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Monday, December 16, 2013

My Favorite Albums of 2013: One Blogger's Opinion ( No Arcade Fire or Daft Punk inside)

1- Warm Soda “Someone for You” (Castleface Records) - In 2011 I had the 70’s AM radio sounding Power/Pop band Bare Wires on my list. Guitarist Mathew Melton’s new band Warm Soda makes the jump to the FM dial with a fuller sound and even sharper hooks. This was definitely my favorite release of the year.

2- Mixtapes “Ordinary Silence” (No Sleep) - Punk guitars playing pop hooks with crystal clear male and female vocals singing tongue in cheek sarcastic lyrics. Plus they like to curse a lot. Why have I never heard of this Cincinnati band before?

3- Palma Violets “180” (Rough Trade) -
While The Vaccines inherited The Libertines guitar hooks, it seems The Palma Violets inherited their drunken swagger. Throw in a bit of a Lloyd Cole and the Commotions influence and you have a great debut album.

4- Iceage “You're Nothing" (Matador)- In 2011 everyone put the Denmark band Iceage's debut album “New Brigade” on their Best of lists leaving me scratching my head wondering why. Sometime within then and this year's ‘You're Nothing” I finally got this (Early) Cure meets Christian Death inspired band. Anxiously waiting what they do next.

5- The Maine “Forever Halloween”(Rude) - The Goo Goo Dolls started out as a fun thrash band. Somewhere in the middle of their transformation into the hugely successful rock band of today, they released the very good Power/Pop "Superstar Carwash" album and most people missed it. Thankfully The Maine did not. This Brendon Benson produced album is literally a million times better than The Maine’s previous releases.

6- California X “S/T” (Don Giovanni) - There are only two things in a song I like more than loud driving guitars. Anathematic vocals and strong hooks. Luckily this Amherst, Massachusetts band posses all three. I can’t wait to see them live in February.

7- The Strokes “Comedown Machine” (RCA) - Sometimes you just have to hear an album in the right place before it clicks. When this album was released in March, I thought it sounded weird, kind of disco-y and a bit unlistenable. It wasn’t until July when I was in Vancouver’s Zulu Records and heard this album playing throughout each room that I realized how good it was.

8- Oblivians “Desperation” (In The Red)- There is no arguing this Oblivians "reunion" album is tamer then the raucous garage rock/demented blues of the Memphis, Tennessee band's nineties output. But Jack, Greg and Eric Oblivian are a decade older and calmed down a bit. Even at the lesser intensity the Oblivians would still blow most of the bands playing this genre today right off the stage

9- Crystal Antlers “Nothing Is Real” (Innovative Leisure)
You could look at
Crystal Antlers as having been unlucky because Touch and Go folded shortly after releasing their 2009 debut or lucky enough to have a released an album (and a EP) on such a great label at all. Either way, after a short stint on Recreation Records, Innovative Leisure picked up the reins and released this album full of Sonic You influenced noisy guitars and Trail of the Dead psychedelica.

10- Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires in the City” (XL Recordings)- I really wanted to like Vampire Weekend after lead singer Ezra Koenig sang the Descendents “Parents" during F*cked Up’s 12 hour show a few years back but could not get into the “trying too hard to be The Police” fake reggae of their first album. The super annoying song “Cousins” on their second album “Contra” almost made me give up on the band forever. Luckily on “Modern Vampires of the City” they have replaced most of the reggae sound with a cranked up bass and loud drums. Great album that has me dancing all the way to the train.

With so many of the same bands ending up on peoples lists year after year, I try to keep my list to ones that have not been on my before. But there are two which have been who that deserve at least a mention:

11- Milk Music – Cruise Your Illusion (Fat Possum) - On the new album this Olympia, Washington band further expands on their Dinosaur Jr/Neil Young/ (early)Buffalo Tom style buzzing guitar hooks that made their 2011 debut album “Beyond Living’ so special. Only this time because of Fat Possum’s RED distribution, this one you can actually find in a store.

12- Wild Moth “Over Again” (Asian Man)- This San Francisco band follow up their two “Revolution Summer” influenced 2012 EPs with a louder and more mature full album, 

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