Drew Harkins’ Top Albums of 2013 (better late than never edition)

Posted February 20th, 2014 by drew

You think you’ve got game, and then you meet Drew Harkins and you throw the game away because you just can’t win.

Deerhunter, Monomania (4AD)

Pick your favorite review of this album:

a.) Monomania is a willfully inscrutable/abstruse nocturnal garage pastiche of shopworn indie standards, pieced together meticulously from a post-nothing fakebook, delivered with mesmerizing panache and terrorizing aplomb.

b.) Deerhunter’s Monomania re-imagined as a Phish setlist, the way that guy from Dirty Projectors did Black Flag:

Anti-Scale Mode -> Puke Racket, Pot Arpeggioz, Schlock & Choogle II, Churn/Thrust N’ Fey, Jam Progression -> Lawnmower Ratchet -> Omega Point, Denouement, Coy Spoon Acoustic Reprise

c.) When you get a tattoo on your shin, the majority of the work takes place on the fleshy haft of your lower leg. It’s mostly easy dermis for canvas, all smooth and humming along with the perfect amount of pinch, subtly reminding that you’re permanently defacing your skin.

The only actual pain comes when the needle bears down on the distal ends. A pitted feeling sucks your gut but passes quickly. Those couple moments when the point clicks over that little groove in the ridgeline is the real treat, because it’s just enough to make your privates tingle.

d.) The Black Lips dudes dubbed Monomania “transcend-fi” and I see no reason to reinvent the wheel.

e.) Yes, Bradford. It was great. And it was punk.

Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork (Matador)

“Some men are so macho they’ll get you pregnant just to kill a rabbit.” – Maureen Murphy

Songs: Ohia, The Magnolia Electric Company (reissued) (Trifekta)

There’s been a surprisingly rich amount of reporting following the March passing of Jason Molina, so I’ll attempt to not stomp a dead horse in the face.

That said, I simply can’t not (intended) call a spade a spade. Molina may have died of natural causes as a result of alcohol abuse-related organ failure, but let’s be clear: Jason Molina shuffled off this mortal coil by way of brown-bottle seppuku. No more, no less.

You can pen fifteen thinkpieces examining the infinite regress or romantically redress his illness, or simply just call me an asshole, but Molina was always singing his own dirges. His life never belied his art.

The point is that when examined closely, his death was a choice. To be sure, a very complex choice with a number of psychological, social and maybe even biological variables that all dovetail intricately. But still a choice.

It’s a fucking shame. And it’s a sad, sad, thing. It’s all cunning and baffling and powerful and it just doesn’t make sense, even when it does.

And you know, Magnolia, I really wish you could have chosen to hold on. Because I might understand very little about sobriety, but for what it’s worth, I do know that the pursuit is still invariably fraught with that truly ineluctable sorrow you were always searching for.

Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer, Different Park (Mercury Nashville)

This is highly-nuanced country music for the shrewd yet still conflicted modern woman.

On Saturday nights, she’ll listen to “Blowin’ Smoke” in the shower before going out to the bar, where she’s dumb enough to wait around for some drunk wannabe cowboy to stop losing at pool and flirting with dark-featured women to pay her some remote shred of attention.

On Sunday mornings, she’s smart enough to go to church and meet nice guys with professional degrees who wear khakis and want to buy her jewelry.


Phosphorescent, Muchacho (Dead Oceans)

Remember when you got to college and finally started smoking “good pot” and you just knew that the weed was potent because the buds were so … festively peppered with little red ‘hairs’?

You might say that Muchacho is a sack of heady little nuggets, that the hairs are Willie Nelson’s pubes and Gram Parsons laced the damn bag with the shit that killed Neil Young’s amigos.

But similes are for hacks, Chico, and you should probably just fashion an eeeeeeensy pillow fort with your words, nestle it all nice and smug right under ‘redolent’, toke on a little garden schwag and take a smooth power siesta.

Black Angels, Indigo Meadow (Blue Horizon)

Beware of mixing LSD and other drugs, legal or not. Any time you do, you risk an adverse reaction with your own physiology that cannot be predicted.

Please visit Erowid.org for more information about LSD, including basics, effects, dosage, history, legal status, photos, research, media coverage and links to other resources.

The Love Language, Ruby Red (Merge)

Stuart McLamb is a ~pretti~ boy from the ~pretti~ state of North Carolina who makes ~pretti~ pop songs about ~pretti~ things with a bunch of ~pretti~ collaborators and ~pretti~ stringed instruments.

They are quite often gorgeous, partially driving, sometimes sonically challenging, rarely dense, somewhat plucky, kind of orchestral, definitely a little bit twee, and in general, verklempt like a motherfucker.

This album sounds like a party with all of your friends on a lush spring night in college right before graduation.

Arctic Monkeys, AM (Domino)

The slinky perversion of opener “Do I Wanna Know,” with its louche bassline, hither come-to and whimpering pout is enough to shoulder the load of this album on pulsing tumescence alone.

Because it’s that feeling when you want something so badly that plausible deniability goes out the window and you’re texting each other pitted barbs at 3 a.m., and even though she makes you so completely #scorpiomad that you throw your phone across the room, it only makes you want it worse.

The rest of the album is a charming bloke, gobsmackingly incisive about its own immaturity; basically all novel riffs and road beers, lyrical subterfuge, failed relationships and pained bravado, which I guess sums up my twenties in a nutshell.

CHVRCHES, The Bones Of What You Believe (Glassnote)

If you really think about it, fashion is literally the least important thing in the world. People who listen to Chvrches forfeit this irony.

Kanye West, Yeezus (Def Jam)

There are three things I can count on in this world — death, taxes, and black women wanting to play with my hair.

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