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.
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.
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
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.