(Finally) My 51 Favourite Albums of 2013

Before I could start enjoying the beginning of a new year in music I had to get this over with and share some love for some of my favourite albums of the year that passed. I may be 15 days late with publishing this list but hey it’s better late than never. So in the famous words of the late Heath Ledger, here we go. 

51. Amok- Atoms For Peace                                    

The textures and layers of the production create a very fluid and moving experience.

 

50. No Blues- Los Campesinos!

A fun, quirky, self-abasing party, one can’t help but dance to.

 

49. Modern Vampires of the City- Vampire Weekend

Better songwriting and less juvenile than their latest efforts. Definitely their best record yet.

 

48. Victim of Love- Charles Bradley

Soul man, this album’s got a ton of soul.

 

47. Muchacho- Phosphorescent

Matthew Houck soars to new heights, and discovers new depths, with his most ambitious album yet.

 

46. 8 Miles to Moenart- Tall Black Guy

A 33-minute cruise around the streets of Motown, and it’s good.

 

45. Flourish//Perish- Braids

Where Native Speaker fails, Flourish succeeds, creating a more engaging listen from start to finish.

 

44. Holy Fire- Foals

Oxford rockers most complete statement yet, more enticing, more enjoyable than their last two records.

 

43. Run the Jewels- Run the Jewels

A straight-up straight fire project, a must listen for all hip-hop fans.

 

42. Is Survived By- Touché Amoré

Passionate, panic-induced, tormented, and it doesn’t ask for your sympathy.

 

41. My Friend Called Fish- Diane Coffee

With elements of glam rock and a dash of doo-wop, My Friend Fish feels somewhat out of place in today’s music, and I appreciate that.

 

40. Clash the Truth- Beach Fossils

Though it feels safe, it’s a very contagious record that is highly accessible.

 

39. Melophobia- Cage the Elephant

An infectious album through and through, I was pleasantly surprised.

 

38. Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze- Kurt Vile

Hits a cool, relaxing rhythm from the opening track that flows seamlessly throughout.

 

37. 12 Reasons to Die- Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge

The production on this album is stellar; it flows so eloquently and at the same time ferociously with Ghost’s absurd tale of love, revenge, and mortality.

 

36. Push the Sky Away- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Dark, lush, brooding and at times harrowing, Push the Sky Away has an undeniable energy that is hard to ignore.

 

35. Acid Rap- Chance the Rapper

Took a few listens to fully get it, but once I did I could not stop listening to this very fun and addicting mixtape.

 

34. Psychic- Darkside

An oddly hopeful experience, that shimmers with alluring textures and rhythms.

 

33. Drenge- Drenge

It’s messy, loud, and unsettling at times, but all in all it’s one of the best rock albums of the past year in my opinion.

 

32. Day of the Dog- Ezra Furman

Such an overlooked gem that is as wild as it is endearing. Reminded me of the Gun Club in some respects.

 

31. Light Up Gold- Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts prove that when you take a bit of Talking Heads, add some Television, and throw in a dash of Sonic Youth you create a winning formula.

 

30. Soft Will- Smith Westerns

A solid indie-rock effort, that is filled with songs that just grab your attention without being obnoxious.

 

29. Howl- This Routine Is Hell

A 21-minute sprint that comes with a lot of blood pumping and fist throwing, a very well thought out hardcore album, whatever that means.

 

28. Woman- Rhye

In a word: seductive.

 

27. San Fermin- San Fermin

A well-constructed record filled with great vocal performances and memorable moments.

 

26. Torres- Torres

The tones and the emotions that emanate from Scott’s voice and guitar are so intimate and sincere she made me feel like she wrote this album for me and me only.

 

25. Julia With Blue Jeans On- Moonface

Spencer Krug strips everything away except his voice and piano, and in doing so he creates his most personal, vulnerable record to date.

 

24. Blood Donation- Mariam the Believer

An enchanting listen, that is not necessarily dark but at times can feel like an unsettling spiritual undertaking, which I found absurdly serene.

 

23. Sunbather- Deafheaven

Deafheaven uses an unconventional formula of post-rock and black metal and in doing so they create one of the years more beautiful and hopeful albums.

 

22. Once I Was An Eagle- Laura Marling

The tenderness of Marling is hard not to fall for as she carries herself with a quiet yet convincing wisdom throughout this somewhat depressing record.

 

21. Race Music- Armand Hammer

Emcees Billy Woods and Elucid, come together to create a hard hitting, tough as nails, hip-hop album that deserves multiple listens.

 

20. Days Are Gone- HAIM

Every song is so damn catchy and their hooks just grab you, it’s almost impossible not to dance along with. Definitely one of the best pop albums of the year.

 

19. Fetch- Melt-Banana

 This album is akin to the birth of Abraham Lincoln, misunderstood, sporadic, incomprehensible, but let’s face it it’s the most fun you can have on a Sunday afternoon.

 

18. General Dome- Buke and Gase

 Buke and Gase continue to develop their eccentric brand of indie rock, by fine-tuning their sharp guitar riffs and experimental idiosyncratic songwriting.

 

17. Silence Yourself- Savages

 A phenomenal debut album that is so tough, so ballsy, and so in your face, it forced it’s way into becoming one of the hardest hitting rock albums of the year.

 

16. The Next Day- David Bowie

It’s a big record in terms of ambition and sound, but at its core there’s the heart of a true artist, that still bleeds over his craft. David Bowie I love you.

 

15. Reflektor- Arcade Fire

 I think this is a great record overall, and I appreciated the direction Arcade Fire went with this project, but if this list was Gotham, Reflektor would be Two-Face. Side 1: not my favourite. Side 2: I absolutely loved it.

 

14. The Knight’s Gambit- Ka

The Knight Gambit shows Ka is not afraid to be completely vulnerable and real with his listener, and that makes him an artist to pay attention to.

 

13. Nobody Knows- Willis Earl Beal

The passion that moves Beal is so evocative and undeniable, you can almost smell the smoke filled bar room that he is singing in.

 

12. Immunity- Jon Hopkins

Jon Hopkins uses his complex palette of fluid sounds and gorgeous textures so methodically and candidly, that he creates one of the most emotional and gripping electronic albums of the year.

 

11. m b v- My Bloody Valentine

 With gorgeously woven textures and tones My Blood Valentine shows that they still have some beauty to offer the world. Welcome back friends, you were dearly missed.

 

10. Shaking the Habitual- The Knife

 The vision of Shaking the Habitual is so uncompromising and raw, that it may take a while to fully appreciate what the Knife is doing at times, but once you do it’s hard not to find enjoy.

 

9. Loud City Song- Julia Holter

Loud City Song is a truly cinematic record. It’s grand in scale and reaches into stratospheres that are beyond noise, but at the same time remains down to earth and as approachable as anything else released this year.

 

8. Doris- Earl Sweatshirt

There’s a lot to love about Earl’s long-awaited studio debut LP: the dark melodic production, the flow of his stark delivery, the wordplay he methodically deploys, and the fact each track is straight bar after impeccable bar.

 

7. Dream River- Bill Callahan

The sounds and instrumentation Bill Callahan uses throughout this album give each song it’s own identity, but due to his warm welcoming vocals, it all flows down the same melodic river. (FF: Small Plane is my favourite song of the year)

 

6. Cupid Deluxe- Blood Orange

If you break this album down to its core elements, take away its smooth rhythms, and the sultry vocals, what your left with is an awkward, ashamed, and abandoned artist searching for acceptance. And isn’t that what music is all about?

 

5. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon- King Krule

King Krule brings such a unique energy to music, from his particular approach to songwriting, his harsh rugged vocal performances, to even the way he dresses on stage. Everything about him is fresh and exciting, including this fantastic debut LP.

 

4. Spaces- Nils Frahm

 The most compelling aspect about this album is not Frahm’s exquisite piano abilities (as impressive as they are), but it’s the human connection between him and his live audience, it plays out like an intimate conversation between strangers.

 

3. Trouble Will Find Me- The National

A flawlessly sequenced album that coordinates itself through lush elegant progressions and arrangements, as well as Berninger’s heartbreaking cynicism so intrinsically, that it feels like a constant wave of poetry and cathartic beauty.

 

2. Virgins- Tim Hecker

Canadian electronic musician, Tim Hecker, creates a stunning and brilliant collection of tracks, that are so confrontational and haunting, they evoke in the listener a sense of fear and despair. However that fear is so primal and fervent by nature, that there is an overwhelming sense of wonder flowing throughout this album.

 

1. Bowler Hat Soup- Kiran Leonard

The most endearing element (and I found many) of Kiran Leonard’s debut album, is that it is filled with so many different emotions, sounds, colours, and textures that every track has it’s own distinct personality. But it’s the passion and the spirit that Leonard creates his music with that keeps this album connected and engaging. 

And that’s all she wrote . . . well I wrote it actually, but you get the point.

Five “Short” Poems Make One Huge Blog (The “Because I Can” Blog)

Here’s five poems in one blog simply because I can. (Reason: Mainly because I feel individually these five poems work better as a series compiled into one blog than if they stood alone in their own single blogs.) 

Poem #1

And I’m Okay

There, among the faces

The hundreds of wanting hearts

Colliding and breaking into one another

Free falling into the hope of nothing

Of a seamless void

Colored with the smile of beauty

Beauty wrapped in a radiant light

I call the name of beauty 

And beauty’s call nostalgic

Flows into the nothingness

And all that was hoped all that I prayed

Before me like the drowning sea

Like the dream of air

Crippling to the brink 

To the brink of flying 

Everything is beautiful

There, among the faces

The hundreds of wanting hearts

Backstory: I think I was bored in class while I was still in high school and wrote a few poems and this is the only one I kept.

Poem #2

To Love

To lust only true loves shadow is deemed our fates

To kiss the kiss of vanity and our eyes desire is our hearts wait

To hold the allusion that forever’s said can be forever’s will

To give our hearts freely and mourn utter sadness oh ocean still

To you I will, not ours keep in the treasures of my most patient heart

To dream that the day to come to keep a most beautiful truth in my arms

To forever I pray that this oh most wondrous illusion to pass

To hearts true virtues may your tormenting and sorrow cease to last

To waking eyes finding only you and heavens touch alone

To the dreams dreamt and seasons kept may my yearning be known

To ocean dear though you are but drowned deep in ocean blue

To lover true pray you when all has passed forever I and forever you

Backstory: 2 years ago after watching Shakespeare In Love for the first time I felt this urge to write something and this is what transpired from said urges.

Poem #3

To Feel

The walls movie in perfect symmetry

Rhythm escapes the soul

The drum beats out of time

While catching daisies in the snow

I kill the hurting

And the hole that we dare not set our gaze

For the feelings we bury in its smile

Stares

Always it stares

As I count its ever-light

With my itchy palms I let go

To caress the only thing I’ve ever known

It cuts and spills into something so real

Something that shines

And I can’t ever forget

No

Never forget

Backstory: I wrote this for no reason in particular just kind’ve had the first line in my head and ran with it till I felt it’s end. (Fun Fact: Actually lost this poem and rewrote it from memory)

Poem #4

Sonnet I: The Rose

And then the rose of heavens springs

Into a blooming heart so coarse so true

Oh harp! Oh joy! The love it brings

As deep as wide as ocean blue

For wind and rain can sway the heart

But beauty lies in thine sacred storm

Among the ripples torn apart

Is crimson bright so soft so warm

Oh love! Oh love! This heart o’ mine

Where sparrows fly and sparrows flee

Stay gold stay pure your crimson shine

If not than break my breaking plea

“To love to die oh longing moon

To sink to shine oh precious bloom!”

Backstory: My first and kind’ve only sonnet. Wrote it on a whim.

Poem #5

From a Dream

I saw from a dream a light flashing bright

In the ethers stained golden

And my memory frame broken

For love like a flower so solemnly grows

And it’s fate is the winter and the razor sharp snow

And that light that was flashing did make me believe

That a flower in suffering could not be retrieved

In the arms of a lover or the inevitable spring

Or the beauty and wonder of what they would bring

For the sun and the stars and the moon in the sky

Dare not give into memories and in the earth they do die

And their faith over ridden with pain of December

And my heart ever gotten and never remembered

But in sleep there are flowers and lovers and light

For out of the darkness and into the night

Did my heart find a fortress in forgotten dreams

But upon waking and in through the seams

I saw from a dream a light flashing bright

Backstory: Wrote this in class because I didn’t know what the teacher was talking about. Wrote this while I was in Texas as a matter of fact.