top 10s of 2013

It’s been a while since my last musical listicle, but for posterity, here are the top ten artists, albums, and tracks of 2013, as measured by Not much to add for commentary, except that * indicates artists with new albums.

Top Artists

  1. Josh Ritter*
  2. Matt & Kim
  3. JJAMZ
  4. Beirut
  5. Matt Costa*
  6. Arcade Fire* — Though Reflektor is unbelievably tedious.
  7. The Walkmen
  8. Metric
  9. Tokyo Police Club
  10. She & Him*

Top Albums

  1. Josh Ritter • The Beast In Its Tracks* — A really earnest account of the demise of his marriage, and his recovery from the aftermath.
  2. JJAMZ • Suicide Pact — I’ve become a sucker for 80s-throwback pop with distorted synth. But I draw the line on 80s nostalgia at Haim, whom I just can’t get into.
  3. The Walkmen • Heaven — Weird that this appeared so low. I realized with this album that I basically grew up a step behind Hamilton Leithauser & Co., and that Heaven is my queue that I’m a grown-up, too.
  4. Matt & Kim • Lightning — A side effect of my working for a company in the music industry, they turned out to be really nice people, and this is a really fun album.
  5. Matt Costa • Matt Costa* — After years of being heckled by, I finally listened to his new, self-titled album. My wife refuses to believe that he is not a Nick Drake-influenced time traveler from 1970, and that’s pretty much why I enjoy this album.
  6. Metric • Synthetica — It’s an album that goes back to their darker electronica roots and has held up surprisingly well.
  7. She & Him • Volume 3* — Not sure if I’m tired of their sound, or if this album is naturally underwhelming. But it just didn’t get into my iTunes rotation as often as Volumes One or Two.
  8. Capital Cities • In A Tidal Wave of Mystery* — This is proof that I’ve drifted a long way from the days in college when I was pulled between the disparate influences of Eric and Kari. So much dance pop.
  9. Neon Indian • Era Extraña — Ditto. Thanks a lot, Nimisha.
  10. CHVRCHES • The Bones of What You Believe* — My new thing is pronouncing the “V” in CHVRCHES. They are possibly the first band to choose their name by search engine optimization.

Top Tracks

In the format {Track • Arist • Album}. Limited to one track per artist.

  1. Synthetica • Metric • Synthetica
  2. Heartbeat • JJAMZ • Suicide Pact — MySpace didn’t get me to use their service again with their reintroduction video/ad, but they did give me a new artist.
  3. We Can’t Be Beat • The Walkmen • Heaven
  4. Bushwick Blues • Delta Spirit • History From Below
  5. Jesus, Etc. • Wilco • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  6. Mr. November • The National • Alligator
  7. Breakneck Speed • Tokyo Police Club • Champ
  8. MoneyGrabber • Fitz & The Tantrums • Pickin’ Up the Pieces
  9. Rox in the Box • The Decemberists • The King Is Dead
  10. Keep the Car Running • Arcade Fire • Neon Bible

The Walkmen, “Heaven”

Title track from the new album.


brownsville: home of the brave

Someday, it won’t take bravery to live in Brownsville. Someday. ‘Til then, M.O.P.:

do you believe in rock ‘n’ roll?

Can music save your mortal soul?

The Grand Rapids LipDub, via Chairman Guber. I don’t know if this is a Rule for My Unborn Son, but my children will be required to know all the words to this song.

beirut – “East Harlem”

From the upcoming album The Rip Tide
Beirut – East Harlem by Revolver USA
(via lil sis)

flame of the year, thus far

I loathe the fusion jazz that Pat Metheny excels in, but I will say this for the man: he knows and respects his over-genre. Thus, his takedown of Kenny G is simply astounding. On KG’s necro-duet with Louis Armstrong:

But when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis’s tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician.

Let’s see Nies top that one. (Via Kottke)

josh ritter, 930 club, 8 may

Josh Ritter says DC is the new Ireland. I’ll accept that.

emily haines on writing in buenos aires

Emily Haines, talking about writing Metric’s new album Fantasies, and how Argentina helped her get out of the “Um. . . what do I do now?” funk:

[via swissmiss]

in which i remember that i need to edit my page's LI tags

The first published top10 this year.

1) Indie Rokkers • Time To Pretend EP • MGMT
2) Three More Days • Till The Sun Turns Black • Ray LaMontagne
3) Notebooks • Wake Up, Thunderbabe • The Battle Royale
4) Eyes • … • Rogue Wave
5) I’m the Man Who Loves You • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot • Wilco
6) Talking • The End • Mouthful of Bees
7) To the Dogs or Whoever • The Historical Conquests Of… • Josh Ritter
8) Murray • Musicforthemorningafter • Pete Yorn
9) For the Actor • Bring It Back • Mates Of State
10) No You Girls • Tonight: Franz Ferdinand • Franz Ferdinand

let's pull the curtains down and leave

This will be pretty close to my off-to-India top10.

1) Brooklyn (Go Hard) • Notorious OST • Jay-Z feat. Santogold
2) Roll the Credits • Writer’s Block • Peter Bjorn And John
3) Hate • The Greatest • Cat Power
4) London Half Life • Grow Up and Blow Away • Metric
5) Where My Heart’s At • Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies • Wax Tailor
6) Spill Your Guts • Cherry Kicks • Caesars
7) Dónde está la Playa • You & Me • The Walkmen
8) Every Moment • Out of the Shadow • Rogue Wave
9) Freddie’s Dead • Superfly • Curtis Mayfield
10) Sweet Darlin’ • Volume One • She & Him

earlier posts »