2013 was a pretty great year for music and nothing quite cures that "where did the time go?" feeling like recollecting a year's worth of music enjoyment with conclusive consideration and whittling it down to a year-end list of bests. For putting together this here post I decided to drag out all the records I bought since last Christmas, spread them out on the floor like tarot cards, and listen to each of them one by one, like this:
And then write about them, like this:
The rub was trying to keep my list trim and fit thus accompanying my select "bests" are other titles I've enjoyed within the last twelve months. Happy New Year everyone! Peep my Best of 2013 on the downhill scroll...
LAST comes first not just because I'm a longtime avid supporter of Kyle Field as an artist and musician, but it just so happens that LAST was one of the very first new records I bought in 2013. LAST is one of those "total package" records about which I could spin infinite yarns of praise n' things regarding the songwriting, the recording, the artwork, and total overall vibe and I kind of already did that in the interview piece I put together last Spring and so I urge anyone interested in this two-fer plate of odd hip-hop with a lotta folk-rockin' goin' on to check it out as it'd be redundant to put further shine on this diamond.
Easily the most confounding sound I heard this last year. In all truth, this record was released in late 2011, but I didn't find any indicators pointing towards it until this year. Perri is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer from Toronto, Canada who also creates electronica under the name Polmo Polpo. On Impossible Spaces, Perri presents a light, meandering soul in a voice that sometimes reminds me of Michael Franks, sometimes Antony, sometimes Christopher Cross. It's a strange tone to hear in 2012, but it is all couched and wrapped in, levitated and nudged along by a busy production of electronica, (fretless?) bass, warped keyboards and processed saxophone that keeps pulling my ear deep into its sheer inventiveness. Guaranteed to confuse.
MOUNT EERIE Clear Moon ((P.W.Elverum & Sun)
One of this year's two "sister" releases (with Ocean's Roar), Clear Moon, is issued, as it should be, on clear vinyl. Phil Elverum, the creative force behind Mount Eerie and its former incarnation, Microphones, is a master of mood. His albums are for headphones, for closed eyes, akin to sitting alone (or with silent friends) in the forest or on some chilled rocky outcropping from where you can see no sign of civilization and yet always aware that its there.
#1 Chromatics - Kill For Love
(Italians Do It Better)
I have been waiting for this album for 6 years! I was a huge fan of their last album in 2007. Both Night Drive by Chromatics and Beat Box by Glass Candy made it into my top 50 that year. That was also the first year of the Amoeblog and my first top 50 for Amoeba. Glass Candy will have a new album out in 2013. But in 2012 we got a brilliant new album by Chromatics. These guys are from the beautiful town of Portland. They have been around for about a decade. But really became a different kind of band back in 2007. Another perfect album of dreamy electronic love songs. These songs are seriously breathtaking and they make it seem so easy. These guys can do no wrong and always manage to create exactly what I need from them.
Listen to "At Your Door" by Chromatics...
#2 DIIV - Oshin
The band formerly know as Dive is now called DIIV. This was another album that I was highly anticipating this year. Captured Tracks has done it again this year and released another group of amazing albums. They had two albums in my top ten last year and they have two more in my top ten this year. DIIV is Brooklyn based Zachary Cole Smith of the band Beach Fossils. I actually like this project more than Beach Fossils. DIIV is exactly what I have come to expect from this label. This is shoegaze and dreampop in the year 2012. It brings me right back to the early 90s. I never really wanted to leave that period of music. So I am happy to revisit if often.
I have been patiently waiting for this new album by DIIV for the last couple of months. It is finally out this week! DIIV is the band formerly know as Dive. Dive released a couple of 7"s on Captured Tracks before deciding to change their name. DIIV is Zachary Cole Smith of Beach Fossils. I have loved almost everything Captured Tracks has released the last couple of years. However I didn't really fall for that Beach Fossils ablum like I did the others. I loved Craft Spells, Wild Nothing, Soft Moon & Blouse. Even though I did not love the Beach Fossils album I really do love this new DIIV album. I might need to go revisit the Beach Fossils. I am not alone I am sure in my love for DIIV. Billy already mentioned his love for it earlier this week on his blog.So I don't want to bore you too much with my endless love for all things Captured Tracks. But this new album does deserve your time. Any fan of all things jangly dream pop and shoe gaze will love this album. It came out on CD this week. The official regular LP will be out on 7/10. But at Amoeba Hollywood we just got some copies of the limited edition blue vinyl! We don't have that many left. So I suggest picking it up now if you want it. I do love that colored vinyl. I just like to take it home and stare at it.
Listen to "Doused" by DIIV from the new album Oshin...
We also just got the new reissue of Dopesmoker by Sleep on vinyl. This is a limited edition green vinyl 2LP reissue. If you are fan of stoner doom metal and Sleep then you need this album. It is on green vinyl! Our friends at Southern Lord have just put this fine album out on vinyl once again! This album was originally released in 2003. The album is basically one track and is about 63 minutes long. This 2LP reissue also includes "Holy Mountain" Live (11:54) and "Sonic Titan" Live (9:36).