Favorite Albums Of 2013…So Far….

We’re only half way through the year of 2013 and I got to say…not to shabby musicians, not to shabby at all.  And while we’ve seen lots of indie power-houses offer music fans fabulous follow ups to their previous albums, (The National, Kurt Vile,  Deerhunter, Tao & The Get Down Stay Down all deserve to find their way onto year-end lists) it’s really been the deeper cuts, it’s been the daring artists who are willing to expand their horizons that have truly lured me in. At times the music world can be a pretty straight forward place; it’s easy to digest, it’s ultimately satisfying and you know what you’re getting. But it can also be an expansive, audibly haunting and mentally consuming place as well. If you chose to lose yourself inside the world of music, even just for a week or two,  you will find albums and musicians that tease your eardrums and challenge your musical pallet.  And what’s better than that? Change. New Ideas.  Different flavors. Isn’t that what we as consumers want? The next great thing?  Sure eating a grilled steak and with a side of potatoes every night is delicious, but sometimes you just want to try something different – so you order that Japanese style grilled beef tongue with a side momotaro tomatoes and what do you know…you fucking LOVE it. You may not eat every time you go out…but you’ve experienced and you’ve loved.

Here’s my favorite albums of 2013…so far.

10. Knx. – “Anthology”
(Stones Throw)

anthology

Genre: Laid Back Jazzy Hip Hop instrumentals
Key TrackKnx. – Mysunshine
Why I Like It: It’s the perfect blend of lazy blunted throw back beats & fresh Hip Hop atmospheric haze. An instant Stones Throw classic.

9. Deafheaven – “Sunbather”
(Deathwish)

Deafheaven-Sunbather

Genre: Rhythmic Shoegazy Black Death Metal
Key TrackDeafheaven – Vertigo
Why I Like It: Even during its “hardest” moments, this feeling of peace still resides.  It’s  comfort in a unique place – in fact, it’s exotic in every sense of the word.

8. Vampire Weekend – “Modern Vampires Of The City”
(XL)

 Vampire

Genre: Poetic Bohemian Indie Pop
Key TrackVampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt
Why I Like It:  Upon each listen you’ll find yourself questioning the brilliant intentions of the album – is it just a pop album? not it’s post 9/11 social commentary, no it’s one long poem, no it’s a love ballad..no…

7. Gun Outfit – “Hard Coming Down”
(PPM)

gun-outfit

Genre: Vintage  Boozy Basement Post Punk Rock
Key TrackGun Outfit – I’ve Got a Gift
Why I Like It: It feels like a reckless experience – it’s like the album itself is trying to break through your neighbors wall at 4am – all the while you and your best intentions fight with the bottom of a whiskey bottle.

6. The Underachievers – “Indigoism”
(Brainfeeder)

The-Underachievers-Indigoism-608x608

Genre: Elevated Beast Coast Acid Washed Hip Hop
Key Track: The Underachievers – “The Mahdi” 
Why I Like It: Blunted labyrinth beats with throw back golden era hip hop verses makes this one of the most exciting Hip Hop albums to come out in years.  Stay true.

5. DJ Koze – “Amygdala”
(Pampa)

Koze

Genre: MInimalistic Whimsical Rainbow Techno House
Key TrackDJ Koze – Magical Boy
Why I Like It:   It’s dance music you don’t need to necessary dance to.  Strap on those headphones…sounds and voices and rhythms bounce through your ears like skipping school boys in love for the first time.  A masterpiece.

4. Dirty Beaches – “Drifters / Love Is The Devil”
(Zoo Music)

Dirty-Beaches-Landscapes-In-The-Mist

Genre: Pulsing Lo-fi Ambient No Wave
Key TrackDirty Beaches – Mirage Hall
Why I Like It: It caught me completely off guard.  Surprise of the year. One minute I’m checking out the new Dirty Beaches, the next thing I know I’m entranced by Alex Zhang Hungtai’s desire craft and execute a rich post rock musical journey.

3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
(Bad Seeds Ltd.)

NickCave

Genre: Extravagantly Dramatic Alternative Rock
Key Track: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street
Why I Like It: It’s like having your favorite uncle tell you the coolest story you’ve ever heard…

2. Grouper – “The Man Who Died In His Boat”
(Kranky)

GROUPER-THE-MAN-WHO-DIED-IN-HIS-BOAT1-575x575

Genre: Distinctive Dream Pop
Key TrackGrouper – Vital
Why I Like It: I can listen to this album until it breaks my soul.  It provides me with everything I love in music – it dances inside of me, it forces me to digest my surroundings, it’s stylistically unique and the music will haunt you for days, weeks, months after you listen to it.

1. Phosphorescent – “Muchacho”
(Dead Oceans)

Muchacho

Genre: Smile While You Cry Indie Country Folk
Key TrackPhosphorescent – The Quotidian Beasts
Why I Like It: His voice.  Oh man does his voice sound good on this record…put that over beer drenched country-fried guitar licks and gorgeous sweeping string selections and you have yourself an album that will stand the test of time.