Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013: The Year in Music

2013 was another epic year for music. This year represented a shift in the way I purchase and consume music. While vinyl LPs still make up a bulk of my purchases and CDs are still a very tiny part, this year I purchased new music on cassette for the first time in ages. Also, downloads are now a more viable option with CD quality lossless and 24 bit becoming more widely available thanks to Bandcamp, HDtracks, Qobuz, and others. I still prefer shopping at traditional brick and mortar record stores and only prefer downloads when it it is the only viable option. Now the download sites and labels need to fix pricing. Something is wrong when the CD costs less than the crappy sounding MP3. Enough ranting. Onto the lists. I have it divided into three sections. The first is the 25 best new releases of 2013 in order, with number 1 being the best. Following that are 75 runner's up, in alphabetical order. Lastly are 20 reissues/archival/etc. releases, also in alphabetical order. A couple 2012 releases might have squeezed in – deal with it. Enjoy.

The 25 Best Records of 2013

1. Lucrecia Dalt – Syzygy

2. Aidan Baker – Already Drowning

3. Jenny Hval – Innocence is Kinky

4. Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe

5. Colleen – The Weighing of the Heart

6. Broken Deer – Polaraura

7. Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

8. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare 3

9. Zola Jesus – Versions

10. Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter Two

11. Félicia Atkinson – Visions/Voices

12. Julia Holter – Loud City Song

13. Grouper – The Man Who Dies In His Boat

14. La Femme – Psycho Tropical Berlin

15. Matmos – The Marriage of True Minds

16. FKA Twigs – EP2

17. Oval – Calidostópia! & Voa

18. Tiger Village – Tiger Village I, II, III

19. Saltland – It Was Us But It Was All of Us

20. Broadcast – Berberian Sound Studio OST

21. Tim Hecker – Virgins

22. Bérangère Maximin -  Infinitesimal

23. Rachel Zeffira – The Deserters

24. Sean McCann – Music for Private Ensemble

25. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines

75 Honorable Mentions

Noël Akchoté – Green Lands

Ólöf Arnalds - Sudden Elevation

Asian Women on the Telephone – hour of Lavsan

Atoms for Peace – Amok

Austra – Olympia

Blixa Bargeld & Teho Teardo – Still Smiling

Baths – Obsidian

Jim Black's AlasNoAxis – Antiheroes

James Blake – Overgrown

Dean Blunt – The Redeemer

Body / Head – Coming Apart

David Bowie – The Next Day

Broken Deer – Unseen World

Harold Budd – Jane 1-11

Shane Caruth – Upstream Color OST

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away

Chelsea Light Moving – S/T

Circuit des Yeux – Overdue

Coco Rosie – Tales of Grass Widow

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Dawn of Midi – Dysnomia

Tanya Donelly – Swan Song Series Vol. 1-4

Dave Douglas – Time Travel

Kevin Drumm – Tannenbaum

Ensemble HD – Live at the Happy Dog

Esmerine – Dalmak

Bill Frisell – Big Sur

Focus Group - The Elektrik Karousel

Foetus – Soak

M. Geddes Gengras – Collected Works Vol. 1: The Moog Years

Glasser – Interiors

Laurel Halo – Chance of Rain

Françoise Hardy - Message personnel

Rene Hell – Vanilla Call Option

Robyn Hitchcock – Love From London

Lonnie Holley - Just Before Music

Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier - Those Vermillion Sands

Jerusalem In My Heart - Mo7it Al-Mo7it

Kronos Quartet – Aheym

Okkyung Lee – Ghil

Local Natives – Hummingbird

David Lynch – The Big Dream

Maharaja Sweets – Cream Juice

Cliff Martinez – Only God forgives OST

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble - The Space Between

Pat Metheny - Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20

Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady

Thurston Moore & Loren Connors – The Only Way to Go Is Straight Through

Thurston Moore & John Zorn - @

My Bloody Valentine – MBV

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

Noveller – No Dreams

The Octopus Project – Fever Forms

Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band – Take Me to the Land of Hell

Ashley Paul – Line the Clouds

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust – Last Night on Earth

Elliott Sharp Aggregat – Quintet

She & Him – Volume 3

Matthew Shipp – Piano Sutras

Sigur Rós – Kveikur

Small Black – Limits of Desire

Marnie Stern – The Chronicles of Marnia

The Thing – Boot!

Ken Vandermark's Topology / Nonet – Impressions of Po Music

Tiger Village – Tiger Village IV: Six North

Mick Turner – Don't Tell the Driver

Vanessa Paradis – Love Songs

Max Richter - Disconnect

Washed Out – Paracosm

Weekend – Jinx

William Winant – Five American Percussion Pieces

C. Spencer Yeh / Okkyung Lee / Lasse Marhaug - Wake Up Awesome

Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Evan Parker, John Edwards, Tony Marsh, John Butcher – Quintet/Sextet

20 Archival/Reissues/etc.

William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops Box

The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations

Miles Davis – Mono reissues

Do Make Say Think – S/T

Nick Drake – Pink Moon

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours 35th Anniversary Edition

Thelonious Monk - Paris 1969

Nirvana – In Utero 20th Anniversary

Oval – Systemische / 94 Diskont

Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle

Public Enemy - 25th Anniversary Collection

R.E.M. - Green 25th Anniversary

Akos Rozmann – Images of the Dream and Death

Sly & the Family Stone - There's A Riot Going On

Sly & the Family Stone – Higher

V/A - Change the Beat: The Celluloid Records Story 1980-1987

V/A – I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America 1950-1990

V/A – Kill Rock Stars / Stars Kill Rock / Rock Stars Kill

V/A – No Alternative

V/A - Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie-Pop 1980-1989