K’s Top 10 Albums of 2013

Posted December 18th, 2013 by k

Looking at this list, I clearly had a dark, introspective year. So, there’s that. –@kerryrm

Still Corners – Strange Pleasures
Continuing what they started on Creatures Of An Hour, Still Corners deliver more of the same ethereal dream pop that I can’t resist. Strange Pleasures is like the soundtrack to a long drive across a desolate plain reflecting on a cracked and abandoned life. RIYL: Beach House, Chromatics

Forest Swords – Engravings
On one of my favorite labels, Tri Angle, Forest Swords’ Engravings has a tinge of “witch house” and at times reminds me of a more mellow, less methodical oOoOO. These tracks are a hazy, introspective and meandering collection of samples, atmospherics, field recordings and minimal beats.

Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe
I knew nothing of Julianna Barwick until I heard Nepenthe and for weeks after I could listen to nothing but this album. It was like a drug. The songs build on her lushly layered vocals, creating a kind of vocal analog to Music for Airports. RIYL: Sheila Chandra’s The Zen Kiss, Sigur Rós, Cocteau Twins

Data Romance – Other
Strings, clever minimalist beats, and a chanteuse. *swoon* A little bit R&B, a little bit pop, and nodding in the direction of XX, Metric and even Mezzanine era Massive Attack. When everyone was going gaga over the Rhye record, I was obsessively listening to Other on repeat. Sure it’s a tad formulaic, but I’m a total sucker for this combination. Like synthetic comfort food for your ears.

Zola Jesus – Versions
When I was about to lay down on the floor of the Guggenheim to stare up at the James Turrell installation, this was the album I wanted to listen to more than any other. At its base Versions is just a re-arranging/re-imagining of the brilliant Conatus, but OMFG the strings, THE STRINGS!

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
I hate Vampire Weekend. This record is so much better than I wanted it to be. How can that be possible?!

Hurray for the Riff Raff – My Dearest Darkest Neighbor
Channeling “Libba” Cotten, Alynda Lee delivers a stunning collection of covers ranging from Leadbelly to Joni to George (Harrison).

Daughter – If You Leave
I don’t know who broke Elena Tonra’s heart, but I wish to thank them for the destruction they wrought as out of the wreckage has come a positively gorgeous break-up album of epic proportions. *chills*

Torres – Torres
I was in a dark place when I happened upon Torres’ debut in early 2013 and 22 year old Mackenzie Scott’s lyrics allowed me to wallow and self-flagellate for most of the year. (Paired with Daughter’s If You Leave, it’s like an emotional one-two punch to the gut) The album is stark, minimal and raw. Listening is an emotionally draining experience. The electric guitar snarls when it needs to, the drums accent the drama just enough and the crescendos provide ample opportunity for anthemic sing-alongs.

Kanye – Yeezus
I don’t know what to say about this record that hasn’t already been said. I love it. I listened to it more than any other in 2013. It is offensive. It is bombastic. It is misogynist. It is also brilliant.

K’s Top 10 Songs of 2013
(my personal rule is that this list can’t contain any songs present on my top ten albums)

Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
Disclosure – Latch
Laura Marling – Master Hunter
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – We The Common
Tegan and Sara – Closer
Local Natives – Breakers
Jagwar Ma – Come Save Me
Haim – Forever
Savages – She Will
Nova Heart – My Song 9

2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

Tags: yearend