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Best Of 2013

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Best Of 2013

Postby JohnErle » December 9th, 2013, 9:39 am

I figured someone would do this eventually, so it may as well be me since I already have a YouTube playlist of my favourite songs of the year. I limited it to one song per album, and it runs about an hour. It doesn't seem to want to embed here, so you'll have to follow the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UcVtuwcKOo&list=PLi6n3kwxGxbHBKQSkyu-FzjLSyZo74zw2

And here's the full write-up from my site featuring my picks for best albums of the year and best sound quality as well.

It’s time once again to announce the nominees for the Dynammy Awards, my annual look at the best music of the year.

As usual I’m offering up five nominees for Album Of The Year, fifteen for Song Of The Year, which is enough to fill up an awesome mixtape, and for the first time ever I have a full five nominees for Best Sound Quality. Is the fact that I found five albums worth mentioning a sign that the good guys are finally winning the Loudness Wars? Let’s hope so.


Album Of The Year

Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
Steve Earle – The Low Highway
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Lightning Dust – Fantasy
Mazzy Star – Seasons Of Your Day

Song Of The Year

Steve Earle – Burnin’ It Down
Jason Isbell – Travelling Alone
Lightning Dust – Diamond
Laura Mvula – Green Garden
The National – I Should Live In Salt
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Iron & Wine – Grace For The Sinners And Ramblers
Goldfrapp – Drew
Patty Griffin – Don’t Let Me Die In Florida
Blackberry Smoke – Pretty Little Lie
Camera Obscura – Break It To You Gently
David Bowie – I’d Rather Be High
Yo La Tengo – I’ll Be Around
The Devil Makes Three – Stranger
Marcus Mumford & Oscar Isaac – Fare Thee Well

Best Sound Quality

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Mazzy Star – Seasons Of Your Day
Patty Griffin – American Kid
Patricia Barber – Smash

This year’s nominees feature some old favourites of mine like Iron & Wine, Steve Earle, and Camera Obscura, as well as a whole host of first-time nominees like Laura Mvula, Daft Punk, and Blackberry Smoke.

The only artist to be nominated in all three categories is Jason Isbell for his excellent album Southeastern, making him a leading contender to pick up some Dynammy hardware.

One notable omission this year is “Royals” by Lorde. I was intrigued by the song when I first heard it, even though I felt the lyrics were full of mixed messages, and I eventually got sick of it because I was hearing it everywhere. It’s a terrific piece of music, and so is “Bravado”, but in the end I felt like Lorde had gotten more than enough hype this year and didn’t need my seal of approval.

Another honourable mention is “Hail And Farewell” by Big Country, my favourite band of all time, whose surviving members recruited Mike Peters of the Alarm to fill in for the late, great Stuart Adamson and released an album called “The Journey”. I have low expectations for band reunions at the best of times, but without their original leader I seriously doubted this re-imagining of Big Country could ever work, but they did deliver one very solid song, even if the rest of the album left me cold. If I could have found a decent video on YouTube I would have included it, but it wasn’t going to win anyway, and Mike Peters has already left the band, leaving their future in doubt, so I decided to include something else and give “Hail And Farewell” a special mention here instead.

- See more at: http://dynamicrangeradio.ca/dynammy-awa ... zRuN7.dpuf
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby numbersix » December 9th, 2013, 9:54 am

Oh indeed, I'm sure Surfer and myself will be doing our top albums and songs of the year before the month ends. Meanwhile, I'll have a listen to this. Haven't heard much of this, although I do think that Mazzy Star album seems pretty strong.
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby JohnErle » December 9th, 2013, 11:30 am

The Mazzy Star was a last-minute addition to the list because I only heard it for the first time very recently, but I've been listening to it a lot lately. It just barely edged out Patty Griffin's "American Kid", which has more standout songs but also more songs I skip over. It was a tough call, but they're both excellent.
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby Shrykespeare » December 9th, 2013, 1:06 pm

Mazzy Star is still recording? I had no idea! I don't think I've heard anything of theirs since "Fade Into You". Which was, like, twenty years ago?

I may have to check this out. I've always been in love with Hope Sandoval's voice.
Happy 50th birthday Brendan Fraser! (12/3/18)
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby silversurfer19 » December 9th, 2013, 4:27 pm

Six is correct, I'll be doing a write up of my own favourite music come the end of the year, so thanks for starting up a thread to get us started on the discussing. I've acquired over 60 records this year thus far, and there have been many that have become real favourites. I also looked into a few of the records you have recommended, and while only having listened to them once each so far, Steve Earle, Mazzy Star and Camera Obscura have been good listens.

Yo La Tengo's album has been good, so nice to see a mention of them here, though I haven't really gotten into the Bowie album like I would have hoped. And Lorde is completely lost on me. I just don't get how something with little melody or hook could become so popular. I guess I'm just not that target audience...
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby silversurfer19 » December 12th, 2013, 3:14 pm

So once again it's been a very good year for music, and proof that if you are willing to seek beyond the charts some great artists are still at work. I've decided this year to do a countdown of my favourite ten records released in 2013, one per day. I'll be presenting a little spiel along with a couple of tracks for anyone interested, and I'd be delighted if anyone else would like to join me in the countdown.

However, before I begin my top ten, I'll start with listing five records that have just missed the cut. This doesn't include the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Suede, Steve Mason, Foals, NIN, Suuns, Atoms For Peace, Bowie, The Black Angels, Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, The Flaming Lips, The National or Polica, all decent albums in their own right, but not quite at the pinaccle of the year, for me at least. The ones that did just miss my top ten are even better, but not quite there. They are, while very different in sound, full of promise and certainly acts worth keeping an eye on in the future, well apart from the ones who have already quite an established body of work anyway, and just further proof of what a good year it has been. So anyway, on with the show. As I say, if anyone else wants to join in either the countdown or just comment on my picks, I welcome it wholeheartedly. It's been a great year, and hopefully we can discover a little more greatness aliong the way.

15. Yo La Tengo, "Fade"

Another record of beautiful melodies and ambient tones, Yo La Tengo just continue to prove why they are one of the most essential groups of the alternative rock genre. There's a restrained feel to the whole record, intentionally so, and it just makes for a really warm record.

"Is That Enough"


14. My Bloody Valentine, "MBV"

It's been a long time coming, but well worth the wait. Of course it's not Loveless, it would be almost impossible to replicate that success, but if you still have a hankering for fuzz drenched guitars and soft melodies, then you can't go wrong here. Shields also offers moments of the direction might be headed in the future on tracks like "In Another Way", let's just hope it's not another 22 years...

"In Another Way"


13. Neko Case, "The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

Neko Case is one of those acts I've known of for quite a while without ever immersing myself within her work. I'm glad I did with this album. Mixing a little New Pornographers with Rilo Kiley, it's an urgent, immediate effort that embraces it's grand rock aesthetic. A little folk here and there, this is a classic pop album that just transcends it's boundaries.

"Man"


12. Foxygen, "We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic"

Digging up the best of those late 60s, early 70s rock acts for an influence, with The Velvet Underground in particular a band who must have been on repeat prior to the recording of this record, it's an infectious and intoxicating album.

"On Blue Mountain"


11. Arctic Monkeys, "AM"

At times I could swear I was listening to The Black Keys. The Monkeys have gone in another new direction with their fifth record, and it's probably the best record of their career. Dark, dirty and swampy, it's an absolute delight from start to finish. There's a maturity and sense of evolution with the band, with them embracing more genres, and new vocal styles. Not that they've moved away from the lyrics that have inspired a generation, but it still sounds remarkably fresh.

"R U Mine"


The top ten will begin tomorrow....
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby numbersix » December 12th, 2013, 4:35 pm

Count me in. We usually do a song and an album each day, right?
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby numbersix » December 12th, 2013, 5:05 pm

Albums that missed my Top 10, only because this year was rather bountiful when it came to decent albums

Var - No One Dances Like My Brothers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tiDg8FOh7c
Trashy punk kids Ice Age take a break to produce a 80-influenced lo-fi electro record. Is there anything these Danes can't do?

Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjpc9KE-kW0
Goth chick makes her compositions a little more dense is this touching and immersive album.

Forest Swords - Engravings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELsN-su1_t0
Trip hop and post rock both belong int he 90s, but combine them together and you get this excellent instrumental record.

Sigur Ros - Kveikur
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl1__PhECzg
Following a return to form last year, who was expecting another record so soon, especially with a different, heavier style (thanks to producer Trent Reznor)?

The Men - New Moon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFbwU31NXIk
Rock history fans get a little Crazy Horse on their 3rd record
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby JohnErle » December 13th, 2013, 4:45 am

Forest Swords was interesting and is probably worth a closer look. And Chelsea Wolfe started off well in a very Bat For Lashes kinda way, but it became quite repetitive long before its eight minutes was up. The horrid sound quality of that YouTube video didn't help matters either. I'll still check her out, though. EDIT: YouTube sent me to a song called The Warden, which I quite liked.

As for Surfer's picks, I've heard them all except Foxygen, but none of them apart from Yo La Tengo really grabbed me. I've loved Neko's voice for years but her recent songwriting often bores me. I much prefer the earlier, more countryfied stuff like Star Witness or Hold On, Hold On.
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby silversurfer19 » December 13th, 2013, 5:24 pm

Var, "No One Dances Like My Brothers" - I picked up Iceage's record You're Nothing earlier this year, but it didn't really appeal, this has a very Krautrock sound to it, and it's more attractive. Still not something I'm too wowed by but certainly more listenable.

Chelsea Wolfe, "Pain Is Beauty" - Loved the vocals, loved how the layers of the song built up, majestic stuff and will certainly be looking into this further.

Forest Swords, "Engravings" - Hmm. Some segments were interesting enough I guess, but at the same time, to my uneducated ears, it sounded like a cross between Feudal Chinese music and whale calls. Not for me I'm afraid.

Sigur Ros, "Kveikur" - To be honest I've had this record for about a month yet I just haven't really listened to it. Can definitely hear Reznor's involvement, and this is an interesting new style for the band. Will have to put in the effort to play it a bit more.

The Men, "New Moon" - Gah! I forgot all about The Men, this is a great record and certainly a firm favourite from this year for me. Very much swinging in between the Young influence and Dinosaur Jr.-esque sprawling guitars (especially so on "The Seeds", it makes for a really fun record. "Without A Face" is probably my favourite track, though "I Saw Her Face" and "Bird Song" do show that tenderer side. A good record I keep finding myself listening to.
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby silversurfer19 » December 13th, 2013, 5:37 pm

10. Speedy Ortiz, "Major Arcana"

A band born obviously out of admiration for Pavement, Major Arcana certainly is a record which has more than an influence or two from Stephen Malkmus, both lyrically and musically. There's a real sense of humour to some of the lyrics which linger beneath the angular crashes of swirling guitars and the frail, broken vocals only further the intrigue. A really fantastic debut record, I can only anticipate where Speedy Ortiz will head next.

"No Below"

"Gary"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8_0s1E8dFk
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby numbersix » December 13th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Album #10: My Bloody Valentine, "MBV"

Released without warning, this is an album fans have been waiting 20 years to hear. Having only gotten into them recently, and while also having issues with the so-called classic Loveless, I found this to be an incredibly strong record, one that both honours the band's past but also searches for new directions.




Song #10: Dirty Beaches, "Casino Lisboa"

Perhaps influenced by the gig I saw him in, this highlight of Dirty Beaches new double/album takes fromthe likes of Suicide and Liquid Liquid and molds it into an intoxicating, dream-like piece of atmosphere.

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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby silversurfer19 » December 15th, 2013, 3:29 pm

A little late on posting this one but here's:

9. Chelsea Light Moving, "Chelsea Light Moving"

Moving on from the introspection of Thurston Moore's last record, Chelsea Light Moving is an exciting record, taking the post-punk aesthetic and making it very noisy. There's a certain degree of youthfulness from the record, and perhaps that's due to Moore's divorce from his Sonic Youth wife Kim Gordon, but even so, while I do believe he misses Gordon's input on certain songs, the energy is relentless. It's sometimes hard to believe Moore is 54, especially so on record, but if his immortality means more music like this, then I'm all for him to continue drinking from the fountain of youth.

"Sleeping Where I Fall"
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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby numbersix » December 15th, 2013, 4:33 pm

Love that Chelsea Light Moving record, and Sleeping Where I Fall is one of its highlights.

#9. Iceage, "You're Nothing"

I know it wasn't for SS, but I found the Danish punk band's second album to show the band fulfilling on their promise. Their spiky punk rock is stretching out, even incorporating new instruments (like the very un-punk piano) and their lyrics are maturing.




Song #9. Weekend, "Mirror"

A perfect example of a signature tune that lifts expectations for a rather dull album. This opening track is a stunner, though, and for anyone who digs their New Wave in Gothic style.

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Re: Best Of 2013

Postby silversurfer19 » December 17th, 2013, 4:56 am

8. Thee Oh Sees, "Floating Coffin"

Continuing their mission to assault every sense in your body with their infectiously energetic performances, Floating Coffin is a joyful experience from start to finish, blending psych with surf rock, taking breath with beautifully crafted daydreams. It's like a nightmare that explodes into moments of serenity such is the pyschotic nature of the record. Floating Coffin is further proof this is a band unwilling to rest on their laurels, and long may it continue.

"Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster"
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