Wednesday, December 11, 2013

best albums of 2013 - a definitive and comprehensive list

Wow so 2013 kinda came and went.

Lucky for you, we will document the best albums of the year. **SPOILER ALERT** Kanye West is not on this list, as he is the sole reason racism still exists in 2013. Also not found here: indie garbage, Deafheaven's new one, and Daft Punk.

That said, there were only a couple new albums that I listened to this year. Here are the ones I enjoyed most, in no particular order:

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

Probably the most wife-friendly set of jams here, which should auto-jump it right towards the top of my list. 2013 sees Vampire Weekend mostly leaving behind the Afro-whatever influences found on previous albums. Worry not though, pretentious shitheads, they fill that void with awesome. Frontman Ezra Koenig or whatever his last name is definitely upped the lyric-game ante with pop culture and historical references that are way over my head. Why should you give this album a chance? Listen to the above song and not love it. Now imagine a full album that awesome. Found this for like $16 on vinyl, heck yeah. In Manhattan or Brooklyn, can't remember, but just know that I was gettin' my urban on in a big city.

Drug Church - Paul Walker

OK, this is my album of the year. Take an awesome album, add a now hilariouser/awesomer album title, and BOOM, best set of jams of the year. I hear 90's hardcore, 90's post-hardcore, 90's punk, 90's pop-punk, 90's awesome, everything. You wouldn't think that a dude yelling about how miserable things are for other people, and himself, would be this enjoyable, but it is. Catchy, awesome lyrics, awesome everything. Even my Pearl Jam dick-rider friend enjoyed this when I played it for him. Had a choice of vinyl or CD, chose the latter because I was out of town, and the immediate playback quality my vehicle offered was too much to trump. Besides, Heckyeahwoman ain't want this spinnin' on the living room turntable.

Self Defense Family - The Corrections Office in Me

Admittedly, I am a Patrick Kindlon fanboy (See above Drug Church jocking), if such a thing exists. From his interviews, to his albums, to maybe even his comics, everything this dude touches turns to gold. Except for probably women. Despite the fact that no End of a Year (former name) or Self Defense Family release sounds the same, I will enjoy anything they put out. Generally classified as "punk" or "DC style punk" or whatever, tight music, clever songwriting. And new album coming out in January! Digital streaming this three songer, will probably purchase when I pre-order the new SDF record.

The Bronx - IV

First they released the single, Ribcage, then they released Youth Wasted. Stupid catchy, if not radio-friendly punk rock, with emphasis on the rock. Not a stinker on this album. Matt Caughthran's vocals are so good, dude has got some chops. OK, and the band is pretty good at putting together a shitload of hooks and calling them songs, well-written songs. I own this album on CD and I don't regret it.

Woe - Withdrawal

After releasing Quietly, Undramatically in 2010, when Withdrawal was released, I was all like, 'how they gon' top that one?". Then they did. Not a fan of black metal really, but I do infrequently indulge, and if more bands were guilty of Withdrawal-level quality, I'd be the KVLTest dude around. Hear the seething rage in front man Chris Griggs' vocals; hear his desperation. But beyond the depraved emotion, dude brings in classic rock (?! OK, in one song) and punk rock influences to seamlessly meld with the intensely American black metal. Only bummer is that sometimes the vocals seem a little low in the mix, but their last album required a remix, so it's not a total surprise. Also of note is that I purchased this album digitally - much more immediate than ordering a CD, and way more accessible than having to never listen to the vinyl.

Volcano Choir - Repave

Chalk this one up to my wife - she loves this album, she plays the album a lot, I overhear it, I start to like it, we see them live, album is reinforced as being awesome, album makes my year end list. Think: Bon Iver gone manly (well, maybe gone male hipster that just got into ironic metal), Bon Iver gone Isis, Bon Iver gone electric. Think whatever you want, but just know this ish good. We don't yet own any copy of this album, just constantly revisited it through online streaming. Spoiler alert: I'll probably buy the vinyl for Heckyeahwoman for Xmas.

Surprising stuff I didn't even listen to:
Terror - Live by the Code - Dude, I'm still jamming Keepers of the Faith, how you trying to put out another album full of presumably hard ass songs of redemption, perseverance, working hard, being true, and other hardcore platitudes?
Integrity - Suicide Black Snake - Hard to get pumped about a new Integrity album with their entire back catalog being so awesome. New song I heard was awesome though.
Autopsy - The Headless Ritual - I think I gave one listen and didn't enjoy furiously, love Mental Funeral and Severed Survival. It got great reviews, I guess.
Carcass - Surgical Steel - The few listens I gave this were good. But I don't feel I spent enough time with it to actually include on the list.
*Dillinger Escape Plan - One of us is the Killer - Total stumper why I haven't listened to this. Option Paralysis was awesome, as were all releases prior. Huge blunder on my part. Been streaming this nonstop since I started this post. Crucial jams that should be towards the top of your year end list.
Gorguts - Colored Sands - Same thing as with the new Carcass, just not enough time.

From last year - had I done a year end list for 2012, these two would probably have been on it.
Strife - Witness a Rebirth - two minute hardcore anthems, classic yet modern Strife is back!
Maroon 5 - Overexposed - more like overproduced. You go from Hands All Over to this? Child please. Best songs on the new one are the bonus songs, one of which is a cover of Prince's Kiss.

So what did we learn here? I'm too old to give much of a shit about new music.

*This album is fucking awesome. I initially had it in the Surprising stuff section, but while writing this, listened furiously, and realize now that it belongs in my Best of 2013 section. Due to laziness, the band's entry here remains in the Surprising stuff section.

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