I know favorites lists are usually published near the end of the year in which the albums are released, but I didn't start this photo series until November, 2013. At the time, I didn't know that I would be incorporating them into regular blog posts. Besides, I think it takes a while for music to settle in before it can become a favorite. These four albums top my list from last year. They're in no particular order.
Clockwise, from left:
Atoms For Peace – Amok, 2013 Usually when a "supergroup" releases a record, the music ends up falling short of the hype (see Zwan, Crooked Vultures, for example). Amok surpassed my expectations and then some. Sprouting from the Thom Yorke solo project, The Eraser, Atoms for Peace recruited Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, producer Nigel Goodrich and drummer Joey Waronker, who has played with Beck, Elliot Smith, and R.E. M., to name a few. The live instrumentation adds an extra level of depth to Thom Yorke's compositions. I find it best played at high volume or on head phones to hear all the layers of sound throughout the songs. Stand out tracks: "Ingenue" and "Stuck Together Pieces."
Ann Pragg – Bitter Fruit, 2013 I'm a big fan of Vice Media. They have great journalism and photography and are usually ahead of the game when it comes to reporting national and world events. The one thing I don't like about Vice is their music reviews. They are generally snarky and elitist. The reviews tend to shit all over music just for the sake of shitting all over it. I was surprised to discover Ann Pragg through a positive music review on Vice. Ann Pragg is the pseudonym of musician Matt Raddick. The sound is stark and moody, atypical music to come out of sunny Florida. Stand out tracks: "Demolition Dust" and "Januarium."
Devendra Banhart – Mala, 2013 I love all of Devendra Banhart's music. Cripple Crow will probably always be my favorite. When Mala was released last March, I was so excited to hear it because it had felt like an eternity since his previous album, What Will We Be, had come out. Mala continues in his ever-evolving style of folk music and expands on instrumentation more than previous works. Stand out tracks: "Fur Hlidegard Von Bingen" and "The Ballad of Keenan Milton."
Pilot to Gunner – Guilty Guilty, 2013 I've know the guys from Pilot to Gunner for many years. They are good friends with my brother Chris. They put on a great live show and, in my opinion, have one of the best band names. Scott, the singer/guitarist, sent me a copy of Guilty Guilty to be included in the photo series along with a letter to Evangeline that I kept in the record sleeve. One day, when she will inevitably inherit this collection, she'll find the letter and have a cool little memento to accompany the album. Stand out tracks: "L.A." and "Cash For Gold"
What were your favorite releases from 2013?