20000 Leagues Under The Sea

Best Of 2013 (So Far): Justin's Picks

2013 will officially go down as they year I felt old. Not out of touch, per se; I kept up with new music and listened to just as much as I always have. But as every major release came and went, I found myself asking what it was I was missing. People raved about Daft Punk and all I heard was glorified disco. People freaked out about Vampire Weekend and all I heard was grating, cutesy pop that for whatever reason reminded me of those four douchebags singing “Constance Fry” in Trading Places. Worst of all, people flipped their lids about the National – a band that I truly loved at one point – and all I heard was exceedingly dull music that was only appropriate for a therapist’s waiting room. “It grows on you,” people said. So does fungus and flesh-eating bacteria.

All that said, while I seem to have developed a Chunky Kevin-esque “get off my lawn” streak, man there’s been some good music this year. Granted, it’s a bit on the lighter side than my favorite album of last year (and the last five years), Celebration Rock, and two of my ten selections were released just this month, but these are ten of albums I’ll have a hard time bumping from my year-end list.

10.  Savages – Silence Yourself

Yeah, I’m on board. A brilliant amalgamation of blistering punk and 80’s goth sensibilities (a little Mission UK mixed with singer Jehnny Beth’s Siouxsie-sounding caterwaul) make for a furiously wonderful romp.

  

9.  Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

Perhaps you’ve shied away from this album because of an inherent hate of any country music made after 1990. I get it. But there’s something about these 12 extremely confident, well written tunes that make Musgraves sound much older than her 25 years. This is less Taylor Swift and more John Prine or Lucinda Williams.

 

8.  Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

As much as Savages are a throwback to the 80s, Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz is a throwback to the 90s. Sadie Dupuis’ vocals channel Liz Phair, or to make a more 90’s reference, Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon. Combined with nift sounds-sloppy-but-is-actually-brilliant rock reminiscent of Pavement or Built to Spill, Major Arcana marks the arrival of a fantastic new band.