06 January 2014


My yearly, state of the union address on my musical leanings from the past year. I have to tell you, I listened to more music in 2013 than I have in a couple of years. I hit Noisetrade and Pandora hard this year, along with everything put out on the ISO50 blog (whose influence can be heavily seen below). Still slow to the Spotify game, but there's always 2014 to get into something "new." I still very much enjoy paying for good music, especially when it comes with good packaging and artwork! Below I present my song and album of the year, followed by a bunch of my favorite sounds from 2013. Enjoy! And please drop me a comment if you find something new.
  Beautiful Eulogy . You Can Save Me
Co-song of the year! I connect with everything about this song -- the lyrics, message, beats, rhymes and genre-defying production. From their sophomore release, Instruments Of Mercy, which also happens to be my co-album of the year. Each track weaves together into the next for a complete album experience. As I described to a friend (through a number of text messages): "Enjoy the first four tracks. Try to contain yourself on Track 5 and 6 (good luck) and then Track 7 is a complete dance party. Track 8 will drive you to your knees and you may as well stay there during Track 9. And then ride out the true hip-hop for the rest of the album. It's nuts bro. So good! A true Holy Spirit experience!! From their mouths and through your speakers." Put this album, which is freely given, in your ears.

Beautiful Eulogy . Release Me From This Snare
I won't waste more Internet space here going on about this song (or the album), just more solid gold from Instruments of Mercy.

Gungor . I Am Mountain
Co-song of the year! Soaringly beautiful title track from Gungor's I Am Mountain, which shares co-album of the year status with Instruments of Mercy. It's my prayer that this track be the soundtrack of my life. As for the album, Gungor seemlessly jump from one genre to another, artfully telling a collection of stories that somehow all make sense as an album.

Gungor . Wandering
A lot has been made of Gungor's heavy use of auto-tune on this track, but for me, it adds a complementary tension to a song that's long on searching (and short on finding). Simply beautiful.
  AKW . Evergreen
Perfect indie pop with a hint of Mumford & Sons sing-along!
  Bonobo . Cirrus
Bouncy and chill, but with a distinct harder edge that kept this one on repeat in 2013.
  Machinedrum . Gunshotta
Producer Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) incorporates all of my favorite genres of electronica on this track. If this is playing, pretty sure I'm dancing on whatever makeshift dance floor I can conjure.
  Bibio . A Tout A L'Heure
Lo-fi goodness that creates the perfect background for a sunny day.

Lily & Madeleine . Back To The River
Phew...chills-up-spine-inducing singer/songwriter track of the year. How exactly do a 15 and 18 year old from the suburbs write a song with such depth? You'd think they wouldn't yet have enough life behind them to shine in this, the most artistic of genres. But shine they do!

All Sons & Daughters - Great Are You Lord
It's your breath, in our lungs. So we pour out our praise to You, only.
Regardless of your faith/religious leanings, you simply can't deny the songwriting here. David Leonard and Leslie Jordan are at the top of their craft -- writing intimate songs that are best experienced in community. From All Sons & Daughters - Live, my worship album of the year.

Atoms For Peace . Default
Haunting vocals from Thom Yorke (Radiohead) over drowsy, glitchy, rolling electronica. Need I say more?

  Nitemoves . Ashe
Superb production on this downtempo track.
Vampire Weekend . Unbelievers
I'm not a Vampire Weekend fanboy by any means, but it's hard to deny the catchy sounds that come through the speakers on this one.
  Bora York . Waterfalls
Amazingly beautiful song from a band that is seemingly flying under the radar of anyone with musical clout (i.e. bloggers who actually influence mass amounts of people with ears). Bora York writes the definition of dream pop with this track, and takes you to another land in the process!
  brotherun . Maze
Standout track from another band that's flying too far under the radar of the general listening public. For fans of newer Radiohead and Atoms For Peace.
  Washed Out . It All Feels Right
My 2013 infatuation with lo-fi continues...you still feelin' it?
  Dauwd . Heat Division
A deep, deep house soundscape that lulls you in and then hits you over the head with some heavy synth.
  Four Tet . For These Times
This song is everything you wish your high school marching band would have been. #boomsauce
  BOY . This Is The Beginning
Catchy, delicate vocals over thoughtful instrumentation makes for quality indie pop.

Houses . The Beauty Surrounds
Love song? Tragic goodbye? Both? Not exactly sure, but the beautifully poetic lyrics on this one strike a chord, as does the instrumentation.
  Jon Hopkins . Open Eye Signal
A beautifully rich 8-minute gem that is all kinds of chopped up at the end from a well-versed electronica producer.
  Grizzly Bear . Will Calls (Diplo Remix)
A late addition to my list, as it was released in late-November. Diplo expertly remixes the indie leanings of Grizzly Bear. One listen and you'll be humming that bouncy bass line the rest of the day!

And for ease of listening: 2013 IN SOUND playlist (only includes tracks available on Soundcloud)

Previously: 2012 IN SOUND . 11 IN SOUND . twenty-ten in sound . 08 IN SOUND . 2007 In Song . Six for '06

No comments: