it. 2014 is already looking killer with forthcoming releases from The Notwist, Damien Jurado, and Death Vessel. I, for one, am stoked on 2014. I need a turntable. And good speakers.