2013 Year End Review: Top 10 in Music
10. Grouplove – Spreading Rumours
File Under: Indie Rock/Pop
Smart, sweet and charming. Grouplove delivers their second album with more electronic touches but pack plenty of catchy hooks. I missed them at Emo’s this year; hope to catch them sometime next year.
9. AFI – Burials
File Under: Alternative Rock/Punk
Easily their best effort since Sing the Sorrow, AFI return from a hiatus with some polished, radio ready “gothy” rock tunes, some mid-tempo punk, and a smidge of death rock. I saw them at The Mohawk in October, and they were just as good as I’ve seen them in their post-Art of Drowning era.
8. The Rival Mob – Mob Justice
File Under: Hardcore. Just hardcore.
Vicious Boston hardcore played by guys in Mind Eraser, World War 4 and the Boston Strangler just to name a few. 80’s style hardcore with just a hint of American Oi!. I saw these dudes at Chaos in Tejas this year and they never fail from delivering on their live shows.
7. Deafheaven – Sunbather
File Under: Black Metal/Shoegaze
Beautiful black metal is all I can really say. Deafheaven craft a style of metal and shoegaze unlike anything you’ve heard before, and only get better at it on this second full length.
6. Shai Hulud – Reach Beyond the Sun
File Under: Metalcore
These guys have always been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. Shockingly, this release didn’t top my list this year, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. The return of Chad Gilbert on vocals makes this a landmark release in the Shai Hulud canon (albeit just on this recording), and his production skills amplify the magnitude of the Hulud sound on Reach Beyond the Sun.
5. All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature
File Under: Hardcore/D-Beat/Crust
Members of The Hope Conspiracy and Converge reconvene on a second full length for a sheer crusty D-Beat onslaught of unrelenting riffing. The playing is technical, almost leaning more towards a complete metal recording, but not far removed from their previous efforts. Always an amazing act to catch live.
4. David Bowie – The Next Day
File Under: David Bowie
I have to say, I was looking forward to this record for a bit, and picked it up the day that it hit stores. I wasn’t let down in the slightest. While many will argue that Bowie has hit his high notes in his career already, it’s unfair to think that this musical genius isn’t capable of something new and worthwhile. The Next Day is a thinking man’s album with plenty of dark overtones and mood but set to full throttle rock and roll that takes little breaks in between. Granted, these breaks can be a little long winded but ultimately, what you have at the end of the day is a worthwhile entry into the massive, enduring and influential catalog that only a mind like this can craft.
3. Coke Bust – Confined
File Under: Hardcore/Fastcore/Punk
There’s not a whole lot to expect from Washington D.C.’s Coke Bust other than raw production, pummeling hardcore and songs so short that you question the claim of calling their release a full length. Still, the fact that these guys manage to release interesting material (see the feedback laced intro on Red Line) that stands out from the pack speaks volumes of their mastery of this genre.
2. Laura Stevenson – Wheel
File Under: Indie Rock/Punk
This record absolutely marked a shift in direction from the last album, Sit Resist. Definitely more of rock album with a whole lot less pop, but it takes no time to grow on you. The riffs are great, the songwriting is on point and Laura’s voice is just as beautiful and remarkable as always. I got to see her a handful of times this year (both solo and with her band) but I missed her recently when she came through town in October.
1. John Fogerty – Wrote a Song for Everyone
File Under: Country/Rock/Folk
I first saw John Fogerty on TV as a kid on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in the early-mid 90’s. He played one of his many classics, Susie Q, and I loved it so much that I bought his live album that he was promoting at the time. I kind of worked backwards, discovering Creedence Clearwater Revival after John’s solo material; and the word “timeless” really is appropriate considering that a kid so far removed from 70’s rock found himself in awe of such gems like Bad Moon Rising, Lodi & Proud Mary. Wrote a Song for Everyone sees John Fogerty revisiting some of his signature work with everyone from Foo Fighters and Tom Morello to Bob Seger, Keith Urban Jennifer Hudson and almost everyone in between. The songs hit just as hard as the originals and we’re even treated with a couple of new ones. Although not a new album per se, it’s a refreshing way of having fun with old classics and celebrating them with current and influential artists. I haven’t had this much fun listening to an album in a long time, and this record is easily my #1 pick for 2013.