Favorite albums of 2013, part I

I may never be the kind of person to listen to 50, 60, 70 albums a year, spanning all kinds of genres. I may never even be able to compile a comprehensive “best of” list in my lifetime. I’m a bit too distracted, maybe a bit too narrow-focused for that. Nonetheless, this was a banner year for me, music-wise. I saw a bunch of shows, and listened to a shit-ton of albums. It was magical and exciting. I had the perfect circumstances to do this too. A steady job where I sat a computer for hours, enveloped in my own work. A Spotify premium membership that gave me access to thousands of albums, as soon as they came out, on my desktop and my phone. I consumed music this year like my life depended on it. So without further ado, here’s a few of my favorite albums this year, in no particular order:

wavves

My favorite album this year has to be Wavves’ Afraid of Heights. With a name like “Wavves,” I assumed it would be, y’know, some stoner rock-chillwave band. And, well, I was wrong. Instead what I got is a bratty, 90’s throwback that made me instantly nostalgic for a time period that I never really experienced. This album sent me off on an exploration of early 90’s post-grunge music, like Green Day and Weezer and The Lemonheads. So you know, I barely scratched the surface, BUT STILL. It’s a summer album, for warm days and car trips forever.

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savages

This is the band right here. The post-punk genre has been modified and emulated over the years, but Savages takes it to the next level, by bringing it back to basics. Dark, moody, sparse. Cold beats and hard-edged guitars, and that throbbing bass that Peter Hook perfected over 30 years ago. Each one of these ladies brings something to the table. I saw them back in September and a friend pointed this out quite neatly: Frontwoman Jehnny Beth is “Ian Curtis with David Bowie cool.” Too true. Rock on, Savages.

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20131013_lorde_pure_heroine_91

So much hype about Lorde this year, and after my first listen, I totally got it. For a young woman she’s quick to have found a powerful musical voice. Pure Heroine is lush and satisfying. You could just take a bite out of it. Lorde is a great antidote to Miley, and she’s definitely going places.

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Arcade-Fire-Reflektor-608x608

I found Arcade Fire’s last effort – The Suburbs – to be slightly disappointing. Long, meandering, almost impossible to sit through in one listen. That’s not to say it wasn’t still a very good album. What AF has this year with Reflektor is a great album. Starting out strong with the funky, toe-tappy, mysterious, and yes, SEXY title track, it hardly falters the entire rest of the album. Blending Greek Myth, Haitian culture, retro synths and stunning boy-girl harmonies, along with LCD Soundsystem alum James Murphy’s producing, they have made something that some say is akin to Talking Heads, but they make all their own. Reflektor perfectly shows where they’ve been, while giving a strong sense of where they’re going, and I can’t get enough.

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Overgrown_James-Blake

James Blake’s music is apparently classified as “post-dubstep.” I don’t really know what that means, but I know that I LOVED his sophomore effort Overgrown. It’s very efficient, coming in at just under 40 minutes, and it flows harmoniously from front to back. It’s got drone and ambience, which, together with Blake’s deep, soulful voice is both enveloping and chilly. A good combination.

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Part II will come soon.

About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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Music

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