Archives For December 2013

Top 100 Songs of 2013

December 23, 2013 — 3 Comments

This is Indie Music for the Masses – Indie Music that’s actually enjoyable to listen to (not grating avant-garde or sleep-inducing singer-songwriter).

To further explore amazing music, here are a few bonus lists:

Click “Follow” at the top of Spotify if you want to add any of the playlists to your sidebar of lists.

Here are my 100 favorite songs of 2013 (click to play individual tracks or here to play the full list in Spotify): 

        1. Andrew Belle – Pieces
        2. Empire Of The Sun – Alive
        3. Dwntwn – Stood Me Up
        4. Deptford Goth – Union
        5. Foals – Bad Habit
        6. St. Lucia – The Night Comes Again
        7. Autre Ne Veut – Counting
        8. Widower – Oh Catherine, My Catherine
        9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – If You Didn’t See Me [Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor]
        10. Jose Gonzalez – Step Out
        11. Lucius – Don’t Just Sit There
        12. Anna Meredith – Nautilus
        13. POLIÇA – Smug
        14. Say Lou Lou – Julian
        15. Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Vapour
        16. MS MR – Dark Doo Wop
        17. Young Galaxy – Pretty Boy
        18. Big Black Delta – Into the Night
        19. Leagues – You Belong Here
        20. Röyksopp – Running To The Sea
        21. Major Lazer – Get Free – feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors
        22. Haerts – Wings
        23. Young Galaxy – New Summer
        24. Phoenix – Entertainment
        25. Dustin Tebbutt – The Wolves (Reprise)
        26. Alpine – Gasoline
        27. Junip – Line of Fire
        28. Dustin Tebbutt – Where I Find You
        29. City Calm Down – Pleasure & Consequence
        30. Widowspeak – Ballad of the Golden Hour
        31. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
        32. Social Studies – Terracur
        33. Sir Sly – Ghost
        34. Phosphorescent – Song For Zula
        35. Wildlife Control – Different
        36. Phoenix – Chloroform
        37. Yeasayer – Don’t Come Close
        38. Arcade Fire – Here Comes The Night Time
        39. Phantogram – Never Going Home
        40. London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years
        41. Arcade Fire – Afterlife
        42. Lovelife – Your New Beloved
        43. Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing
        44. Sia – Elastic Heart – From “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Soundtrack
        45. Active Child – Evening Ceremony
        46. M83 – Oblivion (feat. Susanne Sundfør)
        47. Telekinesis – Ghosts and Creatures
        48. Local Natives – You & I
        49. CHVRCHES – Now Is Not the Time
        50. Phantogram – The Day You Died
        51. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
        52. Caveman – Chances
        53. Cults – High Road
        54. Phoenix – Don’t
        55. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
        56. Lana Del Rey – Young And Beautiful – would have been higher but I hate the line “oh that body, oh that face makes me want to party”. So lame.
        57. Volcano Choir – Byegone
        58. Arcade Fire – Reflektor – somebody read some Kierkegaard
        59. POLIÇA – Tiff
        60. Cults – I Can Hardly Make You Mine
        61. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors – Radio Edit
        62. The National – Don’t Swallow the Cap
        63. Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
        64. Youth Lagoon – Dropla
        65. Portugal. The Man – Plastic Soldiers
        66. Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right
        67. Radical Face – We’re On Our Way
        68. The Boxer Rebellion – Diamonds
        69. Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play – wait for it. Get past the weird first 1:45.
        70. Sky Ferreira – Ain’t Your Right
        71. Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt – some would say this is the culmination of VW’s career. In particular: 2:35-3:20
        72. The National – Demons – one of the greatest lines from a long list of self-deprecating, depressing lyrics from the Eeyore of indie music – Matt Berninger: “When I walk into a room, I do not light it up”
        73. High Highs – Open Season
        74. Phoenix – The Real Thing
        75. CHVRCHES – ZVVL
        76. Sky Ferreira – Everything Is Embarrassing
        77. SOHN – Lessons
        78. Caveman – Where’s the Time
        79. Active Child – Silhouette (feat. Ellie Goulding) – beautiful music from two great singers (trying to out-falsetto each other)
        80. Ivan & Alyosha – Running for Cover – not sure if these guys are Christians, but a great song re: the Garden of Eden and original sin
        81. The National – Sea of Love
        82. Beck – I Won’t Be Long
        83. Cults – Shine a Light
        84. Haerts – Hemiplegia
        85. Volcano Choir – Comrade – Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Enough said.
        86. Arcade Fire – It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus) – love this new sound for Arcade Fire in this pair of songs
        87. Arcade Fire – Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)
        88. CHVRCHES – Tether – beautiful as it builds to a synth-dance ending
        89. Cults – Were Before – Madeline singing “I like it like the way we were before” at :28 is one of the best moments in music in 2013
        90. Vampire Weekend – Don’t Lie – especially love the sound of 1:15-1:35
        91. Phantogram – Black Out Days – one of my favorite bands – great combo of synth-beats and vocals
        92. Dustin Tebbutt – The Breach – can’t wait for a full length album from Dustin. Beautiful song.
        93. The National – Graceless – a rare upbeat (though still depressing!) song from The National.
        94. Vampire Weekend – Step – this easily could have been song of the year. Witty lyrics. Beautiful, unique music.
        95. Local Natives – Heavy Feet – a sad, lonely song with an upbeat, driving background
        96. The National – I Should Live in Salt – at first the repetitive nature of the lyrics turned me off to this song. But ended up being my favorite off of a great album. A moving song about regret and brotherly love through conflict.
        97. CHVRCHES – Recover – the best pure pop song of the year. Upbeat but wears well over time unlike most too-slick pop songs
        98. Caveman – In the City – anthemic, rich indie-rock.
        99. Vampire Weekend – Ya Hey – I wrote an entire blog post about this song. Incredible music. Even better lyrics.
        100. James Blake – Retrograde – beautiful and sparse. One of the best moments in music 2013 when at 1:23 he drops from falsetto to sing in baritone “We’re alone now.”

Would love to hear your top songs. What are your favorite songs of 2013?

 

Top 10 Albums of 2013

December 19, 2013 — 4 Comments

2013 was a great year in music with several of the best indie rock bands releasing albums. Here are my 10 favorite albums. I’d love to hear from you what are your favorite albums of 2013.

Click links to play in Spotify

Volcano-Choir-Repave10. Volcano Choir– Repave

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s side project. Similar to Bon Iver, though not quite as good. Two great songs from this album: Comrade and Byegone

 

artworks-000057602816-6qit5q-t500x50019. Phantogram – Phantogram EP

One of my favorite bands. All four songs on the EP are great. Two standout songs: Black Out Days and Never Going Home

 

homepage_large.843c2ed58. Local Natives – Hummingbird

Best songs on this album: Heavy Feet, You & I, Ceilings.

 

 

90fa25fe7. Phoenix – Bankrupt!

Good indie pop. Not real substantive (I don’t find myself going back to this album that often – but I like the songs when I hear them). Definitely some fun songs. Best songs: The Real ThingChloroform, Don’t and Entertainment.

 

 

CHVRCHES Debut

6. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

My favorite new band of 2013. Love their sound. Top songs: Recover (one of the best songs of the year), Tether, The Mother We Share.

 

2013-10-07-cults_gif_630x802_q855. Cults – Static

Great sophomore album from Cults. Some are put off by the 50’s doo-wop sound but there’s so many great songs on here. The best songs on the album: Were Before, I Can Hardly Make You Mine, High Road, So Far, Shine a Light.

 

artworks-000039552194-inuahw-t500x5004. Caveman – Caveman

In the City is one of the best songs of the year. A great swinging-in-the-hammock chill album. Two other great songs on the album: Where’s the Time and Chances

 

sticker,375x3603. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Not as good as their previous Grammy-winning-album, The Suburbs. Reflektor is pretty uneven. With 5 of the best songs Arcade Fire has ever made. A few decent songs and a couple very forgettable songs. Here are the 5 amazing songs: ReflektorHere Comes the Night TimeAfterlifeAwful Sound (Oh Eurydice)It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus).

 

5_21_The-National2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

I didn’t think The National could ever come close to High Violet (the best album anyone has made in the last 5 years). “Trouble” doesn’t quite match High Violet but it is an amazing album with only a couple minor flaws. Some particularly great songs: Sea of LoveI Should Live in SaltGracelessDemonsDon’t Swallow the Cap.

 

Vampire_Weekend_-_Modern_Vampires_of_the_City1. Vampire Weekend –

Modern Vampires of the City

An amazing album from start to finish. Beautiful music with profound lyrics – nearly every song dealing with God and our looming mortality. A sample from the song Unbelievers:

“If I’m born again I know that the world will disagree

Want a little grace but who’s going to say a little grace for me?

We know the fire awaits unbelievers

All of the sinners the same

Girl you and I will die unbelievers bound to the tracks of the train”

In maybe-the-best-song-of-the-year “Ya Hey”, Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s secular-Jewish lead singer “flips the script of the old question ‘If God really loves us, why do terrible things happen?’ Ezra seems to be asking ‘How can God love such terrible things?’” (quote)

Pitchfork (the de facto king of indie music blogs) puts it this way:

Koenig stages a plaintive confrontation with his higher power, listing its non-believers, and shrugging: “America don’t love you/ So I can never love you in spite of everything.” This isn’t a breakup, but an attempt to see the other side in hopes of reconciliation: why should you show such love for the people who go such lengths to deny your existence, when you can’t even get any credit for it?

The scrambled, mutated voices on the hook play off the inpronounceable name of the Lord while flipping the title of perhaps the most beloved pop song of the past two decades. Such is the scope of “Ya Hey,” but Vampire Weekend put it within the grasp of anyone who wants it with another impossibly catchy song that skips along while carrying the weight of the universe.

 A few of the best songs (though, seriously- there are 10 really good songs on this album- all very diverse yet cohesive):

 

Who did I miss? What were your favorite albums of the year?