Sunday, December 08, 2013

Top Ten Releases of 2013 - Part One

Been a great year for music! Some favorites came back with strong efforts. Some new favorites emerged. Love to share the stuff I've found and liked. Any "Best Of" list is inherently subjective - there's no reason mine is any more "legit" than anyone else's - but as I'm lucky enough to work in my dream job as Music Director for The Point (http://pointfm.com) here in Vermont, I get exposed to a lot of new releases over the course of the year, giving me a pretty broad selection to choose from and compare to. Maybe I'll turn you on to something you've missed. This is part one - the "Top Five" - though the order isn't really fixed...

1. Arctic Monkeys "AM" - This gets to be number one because it's freshest - I'm listening to it A LOT right now. There's a kind of... slinky-ness? I'm reminded of Queen, but AM is more rhythmic - there's a hint of Hall and Oates here as well. Both are on display immediately as the album opens with "Do I Wanna Know" - if this hooks you, you'll wanna get the album. Knew of the Arctic Monkeys before "AM". Like me, you may wanna get to know them better...


Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know? from David Wilson on Vimeo.

2. Frank Turner "Tape Deck Heart" - Frank's follow-up to "England Keep My Bones" was his first for a major label, and the songs feel a bit more polished, though there's still a hint of the punkish Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer influences Turner has proudly displayed in the past. "The Way I Tend To Be" is enjoying some radio play right now, and "Recovery" was spun some this past summer. The whole album's worth a listen, especially for gems like "Plain Sailing Weather" and - "Good and Gone" - which can't be played on the radio without some editing.



Got the chance to visit with Frank on the radio back in August (dream job), where he played a couple of... er... more "allowable" songs:



3. Phosphorescent "Muchacho" - Though Matthew Houck - who is Phosphorescent - has been around for a while, his work was new to me this year. "Song For Zula" was a majestic introduction, with its lofty strings and the fragile strength of the vocals. The entire album is a mesmerizing masterwork of cosmic Americana, a concept album of sorts about crazy hopes born out of desperation. Surprised me how much this one spoke to my soul - it was subtle in its osmosis.



There was a transcendant live perfomance of "Song For Zula" on Jimmy Fallon's show - for some reason that's not available. So you get the cavewoman video. Which, frankly, I don't get...

4. Queens of the Stone Age - "...Like Clockwork" - Josh Homme & Co.'s return was anticipated, hyped, teased, welcomed and confirmed with the delivery of the new one this summer. QOTSA's melodic, layered heaviosity pulsed and throbbed... and did not disappoint. A tonic for my heavier side...



5. Wake Owl "Wild Country" (EP) - There's a sort of delicacy and desolation to the title track and the best songs on this short wonder.



The songs on the EP are mostly the solo creations of Colyn Cameron, with some colorings from his collaborators - as he explained in a visit to The Point.



That's half of my "Top Ten" - I'll have the rest for you a little later in the month!