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 V.23 No.1 | January 2 - 8, 2014 

Year in Review

Musical Madness

A look (and listen) back at 2013

Compfight cc via Philippe Put
We looked at top albums lists from the following publications to come up with our super-scientific list of the state of music in 2013: AV Club, CMJ, Consequence of Sound, Filter, Mojo, The New York Times, NME, NPR, Pitchfork, Popmatters, Pretty Much Amazing, Rolling Stone, Spin, Stereogum and XLR8R. The result of our exhaustive efforts, as well as links to the albums we reviewed, are listed below and at bit.ly/musicmad.

In alphabetical order, what we reviewed that landed on “Best Of” lists:

Austra: Olympia

Devendra Banhart: Mala

Blondes: Swisher

David Bowie: The Next Day

Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push The Sky Away

Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe

Daft Punk: Random Access Memories

Factory Floor: Factory Floor

Foxygen: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

The Haxan Cloak: Excavation

Julia Holter: Loud City Song

The Julie Ruin: Run Fast

The Knife: Shaking the Habitual

Cate Le Bon: Mug Museum

Low: The Invisible Way

Laura Marling: Once I Was an Eagle

Johnny Marr: The Messenger

Janelle Monáe: The Electric Lady

My Bloody Valentine: m b v

Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

Thee Oh Sees: Floating Coffin

Kurt Vile: Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze (Also check out our Vile cover interview.)

Waxahatchee: Cerulean Salt

Chelsea Wolfe: Pain Is Beauty

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito

Youth Lagoon: Wondrous Bughouse

Alibi Listmas Self-critique

Compfight cc via Fred Rockwood

Things we probably should have reviewed

The homogeneity of music reviews can get eye-bleedingly obnoxious. I don’t necessarily disagree with the assessments I’ve read of the same handful of albums that are being shoved into the limelight as the best of 2013, but after a while it reeks of circle jerk/Human Centipede shit. Nevertheless, we’re not above admitting when we’ve dropped the ball. Nor are we above being heaped with praise for skipping over easy targets. However you look at it, we missed the boat review-wise on these critically acclaimed titles.

The Arcade Fire: Reflektor (Merge)

The bulk of music mags were falling all over themselves to once again sing the praises of the Canadian group that can do no wrong. Like they pretty much always do, but you know, whatever. We missed the review boat, but lucky for us, Mark Lopez was keeping tabs on them in his Rooster Roundabouts.

More albums from the Buckethead Pikes Series (Bucketheadland)

While we were all busy sitting slack-jawed in front of our laptops listening to that stealth album Beyoncé dropped, experimental guitarist Buckethead released 31 albums in 2013. Thirty-one. By comparison, only 10 installments in the series were released in 2012. Granted, they’re concept albums about an “abusement park” kiosk (WTF?!), and they all clock in at 30 minutes or less. Still, we should have been reviewing these based on quantity alone.

Haim: Days Are Gone (Polydor)

Los Angeles sister pop trio Haim is comprised of everything the music world loves to talk about: cute, outrageous-onstage, seasoned musicians under 30. And talk they all most certainly did, in glowing reviews of their debut album, Days Are Gone. Mark Lopez gave us his two cents during his Rooster Roundabout.

Savages: Silence Yourself (Matador/Pop Noire)

If you came upon Silence Yourself in a vinyl bin and gave it a listen, unaware that it was a present-day release, you could be forgiven for mistaking British all-female band Savages for a forgotten 1980s post-punk band. It’s there in the Siouxsie vocals, the choreographed percussive chaos and the Delta 5-esque lyrics, like those from “Shut Up.” “Perhaps, having deconstructed everything, we should be thinking about how to put it back together.” Please, ladies, do not silence yourselves. Once again, ever-vigilant Lopez and his Rooster Roundabout kept us abreast of those wild and crazy Savages.

Kanye West: Yeezus (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)

Ignore Kim K. Ignore their infant daughter, destined for a life of mockery thanks to her unfortunate first name, North. Ignore the fact that God gets second billing songwriting credits on “I Am A God.” Just listen to Yeezus and understand why people won’t shut up about this egocentric man-child from Chi-Town. It’s everything we’ve come to expect. Personally, I think Kanye’s not given enough credit for being hilarious.

Randomly selected honorable mentions: Maria Bamford: Ask Me About My New God!; Chance The Rapper: Acid Rap; Deafheaven: Sunbather; Earl Sweatshirt: Doris; The National: Trouble Will Find Me; and Queens Of The Stone Age: ... Like Clockwork

 
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