Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year in Music 2013 - Part 1

EPs, Singles, Live Shows, Miscellanous

If you only read one year-end music list this year, please don't read this. Read someone else's, since it'll probably be better than mine. Also if you really like music, you should probably read more than one. That would be pretty silly, right?  So in that case, you might as well read mine and read everyone else's too. Without further ado, the most least essential music list of 2013. I have a good feeling about this year's list, it's at least in my top five best year-end lists of the decade.

Miscellaneous - Worth Your Time

These releases are worth checking out and/or some highlights from 2012 that I slept on until this year.

Bad ReligionTrue North (Epitaph)
ConnectionsPrivate Airplane (Lost Weekend) - 2012
Diarrhea Planet I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams (Infinity Cat)
Dr. DogB-Room (Anti)
The Fresh & OnlysLong Slow Dance (Mexican Summer) - 2012
Grant Hart The Argument (Domino)
Minor AlpsGet There (Barsuk)
My Bloody Valentine - m b v (self-released).
Kevin MorbyHarlem River (Woodsist)
Outside WorldS/T - EP (Night-People) - 2012
Outside WorldSeaside Nowhere - EP (Night-People) - 2012
PolvoSiberia (Merge)
Sonny & the Sunsets - Antenna to the Afterworld (Polyvinyl)
Swearin'S/T (Wichita) - 2012
Tegan and SaraHeartthrob (Vapor/Warner Bros.)
Those Darlins Blur the Line (Oh Wow Dang)
Toy SoldiersThe Maybe Boys (Rocket Science Records)
Uniform FreaksDemo 2012 - EP (self-released) - 2012
The Vaccines Come of Age (Columbia) - 2012
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City (XL).
White LungSorry (Deranged) - 2012
Woolen Men S/T (Woodsist)

Some song highlights from these releases:

Connections - "Miller's Grove" (skip ahead to about 1:00 mark for song)

Dr. Dog - "Distant Light"

Minor Alps - "Waiting For You"

Outside World - "Paid in Full"

Polvo - "Light, Raking"

Swearin' - "Movie Star"

Tegan and Sara - "Closer"

Toy Soldiers - "Tell the Teller"

The Vaccines - "No Hope"

Vampire Weekend - "Unbelievers"

White Lung - "Glue"

The Woolen Men - "Mayonnaise"

Live Shows

I feel like went to more shows than this. I guess I just considered going to more and then passed on them.

Jesse Malin - 1/16/13 - @ Johnny Brenda's
Pissed Jeans - 2/15/13 - @ Underground Arts
Wavves - 4/9/13 - @ Johnny Brenda's
Pearl Jam - 10/21/13 - @Wells Fargo Center
Sebadoh - 11/2/13 - @Johnny Brenda's
Deer Tick - 11/6/13 @ Union Transfer

EPs and Singles

Best Coast Fade Away (Bratty BC). I know many like-minded indie music fans have soured on Bethany Cosentino and Best Coast in the last few years but I'm not one of them. I enjoyed last year's follow up LP and this EP is another keeper, as Best Coast appears to be transitioning more into Rilo Kiley than the Vivian Girls. You could make the case this is their best release to date.

Best Coast - "Who Have I Become"

Clearance Dixie Motel Two-Step (Microluxe). Do you like Pavement? Of course you do if you're actually reading this and between the ages of thirty and fifty. Well, this band does a pretty good Pavement imitation (in a good way).

ConnectionsTough City (Lost Weekend). This would probably win "EP of the Year" for me. But basically if Male Bonding tried to sound like Guided By Voices, the result would be something like this. "Cul-De-Sac" is on my short list for "Song of the Year."

Albert Hammond Jr.AHJ (Cult Records). The Strokes guitarist releases his first solo material in nearly five years and it's a solid EP. And aside from that one song the Strokes had on their comeback LP a few years ago, these songs are better than anything else the rest of the band has done together recently.

Albert Hammond Jr. - "Strange Tidings"

PalehoundBent Nail (Exploding in Sound). Another really good retro-90's lo-fi sounding release. This reminds me quite a bit of Speedy Ortiz' Sports EP from last year.

Palehound - "Pet Carrot"

Parquet CourtsTally All The Things That You Broke (What's Your Rupture?). Another really good release from this band. Continuing their Pavement meets Minutemen sound with a little more experimentation on this EP. 

Parquet Courts - "You've Got Me Wonderin' Now"

The Pixies - EP1 (Pixies). Weren't the Pixies supposed to release "multiple EPs" this year, hence the title? Anyway, this is the only one and it's pretty solid and in a weird but good way doesn't sound all that much like vintage Pixies to me. For instance "Indie Cindy" sounds more like Oasis than the Pixies. And "What Goes Boom" has an intro that sounds like mid 90's Soundgarden. I'd be as stoked to hear an updated version of "Wave of Mutilation" as much as the next guy, but this is just different enough to sound like classic Pixies without repeating themselves.

Pixies - "Another Toe in the Ocean"

PrinceScrewdriver (single). A really great single by Prince featuring possibly his most interesting guitar work in nearly thirty years. Well, just listen for yourself.

The Replacements Songs for Slim (New West). This is an EP of covers to raise money for guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a stroke in 2012. So it's Paul, Tommy, and Chris all making music again (but not on the same songs together). And Chris did the album artwork. It features a pair of Slim solo covers among the five songs. The highlight is "I'm Not Sayin'" - a somewhat obscure 1965 pop song written by Gordon Lightfoot and most famously covered by a pre-Velvet Underground Niko, with pre-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page producing and playing guitar. The Replacements version sounds nothing like either of the previous versions and it's pretty great. And it's actually a fitting song to begin what hopefully is a reunion with new material, since so much of the early Replacements live shows consisted of somewhat obscure covers that the band kind of made their own. Let's face it, many American indie music fans (me included) in the 1980s and early 90s were probably first introduced to Sham 69, the Soft Boys, and the Only Ones mainly because the Replacements frequently covered their songs live.

The Replacements - "I'm Not Sayin'"

Various Artists - Songs for Slim (New West). After the Replacements reunited for their EP of covers to raise money for their former guitarist, other artists who are friends with/fans of the band got involved. So this features covers of Slim songs by Lucinda Williams, Craig Finn, Tommy Keene, and Steve Earle, among others.

Next: Part 2 - the Top 20 and Honorable Mention

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