Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Best Albums of 2013

Here's a list of my favorite albums from 2013, accompanied by a Spotify playlist with my favorite (available) tracks from each album.


Chelsea Light Moving - Chelsea Light Moving
Thurston Moore and company put on their rock and roll hats.  Noise rock with a dash of off-kilter grunge.  Perhaps Moore's heaviest record to date.

Dysnomia - Dawn of Midi
Dysnomia is of the most innovative albums I've heard in a long time and comes from a non-traditional jazz piano trio.  Think rhythmically complex techno performed with acoustic instruments.

fabric 69 - Sandwell District
Incredible DJ mix by techno heavyweights Function, Regis and Silent Servant.  Foreboding atmosphere and flawless mixing.

Between Two Selves - Octo Octa
Sleeper album of the year.  Octo Octa does something with tech house that I haven't really heard anywhere else, going beyond 16-bar sequencing to create an album that holds interest from front to back.  Watch the basslines on this one.

Cupid's Head - The Field
Some of the finest minimal techno out there in 2013.  Several samples on this record stuck with me for days.  Powerful atmosphere that provides some warmth to the cold ambiance.

Fuzz - Fuzz
Sounding like a heavy Stooges homage, Fuzz features Ty Segall on drums and vocals.  Full of chunky, bluesy guitar riffs and thick basslines.

Immunity - Jon Hopkins
Textural, melancholic electro with brushstrokes of IDM and tech house.  If that sounds alienating, ignore that feeling and please listen to this beautiful album.

Ghost Systems Rave - Clouds
It may be an homage to 90's rave culture, but it's a fractured, contorted recollection.  Gritty maximalist techno with razor-sharp production.

The Blue Album - Reeko w/ Architectural
Spacious minimal techno that at once evokes ambiance and urgency.  The sounds on this album vary widely, making equal use of dubby stabs and atmospheric drones. 

Honorable Mention
The Blind Hole - Dead in the Dirt
Chance of Rain - Laurel Halo
Water and Earth - Jeremy Pelt
Colonial Patterns - Huerco S.
R Plus Seven - Oneohtrix Point Never
Deserve - Weed
Faint Hearted - Miles
Trap Lord - A$AP Ferg
Honeys - Pissed Jeans
Legacy - RP Boo
Nautically Inclined - Lumigraph
Overgrown - James Blake
Psychic - Darkside
Exai - Autechre
The Inheritors - James Holden
TM404 - TM404
λόγος - Antediluvian
II - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Best Singles/EPs/Splits of 2013

I listened to a lot of great singles, EPs, and splits this year, so I divided my year-end list into Best Singles/EPs/Splits and Albums of 2013.  Below is a Spotify playlist to go along with this post. Unfortunately, Spotify lacked a lot of the releases on the list, so I threw in a few from the Honorable Mention section to fill it out.

Airglow Fires (Single) - Lone
From the opening bars, it's easy to tell that "Airglow Fires" is a Lone track.  I haven't come across a producer with such unique chord progressions and knack for sound design as Lone, and this single has me anxiously awaiting another full-length.

Disciples of Christ / Triac Split - Disciples of Christ & Triac
Grinding powerviolence with some really thick production.  This split finds the perfect balance between clarity and lo-fi aesthetic.  The Triac side rounds out this split nicely, but the star of the show is the far more visceral D.O.C. side.

Rolx (EP) - Moiré
But don't let the "tech house" label deter you from checking this one out.  Of Moiré's two EPs to be released this year, this is the stronger.  "Rolx" and "Real Special" are higher-BPM tracks that keep me coming back to this EP.

Radical Cutting Methods (Single) - Clouds
Punishing industrial techno.  Crackling, percussive tracks with a pair of remixes on the B side. A rather neanderthal counterpart to Ghost Systems Rave.

This Septic Isle (Split) - Oblivionized & Human Cull
The Oblivionized side shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with the band's output.  Thick production paired with vomitous vocals and turn-on-a-dime riffing.  The Human Cull side is equally crushing, straight up grind.  Looking forward to what these bands have to offer in 2014.

Nancy's Pantry (EP) - Tessela
Disorienting 90's jungle throwback.  Nobody chops up a break like Tessela, and this EP shows it.  An absolute basher from front to back.

Honorable Mention
Gotham (EP) - Ten Walls
Apheleia's Theme (EP) - Huerco S.
Caustic View (EP) - Bandshell
Never Sleep (EP) - Moiré
Species at War (EP) - Rotten Sound