It's not a top ten or even a true "Best Of 2013" list. In fact, some of this music wasn't even released in 2013. These are simply the tunes and musical notes that had some significance in my life in the past year.
Chris Hardwick (of the Nerdist) inspired the idea to begin keeping playlists for each year of my life. My birthday falls conveniently close to the end of the year, so my age "31" playlist and my 2013 list can be one in the same. This is a practice I highly encourage, especially for my fellow music nerds. It makes for an easy reference for looking back on the past year.
One of the best albums I listened to this year came from The Thermals and their apocalyptic Desperate Ground. The album, like most from the band, is raw and hits hard, full of a wicked and mischievous fun. Though some found more political tones, I found tales of survival and redemption, perhaps in the modern world, perhaps in the wastelands at the end. Check out the title track below and pick up the entire album at Saddle Creek.
Now let's get into some of my favorite tracks from the year. I'm borrowing from the tales I told for a recent mix I made covering the year in music.
Bradley Manning- Flobots
We'll dive right in with something political. This song was released by Flobots as part of a fundraiser for Project Whistleblower from the Freedom Of The Press Foundation and, most especially, in support of Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning. The message is clear and the repetition of Manning's name cuts right to the heart.
This tune from the Japandroids keeps my first pumping. Also, still one of the best band names ever.
Another protest song. Another tale of whistleblowing. The guitar riffing on the track was a guest spot by none other than podcaster & stand-up comedian Marc Maron.
A great summer jam. I found this one on a mix released by NPR's All Songs Considered in the lead-up to their reporting on Austin's South By Southwest festival, where the Mowgli's played this past year.
From our July 2nd post: "It’s about fear and dealing and it’s one of the best damn albums of the summer. I’m not talking about Yeezus. It’s Hokey Fright, the album from Kimya Dawson (of The Moldy Peaches fame) and Aesop Rock’s collaboration, the Uncluded."
Fifth On The Floor opened for Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers the night Kristin and I saw them near Detroit. The crew that walked on stage as the lights first dimmed looked like a local biker gang. I'd never have guessed at the music that came out of them. Fun, raucous, and full of twang.
Fitz and company actually released a new album in 2013 that I haven't caught up with. No matter, as their previous release, Pickin' Up The Pieces has more than enough staying power.