My Top Ten Albums of 2013:
10. Los Campesinos! – No Blues
No matter how grey the morning, the repeated act of rolling over in bed and groggily opening my now-vintage Winamp player with a queued No Blues somehow always found a way to brighten the overcast skies glooming my disheveled, lonely dorm room. Yes, Mr. Paisey, I think your “For Flotsam” prescription is correct. One more, please.
9. Tera Melos – X’ed Out
The staggeringly diverse X'ed Out plays out like some sort of classic vaudeville show, where the freakish idiosyncrasies of dream pop, math, indie and doom metal all get an equal chance to shine in front of the oddly silent audience. Criminally underrated in my book and noticeably absent from other year-end round ups, Tera Melos deserves far more than the paucity of praise doled out in 2013. Hopefully the new year will have given X'ed Out enough time to skin in.
8. TTNG – 188.8.131.52.0
In 2013, I came to terms with something I’ve been ignoring for quite some time: I am unabashedly a math rock fanboy. TTNG just so happens to be one of the best bands doing it right now, so their spot on my list was basically guaranteed as soon as the first jangly notes of “Cat Fantastic” twinkled into my ears. Throw in some rhythmic absurdity in “I’ll Take the Minute Snake” and I’m still as unashamed as ever.
7. Annuals – Time Stamp
Originally hailed as the "swan song" for Annuals, who were precariously on the brink of disbanding earlier in the year, Time Stamp brought new life back into these forgotten indie masterminds with 11 tracks of pure, unrestrained fun. From the pinball arcade playfulness of "Broke" to the meta rejection percussion in "I Quit," Annuals is clearly at the top of their creative game with Time Stamp, which, with a little luck, won't be the last we hear from them.
6. Touché Amore - Is Survived By
5. Typhoon – White Lighter
4. A Lot Like Birds – No Place
3. HRVRD – From the Bird’s Cage
2. Barrow – Though I’m Alone
1. Enemies – Embark, Embrace
Melt-Banana - Fetch
A Great Big Pile of Leaves – You’re Always On My Mind
And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures
Crash of Rhinos – Knots
The Dear Hunter – Migrant
Top Live Shows:
1. The Dillinger Escape Plan, Cat's Cradle, 5/30
2. Melt-Banana, Local 506, 11/5
3. Weatherbox, Local 506, 2/23
4. RVIVR, Pinhook, 10/22
5. Fall Out Boy, The Filmore, 6/1
Thanks for reading! As a last-minute impulse of fun, if you really want to get a sense of the emotional roller coaster that was my 2013, then I recommend taking a step into my shoes for an evening and playing these songs sequentially, all of which were released this year. Check them all out here. For best results, add headphones and an easily accessible fifth of Evan Williams:
“Young” – Air Review
“Smoke and Mirrors” – Widowspeak
“Cardboard Houses” – HRVRD
“Constract Contrast” – Geskia!
“Wrinkle” – I Can Make A Mess
“Cat Fantastic” – TTNG
“True Trans Soul Rebel” – Against Me!
“Possible Deaths” – Typhoon
“Big Thinks Do Remarkable” – And So I Watch You From Afar
“Prancer” – The Dillinger Escape Plan
“Impasses” – Crash of Rhinos
“Color Blind” – Comadre
“Blue Angels” – Touché Amore
“I Am A God” – Kanye West
“X’ed Out and Tired” – Tera Melos
“Back to School” – A Great Big Pile of Leaves
“New Old” – Restorations
“Pull the Pin” – The Lonely Forest
“Gun” - CHVRCHES
“Phoenix” – Fall Out Boy
“Big News” – Weatherbox
“I Got High” – Owen