Top 50 Music List of 2013, Mixtape 1!

December 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm (Best-of lists, Music Mixes)

jim_morrison

Grab the mix by clicking this text, and then let’s get to the Devil’s Music.

1. The Future Of the Left, “Singing Of The Bonesaws”

This song made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it. Like early Art Brut, only crankier. Taken from their album How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident. Band webpage here: http://futureoftheleft.net/

2. Mazes, “Hayfever Wristband”

I just discovered Mazes this past year, and all their records are outstanding. I like this song for especially feeling sorta like what you’d get if Michael Quercio of the Three O’Clock was the lead singer of the Volcano Suns. From their album Better Ghosts. Band webpage here: http://www.wearemazes.com/

3. Dutch Barn, “Come Down”

If there’s a trend to 2013 I stand firmly in favor of, it’s a return to the amazing music and style of the 1990’s. Dutch Barn are a UK band who totally nail a sound that feels like late-period Feelies covering Pale Saints. This is a great song to drive/play air drums to as well, just saying. Band website here: http://dutchbarnband.com/

4. Mark Mulcahy, “She Makes The World Turn Backwards”

Mulcahy was the leader of the great 1980s band Miracle Legion. The tragic loss of his wife a few years back seems to have pushed him back to making music, and his 2013 record Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You might be the best thing he’s ever done, which is saying something. Website here: http://mezzotint.com/markmulcahypreorder.html

5. Youth Lagoon, “Mute”

There are some Youth Lagoon songs that don’t do much for me, but on this track when the that weird synthy fanfare kicks in (is that a mellotron?) it’s so woozy and swoony that it makes my heart catch. From the evocatively titled album Wondrous Bughouse, webpage here: http://www.fatpossum.com/artists/youth-lagoon

6. Sam Phillips, “Pretty Timebomb”

Every few years Sam Phillips makes an album, and since divorcing herself literally and figuratively from the over-blandness of former husband T-Bone Burnett’s production, her records are unfailingly interesting and excellent. From her latest album, Push Any Button. Her web site is here: http://samphillips.com/

7. British Sea Power, “Guillemot Girls”

I’ve always liked the idea of this UK band more than I’ve liked their records, but in 2013 they did the soundtrack to a film called From The Sea To The Land Beyond and it all just clicked perfectly. The album has the same title as the film, the webpage is here: http://www.britishseapower.co.uk/

8. Sweet Apple “I Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)”

Sweet Apple is the collaboration of some old school indie vets, notably John Petkovic of Cobra Verde and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.  Their previous record was a bit hit or miss, but this single, a preview track from a forthcoming 2014 album, is one of the best songs I heard all year. Just a brilliant job of pop song craftsmanship, where everything is just PERFECT…including the guest duet vocal from Mark Lanegan. Band Website (with the single) is here: http://sweetapplesongs.com/

9. The Resonars “Tomorrow Gears”

God bless Matt Rendon and his band The Resonars. As you can tell by listening, The Resonars live in a world where The Creation, The Action, and The Move still rule and 1967 loops back on itself again and again. From their excellent 2013 album Crummy Desert Sound (one of my favorite album titles in recent memory, that.) Available here: http://burgerrecords.11spot.com/search-by-artist-2/the-resonars/the-resonars-crummy-desert-sound.html

10. The Limiñanas, “La Meloncolie”

A great Francopop cut of sheer Gainsbourg-ian genius, this is the slinky seductive catsuit beat you’ve been looking for. From the album Costa Brava, website here: http://troubleinmindrecs.com/bands/liminanas.html

11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Secret Xtians”

As great as UMO’s debut album was, the follow-up seemed destined to disappoint. It’s actually very solid, and this track rules. The record is called II, and the band’s site is here: http://unknownmortalorchestra.com/

12. Ex Cops “You Are Lion I Am Lamb”

The teaser singles for this NY-area dreampop band in 2012 hinted at great promise, and their January record delivered. This is one of the most gorgeous hooks of the year, period. Don’t trust Spotify’s year date on this, it’s 2013, from the outstanding album True Hallucinations. Trust me on this. Web page is here: http://excopsband.com/index.html

13. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, “Nightwater Girlfriend”

Every year it feels like SSLYBY puts out a great record that deserves to be a hit. These folks from my old home state of Missouri are just amazingly, consistently excellent. Dig the way they sway and swing the beat here halfway through. From the 2013 album Fly By Wire, the band page is here: http://sslyby.com/

14. Minor Alps, “I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands”

2013’s “Had me at hello” moment was finding out that this band was a collaborative project of Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws (of the excellent Nada Surf). All over this record I kept feeling like “They should’ve done this years ago”, so perfectly do their voices and writing styles blend into a glorious whole. From their album Get There, here’s hoping they do this again. Band’s hub is right here: http://minoralps.tumblr.com/

15. David Bowie “Valentine’s Day”

A bittersweet discovery, as I’ve not given many latter-day Bowie projects the time of day. Upon the tragic death of Scott Miller, however, I discovered that his favorite record of the year to that point was this astonishing return to form here. And so here it is:  Bowie’s record, The Next Day, really is terrific and has some of his best songs in decades. Website here: http://www.davidbowie.com/

16. Smith Westerns, “Glossed” and “XIII”

I started out loving these Chicago suburb wiseacres, and then I sort of got tired of them equally quickly. Imagine my surprise at discovering their growth and evolution on their 2013 album Soft Will. This track is absolutely gorgeous with a monstrous melodic hook that should’ve made it a massive hit. Better still, “Glossed” flows seamlessly into “XIII” on the record, giving this mix a delirious two-fer to close out the first tape. Band’s website is here: http://www.smithwesternsmusic.com/

Tomorrow, Mix Tape 2, which is all Arcade Fire songs in a loop.

4 Comments

  1. The Very Best Music of 2013. Period. | Popnarcotic said,

    […] First up, Mix Tape #1! […]

  2. Popconsumer said,

    Thanks so much. I have spent the afternoon and evening discovering some of this great music for myself! Happy New Year!!

  3. stumania said,

    Terrific list, Chris – overlapped with many artists and albums that made my 2013 Yuletide Mix. Here’s what I ended up with (and it all fits on a CD-R):

    Elephant Stone – Hold Onto Yr Soul
    The Black Angels – Holland
    The Young Sinclairs – New Day
    Thee Oh Sees – Sweets Helicopter
    Jacco Gardner – Clear The Air
    Foxygen – In The Darkness
    King Khan & The Shrines – Born To Die
    Guided by Voices (Tobin Sprout) – Islands (She Talks In Rainbows)
    The Sufis – Washed Away
    David Bowie – I’d Rather Be High
    Limiñanas – Crystal Anis (technically released in 2012)
    The Growlers – In Between
    The Beginner’s Mynd – Shadows
    Bed Rugs – Yawn
    White Denim – Limited By Stature
    The Sadies – The Very Beginning
    Hidden Masters – See You In The Dark
    White Fence – Trouble Is Trouble Never Seen
    The Dandelion – Pleiadian Love Vibrations
    Bipolaroid – Supernatural Beauty
    The Resonars – It’s What They Do
    Mikal Cronin – Am I Wrong?
    Joel Gion – Yes
    Pond – Hobo Rocket
    The Bevis Frond – I’m The Only One
    Tony Molina – Walk Away

    • Chris said,

      Stu, that’s a fantastic list! Apologies for not replying back sooner, but that hasn’t stopped me from listening to stuff on your list that I was unfamiliar with. Also, I barely left off the Hidden Masters from my list, but how amazing are they? There are youtube clips of them actually nailing that awesome prog-rock/70s metal sound in a live setting–everyone does vocals. It’s impressive. Really digging this a lot.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 376 other followers

%d bloggers like this: