Best of the Year….so far.

I’m about a week late in getting around to do this.  Actually, I had no plans to come up with a list of the best music in the first quarter of 2013.  But I noticed a couple folks I quite admire did lists and figured I’d go ahead and throw one together…cause I’m freaky like that.

First thing I noticed going back to see what I’ve heard so far this year is that there’s a TON of music that’s come out already in merely three months.  I was quite shocked.  I mean, I’ve heard them all and it didn’t seem like such a big deal.  But when you go back and compile a list it’s rather jaw-dropping the amount of new albums that have come out so far this year.  And what’s even more amazing is how many of them are really good.  So here’s a list of my favorites so far this year:

oh, the number one spot is a tie.  This is my blog and I can do that sort of bush league crap.

1(a). Youth Lagoon-Wondrous Bughouse

bughouseNo album yet this year has moved me to keep dropping the needle like Wondrous Bughouse has.  Not being completely on board with Youth Lagoon before it came out I was skeptical I’d even dig this album, but as soon as I heard “Dropla” I knew I was going to love this album.  There isn’t a moment on this album that drags.  It’s raw emotion done up like Brian Wilson, a calliope, and an LSD-laced daydream.  Trevor Powers has created a masterpiece only his second time out.  What he does next after this is hard to imagine.

1(b). My Bloody Valentine-m.b.v.

mbvNo other album has been “in-process” as long as the follow-up to the genius Loveless.  Fans waited 22 years to hear Kevin Shields put out new MBV music and finally in 2013 he gave us what we’ve been waiting on.  m.b.v. is not a departure from Loveless.  It’s a continuation into the noisy haze that so many of my generation grew to love.  “She Found Now”, “Only Tomorrow”, and “Is This and Yes” and “New You” are new classics.

2. Yo La Tengo-Fade

yo la tengoHearing Yo La Tengo’s Fade for the first time was like the window being opened in a stale room and the fresh, cool breeze hitting your face.  There’s nothing better than seeing(and hearing) a seasoned band find that magical spot again.  Yo La Tengo have created a poignant and endearing album filled with moments of great enlightenment.  The songs are like a meditative experience.  From “Ohm” to the last song “Before We Run” you feel as if the band has found some great truths in the universe -at least their universe- and are hear to share them.

3. Atoms For Peace-Amok

amokThom Yorke and Nigel Godrich have taken the ideas Yorke first put to laptop on 2006s The Eraser and have created a living, breathing musical creature called Amok.  If you don’t care for the electronic leanings of Radiohead post OK Computer, then chances are this record won’t float your boat.  But if you’re on the fence, give Amok a spin.  There are some truly jaw-dropping moments on this dense, frantic record.  This is a high watermark for Yorke, Godrich, and everyone else involved on this album.  “Before Your Very Eyes”, “Ingenue”, “Stuck Together Pieces”, and “Amok” are pure genius.

4. Alex Calder-Time

alex calderIn merely 20 minutes time Alex Calder has made me a fan.  Not just a fan, but a fan. His songwriting style is somewhere between ramshackle and savant.  He writes songs that feel eerily dreamy and loose to the point that you think he just hit record and played what came to mind.  There’s a looseness to the songs that gives you the impression that might be the case.  There’s also a darkness under the surface.  A cold detachment that would make these songs perfect for the soundtrack to something David Lynch might direct.  I look forward to seeing what Calder does when he leaves the comfort of his living room for an enviroment more controlled.  Like his garage.

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- ll

uknown mortal orchestraRuban Nielson didn’t change up the process of making music from his debut as UMO, but he did decide to give into his inner soul man on tracks like “So Good At Being In Trouble” and “The Opposite of Afternoon”.  The lo fi grit is still there, but he’s writing songs like a guy with no technological restriction.  His guitar playing is as impressive as ever, as is his falsetto.  This is a guy that loves the process, and it shows in this excellent album.

The rest….

6. Ducktails-The Flower Lane

7. Beach Fossils-Clash The Truth

8. The Holydrug Couple-Noctuary

9. Mystical Weapons-Mystical Weapons

10. Foxygen-We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Other notables so far this year:

Jim James-Regions of Light And Sound Of God


Johnny Marr-The Messenger

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-Specter At The Feast

Waxahatchee-Cerulean Salt

Iceage-You’re Nothing

And here’s a few that I’m sure will rule the second quarter of 2013:

Kurt Vile-Wakin On A Pretty Daze

The Flaming Lips-The Terror

British Sea Power-Machineries of Joy

The Black Angels-Indigo Meadow

Iron & Wine-Ghost On Ghost


Vampire Weekend-Modern Vampires of the City

Daft Punk-Random Access Memories

The National-Trouble Will Find Me


Portugal. The Man-Evil Friends

Black Sabbath-13


Queens Of The Stone Age-Like Clockwork

And I’m sure there’ a bunch of great hip hop records coming out, too.  I’m sure of it.

10 thoughts on “Best of the Year….so far.

  1. I tried to come up with a theme (pattern recognition: it’s my disease) and it almost looks like it was a non-aggressive semi-psychedelic quarter. And then there’s Iceage. Was it the kind of music coming out or your current taste?


      1. Yeah, freedom’s good! I just was thinking that sometimes the best music coming out is great but not perfectly matching my taste. Plus, I’m calibrating, “He says it’s great but that’s his current taste so I’d probably think it’s good but not orgasmic …”


      2. I’m definitely not an expert on swaying folks to my tastes. If people like what I like it purely happenstance. Those happy accidents. Lucky for me that my tastes aren’t too far out there….at least I don’t think they are??


      1. I can’t stop listening to it. I just started going down your list and searching your picks. Needless to say, I am stuck on this album. I don’t know that I’ll be able to tear myself away from it for at least a month.


  2. Still waiting to get “The Terror”, although I did hear a leaked copy. Sounds like more psychedelia madness.
    I am looking forward to “MGMT”, but I fear disappointment.


    1. Well Coyne is going through a divorce I guess, so that may play into the mood. Pretty dark and drone-fueled.

      MGMT I have high hopes for. They’ve got Dave Fridmann back producing, so that’s a good sign.


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