List season is upon us, so stay tuned for our ‘Best of 2013’ series over the next week or so. We’ll try and have it wrapped up before the big day!
For some reason, this year felt a lot like Sophie’s Choice. I’ve no idea why it hurt more than other years, but it was a struggle to put it down on paper (ok, screen not paper). I must have changed it approximately 100 times, so I’ll publish this quickly before I change it agian…
30. Deerhunter (Monomania) – The only surprise about this album is that it wasn’t higher on the list. Their previous album ‘Halcyon Digest’ was a special album that should stand the test of time. This album certainly has its moments, but possibly a bit patchy to be higher up the list.
29. John Murry (Graceless Age) – John Murry is a new name to most this year, and his deep, smooth voice and haunted mystique mark him as one to watch out for the future. If he puts together a few more albums of this quality, his reputation will only continue to grow. He could end up this generation’s Tom Waits.
28. Waxachatee (Creulean Salt) – A little touch of mid 90’s indie guitar music, it feels like a lost album somewhere between the Breeders and Throwing Muses, with maybe a touch of Belly (Ok, they’re very 4AD is what I’m saying!). Waxachatee are a solo project from Katie Crutchfield and this is her second full release, following last year’s American Weekend.
27. Youth Lagoon (Wondrous Bughouse) – This album is a tasty reminder of the various qualities of Trevor Powers, aka Youth Lagoon. It’s as playful as you would expect, and never rests on a sound for too long without tearing it apart and putting it back together again.
26. Yo La Tengo (Fade) I think I only realised how good this album was when I heard it played live, in one of the gigs of the year. Another slow and beautiful album from a band that have been putting out albums of consistent quality for the last 100 years (ok, it only feels that way).
25. Alasdair Roberts (A wonder working stone) – Is this the first singer songwriter on the list? Don’t worry, there will be more! Alasdair is amazingly prolific, and has a multitudes of recordings, which are closer to traditional music than they are to folk. His strong scottish accent colours his singing voice, and his complex guitar playing make this another treat.
24. Grey Reverend (A Hero’s Lie) – Our review is here. Opening with “Everlasting” and taking us by the hand through a mesmerising acoustic folk blues garden, this is a hugely enjoyable forty minute musical journey. Mr. Brown took full producing duties, song writing and the majority of the performing; so this is quite the virtuoso affair. The production and orchestration is simple, imaginative and devastatingly effective.
23. Raffertie (Sleep of Reason) Our reivew is here – ‘His music is dark and somewhat brooding and according to the man himself was informed by his childhood in seaside British towns. Tracks with names such as Undertow, Rain and Black Rainbow capture this mood of empty and exposed resorts.’
22. Lee Noble (Ruiner) – Our review is here – Lee Noble’s album ‘Ruiner’ is a distant and haunting affair. From the opening sounds you know this is going to be something unusual as each song builds from layered images or fragments and the overall effect is quite eerie. The instruments involved are not that unorthodox, with simple strummed guitar, banjo, church organs and and vocals, but the variety of sounds/ samples along with the murky production change it into something quite abstract.
21. My Bloody Valentine – mbv
And they’re back… ok, they might have taken a short break from releasing albums, with the small matter of 22 years since their 1991 release of Loveless. With this album they go right back to where they left off, as if nothing in the world had changed. It’s not a reason to complain though, as no one else does it like they do! Spiraling walls of guitar, waves of sonic pleasure, whatever you want to call it! From mid February.
“(Probably) not the best minute of guitar for 20 years as some might suggest… but pretty damn special none the less. Listen as loud as your ears can bear. Thank you Kevin.”