The year of exercise and body dysmorphia and growing a Metallica mullet! Not as fake as last year 'cause we knew it would be. It's actually kind of pleasant. Listening in 2012 always felt self-conscious or like it had some purpose 'cause of coverage/expectations/whatever. This year it seems like things are coming out of nowhere, and on their own terms. Other than the obvious ones, I mean (22 YEARS!!1!!)
Things I want to store away and hug because right now I feel like I will always love them
1. Dean Blunt The Redeemer
Double bluffs its way into sincerity, leaving behind critics' expectations of a single, cynical subversion. 2013's saddest, most truthful and empathetic record yet.
spotify / hippos in tanks
2. Kanye West Yeezus
Argues for MBDTF as an apology where in its time it was regarded as being so truthful that it resembled something like Ye's id. In retrospect, however, it really does sound teary-eyed and human. Cuts that one's heady maximalism and injects 808s' skeletal fragments with noise, ultimately favouring the physical. Assumes that minimalism gets closer to some truth, leading to much confusion and controversy over what he actually chose to include (bjs, Nina Simone). He's always been about vulnerability, Yeezus is the ugly, narcissistic lashing out after the last few laughed, cowered, or understood.
spotify / amazon
3. The Men New Moon
Pays debt to the proto-indie fuckups that inspired those they endearingly plagiarized for two albums. Refreshingly stripped down and imperfect. In the end they take what they learned and hold a noise rock ritual to indicate what's to come (out of the forest and into the sky).
spotify / sacred bones
4. Colin Stetson New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
Stetson's epic finale is a real inspiring tearjerker that plummets into new levels of hopelessness and then ascends with hope and beauty.
spotify / constellation
5. Hookworms Pearl Mystic
Starts with the propulsive energy of something like VU meets Primal Scream and then gets derailed and takes an unexpectedly emotional, ultimately spiritual journey.
bandcamp / gringo
6. Grouper The Man Who Died in His Boat
Evokes in simple fragments more personality and cohesive ideas than the average musician's epic.
spotify / kranky
7. Ensemble Pearl Ensemble Pearl
Drone that relies on the expertise of and relationship between its players. Something like a drone super-group, their aim stays focused where it matters, and every spontaneous detour is perhaps even more exciting.
8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra II
Delegates even its rockier moments to the head (rather than the body). Nielson tries out everything he likes and keeps it all tied together with feelings of weightlessness and aimless frustration. Pomo pop for the bored and alone.
spotify / umo
9. Endless Boogie Long Island
Jams psychedelically but keeps itself grounded somewhere between sludge metal and ZZ Top.
10. Daft Punk Random Access Memories
NOT 22 YEARS but still a huge deal. A flawed, frequently corny epic that once again has the duo humanizing the digital, again through the help of disco, this time with live musicians.
spotify / ram
Things I regularly play and/or have quite a bit of love for, p much in exactly the same way as the stuff under 'new favs', but I wanted a top 10
11. Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge Twelve Reasons to Die
Surprisingly lean and restrained, unsurprisingly weird rejuvenation/resurrection concept album where the listener brings Ghostface back through playing his dusty new record.
12. RP Boo Legacy
Even if the listener goes in having no idea what to expect, the originator explains everything within ~5 seconds of Steamidity and that's the first track.
spotify / planet mu
13. The Knife Shaking the Habitual
BIG EVENT #2. Actually a lot of fun! Addictive and thoroughly enjoyable gender studies avant-dance. Even when they drone they're doing it for us.
spotify / theknife
14. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Push the Sky Away
Cave acknowledges his persona as persona, awkwardly pointing out that he lives in the same dull, lonely world as his listeners. Mick Harvey's absence is sadly immediately obvious, and every song sounds very much 'composed by Cave&Ellis.'
spotify / nickcave
15. Black Boned Angel The End
Kneale farewells his doom project in just three parts: 1, the oppressive side of the genre expertly summarized, 2, a look at the kind of emotional and experimental variety pursued by the best in the field, and 3, a dramatic, unexpectedly transcendent climax that sort of says thanks for being there with me and by the way this is the inevitable end to everything.
16. Kurt Vile Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Keep on slacking!
spotify / matador
17. Milk Music Cruise Your Illusion
Keep on.. Milk Music Could Be Your Life!
spotify / norman
18. Waka Flocka Flame DuFlocka Rant 2
'Full steam ahead' high energy Waka fun with exciting voice breaks that make you feel real sorry for his vocal cords.
19. Tree Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out
The recipe for 'soul trap' is old samples, 'modern' 808s, and Tree's own wonderful wise gravelly delivery. I'm in love with his voice!
20. Prurient Through the Window
Uses techno to universalize the Prurient character as 'horribly alone individual in post-industrial nightmare.'
21. Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience
He knew his best moments were the aimless/stoned ones!
spotify / justintimberlake
22. Young Fathers Tape Two
Peter Gabriel rap(?) SHE'S LOOKING FOR LOOOOOOVE
23. Andrew Pekler Cover Versions
Uses collage to liberate hundreds of second-hand records from their bland contexts and intentions, emphasizing their oddball romanticism, (accidental) artistry, and intrigue.
24. Stara Rzeka Cień chmury nad ukrytym polem
When genre blends and shifts mean more than the process of blending and shifting, then the aim is so focussed and makes so much sense that you feel kind of dirty for trying to freeze moments in the flow of aim, ambition, and artistry, and say oh krautrock folk bm because all that matters is the flow which in this case is so moving and seamless that it's like why would you.
25. High Wolf Kairos: Chronos
not not fun
Things which are still growing on me and I already like heaps but will soon maybe compete with the stuff from 1-25
26. Inga Copeland Don't Look Back, That's Not Where You're Going
Speak is wow! This is gonna be huge.
27. The Body Master, We Perish
28. My Bloody Valentine m b v
22 YEARS (!!1!) to give us some fucking Loveless b-sides and a second half that you can't hate- it's so incredible it's like why didn't you do that the whole time instead?
29. Comadre Comadre
Pushes for weird distractions from the immediacy of its aggression, actually enhancing the power behind and around.
spotify / bandcamp
30. Botanist IV: Mandragora
1-man hammered dulcimer ultra-lo-fi metal imagines the world when humankind's finally gone and what remains is flora.
31. Iceage You're Nothing
2013's most primal and exciting pop punk record.
32. Fear of Men Early Fragments
33. Scissor Lock Churn
Frozen, dislocated, then disembodied voices clue us in to little moments lost, then lurching forward half-asleep into a big nothing- they'll return to the source to be anonymized in the multitude, pretending like it never meant anything, and we'll be served more comatose moments to watch repeat the same process.
34. Run the Jewels Run the Jewels
To say that they're two of the best at what they do is an understatement and so is to say that they straight kill it over and over on Run the Jewels and so is to say and oh how nice of them to do it for free as well.
35. Night Slugs Allstars Volume 2
The ones to watch! Destroying your stomach one beat at a time, withholding melody and then letting it all go shimmery and/or fun, increasing the distance between gut and head to addictive effect.
36. Lil Herb & Lil Bibby Heir Apparents
Hehe Drizzy ✔ @Drake MOB I don't love a ho I'mma be this way till I'm 46 - Lil Herb 7:49 PM - 3 Apr 2013 5,423 RETWEETS 2,545 FAVORITES
fake shore drive
37. Jon Hopkins Immunity
I didn't believe it until the last two tracks!
38. Maxmillion Dunbar House of Woo
Interplay betw lil sounds and what happens when assembled- twitchy collage and the evocation of imagined depth.
39. Fort Romeau SW9
40. Freddie Gibbs ESGN
Finds that inexpressible balance between we get it gibbs, you hard and what is this i want angry gibbs!, resulting in an angry Gibbs so enjoyable that he couldn't possibly go hard enough.
Growing on or growing off
Things that are either growing on me, or I abused and overplayed and are now sort of growing off me. Order shuffled up so I don't feel as bad for pushing them away/am keeping them in mind in case I return again all apologetic later
41. Gucci Mane Trap House 3
Cohesive, smooth, and thoroughly enjoyable. The kind of thing you know he's capable of when you're arguing that a certain release might be shit and the person you're arguing with is wearing his/her best anti-intellectual hat and saying like you wouldn't get it or why should it have to be good? and now you can say Trap House 3.
42. Ten Walls Gotham EP
Deep and moody.
43. Wolf Eyes No Answer
44. Segue Pacifica
45. Autre Ne Veut Anxiety
Selfish but genuinely emotive indie-R&B diagnoses the genre with separation anxiety and so the singer uses it as a tool to analyze his own self. Every now and then it's possible to hear a few moments in Anxiety that mean so much to the listener that it's almost tempting to not call the rest of it solipsistic wank.
46. Deafheaven Sunbather
Similarly, Sunbather occasionally provides the listener with whole minutes of music so spine-tinglingly, skull-crushingly, life-affirmingly beautiful that you almost feel bad for noticing its trite, manipulative (post-rock) dynamics.
spotify / bandcamp
47. Waka Flocka Flame DuFlocka Rant Halftime Show
Rides on the positivity of DFR2 and adds some variety- basically Waka tries his hand at flowing.
48. Curren$y New Jet City
I can't tell whether it's fortunate or unfortunate that all I've heard from Curren$y since Pilot Talk 2 has been like warmly underwhelming, as in enjoyable enough not to delete and even listen to regularly, but the threat of a dip into lukewarm mediocrity has been ever-present. Fortunately/unfortunately the existence of New Jet City seems to suggest that such a dip occurred at some point, as the mixtape is still warmly underwhelming, but is also a clear improvement over his last I'm-not-sure-how-many releases. If he keeps going this way, we might just get another overwhelmingly underwhelming (understated) weed rap classic sometime in the near future.
49. Paisley Parks Бｈ○§†
50. Quasimoto Yessir Whatever
A collection of songs already heard/loved/digested by ultra-fans, hilariously coherent for the man whose Lord Quas project always specialized in incoherence. This is a good and a bad thing. On one hand, the assault of disjointed ideas and moments found on his non-collections (albums) were headache inducing for the non-converted, and sometimes frustrating for fans. On the other hand, there were moments within the sprawling chaos that really hit home for some (usually incomprehensible) reason, and those moments made the whole Lord Quas project worth standing by, arguing for, and encouraging others to endure in order to find their own moments and justifications. Yessir Whatever is perfectly enjoyable avant-garde rap and no more than that.
51. Powell [untitled]
52. Lil B Pretty Young Thug (P.Y.T)
53. DJ Koze Amygdala
54. Portal Vexovoid
55. Cornelius NHK「デザインあ」
56. Future F.B.G.: The Movie
57. Yo La Tengo Fade
58. Young Scooter Street Lottery
59. Amber London Tru 2 Tha Phonk
60. Function Incubation
61. K. Roosevelt RoseGold
62. Fluorescent Heights Vendetta in Paradise
spotify / bandcamp
63. Nails Abandon All Life
spotify / bandcamp
64. Kvelertak Meir
65. Slow Warm Death Slow Warm Death
66. inc. No World
spotify / 4AD
67. The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die Whenever, If Ever
Plays its perpetually self-conscious midwest emo solipsism off against its confidence in its own self-conscious self-loathing. Its genre solipsism is occasionally so believable that you'll hear it and think good, they're bringing it back but it's unclear what they're bringing back other than good old un-self-conscious whining about being self-conscious and confidentally pathetic vocals over Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks-ish unhinged ambience. Whatever, it's emo after all.
68. Queens of the Stone Age ...Like Clockwork
Re-modeled, re-considered, and for the moment re-freshing in its one-off vulnerabilities.
69. Migos Young Rich Niggas
70. Ciara Ciara
Not so much a matter of restraint as just a welcome and pervading focus so straight that even its fuckups feel deliberate or calculated to some yet unknown end.
71. Pharmakon Abandon
There's a dry scream and then a 4-song conversation between the dirge-like and the frightened and hysterical. The former makes for a heavy and intoxicating listening experience, the latter's outbursts make you stop what you're doing with sweaty palms and look over there somewhere, sort of stressed out.