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GBITS Top 20 Albums of 2013 December 20, 2013

Posted by greatbloginthesky in Recommendations.
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2013Though I no longer have the time to devote to this little hobby, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving that with which it’s populated (um, music). And as a fan of music, and a fan of lists, and a fan of sharing my music lists, I feel there will always be a need to pixelate a year-end list here.

A word about the state of music discovery:  As life has begun tightening the screws and the gray hairs creep in, the methods I’ve used for this have, out of necessity, been pared to the quickest and, often times, most “free” depositories. It’s no secret that the days of buying CD’s have come and gone (a nostalgic aside:  my first CD was Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell (1994); my last, M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011).  Similarly, I no longer buy albums on iTunes, primarily because I no longer use my iPod (!!!).  More on that below.  For quality home album listening I’ve invested in a record player, something I’ve been kicking around for several years.  But seeing as how records are quite expensive these days, I’ve decided to only purchase those I’ve deemed excellent and that will be guaranteed a listen.  The wax collection grows…

So what about all the music that doesn’t make that cut?  I pay $10/month for a subscription to premium Spotify.  Spotify has (almost) everything, released (mostly) on it’s physical release date.  For most of my electronic fascinations (DJ sets, new singles, etc) I supplement with SoundCloud.  Beyond that, I do without.  An unfortunate example:  I’ve noticed several year-end lists have included Bill Callahan’s Dream River.  Since there is no way for me to hear this album (and several others) in its entirety without paying for it on iTunes, it shall remain unheard.

All of these have apps that make listening anywhere on the phone a breeze (a whiny layman’s discussion of the poor sound quality of streamed media and MP3’s is thankfully beyond the scope of this piece).  Even listening to podcasts has a dedicated app.  Hence, no iPod (or CD’s, or cassettes, or 8-tracks,…).  To summarize:  The world is changing, music is changing, drugs are changing, even men and women are changing. One thousand years from now there’ll be no guys and no girls, just wankers. Sounds great to me. It’s just a pity that no one told Begbie.

Honorable Mentions:  Mountains – Centralia, Simian Mobile Disco – Live, Föllakzoid – II, Kelela – Cut For, Savages – Silence Yourself, Fort Romeau – Stay/True EP, Atoms 4 Peace – Amok, Livity Sound – Livity Sound, The Range – Nonfiction, Swans – Not Here/Not Now

cjjrf9psz60rr5mo9ddvsyae2.410x410x120. James Blake – Overgrown

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The-Flaming-Lips-The-Terror19. The Flaming Lips – The Terror

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4e6c6fb218. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

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blondes-swisher-608x60817. Blondes – Swisher

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homepage_large.f71966d816. Rhye – Woman

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packshot15. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

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Moderat_Cover_Digital-600x60014. Moderat – II

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131211-burial-rival-dealer-ep-stream_grande13. Burial – Rival Dealer

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GI-172_1500x300_540_54012. Lusine – The Waiting Room

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homepage_large.f2e8fe1311. Forest Swords – Engraving

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machinedrum-2013-138679399810. Machinedrum – Vapor City

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ARCADE-FIRE-REFLEKTOR29. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

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boards-of-canada_tomorrows-harvest-608x6088. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest

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189a79087. Justice – Access All Arenas

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News From Nowhere6. Darkstar – News From Nowhere

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avery5. Daniel Avery – Drone Logic

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jon_hopkins_immunity4. Jon Hopkins – Immunity

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fuck_buttons3. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus

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f40d167d2. Disclosure – Settle – I honestly believe that if I was ten years younger, this album would have been my #1.  It’s the unlikely perfection that only a sibling pair of under-22-year olds from the fertile dance mecca of the UK could craft – part house, part deep-house, part UK funky and a whole lot of pop.  Their lithe use of vocalists intertwined with bona fide basement-club readiness and pop sensibility is what sets them apart.  No one else to date has figured out how to meld these influences into a whole album.  It just didn’t fit as well with this year’s life as much as #1 below.

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Kurt-Vile-Waking-On-A-Pretty-Daze1.  Kurt Vile – Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze – Given the increased time spent (dancing) at home this past year, this was the album to which I listened the most.  Vile’s ear-worm guitar melodies and his simple stoned-Yoda musings (I can’t take credit for that but it’s the best analogy ever – see Pitchfork’s review) soundtracked my mornings, my staring out the windows, my getting ready for ?, and my son’s beginnings.  Such versatility and such beauty, and for those it deserves the top spot.

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Until next time – happy 2014!

J

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