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Best Albums of 2013

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06 Jan 2014 22:45 - 06 Jan 2014 23:36 #169274 by OldHippy
Best Albums of 2013 was created by OldHippy
I'm curious what cool new albums people heard this year so I'll start with some of mine in hopes of hearing about something I've missed. Here's what new discs appealed to me in 2013.

Death Grips: No Love Deep Web

This album changed what I though hip hop could be. With odd time signatures that aren't noticably 'odd time signatures', novel synth design, unusual vocal delivery and some truly poetic moments amongst the sometimes crappy 'shocking' lyrics it really is worthy of your time. I had a great time with this disc and it's still on my phone. One of the most interesting and progressive hip hop acts since cLouddead.

Chris Thile: Bach Sonata's and Partita's Vol. 1

Ok, this album has a lot going for it. Thile is the best in his field and a virtuoso of such power and range on his instrument that I don't think we've ever had a better mandolinist on the planet, he only has peers (Dave Apollon comes to mind). Then he goes and records an album of Bach violin pieces, first: good choice of composer, no one is able to move their music from one instrument to the other as successfully as Bach. There is something so fucking musical about this guy you could play his melodies on any instrument and have a great time. Second, the playing is amazing and never feels forced, considering these pieces are much more difficult on mandolin that is incredible. Third, he makes really cool choices for what to add to the pieces taking time to consider what a mandolin can bring to each sonata, the harmonies aren't always exactly what you expect but they work brilliantly. On top of all that, I think anyone can enjoy this album, it doesn't matter if your a musician or a classical (Baroque) music buff, it's just a fun album that is easy to listen to but has more to offer if you have the inclination to look for it.

Chvrches: The Bones of What you Believe

This album has been talked about a lot around here. It catchy, fun, I bought my mom a copy for Christmas. I think anyone should be able to enjoy this perfect pop record without feeling guilty. Cool synths, decent lyrics, and that singer just hits it out of the park. Although when the guy starts singing my finger hovers over the next track button if I"m close to the machine.

John Reischman: Walk Along John

John has long been a mandolinist I've admired for his skill. Hell, I paid 80$ for a private lesson with this guy but his folk projects have left me cold. A good song here and there but generally he's made albums I don't want to hear over and over. This changes everything. All his talent is finally put to good use and he actually writes the fuck out of these tunes. They sound natural, familiar, but tough to place and have real drive. From blistering barn burners to emotive waltzes this disc has a good selection of styles without moving beyond it's basic concept. The best instrumental folk album I've heard in awhile.

Kanye West: Yeezus

I like this disc, so fuck you! I like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy too as a pure pop experience but this is Kanye's best work. The album is very surreal and progressive but strangely what drew me in more than anything was New Slaves. I've heard a few hip hop tracks where they don't use drums but it is odd and usually sucks all the drive out of the tune. New Slaves avoids that with a driving synth rhythm that keeps the song on solid ground without ever laying down the beat like so many boring metronymic tunes do these days. The rest of the album doesn't disappoint either, at least not musically. Lyrically the disc goes from spots of genius to juvenile sex bullshit to downright shitty. But I make an exception for the incredible production and great songwriting (which is more than just lyrics).

Sarah Jarosz: Build Me Up From Bones

It was hard to find a songwriter album that pleased me this year. My favourite genre is not looking good since 2010 (the last Dan Reeder album) but this is the best I've heard this year. Her songs are well structured and her voice is beautiful. But what really sets it apart is the playing. Sarah has assembled a group of musicians (Chris Thile appears on here) that really do something new with acoustic music. At times you'll question what is being done or what effect is being used only to realize it's just a guitar and a banjo. The instrumentation is incredible and the songs are beautiful. Look out for the odd Bob Dylan cover that you can't place until the chorus shows up... good stuff.

Pyres: Year of Sleep

Nothing else had any order to it. Just a bunch of albums I dug this year but this is number one without a doubt. This album grabbed ahold of my heart and hasn't let go since I first heard it. It's a slow build, the riffs are great, the playing is perfect - nothing showy but always competent - and the songs are beautiful. I can't get enough of this one. I suppose it's some kind of sludge metal or whatever they call it I just know it fucking rocks. A nice bonus for me is that these guys are from my home town.. Toronto. This is what I am looking for from metal these days. I spent about two weeks scouring the internet for a new metal band to listen to and when I downloaded this album all it took was one (.. and a half) complete listens to realize these are the guys I'll be following for the next little while.

That's it, I don't look forward to editing this shit after everyone has already read it but I got to go take a bath with my Son.

TL:DR Listen to Pyres.
Last edit: 06 Jan 2014 23:36 by OldHippy.
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07 Jan 2014 00:07 #169276 by Black Barney
that Daft Punk album was absolutely incredible. It was my summer album. I loved it. i loved hearing cars playing it driving down busy streets.

I got the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis and love that as well. Beautiful music.

Both those albums were amazing for me.
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07 Jan 2014 00:37 #169277 by The Prodigal Player
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
Jessy Lanza: pull my hair back
Jon Hopkins: Immunity

Those are mine.

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07 Jan 2014 00:39 #169278 by OldHippy
Replied by OldHippy on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
Yeah that Daft Punk album was great too. I totally forgot about that. My son and I have danced to it dozens of times and that alone is something special. I learned a lot listening to it as well which was cool. I haven't seen Inside Llewyn Davis yet but I hope to soon. Funny enough Chris Thile is on that album too. That guys all over the place now.
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07 Jan 2014 06:21 #169281 by Stonecutter
Replied by Stonecutter on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
Bastille - Bad Blood and there's not even a close 2nd. This is the band I wish Muse would have turned into post-Absolution.

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07 Jan 2014 08:43 #169288 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
I'm old now and have practically given up on being able to follow new music. That said, I loved Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady and I really liked what I heard off that Chvrches album.

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07 Jan 2014 09:13 #169289 by san il defanso
I'm not sure if it was actually a very late 2012 release, but Wolf's Law by The Joy Formidable was really great. I started listening to it a year ago, and I kept spinning it all year.

My album of the year has got to be Random Access Memories. It has been playing my car basically non-stop since it came out, and my son actually requests "Doin' It Right" when I'm driving.

Electric Lady was terrific. Janelle Monae has put together quite a body of work in just a couple of albums.

It's almost an F:AT cliche, but I liked the CHVRCHES album a lot too.

I didn't much care for Yeezus, but I will confess I only listened a couple of time.

Am I the only one who really liked Arcade Fire's Reflektor? It's kind of a difficult album, but I've really enjoyed it.

Tipping my nerd hand a little here, but I really liked Nanobots by They Might Be Giants too.
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07 Jan 2014 10:06 #169295 by OldHippy
Replied by OldHippy on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013

Legomancer wrote: I'm old now and have practically given up on being able to follow new music.


That's a problem I've had for years. I've noticed that a lot of the albums I buy are usually already old when I buy them. I've been 'discovering' artists after the fact and listening to a lot of dead people. So this year I decided that I had to listen to albums actually from 2013. It was tougher because you have less to go on but it was fun and I discovered a lot thanks to that.

There's a few things on here I already know I need to listen to.

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07 Jan 2014 11:44 #169301 by Michael Barnes
This is an easy year-

Daft Punk- Random Access Memories
Chvrches- The Bones of What You Believe
Arcade Fire- Reflektor
The Knife- Shaking the Habitual
David Bowie- The Next Day
Iceage- You're Nothing
Savages- Silence Yourself

JJ, you should listen to the Deafheaven record that wound up on a bunch of AOTY lists, "Sunbather"...it's a really, really good modern Black Metal album. Other great metal this year- Pinkish Black (Razed to the Ground" is the metal track of the year), Raspberry Bulbs, the new Darkthrone (always)...

I did like the two new Death Grips records, but I've not listened to them extensively.

The Janelle Monae record was decent...apparently she's a huge Philip K. Dick fan.

Yeezus was massively overrated and "extreme" only for a mainstream record. The production RULES though (Rick Rubin, duh) and I admire that the biggest rap star in the game at least tried to do something very confrontational and challenging. Despite the "protest" lyrics, it's still mostly about how much sex he's having and how much money he's making. Boring.

I didn't like the record, but Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home" is an _amazing_ single.

I still haven't listened to The Fall's new one, but I have a good idea of how it sounds.

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07 Jan 2014 13:24 #169308 by OldHippy
Replied by OldHippy on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
So I have downloaded Janelle Monae and Deafheaven and hope to listen to them today. I hope to download more as time goes on but my iTunes account only had enough for two... luckily Janelle's album was only 7.99$ ... good price. I'm the asshole at work who has headphones on half the time. Either comedy or music... I'm probably going to make another list for best comedy albums of 2013. There were some good ones again this year.

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07 Jan 2014 13:38 #169312 by bomber
Replied by bomber on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013

San Il Defanso wrote: Am I the only one who really liked Arcade Fire's Reflektor? It's kind of a difficult album, but I've really enjoyed it.


I liked a lot of the album and the title track (with video) is one of my favourite tracks of all time. Just fantastic.

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07 Jan 2014 13:49 #169316 by Josh Look
Replied by Josh Look on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
No list for me, but Desperate Ground by The Thermals was what I enjoyed most last year. If an 80s action movie, this kind with an absurdly high body count yet still comes off as pure fun could be a record, this would fit the bill.

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07 Jan 2014 15:05 - 07 Jan 2014 20:35 #169330 by Schweig!
Replied by Schweig! on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
Not a big music year for me; mostly listened to older stuff.

The only 2013 I listened to frequently was The Men's "New Moon".

I like the band; every album sounds different. Listen to the song L.A.D.O.C.H. first and then Open The Door and you will know what I mean.

Michael Barnes wrote: I still haven't listened to The Fall's new one, but I have a good idea of how it sounds.

How do you think-ah /
it's going to sound like-ah?

San Il Defanso wrote: Am I the only one who really liked Arcade Fire's Reflektor? It's kind of a difficult album, but I've really enjoyed it.

Big Arcade Fire fan here, but I never liked LCD Soundsystem and their new album sounds to much like that. If I want to hear sad&happy electronic music, I listen to the Earthbound soundtrack:

Last edit: 07 Jan 2014 20:35 by Schweig!.

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07 Jan 2014 17:05 #169340 by bomber
Replied by bomber on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013

Stonecutter wrote: Bastille - Bad Blood and there's not even a close 2nd. This is the band I wish Muse would have turned into post-Absolution.


thanks for a fucking great recommendation, had not heard of these guys before

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07 Jan 2014 20:19 #169382 by OldHippy
Replied by OldHippy on topic Re: Best Albums of 2013
Thanks guys, this is going great. I just listened to both Deafheaven and Janelle Monae.

Janelle Monae was cool, interesting concept, some great songs. She's a mediocre rapper (that's ok, I like Kanye and he's a shit rapper) and an ok singer with some great idea's and a cool concept. The album sounds a lot like the Jackson 5 and Prince... good things to lift from I suppose. There's touches of Diana Ross in the 70's too. I enjoyed it a lot. It wasn't mind blowing or anything but I'll listen to it a few more times and see how it sticks.

Deafheaven was fucking brilliant. I didn't expect that at all. It starts off sounding kind of like a typical Black Metal album and quickly switches things up with some touches into more psychedelic fare with touches of prog here and there. It's a very cool album and the drummer is fucking great. I'm not sure what I think of the high pitched screaming but I'm sure I'll come around it given time.

Neither can dethrone Pyres though. That album of theirs is still clear and away the best new thing I heard this year.

I'm going to come back here later and find more things to download or at least listen to on youtube until I have the $.

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