2013 – The Year’s Best Music – Albums

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:

The Happiness Waltz

10. The Happiness Waltz by Josh Rouse

Josh Rouse first warmed his way into my young heart with his self-assured bilingual album Subtítulo.

Herein Wild

9. Herein Wild by Frankie Rose

Haunting and self-assured.

Shaking the Habitual

8. Shaking the Habitual by The Knife

An album of perpetual left-hand turns and precipice-hugging navigation.

Love's Crushing Diamond

7. Love’s Crushing Diamond by Mutual Benefit

Tranquil and meditative, deeply reassuring and filled with questions.

At Home

6. At Home by Keep Shelly In Athens

An album of epic proportions that manages to feel intimate and DIY.

Limits of Desire

5. Limits of Desire by Small Black

Small Black are the new Nada Surf.

The Bones of What You Believe

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.

Trouble Will Find Me

3. Trouble Will Find Me by The National

Love the fact that it is a National album, through-and-through… entirely un-disappointed.

After Dark 2

2. After Dark 2 by Various Artists

I was slain on the doorstep of Johnny Jewel and his cadre of musicians for many months.

Metrics of Affection

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.

Best Tunes of 2013 – Half-Year Edition

Behold, I haven’t written a dratted thing on here for months.

I would like to remedy that with a Soundcloud (no, not Spotify or Grooveshark or Rdio) playlist of songs that I consider to be on the shortlist for the best of 2013. Put on your headphones and push play or turn up your speakers and go clean your house/office/bedroom or something.

At best, this list is a poor representation of the great material artists have been churning out this year. I hope to have a list that better represents the total scope of my interests by the end of the year. It’s hard work keeping up with this “music”- as they call it- moving across the Internet at the speed of fiber-optics.