I know its already month 2 of 2014, but I guess its time to work out my favourite music of 2013. (Yes I was deleting the 2013 playlist that gathers all the new music i heard in 2013 so i can start a new on for 2014.)
I find I listen to less music than I used too. I am also slightly less generous with music as a result. I want more quality, less filler. I am unwilling to spend too much time with something which my initial reaction is no. I think i am reasonably open to new music, and hearing things that I haven’t heard before. And I did find some great music last year. But when it comes to trying to get a top 3 albums it is strange how a couple of artists seem able to consistantly hit a sweet spot in my ears, or in case of the number one album my soul, instantly becoming part of my unconscious soundtrack. Adding to the songs which come to mind when I am just being. Anyway heres some thoughts/recommendations…
All music is in unless I have heard it before (a brief radio soundbite doesnt count!). So if the album was released in 1956, but I have never heard it, that album is eligable for the 2013 competition.
The notable runners up
The Beast In Its Tracks by Josh Ritter
If You Leave by Daughter
New Siberia by Anje Duvekot
Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards
All good records, but not in the top 3 of this year. For various reasons.
Joint 3rd place.
That’s What Happens by chas & dave
Chas and Dave’s new album features a roster of star name playing with them, and their trademark harmonies and displays an knowledge of the history of british music, (thesong Lonnie D is a tribute to Lonnie Donegan and his role in brining rock and roll music to the UK). Unlike alot of Chas and Dave music, this album doesn’t allow them to be too far into normal Chas & Dave territory. Part of this has to be due to the part producer Joe Henry played in the making of the album. it is warm, familiar while also showing restraint and a striped down accoustic feel which allows the voices to do alot more of the work. It is a great album.
The Future will destroy you by Viva Voce The Future will destroy you is a magnificent album of modern rock songs. Anita and Kevin Robinson, the husband and wife Duo who make up the band, have an uncanny knack for creating songs which are at once modern yet classic. I had lost track of them since their 2009 album Rose City on Barsuk Records. Concious of this this year i did an “I wonder what they are doing” internet search, discovering this delight of an album from 2011. Its a great rock album with a strong set of songs. I really like it album.
Trouble will Find Me by The National
well what can I say about “Trouble Will Find Me”? On first listen I wondered why it seemed restrained and calmer than the earlier albums. They are a band on the cusp of becoming a stadium-filling act and en route to the top 5, why produce an album of non anthemic, non stadium music. I am not sure I have answered that question yet. But I find it interesting that on the bands next tour on the UK this summer, their next gig in Scotland will be at the Usher hall. not the Hydro or the SECC. I have seen then twice live now and, thanks to the popularity of youtube, I have seen a couple of live concert performances since this albums been released. The new songs sound unlike tradional stadium rock, but they stand up to the large crowd experience. They draw the crowd in and provide a set of songs which a set can be built upon and accessorized with material from earlier albums. Its a brilliant album in many ways, and one that get under the skin, with seeming anthemic feel to almost all the songs. I think this album will live long in my subconcious. It is very good.
Meet Me At The Edge Of The World by Over The Rhine. Lets get it out of the way. Over the Rhine are my favourite band currently. They seem like they speak to me even though I doubt the albums are written with me in mind. This album is awesome. It is the second album they have done with producer Joe Henry (yes, he has two albums in my top 3!), and the same stripped back sound, that I found with Chas & Dave, is also in effect here. The songs are georgous and beautiful.
Its number one because last year it solidified with place one evening when I had a cold. I went to bed early. I fired up my bedside radio which can connect to my NAS device. I scanned my music collection and settled on this. as I lay there and dozed and woke up, and slept this album was well perfect. it was intimate, it was overwhelming in delightfulness. In that hazy time getting the music right is a real struggle. get it wrong and it will bug you and put you off an album for life. make it right, and well, you have an album for life. This is the best album that I heard in 2013 without a doubt. Great work.