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***December Twenty Third Two Thousand and Thirteen***



Top 20 records of 2013!!!
(The top 10 are ranked; the next 10 are listed alphabetically.)


1.   Superchunk - I Hate Music (Merge)
Any time they put out a new record, there is always a very strong possibility it will be my favorite record of the year.  
Breaking Down
FOH
Low F


2.   Lovers - A Friend in the World (Badman)
Their last record "Dark Light" was perfection.  This one isn't too far behind.
Girl in the Grass
Oh Yeah


3.   Grape Street - A Date with You (Austin Town Hall)
Just really simple, catchy songs, sloppy power pop maybe.  Featuring former members of the great Harlem.  
A Date With You
Kawnee  
Threw It All Away


4.   Warm Soda - Someone for You (Castle Face)
Bare Wires breaks up and the singer starts a new band that's even Bare Wires-ier.  The best pure pop record to
come out this year.  
Someone For You
Strange As It Seems 
Waiting For Your Call


5.   Smith Westerns - Soft Will (Mom & Pop)
Somewhere along the line these guys transformed from a garage pop act to creating this record that you'd think
George Harrison had a hand in writing.  
Fool Proof
White Oath


6.   Big Boi - Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors (Def Jam)
Similar to what I said about Superchunk, if Big Boi releases a record it's going to make my "best of" list.  The dude just
keeps getting better with age.  
Apple of My Eye
In the A


7.   Polvo - Siberia (Merge)
Much of this record sounds as good as their classic work, with the extra added dynamic of keyboards on many songs.  
Light, Raking
Total Immersion


8.  Whatever Brains - Whatever Brains (Sorry State)
Confoundingly awesome and nearly undescribable.  My current working description is The Fall and Liars having sex
in a sack.  So glad I get to see them live all the time.   
Companymen
NPTO


9.   Low - The Invisible Way (Sub Pop)
Great album from start to finish, and they might have written their best song ever with "Holy Ghost."  So haunting.
Holy Ghost
So Blue


10. Jacco Gardner - Cabinet of Curiosities (Trouble in Mind)
Glad someone is trying to bring baroque Zombies-style pop back  Jacco is young but doing veteran work.  
Clear the Air
Help Me Out

The Other 10...
Camera Obscura - Desire Lines (4AD)
Mikal Cronin - MCII (Merge)
Danny Brown - Old (Fool's Gold)
Fuzz - Fuzz (In The Red)
Hayden - Us Alone (Arts & Crafts)
The Kingsbury Manx - Bronze Age (Odessa)
The Men - New Moon (Sacred Bones)
The Night Marchers - Allez Allez (Swami)
Oblivians - Desperation (Merge)
Yo La Tengo - Fade (Matador)

...and there was just an insane number of things I never even got around to.  It happens.  For example...

Records that came out last year that would have likely made my "best of " list only I didn't listen to them
until this year.

Neil Halstead - Palindrome Hunches (Brushfire) 
Lace Curtains - The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness (Female Fantasy) 
Redd Kross - Researching the Blues (Merge)

I didn't bother making a best songs list this time.  I did put all the above songs from the top 10 in a single zip you can
download here, in the event you are too lazy to download them individually.  


Best Shows of 2013!!!


(In alphabetical order)

Belle & Sebastian at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier - 7/5/2013
.  I flew to Montreal to see this band so you better believe it
was one of my favorites of the year.  

Big Boi & Killer Mike at Memorial Auditorium - 9/21/2013.  This was supposed to be part of Hopscotch, but ended
up a couple weeks later because of injuries.  Just like the previous time I saw him, Big Boi was a greatest hits machine.  

Built to Spill at the Cat's Cradle - 10/30/2013
.  If I see them in a given year, they go on the list.  No links because I
haven't finished their review yet.

Hopscotch, 9/5/2013 to 9/7/2013
.  Our local music festival did not disappoint.  Low was not only the highlight of this
but also my favorite show of the year.  Other greats were Spiritualized, Pontiak, Sleep, Swearin, Oblivians, Mikal Cronin,
and the Breeders.  Reviews: Day 1, Day 2 day parties, Day 2, Day 3;  Photos
: Day 1, Day 2 day parties, Day 2, Day 3.

Jacco Gardner at the Pinhook - 3/7/2013.  Young Dutch kid knows pop.  Show was woefully underattended.  Photos

Lovers at the Pinhook - 10/25/2013.  Skipped Neutral Milk Hotel to see them.  It was worth it.  No links because I
haven't finished their review yet.


Metz at Schoolkids Records - 4/20/2013.  An in-store during Record Store Day and it still made the list.  Really
bummed I had plans later this night and didn't get to see the full show, really hope they come back soon.

Pontiak.  Saw them three times this year - in Asheville, at Hopscotch, and recently at Kings.  I've loved their records
for a while, but finally seeing them live was likely my favorite discovery of the year.  
Photos

Jonathan Richman at the Cat's Cradle - 2/16/2013.  Same as with Built to Spill - if I see him in a given year, he
goes on the list.  Photos

Superchunk & Parting Gifts at The Cat's Cradle - 8/24/2013.  The new Chunk record is so good, and those new
songs live is even better, despite the missing Laura Ballance.  As an added bonus, Greg Cartwright as the opener!

Whatever Brains.  I'm not even going to venture a guess as to how many times I saw them this past year, likely in the
half dozen range.  They are a local treasure and I look forward to seeing them every single time.  Photos



I'm saving my top movies list for later - the studios release so many of the best movies of the year in the last couple
of weeks of December I want to give myself a chance to see at least a couple of them.  





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