How do you run a Secret Santa at a radio station where we’re all tight on money? Easy, make it a musical Secret Santa, where everybody gets entered into a pool and randomly gets assigned to make a suggestion for what a fellow WCDB’er might like to listen to. Check out all the recommendations below!
For Kyle -
Speedy Ortiz–I just started listening to them myself but I’ve been digging it and wanting to share it, and if you end up liking it then i would also recommend Waxahatchee if you don’t already know her. Speedy Ortiz has female vocals and kind of a hazy indie rock sound, the album that just came out is good: Major Arcana, tracks I would start with are “No Below”, “Tiger Tank”, “Hitch”, but basically the whole album is pretty cool.
For Ted -
My suggestions for the secret Santa are wye oak- dogs eye and Mac Demarco- ode to victory
It’s a band called Lust for Youth. And I recommend listening to the newest LP NIGHT SINS- To London or the Lake
For DJ Kim Kelly-
I’m giving Chrissy Keaton Henson. Specific tracks: “Beekeeper”, “Lying to You”, “Kronos”, “Don’t Swim”, “In The Morning”, and “Sarah Minor”
For The Finch-
Celebration – The Modern Tribe
Celebration is more on the psychedalic side of indie rock from 2007, and this album is awesome from front to back. Singer’s voice is somewhat androgenous and strange, which I hope Meg will dig based on her love of Panic! At the Disco. Upbeat pop melodies interspersed with some catchy horn lines and fuzzed guitars, really cool stuff!
Tracks: “Tame the Savage”, “In This Land”, “Wild Cats”
Band: Voxtrot (Raised by Wolves EP to start, the track, “The Start of Something” has a very Smithsy/Strokesy feel.)
Track: “Water Me” by FKA Twigs. Cool electronic jam that I have loved recently, and don’t think most people have gotten into.
For DJ Milky-
1) Magazine – The Correct Use of Soap
2) The Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight
3) The Woodentops – Giant
4) Martha & the Muffins – Metro Music
5) Haircut One Hundred – Pelican West
*all available on grooveshark.com Merry Christmas
For DJ Riggs Linus-
I’ve decided to give Brian Bev a song by Vega. It’s the project Neon Indian had before Neon Indian. I hope he already has not heard it. I also hope he doesn’t hate it. He can return it if he wants.
For DJ Gabzilla-
Cocteua Twins, start with “Heaven or Las Vegas”
Cold cave start with “Catacombs”
The replacements start with “bastards of young”
I think Andy would enjoy this.Recommended tracks: “Stay Close”, “Holdin’ On”, “Change”, “Space Cadet”, “Sleepless”.
For John Gentile-
“Mystery Skulls – EP” While Mystery Skulls has a few songs on Spotify, their best material can be found on their EP, which is found on their bandcamp. Electronic in the sense that it has some funky, different beats, Mystery Skulls also has some alt rock blends in it that is all too reminiscent of a darker Passion Pit, especially with such humble beginnings. I’d recommend the EP above all else, which you can download for the cost of a dollar (or possibly less) online. A great band that deserves some play. Check them out!
For DJ Eric-
Hello. I don’t really know you well but I creeped your DJ playlists. I noticed you play a lot of current, popular mainstream indie rock music (Indie Rock 101, as I like to call it). I was going to recommend you lots of more obscure things to listen to, but I had no idea where to even begin. I did also notice that you haven’t really played anything that was released before the year 2000, save for one Elliot Smith song and one Echo & the Bunnymen song – so here is a short list of essential albums that came out in the 80s and 90s, and some RIYL’s based on artists you’ve played, for your xmas listening pleasure. Apologies if there’s any band on here that you’ve heard already, I’m recommending solely based what the wcdb.org archive tells me you’ve never played before.
Cocteau Twins- “Heaven or Las Vegas” (4AD, 1990). Tracks: “Iceblink Luck”, “Heaven or Las Vegas”, “Cherry-Coloured Funk”. RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
New Order – “Substance” (this is a singles / ‘greatest hits’ album) – (Factory Records, 1987). Tracks “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “Ceremony”, “Blue Monday” RIYL: Metric, (new) Arcade Fire, The Postal Service
The Pixies – Dootlittle (4AD, 1989). Tracks: “Debaser”, “Wave of Mutilation”, “Monkey Gone to Heaven” RIYL: Best Coast, Metric
Guided by Voices – Bee Thousand (Scat Records, 1994). Tracks: “I Am A Scientist”, “Tractor Rape Chain”, “Echos Myron” RIYL: Neutral Milk Hotel, Modest Mouse
Jawbreaker – “Dear You” (DGC Records, 1995). Tracks: “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault”, “Accident Prone” RIYL: Brand New, The Front Bottoms
the band: White Denim
tracks: “At Night in Dreams”, “Pretty Green”, “Drug”
Artist: Alex Winston
First track I heard by her: “Sister Wife” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzObsfboaJ0)
Personal Favorite track off the album King Con: “Choice Notes” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNT_KGweANU)
And an awesome version of “Locomotive”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKt7hiE-xvc
Artist: Bear Hands
1) Crime Pays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97W_mgA8Ytg)
2) What a Drag (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtUrU5Csevk)
3) Tablasaurus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd6WUL111Po)
Ho ho ho, bro. Santa recently got a better Internet connection at the North Pole, and he has been listening to your show every week! Santa likes your show, and noticed that you’re into a lot of British stuff. Well, Santa also has a major hard on for British music, so here are three different artist recommendations… From me! F***ING SANTA!
1. The Young Knives.
The album Voices of Animals and Men is one of the absolute best albums to come out of England. It’s not as popular because it came out in 2006, when bands like the Futureheads, the Enemy, and the Babyshambles had already captivated the British folks. Santa argues however that this is a quintessential album that perfectly embodies the British music scene from 2004-2008.
Stand outs on the album are
- “Another Hollow Line”: a great sentimental song about how all women are just a waste of time.
- “She’s Attracted To”: a song about meeting your girlfriend’s shitty parents.
- “Here Comes the Rumour Mill”: a song about how rumours (yes, santa is purposely using the British spelling) are annoying.
After this album the Young Knives inexplicably lost a lot of their spunk. It’s a damn shame.
2. Art Brut
Very similar style to the Young Knives. This is another band that never really lived up to the expectations after their first album (even though their later releases are still very good). They have a fun, ‘cheeky’ style, and the lyrics are very enjoyable. Pitchfork praised these guys as the second coming of Christ in 2004 when they released Bang Bang Rock & Roll, and that album still holds up today. It’s definitely worth a listen.
Standout tracks by Art Brut are:
- “Bang Bang Rock and Roll”: “I CAN’T STAND THE SOUND OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND”. A great energetic and satirical song about the state of rock and roll.
- “Emily Kane”: a fun song about that one girl that got away.
- “People in Love”: this is Santa’s favorite breakup song of all time. Off Art Brut’s second album It’s a Bit Complicated this song has a very refreshing and pragmatic take on break ups. Listen to it.
3. The 1990s
Another fun little band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, this time from the year 2007. The 1990s are notoriously hard to google, and the lead singer is quite… Ugly. However, their debut album Cookies is a masterpiece filled with upbeat songs and lots of references to drugs. Santa believes that the 1990s are also very under appreciated.
- “You’re Supposed to Be My Friend”: Have you ever had that one annoying friend, who’s a notorious flake and never hangs out with you? This song is about that guy/girl.
- “See You at the Lights”: this song will instantaneously make you sing along. It’s catchy, it’s happy, it’s just an all around good time!
- “Cult Status”: I won’t ruin the surprise, but around the 3 minute mark you will probably laugh very hard. It’s also musically a solid little symphony
Hopefully you enjoyed reading all this! Santa rather enjoyed writing it, as he takes any opportunity to ramble endlessly about British rock, while making lots of sweeping generalizations! Anyway….
For Robby Red-
Roses are red,
And so is Robby.
That is all that matters.
Merry Christmas fgt.
CRMNL HYGNE LP by Criminal Hygiene.
Its a free download at: http://criminalhygiene.bandcamp.com/album/crmnl-hygne-lp-2
I recommend the tracks “Rearrange”, “Blak Water”, “Dirty Knees”, “Summertime in October”, “Alan I’m in Love”, and “Andrew’s Song”.
For Zsa Zsa Couture-
Jets to Brazil- Perfecting Loneliness
Based on your radio show, I feel like you like (maybe funky) electronic-influenced indie music. My first recommendation for you is one of my favorite acts – Blood Orange. They have a new album (2013) but their older stuff is gold. I recommend the song “Sutphin Boulevard.” Also, on the off-chance that you are familiar with them (him) already, I highly recommend Cold Cave. It doesn’t seem exactly like your cup of tea but I can see you digging them – try the song “Catacombs.”
Heavens – Patent Pending
The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Kidnap Kid, and C2C
You are like Yoda while I am Jabba the Hut. What celestial sounds could I possibly grace your ears with? You are so all knowing while I am a fat trapezoid. I can’t help but think that you have most musical gift so I thought long and hard (~20min) to find some artists that might suit your fat suit. So, here are a few gifts that I managed to secrete from my oozy crevices:
-Bohan Pheonix – http://bohanphoenix.com/
-Chewing on Tinfoil – http://chewingontinfoil.bandcamp.com/
-Dark Horse – http://www.darkhorsesmusic.com/
They are not in any particular order. Enjoy or eat coal.
First off I’ll say Sleater-Kinney since you haven’t played them yet this year and they’re a classic all-female punk rock band; suggested tracks: “One More Hour”, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone”, “Turn It On”
Next I’d say Dinosaur Jr. since they fit the description of guitar-dominated rock very well and helped to define the alternative rock scene; suggested tracks: “Freak Scene”, “Kracked”, “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know”
More of a shot in the dark to give something more current: Dananananaykroyd. They’re an inconsistent listen and they’ve already packed it up after releasing two albums, but they have some awesome singles mixed in; suggested tracks: “Infinity Milk”, “Black Wax”, “Song One Puzzle”
And for the sake of a change of pace, early Black Keys. Pre-Brothers they were one of the best modern blues-rock bands you could find; suggested tracks: “Meet Me in the City”, “Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be”, “She Said, She Said (Beatles Cover)”
For Nora the nicest grimey lady I know.
The Art of Sleeping – Shoulders
Thelma Plum – Rosie EP; “Around Here”, “Father Said”
Loon Lake – Gloamer; “Carolina”, “Cherry Lip”
Tapes N’ Tapes – Outside; “Badaboom”
Bored Nothing -Bored Nothing; “Popcorn”
The Rubens- The Rubens; “Lay It Down”,”Don’t Ever Want To Be Found”
Have an amazing time in Pana gurllll
1. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Voting Points: 213
The spectacle of the album release was a wonder in itself, and Arcade Fire’s experimentation into Disco was the top voted album of the year by a wide margin in our poll.
2. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
Voting Points: 157.5
The second mix tape from Chance the Rapper caught the attention of multiple departments in our station, helping it be named the top hip-hop album of the year on our list.
3. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Voting Points: 142
The sound matured for Vampire Weekend, solidifying their role as one of the premiere pop artists in today’s music scene.
4. Local Natives – Hummingbird
Voting Points: 112
An inspired and experimental album from the group garnered them a lot of attention this year from media publications, and our DJs viewed it with a similar level of admiration.
5. FIDLAR – FIDLAR
Voting Points: 106
The debut album for the California Skate-Punk band brought a ton of energy with it during their screamed stories about drugs and youthful ideals.
6. Kurt Vile – Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze
Voting Points: 102
A relaxing and pretty listen, Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze gave Kurt Vile a lot of artistic freedom to create long songs about his past experiences that have led up to this point.
7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
Voting Points: 92
The sophomore album by the group tended to get mixed reviews from critics, but our DJs were supporters with it finding it’s way onto numerous lists.
8. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Voting Points: 90
One of the more consistent alternative bands out there released another very good album this year, while also having a documentary about them made by Berninger’s brother aptly named “Mistaken For Strangers” receive favorable reviews at film festivals.
9. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Voting Points: 87
Foxygen found themselves getting talked about a lot this year with We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors, and they were the most played artist on our station in 2013.
10. Kanye West – Yeezus
Voting Points: 77.5
Probably the most polarizing man in music added a new album to his discography this year and debate ensued about where the album actually stood in his discography. Our DJs liked it enough to have it round out the top 10.
Continue reading WCDB’s Top Albums of 2013
1. Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk
This Australian outfit’s short, neo-soul/R&B LP easily got the most plays in my music library this year. With a 30-minute runtime, this album behaves like a mixtape, and is delicious from start to finish. Its dynamic soundscapes oscillate between spaced-out hip-hop and future soul grooves, showcasing the band’s compositional prowess and musicianship on each song.
2. Jai Paul – Jai Paul
UK producer Jai Paul’s album was released amid controversy, heightening the anticipation for his long – awaited debut. A ploy? No matter, this is a surefire banger that is bound to make you move! Whether he intended to or not, Jai Paul serves up this year’s finest offering of electro pop, chopped with weird glitches, silky interludes and eccentric vocal harmonies.
3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
UMO’s sophomore release reveals a new direction for the group without abandoning its psychedelic roots. Singer/songwriter Ruban Nielson refines his song structures, even dabbling in some R&B along the way, as the band delivers a somewhat patient and more polished offering from their debut effort. Fans of their first will have their thirsts quenched by phased out guitar riffs, distorted horn lines, and psyche-funk breakdowns, as II intrigues listeners while luring them further down the rabbit hole.
4. Thundercat – Apocalypse
Stephen Bruner’s bass grooves have been in high demand for the past few years, notably lending them to Flying Lotus’ recordings while touring in Erykah Badu’s backing band. Apocalypse could be considered a concept album, exploring themes of friendship, love and loss, as Bruner responds to the death of long-time friend and keyboardist, Austin Peralta. A fusion of pop, soul and R&B layered with tasty vocal harmonies, scorching bass lines and a few wacky time signatures, Apocalypse delivers catchy hooks amidst its complexity that ensure repeat listens.
5. Matthew E. White – Outer Face
Matthew E. White’s follow-up to last year’s Big Inner, Outer Face serves as an extension of his solo debut – rooted in Americana, and confident. White’s attention to detail is what makes this album shine; with prudent panning, dynamic swells, subtle touches and bass grooves to boot, Outer Face is simultaneously patient and bold.
6. Bilal – A Love Surreal
A Love Surreal ventures toward the avant-garde side of neo-soul and R&B to accompany the Coltrane nod in its title. With unconventional melodies and harmony structures overtop smooth chord changes and back beats, Bilal explores his creativity on this release. The result is an album that engages listeners with multifaceted arrangements, dynamic swells and sexy spells, all without sacrificing accessibility.
7. Danny Brown – Old
The Detroit rapper’s follow up to his widely praised debut, XXX, features a slightdeparture from his established signature sounds, solidifying Old as this year’s gold standard for hip-hop. Functioning as a dual album, its A-side features more old school production, while the B-side nods to more contemporary, party-rap configurations. Now in his 30’s, Danny Brown explores stories of aging betwixt his inescapable past of poverty and drugs, carefully constructing this concept album as each song masterfully flows to the next.
8. Ducktails – Wish Hotel EP
Matt Mondanile was a busy man this year, releasing two albums for his solo recording project, Ducktails. On Wish Hotel, Mondanile records by his lonesome, diving deeper into the hazy soundscapes explored on his full-length release, The Flower Lane, from earlier this year. While the LP meanders, Wish Hotel maintains focus, clouding its listeners with phased out pop melodies and distorted keyboard tones, capturing the mood of its fall-time release.
9. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
No surprise here as Arcade Fire’s latest has made quite a bit of noise since its October release, finding itself atop myriad year-end lists. Clever marketing tricks aside, Reflektor is equipped with production from James Murphy, and showcases the pure craftsmanship of Arcade Fire. Perhaps in an attempt to capture their live sound, the album is lively and paranoid, switching seamlessly between carefully constructed choruses and limber electro-grooves, effectively keeping listeners on their toes.
10. Foxygen – We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen’s first full-length release feels as though its paying homage to their Sixties’ heroes while simultaneously poking fun at them right to their faces. Its playfulness is endearing and supports its lyrical prowess, alternating between folk tales and colorful anecdotes. We are the Ambassadors delves into psychedelic breakdowns amidst shifty time signatures and clever hooks; this album is more fun with each repeat listen.
Continue reading Fatty’s Greasiest Albums of 2013
10. Silence Yourselves – Savages
Released May 6, 2013
Silence Yourself is Savages first full length LP. I was first introduced to Savages this year and when I finally got to listening to the album, I really enjoyed it. It’s loud but it also has it’s softer moments too. The track that I enjoy the most is Hit Me because it has all of this energy and craziness packed into a 1:41 song.
9. Overgrown – James Blake
Released April 5, 2013
I first got into James Blake after he released his first album James Blake back in 2011. With this album, James Blake decided to go with less of an electronic sound than his previous releases and went with more of an R&B sound. This album is a nice listen and it has the ability to appeal to more people than his previous releases, with my favorites off this album being “Retrograde” and “Overgrown“.
8. Trouble Will Find Me – The National
Released May 27, 2013
I wasn’t too familiar with The National’s previous work, but I really did enjoy this album. This is The National’s sixth full length album and it’s pretty sweet, I really enjoy the calmness of it. Take a listen to “Pink Rabbits” & “Don’t Swallow The Cap“.
7. Walking On A Pretty Daze – Kurt Vile
Released April 9, 2013
I wish I had this album playing whenever I would take long drives in the summertime because it feels like that kind of album. It’s sweet and an easy album to listen to. My picks are “Never Run Away” and “Was All Talk“.
6. Loud City Song – Julia Holter
Released August 20, 2013
Loud City Song is the third album Julia Holter has released. This is the first album where she recorded with a full band to add a more full sound that she was missing in her previous releases. The track “Horns Surrounding Me” is a clear representation of the full sound, and the album as a whole is really pretty and easy to listen to. My Favorites off this album are “This Is a True Heart” and “In the Green Wild“.
5. Reflektor – Arcade Fire
Released October 28, 2013
On Arcade Fire’s fourth album they decided to go for more of a disco feel. This definitely was not my favorite Arcade Fire release, but I do believe that they accomplish what they wanted to do because they wanted to make an album with disco and dance elements in it. I do prefer Arcade Fire’s sound from their previous releases, but I still think that Reflektor is a solid album.
4. 6 Feet Beneath The Moon – King Krule
Released August 24, 2013
King Krule does a really good job of mixing rock, hip hop and other genres into this album. I started listening to King Krule back when he released his EP King Krule and then listened to his EP U.F.O.W.A.V.E that he released back when he went by the name Zoo Kid. Most of the songs from U.F.O.W.A.V.E made it to 6 Feet Beneath The Moon and have been cleaned up and updated. This album has beautiful moments like in “Neptune Estate” and more upbeat moments like in “A Lizard State“.
3. Hummingbird – Local Natives
Released January 29, 2013
It’s been four years since Local Natives released their first album Gorilla Manor, so as a fan of the band I was eagerly waiting for them to finally release some new music. This album is packed with meaningful songs that were written at the time of the passing of Kelcey Ayer’s mother. In the song “Colombia”, Kelcey is praying to his mother and asking her if he is giving and loving enough, and moments like this are what show the beauty in this album. “Colombia” and “Ceilings” are two of my favorites.
2. We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic
Released January 22, 2013
I don’t remember how I heard about Foxygen, but I remember being obsessed with it as soon as I listened to the album. I went to the record store, bought the album, and played it all the time. Foxygen has a lot of elements from other bands, but they still manage to make their sound their own. My favorites off of this album are “Oh No 2” and “On Blue Mountain“.
1. Modern Vampires Of The City – Vampire Weekend
Released May 14, 2013
I was so excited for this album. Soon after it released, I had go to the store to pick up a copy. Vampire Weekend’s third album follows up the band’s 2010 release Contra with a different sound, as on this album Vampire Weekend goes for a less upbeat sound like their previous albums and focus a lot more on their lyrics. One of my favorite lines from the album is “Wisdom’s a gift but you’d trade it for youth/ Age is an honor – it’s still not the truth” from the song “Step”. The themes of youth and faith are explored throughout this album and Vampire Weekend does it in a way where it feels effortless. Listen to “Unbelievers” and “Step“.
The year 2013 was the first year I, dj bANANAS iN pAjAMAS, graced WCDB as a DJ. It was the best of years, It was a year filled with great music and plenty of hard choices. The top 20 albums according to me are officially out and the crowds have been quelled. Enjoy.
TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2013
20. Los Campesinos! – No Blues
This album came out on October 29. Many would call this indie rock-pop at it’s best, but I call it great music. That’s why its number 20. My favorite song, “Avocado, Baby”, strikes at my heart strings. The lyrics, “A heart of stone, rind so tough it’s crazy, That’s why they call me the avocado, baby” really shows you how this band can be a little goofy but sing about some of the more serious things in life. Do I recommend listening to this album? Of course!
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
I’ve listened to this album over and over again, and the music video for “Mosquito” continues to creep me out. This album has a song produced by the GOD James Murphy. The two songs that are to be listened are called “Sacrilege” and “Mosquito”.
18. James Blake – Overgrown
Overgrown is one of those albums you can have playing while you do EVERYTHING. Driving? Overgrown. Sleeping? Overgrown. Shopping for groceries? Overgrown. The song “Retrograde” just resonates with your ever living soul. You probably hum, I know I do. His previous album is just a preview of what he can do. This album really shows a mature James Blake. Amazing.
17. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
I started listening to this album by playing the song “Fireproof” through my speakers. It was like a wild fire and before I realized it I had listened to this album multiple times through. There are other songs to look forward to hearing, “Don’t Swallow The Cap”, “This Is The Last Time”, and “I Need My Girl” are just some of the few that need to be named.
16. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
The pop that was seen on previous albums is again found in this album. The gang of four that call themselves Vampire Weekend have once again made a great album. Songs like “Step”, “Diane Young”, and “Unbelievers” really can be traced back to their first album. This album receives my 5 Diane Youngs out of 5 Diane Youngs.
Continue reading dj bANANAS iN pAjAMAS’ Top 20 Albums of 2013
2013 wasn’t an amazing year for music, but a lot of cool things did happen. There were artists who re-emerged on the scene in Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, and The Pixies, and then there was a movement headed by Daft Punk and Arcade Fire to try and revive disco in a modernized way. The reason for my semi-disappointment is that a lot of the artist’s efforts this year to set a new standard for their peers failed in my eyes to create something overly significant and lasting (with one exception). Motives aside, and favoritism thrown out the window, here are my top 25 albums to get released in 2013
25. Of Montreal- Lousy With Sylvianbriar
Release Date: October 08, 2013
I’m really interested to know if this album’s stripped down and more accessible approach was a choice made by Barnes or his management. A part of me hates it because I view him as one of the most fascinating artists out there and really enjoy hearing what he creates when he tries to make electronic masterpieces, but Lousy With Sylvianbriar serves as a reminder to earlier Of Montreal days when he made his living off making pretty pop songs and displayed his thoughts in a less bizarre way.
Track Pick: “Triumph of Disintegration“
24. Thee Oh Sees- Floating Coffin
Release Date: April 16, 2013
One of the better noisy rock albums that came out this year, Thee Oh Sees is a band that must be an absolute blast to see live and tries to capture that energy on the album. When that does happen it’s an awesome thing to hear, but it happens inconsistently as interest tends to fade during the second half of the album, but there are some gems on it like the one suggested below in “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster”.
Track Pick: “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster“
23. Wavves- Afraid of Heights
Release Date: March 16, 2013
I like listening to Wavves because their music is fun, and that’s why Afraid of Heights gets mentioned here despite it’s struggle to be substantial. They can do much better than this and have shown potential to write interesting songs, but they haven’t quite gotten to their peak yet in my opinion and I’m hopeful that they do soon.
Track Pick: “Cop“
22. The National- Trouble Will Find Me
Release Date: May 17, 2013
The product was still good on Trouble Will Find Me, but it’s a difficult one to get inspired by because it sounds uninspired in comparison to the previous three releases. I do enjoy Berninger’s delivery and cadence in their music a lot though, and it appears that even a sub-par record by The National is a quality album when you compare it to it’s peers.
Track Pick: “Don’t Swallow the Cap“
Release Date: March 25, 2013
This was the debut album for the group and it was a great success by a lot of standards. Their sound has evolved already from their first EP, and In Love is a more consistent album than most bands will achieve in their entire discography, let alone on their debut. This group has a ton of potential but I still have some questions about which genre they ultimately gravitate towards, because they’re stuck in between pop and rock right now and that’s not a good place for them to be because they’re completely different approaches.
Track Pick: “California Daze“
Continue reading Kyle’s Best of 2013
Here are numbers 30-21 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.
30. Sufjan Stevens- Casimir Pulaski Day
“All the glory that the Lord has made/ And the complications when I see His face/ In the evening in the window.“
There is a fantastic breakdown of this song right here. Stevens makes it the most genuine and sad song that he’s ever made in my opinion, and the storyline proves to be absolutely tragic. Death takes on a whole new level of sadness when it takes the life of a young girl, and this song shows the scene unfurl from the perspective of a young boy who was experiencing his first love with her. The sadness hits everyone, and it makes what was once a devout christian boy question why a good christian girl hasn’t started to feel better yet, and he fully loses his faith once he realizes that she’s actually dead and looks for God for an explanation only to see his own reflection. Now for every year there will be a chance for the entire city to remember the girl that he lost tragically, but nobody will be aware of it’s significance as anything more than Casimir Pulaski Day with the exception of the narrator.
29. Guided By Voices- Tractor Rape Chain
“Parallel lines on a slow decline/ Tractor rape chain.”
“Tractor Rape Chain” is a song about a relationship, and it’s failures which are never going to end. The opening stanza shows that the couple can’t even trust each other anymore when they communicate, but they know that they’re still destined to spend the rest of their lives together. The song then moves into the bedroom of the couple where the husband struggles with the notion of divorce, but it’s something that he refuses to even consider, represented by a “ghost in [my] room and he says [he] better run”. The narrator can see the ghost, he can hear the ghost, but his entire life he’s told people he doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he just pleads for it to go away. Let him continue as his part of the “parallel lines on a slow decline” until his death arrives.
28. Okkervil River- Black
“You should wreck his life the way that he wrecked yours/ You want no part of his life anymore.”
Another incredibly sad plot line here as the narrator’s currently in a relationship with a girl who just revealed to him that something awful happened in her past (“Amy in the White Coat” style awful). Her father destroyed her life, and he didn’t get any repercussions for this. In fact he left to move on to a new wife, a new kid, and a new life where he trashes his old kid at any chance he gets (“You should say his name the way that he says yours”). The narrator gets furious at this story and what this man has done to her, and tells her that he’s going to rip this guy’s throat out, that he’s going to go to his new family and destroy his life by telling them what he’s done, but she tells him not to. In order to ruin his life she’d have to acknowledge him again, and she’s rather just have “no part of his life anymore”.
Here are numbers 40-31 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.
40. The National- All the Wine
“I’m in a state/ I’m in a state/ Nothing can touch us my love.“
There’s an nice double reality going on in this song. In the present, this man is a danger to everybody around him as he drunkenly stumbles his way through the city, but that’s not what’s going through his mind at all. For him this is the point where he’s finally become what he’s always wanted to be, he’s reached a state where he can view himself as the protector for his family, but he doesn’t realize that he’s currently one of the psychos he swears to protect them from. He’s in a state, but his interpretation of that is that “nothing can touch us my love”.
39. Bright Eyes- Take It Easy (Love Nothing)
“Someone might get hurt, but it won’t be me/ She’ll probably feel cheap, but I just feel free, and a little bit empty.”
There’s more meaningful Bright Eyes songs out there, but not many more which you could relate to as easily as “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)”. It goes into the first time that you have a sexual encounter with someone and find out that they didn’t want it to mean anything, and the changes that come from that. You end up doing the same thing to other people because you desensitize yourself to the act when it seems that the only real solution to avoid getting hurt is to love nothing. It ends up just being a phase, but it’s a tough one and I like hearing it be described so well in this track.
38. Beirut- Elephant Gun
“If I was young I’d flee this town.”
I recently made the decision that I wanted to leave New York in order to put myself into a situation where I can actually live, but this song was placed on this list before I’d even flirted with that notion. I like the mindset of wishing you still had youth on your side to afford making a drastic change, and in reality I’m fortunate that I can still claim mine. The whole song is very pretty and paced, and I love the continuous re-introduction of the horns that Beirut does to continuously re-build the energy of the song.
Release Date: 10/28/2013
Staying fair with this album is difficult. On one side, the Arcade Fire and Reflektors buildup was gigantic and the live show I attended(and covered in another post) was the best live event that I’ve ever seen. This seemed to set the table for this to be an almost unfathomable ‘next-step’ for a band which was already one of the premiere names within the alternative music scene, and a band who was already following up on an album which won album of the year in 2011. In my opinion, that next step didn’t happen on Reflektor, but you can’t hold the fact that an album didn’t turn out to be a classic against it when grading. Reflektor is a very good album which contributes to the dream of reviving disco in 2013, and it’s awesome to hear that when Arcade Fire collaborates with James Murphy the product can legitimately be played and danced to at random venues. There’s also a few new Arcade Fire gems like “Normal Person”, “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus) “and my personal favorite “Here Comes The Night Time”(which I personally believe will become as hypnotic and repetitively played as “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” was for Tame Impala in 2012). Reflektor is much better than the average record that you’d hear, which is why it deserves an A-, but it’s hard to mark it higher when it’s likely the third or fourth best Arcade Fire album out of their four releases(Neon Bible being it’s competition). The final viewpoint for me is that it’s really cool to hear Arcade Fire do disco, but I don’t think that this product is as good as what they’ve done before, so I hope it’s not a permanent sound shift.
Release Date: 10/14/2013
Cults had an outstanding self-titled debut album back in 2011 which showed a lot of promise for the indie pop duo, but there was a bit of an odd development in between that release and their sophomore effort Static. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion decided to split and end their relationship, but maintain the band and continue releasing music together, a snippet which makes tracks like “Always Forever” a bit of an awkward listen. Static is a step back for the band in terms of the energy and catchy pop choruses which were present on their debut, but this album is still a fun listen even if it is an unspectacular release.
Release Date: 10/08/2013
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Cults actually have a lot in common, both indie pop duos released terrific debuts in 2011 (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s being It’s A Corporate World) and released their second albums within a week of each other. It’s a tough band to judge because Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is exceptionally good at making music with pop gimmicks in it, which begs the question of if an album should be judged based upon how enjoyable it is or how likely it is to last the test of time. The Speed of Things is not an album which is going to inspire people to make new music or make people marvel at their sources of inspiration, but the album is a tremendously fun listen with moments that are surprisingly beautiful. Hopefully increased exposure for the band inspires them to take more risks in future projects about song topics because they have a great pop sensibility, and it would be fun to hear what a more ambitious project by them would sound like.